With the many commercials for The Americans, premiering on FX later this month, the start of Justified's fourth season is easy to confuse one with the other. That is until a younger Arlo walks into frame muttering to himself. Than a body just drops from the sky with a bag and what appeared to be several bricks of cocaine. So yep, it’s Justified
One Jody Adair has jumped bail and is in Harlan County. The only problem, there is no bounty hunting allowed in Kentucky. A phone call on a slow night leads Raylan dropping the Marshall’s business for bounty hunting. Raylan has always been one to straddle the line of lawman and gunslinger. Seeing him get sidetracked into being a bounty hunter by proxy didn’t seem right for the character. Even with his justification that the extra money is for his future child. A future show in which he is a bounty hunter would have ample opportunity for crazy adventures and show off some of the beauty(?) of Kentucky and South.
The reasoning did not feel right but it still gave writers a chance to work with Raylan’s dry humor. After picking up Mr. Adair, Raylan finds his prisoner to be less than quiet. The unrepentant Adair blames situation and people for his current lot in life. Having none of it Raylan tells him he doesn't have any self awareness, which is funny since Raylan is aloof to the fact he is an asshole. Not even that would shut up Adair so to the trunk he goes. Giving Raylan ample time to inform him of that saying “If you meet an asshole in the morning. You met an asshole. You meet asholes all day you’re the asshole.” Raylan Givens, US Marshall and philosopher.
Things can never be simple and Justified has many characters to reintroduce and debut so everything slowly bleeds over into one another. Among the new characters introduced tonight is Constable Bob Sweeney played by Patton Oswalt, who may not at first seem like a fit for Harlan County but is actually right at home. Oswalt is excellent as the Constable with anger issues, a “Go bag”, and delusions of winning a knife in a gunfight. The economy being what it is and the poor pay that comes with Constable, Constable Bob is keeping an eye on Arlo’s house for Raylan. A necessary expense, derelict houses are a goldmine for metal thieves, like the two ripping the place open.
The problem with shows that bring in a new big bad for every season is coming up with a new villain that is not just as good, but better than the one previously. In season three the show went in the opposite direction of Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) with Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough), a cartoonish Detroit mobster. Two extreme characters that can not come back. The fourth season of FX’s Justified leap frogs over the problem of creating a character and finding good actors by using a bag as the driving force. It’s simple, what is it about this bag that makes Arlo hire junkies from prison than kill somebody for just asking about it? In typical Justified fashion this mystery will be a slow burn.
There isn’t much time to ponder the bag in “Hole In The Wall”, there is still Boyd Crowder and Co. to check in upon. In this economy it isn’t a good time to be running criminal empires. Oxy sales are done, whores are shooting Johns, and people are drinking less. Lots of annoying little fires for Boyd to put out.
Jesus has come to Harlan in the form of a rather engaging backwoods preacher. As messengers are one to do, he is converting as many people as possible. Including the junkies and pushers, who subsequently stop buying the Oxy. Having this be the wall Boyd comes against should be fun, with Boyd’s past preacher gimmick and way with words. Whenever you throw two people so polar opposite but steadfast in beliefs, makes for constant standoffs.
One of the selling points of Justified is the humor. It isn’t that sort of contemplative black stuff found in Sons of Anarchy. Justified is quick and crazy with it’s humor. So, when a whore does an unknown drug, than shoots her John, who was dressed in a bear costume. You just go with it.
Coming back to Harlan County and it isn’t bad to discover it hasn’t changed that much. Raylan is still catching criminals and getting into constant gunfights somehow some way. Boyd continues to try and be the Godfather of the hillbillies. Both of whom continue to be surrounded by cartoonish characters.