'Justified' - 'Fixer' Recap
by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 31st 2010 8:40AM
(S01E03) 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.
- 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.