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Justified: Reckoning

"This is who we are, Dickie. This is who we've always been."

What a complicated, emotional, heavy duty episode. At the center of it was Raylan, so deeply upset by Helen's murder that he beat his own father, provoked Boyd, put his hand on Mags, and came within a hair's breadth of killing a handcuffed Dickie in cold blood. In the end, only his own sense of honor kept him from going through with it. When Raylan told a sobbing, begging Dickie all that Helen had done for him and how Helen had saved his life, it brought me to tears.

I was with Raylan every second of this episode, and Timothy Olyphant made me feel everything Raylan was feeling without crying, screaming or chewing the furniture. Olyphant has a distinctive walk, an upright, Gary Cooper-like stride, and Raylan seemed to be holding himself even straighter, almost like a drunk trying his best to appear sober. He spent the entire episode in a long, black coat, too, quite literally cloaked in mourning.

When Dickie's life was threatened, Mags changed her tune. (But only after safely securing the Black Pike deal, which, of course, came first.) Dickie defying her authority didn't matter, her truce with Helen didn't matter. And Doyle was an utter snake. He was again ready to kill a man to save Dickie. That standoff at Jed's front door could have turned to shooting so easily, if Raylan hadn't been there to keep it from happening.

Arlo again went for the father of the year award. He let Raylan believe that Dickie killed Helen because of what Raylan did to Coover. That was about the cruelest thing he could have done, although I understood why he did it. Arlo wanted to kill Dickie himself. Boyd also wanted to kill Dickie, and quite sincerely offered to do it for Raylan. Raylan made sure they didn't, so he himself could kill Dickie. And then he couldn't go through with it. Raylan is now in extremely deep shit, because the Bennetts are going to kill him. Except Raylan is the main character, so he'll live. Everyone around him should be heading for Tahiti about now. (Except that Tahiti sucks.)

Ava stood by her (new) man, even to the point of pointing her ubiquitous rifle at Raylan, her previous man. Ava is following in Helen's footsteps, and it's really too bad. It was interesting that while showing support for Raylan and sympathy for his loss (and offering to kill Dickie), Boyd also took a moment to tell Raylan unequivocally that Ava belonged to him now, that Raylan had to show respect and keep his distance.

Actually, Dickie as a crime lord versus Boyd as a crime lord? There's no comparison. Boyd will do it much better with less collateral damage. Not that being a crime lord is a good thing. But the fact that Boyd and Ava came to Helen's funeral was their way of saying that they both still care about Raylan, and that they always would.

Bits and pieces:

-- State trooper Bergen pretty much did a lot of what Tim did in the previous episode: he tried to keep Raylan from solving the murder himself, and from "doing something rash". Raylan did it anyway. As Art said, no one can stop Raylan from doing anything.

-- Raylan raised his voice. He almost never does that.

-- Brief scene with Loretta. She appears to have a good foster mom.

-- Mags offered Arlo some shine, which he drank. I didn't think she'd kill him, mostly because if Arlo suddenly died, I assume the property would go to Raylan. But it was a little reminder of the deadly "apple pie".

-- Arlo did love Helen. He said the last fifteen years were the best of his life.

-- During the funeral, Winona saw Raylan's headstone with the open date, and turned and looked at his face. What was she thinking? Maybe that she knew a little more about him now?

-- Gold acting stars to Timothy Olyphant, of course, but also to Jeremy Davies (Dickie). Richard Speight, Jr. also did a great job as the unfortunate but still alive Jed.


Raylan: "You worried that I might do something rash?"
The way he said this, the way he smiled? It was really something.

Totally stoned hooker: "You know, I woke up this morning and I thought I had problems. I couldn't pay my rent, I have a sick dog, and I can't find a man to save my life. But you. You're gonna solve all my problems! 'Cause if I just tell you about Dickie Bennett, he's gonna come and he's gonna kill me."
I just wasn't expecting that to come out of her mouth. Nice performance.

Totally stoned hooker: "You head on out, everyone's gonna think you're a two pump chump."
Raylan: "Well, why don't you tell 'em for me that I was the best two pumps of your life, okay?"

Mags: "Dickie, I swear. Your actions jeopardize my plans in any way, I will let you swing for it."
Dickie: "By which I believe you mean, that's a damn good plan you got there, son!"

Raylan: "So what's the plan? Kill Jed, pin Helen's murder on him, Dickie gets off?"
Doyle: "You're joking."
Raylan: "I pat you down, I ain't gonna find a throw down?"
Doyle: "Well, you try to pat me down, I kill you."
Raylan: "It was rhetorical."

Boyd: "We could draw him out."
Raylan: "How would we do that? Take you to the middle of town, tie you to a tree and wait?"
Boyd: "I'm glad to see you found your sense of humor."

Exceptional. Five out of four long black coats,


Programming note: I wrote a review of the season two finale back when it aired. So I'm done my retro Justified reviews!
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. Congratulations, Billie. You managed to get all your Justified reviews done in time for season three. And it goes without saying that you've done a simply fantastic job.

  2. Thanks so much, Mark. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Now here's hoping that they don't decide to move up Breaking Bad a few months as well. :)

  3. Congrats, Billie! I've enjoyed catching up on this show with you.

    The scene in the woods between Raylan and Dickie was really quite something. I was glad Raylan didn't turn his back on everything Helen had done for him to exact some revenge.

    Two moments that really stood out for me were (1) Ava pointedly telling Arlo that Helen made her choices with her eyes open and had no regrets within Boyd's earshot, and (2) Winona's reaction to the headstone for Raylan. A disturbing little insight into the puzzle that is Raylan.

  4. News outlets say that Breaking Bad will return in June or July...So you have lots and lots of time...

  5. BRavo Billie, finished just in time! And thanks for helping me remember all the wodnerfulness of season 2 while waiting around for season 3!

    I remember Helen's murder really hit me hard, particularly how it affected Raylan. I think what surprised me most in this episode was that he didn't kill Dickie! And yeah, Arlo is one mean sob to let Raylan think that!

  6. "When Raylan told a sobbing, begging Dickie all that Helen had done for him and how Helen had saved his life, it brought me to tears." Me, too.

    What an amazing job by Timothy Olyphant. He's always excellent, but he portrayed his grief beautifully. I really thought he was going to kill Dickie, but was grateful that he didn't.

    Another outstanding episode, and an outstanding review, Billie.

  7. That was a beautiful moment of restraint at the end there from Raylan... great stuff


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