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Justified: The Gunfighter

"Sorry about your tablecloth."

I've been thinking for awhile that it's going to be pretty much impossible for them to top season two. So you know what? I'm not expecting it. I just want to be intrigued and entertained.

And I was. Dry humor, check. Creepy bad guys, check. Raylan and Boyd Crowder in spectacular frenemy form, check. Gunfights over a table, check. That gunfight with the tablecloth might have been the best they've ever done. It was so cool that we rewound it and watched it again.

I'm not sure I'm crazy about a season-long story centered around the despicable Dixie Mafia, but that might not be where they're going and I'm willing to wait and see. Mr. Detroit was predictably evil, and I could just feel that he was planning to take out Emmet and his unfortunate secretary, Yvette. (I thought Yvette would make it longer than the end of the episode, though.) And of course, Wynn Duffy makes my skin crawl, although I thought they dialed him down just a bit so that he wouldn't overshadow Mr. Detroit. It was fun that Duffy remembered every syllable that Raylan said to him.

On the bright side, I'm so glad that Raylan and Art have kissed and made up, because the banter was flying all over the place. Winona seemed happier with Raylan, too, although she's still trying to control him (good luck with that, Winona). Raylan was even talking about giving up his tiny motel room for something more permanent. Note how they set up the tablecloth gag by having Winona doing a little decorating.

I'm less happy that Ava has gotten involved in Boyd's business, even though she's much smarter than Devil and Arlo, and I must admit that there's something delightful about Boyd and Ava as partners in crime. I got such a charge out of Boyd deliberately picking a fight with Raylan right there in the office, since he had so much fun doing it and obviously did it to get access to Dickie Bennett. I'm sure that whatever Boyd does to Dickie, it won't keep him in jail permanently.

(I wonder if Dewey Crowe befriended Dickie on purpose in order to help Boyd? No, Dewey's not smart enough to pull off something like that, is he?)

Raylan and Ava were both suffering from their gunshot wounds three weeks later. On a show with a ton of shootouts, I thought that was a nice bit of realism because in fact, it does take a long time to recover from a gunshot wound. Sometimes you don't get better at all, as Johnny Crowder can confirm. Raylan couldn't shoot in an early scene, except that later, he did just fine. Ava had trouble cooking using one hand, but then she whacked Devil in the face with a cast iron skillet. And ouch. Don't ever underestimate Ava, Devil.

I have no idea where they're going with the Bennett pot or Tennessee Beard Guy, or how Boyd is going to run the Harlan County underworld from a jail cell. We shall see. I hope Boyd doesn't end up working for the Dixie Mafia.

Bits and pieces:

-- The cast and credits are exactly the same as last season. Yay. The action took place directly after the season two finale, and three weeks later.

-- Poor pizza delivery guy. He died so that later on we'd think it could happen to Winona. And actually, I do believe that any character on this show could get killed. Except for Raylan, of course.

-- Did Gary Hawkins leave the country like he was told? I doubt it somehow. I bet he gets dead this season.

-- Desmond Harrington, who played Fletcher Nix (great name), plays an incompetent detective on Dexter. He has some acting range, doesn't he?


Art: "Did you try lefty?"
Raylan: "So I could shoot the side of a barn?"
Art: "All right, we'll try one more week of medical restriction, and then I'll issue you some hand grenades."

Art: "Only thing that saved you is all that body fat you got going on there."
Raylan: "I'm starting to feel uncomfortable."
Art: "Why? We're alone."

Raylan: "Did you do something you shouldn't have?"
Boyd: "Well, that's a pretty low bar, Raylan."

Boyd: "If I found that kind of money, I'd be in Mexico by now."
Raylan: "Boyd, I been to Mexico. I don't think you'd like it."
Boyd: "How so?"
Raylan: "There's a lot of Mexicans."
Boyd: "Raylan, if a book could only be judged by its cover, you'd be a best seller."
I bet that was a sideways reference to Elmore Leonard's new novel Raylan, which was released the same day this episode aired.

Duffy: "Raylan, I am sorry, I would like to be of more help, but I got to get back to watching women's tennis."

Nix: "I like the hat. Not much call for cowboys these days."
Raylan: "You would be surprised."

Raylan: "You ain't gonna let me do anything, are you?"
Art: "Well, you can't run and you can't shoot. What good are you?"
Raylan: "Well, I could be the guy on the radio telling people what to do."
Art: "That's my job, asshole."

Ava: "My fried chicken is to die for."
A creative, deadly double entendre.

Winona: "I could choose... Jiffy Pop. Or Palmolive. That's a good one."
Raylan: "Jiffy Pop."
Winona: "Jiffy Pop."
Raylan: "Jiffy Pop for a boy. Palmolive is obviously a girl's name."
They also discussed "Felix."

I'm leaning toward three out of four cast iron skillets. What did y'all think?

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I'd say three out of four cast iron skillets as well, Billie. It was a strong, if not spectacular, start to the season. I just loved the look that Boyd gave Dickie at the end. Boyd, Dickie and Dewey all locked up together. I really want to go to there.

  2. I'd go with a 3 as well. The laying the groundwork stage is never as exciting as when all the plans start coming together, but this was some good groundwork. I loved Boyd picking a fight with Raylan to get at Dickie, and 'Ice Pick' Nix was suitably creepy.

    As a huge fan of Boomtown, I'm super excited to have Neal McDonough (David McNorris) reteamed with Graham Yost for this season! He may just seem like evil Mr. Detroit at the moment, but I've got high hopes for this new nemesis. Plus, I've read that Mykelti Williamson (Fearless on Boomtown) has been added to the new enemies mix as well. Awesome!

    I think I'm actually starting to come around on Ava in the criminal life. I'm rather digging her as Boyd's Number One. Between the fried chicken comment and the frying pan she was totally kick ass this week. I guess in the end, I want to see that fierce and fiesty Ava that I've grown to love, more than I want to see her walking the straight and narrow path.

  3. Definitely intriguing and entertaining. For me it's an even tie between Raylan and Boyd falling through the glass, Ava braining Devil, and Raylan shooting Nix. It's nice to see Ava engaging in some proactive violence, too.

    I hope we get more Dickie Bennett. He could use some proactive violence as well.

  4. I actually like Ava being Boyd's number 1. It is almost like watching the beginning of the Bennett clan... on second thought that might be a bad thing.

    I thought the reason for that awesome over the table gun fight was because Raylan couldn't move. He pulled the table cloth so that he could reach the gun in time. Combined with perhaps a little foreknowledge of what Nix was likely going to do, and a touch of common sense (in the sheer cheating to live sense).

    I'm also really enthused to see what kind of plan Boyd has to kill Dickie yet still get out when his sentence is over, because assaulting a Marshal can't be that long a jail term.

    Overall I really liked it, definitely a 3 and can't wait to see how things take shape. Oh and I have no doubt that Neal McDonough will bring some nice layers to the role. He is a good actor, but at the same time I want Raylan to shine more this season since he was kinda overshadowed by Boyd and the Bennett's last season.

  5. Certainly not the strongest episode, but a good start to a series.

    I could not figure out why Boyd would purposely go to jail until the end. When I saw Dickie with Dewey (can I just say, yippee!), it all became crystal clear.

    One of the things I love most about this show is the strong women. Now that we have lost Helen and Mags, it will be interesting to see how Ava and Winona step up.

  6. Hi! Here I am, almost two years behind you, working my way through Justified - together with my wife - and we are loving it.
    (too bad all my distant relatives were such bad-guys in season two, but I'm still rooting for second-cousin-ten-times-removed Dickie. No, not really).
    What I really, really, loved about this episode was Desmond Harrington. Seeing as how his character on Dexter was such a douche, stupid and ragged, I was very pleasantly surprised to see him transform into a totally different character - with a totally different voice nonetheless!
    Also, superb deduction by Raylan about the gun-on-the-table-icepick-stabby.
    And Boyds genius on how to get to Dickie.
    However. Justified is a series of unlikely pacts and twists. Maybe Boyd and Dickie will reach some sort of agreement. Heave knows Dickie has no-one left in the world and Boyd might want to have a psycho on his team.
    You already know what's happened, I don't intend to spoil it for us, it'll be fun to find out!

  7. I couldn't disagree more @ChrisB, I thought it was a magnificent premiere. I found it disturbing. Amused by Wynn Duffy being rattled. Winona sucks and needs to go. It's become a different show

    1. Disagree, Winona is one of my favorite characters because she exists outside of the Justified universe just enough. She's too put together, too pragmatic, and too beautiful. It's a little "too" much of everything which is why I find her so fascinating. And it makes sense why Raylan is in love with her and has been for so long. She represents everything outside of Harlan, she's the city girl who loves the "redneck."


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