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October 6, 2015

'Justified' - 'Fixer' Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 31st 2010 8:40AM
Timothy Olyphant in JUSTIFIED
The TV watching circles whose gazes are glued to the glow of their TVs like vultures at a duck crossing are starting to joke that Raylan Givens is racking up quite a body count.

Let's do a little TV addition. He's only killed two people in three episodes: the restaurant case in Miami and another poor schlub in this week's gripping tale of greed. Sure he shot Boyd in the chest, but that only turned out to be a serious wound and a sniper killed a hostage holder in the second episode. He's far from becoming the edgy dramatic equivalent of TV's 'Sledge Hammer' and definitely smart enough to know you don't challenge the kill record of a man who talks to his gun.

Besides, complaining about Raylan's penchant for blowing away scumsuckers is an unnecessary diversion from a show that is starting to build some gripping potential.

It hasn't developed a real cohesive story line that runs from episode-to-episode, outside of his growing lust for Ava and the inevitable showdown when Boyd returns (I hope), but it gave us a nice taste at the start when Raylan learns his degenerate father has been arrested on a DWI. The moment between Raylan and his boss barely lasted more than five minutes, but it served as a great character study of a man who doesn't like it when things get emotionally deep around him and the kindly old man who's watching out for him.

Raylan acts closed off and obtuse to the news, but something still felt held back and distant to the situation. It could be just some interesting exposition or drive for his story for the rest of the season, but it felt right for the character and the moment.

The characters are the show's biggest and most interesting strength. It had a lot going for it since they have been fermented from the mind of Elmore Leonard, but the show has done a great job of taking the characters from that short story and building on them in surprising and colorful ways. Raylan's boss, played by Nick Searcy, knows he has a loaded time bomb on his hands but still feels endeared to the lug in a good ol' boy way, probably because he reminded him of his early days in the civil service biz.

The dialogue also make for a snug fit for the characters from Raylan's unusual levelheadedness to New Yorker bookie/CI Arnold Pinter's long, rambling and lightning fast speeches about his love for chocolate egg creme shakes. They aren't just believable. They are lively and vivid. They jump off the street and latch on to your face like an alien face hugger that's trying to bury its eggs by burrowing through your eyes.

The bookie element getting kidnapped for an "escape fund" by one of his overdue marks and his hired goon also took the show on a nice twist that didn't have Raylan chasing down some backwoods hood in the typical cop show fashion. In fact, he didn't know the entire situation until the closing minutes of the episode, even if he had his hunches that paid off in the end.

Even though the episode had a fairly linear start and finish where you knew the good would win and the wicked would be punished, it still felt satisfying, especially since Raylan almost took a bullet to the face when the bookie escapes thanks to his two-timing waitress girlfriend.

Then, Raylan seeks refuge from almost having his guts splattered on his suspect's freshly painted walls by finally succumbing to Ava's undying charms. It happened a little earlier than I may have wanted, but it's bound to cause all sorts of interesting problems and dilemmas that now have the time to develop slowly and organically as opposed to tacking them on at the end for the sake of a gripping season finale.

Other observations:
- Did anyone else notice that Arnold owns Hank Moody's busted up Porsche? The two are identical. They even have the same missing headlight. Hank must have put the baby up on Craigslist to cover his pending legal fees.

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You wrote: "Then, Raylan seeks refuge from almost having his guts splattered on his suspect's freshly painted walls by finally succumbing to Ava's undying charms. "

Hmmm.... I thought Raylan didn't sleep with Ava until the end of the episode after this - Long in the Tooth?

April 21 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know why people are complaining about the setting for the show and the prevalency of rednecks. It's what makes this show different from every other crime/policing drama on television, and it's why I personally love it. It's a setting that Olyphant can really work with.

April 01 2010 at 5:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I watch it on the 2nd or 3rd airing usually so having it conflict with V is no issue. Dunno if people actually looked at schedules they'd see FX usually reruns their drama shows a few nights.

April 01 2010 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm kinda surprised. There are several comments on the V blog, but none here yet. Most of the ones on the V blog are bashing the show, but at least people are paying attention. Wake up Olyphant fans.
I watched both shows last night. V was trying to pull people back after a long break so they attempted some 'wow' moments, whereas this episode of Justified felt like filler. I'm not saying it was bad, but it was fairly basic with nothing really connecting it to the season arc.

March 31 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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