23
Jan
2013
Justified: Season 4, Episode 3
Truth and Consequences
Jordan
For its first several seasons, Justified would spend the first half of its season slowly teasing out a master plot while killing time on some entertaining, if slight, case-of-the-week episodes. This form of serialization, which I discussed back during the season premiere, has sort of become the show's stock in trade. Except, not really, this year. "Truth and Consequences" is the third episode of the season, and its the third straight episode that seems far more interested in the ongoing plotlines than in any one-and-done plotline. "Truth and Consequences" is the slightest episode of the season yet, which isn't too much of an insult considering how stellar and packed the last two episodes were. Its just more of a settling hour for the show, reminding us in broad strokes what is going on in its two main stories without much in the way of progress in either.

Perhaps the biggest revelation on the Boyd Crowder side of things is that Billy St. Cyr is a true believer. He may be dealing with snakes milked of their poison, But that's due to Cassie's manipulative intervention. Billy is bitten by a snake tonight, brought into his garden of spirituality by none other than Boyd Crowder. His sister, on the other hand, reveals her true colors, admitting she is happy to be bribed into leaving Harlan, but for a whole lot more money than Boyd would be willing to part with.

On the Waldo Truth investigation side of things, we learn tonight that Drew Thompson witnessed Theo Tonin kill a man and that precipitated his decision to fake his own death. We're already acquainted with Tonin (played briefly last year by Alan Arkin) and his organization, who bankrolled Quarles until they didn't, so this bodes well for the continuous growing of Justified's world, as it looks like we may have the Tonin family back in the mix before too long.

Beyond that, most of the rest of the episode is just about developing a mood, something that the show does quite well. In an early scene, Raylan goes to confront and intimidate Randall, Lindsay's ex-husband, and its a long, winding conversation of the sort this show excels at, full of double meanings, sly provocations, and Raylan being a giant dick. It all looks to be building to a confrontation, until Randall bails, seemingly fled back to Florida, intimidated by Raylan's threats. Except he isn't. Instead, he's taking back up with Lindsay and tossing Raylan's apartment in search of his stocked away cash. In classic Givens fashion, our man is undone by his arrogance, and his weakness for a pretty face.

I also enjoyed the encounter between Raylan and Thompson's ex-wife Eve (Julia Campbell), a psychic who, like every TV psychic, seems like she may be more legit than our cynical hero would like to believe. This is all pretty rote and a little silly, but the way Raylan and Tim have their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks throughout, gently needling each other as they interrogate Eve, makes the whole thing go off quite nicely.

Perhaps what the episode does best, though, is build tension for whatever threat stands behind the Waldo Truth mystery. Justified isn't really a show that hides its cards all that often. We met Boyd Crowder in the pilot, the Bennetts in the season two premiere, and Limehouse in the season three premiere. The show has developed some seriously intimidating, fascinating, and complex villains in its time, but never before has it kept an antagonist off-screen so long. This would worry me if the show wasn't so good at bad guys, but as is, Agent Barnes' willingness to kill himself rather than disappoint his boss or his family has my interest piqued. I hope whatever is coming doesn't disappoint, but I'm reasonably certain I'll be satisfied.

I know the big scene where Boyd brings a snake, poison intact, to Billy is supposed to be the showstopper tonight, and Goggins plays the hell out of it as always, but it felt a little rote to me, seeing as Boyd did pretty much the same thing last week. I love Boyd as a lapsed evangelical, a man with a preacher's magnetism and charm who has walked away from the light, but how many times will we have to watch him out-preach Billy before this story moves to its next plateau? Its early yet to be worried about this plotline, and I'm really not, but this did feel like a moment where the show thought it was delivering a big moment, when in fact it was largely falling flat.

So far, season four is cleanly divided into two narratives, about two sons of Harlan on two different paths that will force them to interact with pasts they'd sooner forget. Boyd is being confronted with his previous evangelism and his lapsed moral compass in his confrontations with Billy. And Raylan is going to have to face down his father's demons, and his own, before this season reaches its end. At this point, it seems that of the two, only Boyd has accepted who he is and what role he is to play. Raylan's reticence to do the same may not bode well for our law man in the weeks to come.

Grade: B+

Notes:

-"Unlike the rest of these sorry souls, we're not afraid of you." "Well, in that case, ma'am, I think we've misunderstood each other."

-"If my stiffy lasts much longer, I'm goign to have to consult my physician." This joke just works for me, probably in large part because of Art's unabashed glee at doing real detective work.

-"I guess she told you a lot, huh." "She told me a little bit. It was late, and we were in my bedroom, so we didn't talk as much as we should have."

-"At the time of his death, Drew Thompson was wanted in a sealed federal witness investigation." "What did he witness?" "Don't know. That's what sealed means."

-"I see so much death around you."

-"He does something stupid every day. Can you be a little more specific?"

-"Maybe with a third set of eyes you could have kept one on the armed man and the suburban grandmother." "She's not a grandmother." "I know, but it sounds funnier."

-"You don't worry about how long you're gonna live. You worry about how slow you gonna die."

-"I once stood where you stood. Mistaking my own hubris for God's touch. That ain't religion. That's called self-glorification."
Tags: Justified
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