I'm afraid if I say this, as Raylan Givens might come after me and shoot me, but here goes…so far, I am slightly on the fence about this season of Justified. It just feels like there is something missing. Perhaps I watch the show for different reasons that other people, but it feels like it has lost much of the chemistry and charm and isn't focusing on the storylines I love. First of all, why does it seem as if Raylan no longer works for the Marshall service? Each week he is out going rogue working on his own case, and I miss the interaction with Art (no a 5 minute phone call does not suffice). I'm not saying I want it to be a a case-of the week procedural again, but this one all encompasing search feels extremely long and drawn out. The show has had an extended storyline before, but they usually sprinkle some other crime in…and some shooting. Why doesn't Raylan shoot people anymore?! I'm sure this is all building up to some big climax and reveal, but let's get there already. At this point, Drew Thompson feels like some mystical Unicorn that I am supposed to care about, but since I don't know if he actually exists or not, I don’t actually really care.
In last night's episode, we followed a man we were made to believe might actually be Drew Thompson, but instead he is a guy that likely had his foot chopped off for all the wrong reasons. Arlo is working to get his immunity deal in place and there is no way he actually gave up the real person, without it all being set up in a manner agreeable to him. In replace of shooting, we did get some gore with one of the most gruesome scenes as Mr. Cairns amputated leg mess is cauterized with a blow torch. I'm not sure that even Major Dad would have been able to survive that pain without passing out, but since he is Major Dad, I will forgive it for the most part. I was very happy when it was over though.
Boyd Crowder is also on the hardcore hunt for Drew Thompson as he and Ava plot ways to find the most information about him possible. Ava used her charming, willy ways to bribe our favorite "Furry" friend to give them an invite to ex-Sheriff Napier's party. This felt a bit uneccessary and like a fool's errand for Ava, but at least it kept her occupied. I also am fascinated to find out how she will react when she finds out Ellen May is alive. Will she be relieved to know that she is not dead? Will she be relieved for a moment and then realize she can be put away for murder? At a moment that things seemingly are going well for Ava (hello, marriage proposal) I wonder if how long it will take before she is taken down, or if she even will be? Let's also just talk about the engagement for a moment. One of the things I sincerely love most about this show is the way in which they can take one of the most evil criminal characters and make the audience love and care about him just as much as the good characters. I love Raylan and Winona, but since she has been gone, Ava and Boyd have quickly been rising higher on my heart meter. I just want them to end up happy, but I know that is likely not going to be true.
This episode also felt like it was jam packed with b-stories, that took the focus off Raylan and while I like the supporting characters, it made the whole thing feel a little cluttered and weak. I like Marshall Sidekick Tim, but didn't find myself very invested in the storyline. Same goes for Colton, who has become even worse than Boyd Crowder as he freebases in some bathrooms and roughs up ladies for no real reason other than he fucked up big and is spiraling downward until he fixes the problem. Too bad, since Sheriff Shelby has Ellen May, it is very unlikely that this mess is going to end up well for him….at all.
Overall, when I look at the separate parts of last night's episode, there was some goodness there. I just hope that they start to focus on Raylan a little more and more than anything, let the man catch a criminal or two!