Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Justified: The Spoil

"You see anyone pull a gun, step in front of it."

Does Raylan always get into a fight when he's in a bad mood?

He was obviously upset about what happened with Winona and the money and that it might cost him his job. He let Coover push him into a confrontation, and all it got him was cuts and bruises. (Although I noticed he was a lot calmer afterward.) Raylan keeps losing fistfights. He wins gunfights, though, which tend to count for more.

The scene in Mags' store was just fascinating. Before it erupted into violence, Dickie was dancing around pointing a baseball bat, and Coover was carrying a huge, very childish lollipop that contrasted with his air of menace. The best part was Mags hitting Coover with a shovel yelling, "Stop it! stop it!" like he was a wild animal rooting in her garden. I love stuff like this.

We finally got the rundown on the bad blood between the Bennetts and the Givenses, and it even goes back to Prohibition in a Hatfield and McCoy type of way. But the recent stuff was more relevant, since it was Raylan who gave Dickie his limp. And it explained why Dickie is obsessed with baseball bats, especially when he's around Raylan.

And then there was the big meeting in the church pitting Mags against Carol Johnson, with Raylan and Boyd providing occasional commentary. Mags was really something, talking about the slurry and the spoil and the mountaintops. She was so powerful that I actually wanted to believe her. And yet, she is quietly buying up property out from under Black Pike for reasons of her own that must be nefarious, using her scary sons Dickie and Coover as threatening leg breakers with a frightening duffel bag that moved.

(Ava and her handy rifle saved Boyd again. What was "Charlie", the critter in the duffel bag? Maybe I don't want to know.)

Carol Johnson is hard to figure. Does she actually believe in what she does? Maybe she just believes in the money. She certainly never believed she was in real danger; she requested Raylan because she wanted to get into his pants. Raylan either dislikes her, or he's being faithful to Winona, or both. He cheated on Ava, but apparently he spent six years being faithful to Winona.

And yet another shootout, this time at Arlo and Helen's. When Helen was in the crosshairs, I thought that was curtains for her. (There were even actual curtains.) I thought the shooters would be the Bennetts, but no. Arlo's despised tether saved the day. Maybe he should hang on to it. Except that Helen just gave Raylan the $20,000 and told him to get out of town, for his own safety.

So far, Art hasn't mentioned the cage money. But that scene in the batting box where the balls were flying between him and Raylan as they talked seemed, excuse the pun, combative. Raylan knows that Art knows. Art isn't the type to let something like this go.

But I doubt somehow that they're going to move the series to Miami next season.

Bits and pieces:

-- Boyd kept his temper when Doyle's deputy minions arrested him. I was sort of proud of him. He's doing well with his new gun thug job, and he seems a lot happier. More of a challenge than digging coal and better suited to his abilities, I suppose.

-- Boyd and Ava were acting like a couple. I really like them together.

-- Raylan bailed Boyd out of jail.

-- There was a prominent McCain/Palin sign in Mags' store.

-- "Black Pike" is a great name for an evil corporation. I assume it's not a real company name?

-- Rebecca Creskoff is doing a great job as Carol Johnson. There aren't a lot of actresses who could go toe to toe with Margo Martindale and the character she's playing.

-- I actually laughed when Arlo got shot again. Has to be karma.

-- See, I just don't get it. How could Coover break into someone's house and attack them, and then act indignant when they fight back? That goes for Dickie and Raylan and their baseball conflict back in the day, too. For that matter, the female sniper was actually complaining that Raylan broke her arm. She was trying to kill them! Do all violent criminals have a sense of entitlement?


Boyd: "Well now, more than once we've found ourselves on the same side of a fight."
Raylan: "Okay. I'm on assignment by the federal government. You're a hired gun thug for a crooked company. The only thing we're on the same side of is this car."
I could swear Boyd looks mildly offended when Raylan says things like this.

Raylan: "So I come up a third time, and Dickie's first pitch was just Linda Ronstadt. You know, blew by you?"

Carol: "My heart's still pounding. Wanna feel?"
Raylan: "You've had enough fun for today."

Four out of four well-timed firecrackers,

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


  1. Very good episode. I was happy to well and truly get back to the Bennetts/Harlan story. Mags was certainly something to behold at the public meeting, and it was fun to briefly see Boyd in preacher mode again. But I sure hate seeing Raylan hungover and taking a beat down. Especially from Coover. At least he stuck it to Carol and the mining company a bit at the town hall, and he got the best of the lawsuit victim's kids in the shoot out.

    I kept imagining the critter in the duffel bag as an angry badger. Or maybe a ferret, but it seemed too large for that. Either way, I loved the way Ava blew it away with a casual "What the hell?" then *Boom!* I really like strong, defiant Ava.

    Definitely big acting kudos for Rebecca Creskoff. She could come across as just a pretty face, or a sexually aggressive vixen, but she really holds her own in the town hall meeting and seems an equal to Mags.

  2. P.S. You are doing a great job cranking these out, Billie! I have a very hard time getting back into the reviewing swing after the holiday hiatus, so I'm super impressed with your current episode-a-day production rate. It is so much easier to just watch and catch up than it is to write the reviews. Kudos!

  3. Thanks, Jess. A deadline will do it for me every time. Along with the knowledge that going back after season three to review these episodes would be a whole lot harder.

  4. I'll second what Jess said. You're doing a fantastic job with these reviews, Billie.

  5. Loved the episode. Things are definitely starting to heat up in Harlan county.

    Once again another great show I have discovered and come to love because of your reviews Billie. Great job as always. Glad to see you have taken on Breaking Bad as well. AMC and FX have some great shows lately.

  6. Thanks, Mark. And thanks, Miguel. I'm enjoying doing these Justified reviews more than I thought I would. I'm glad I took it on.

  7. Hi Billie- I am new to posting but been following your reviews of many of my Dave shows since I saw your reviews for True Blood this season.
    I love your insight and believe it makes the shows richer for the viewers/readers.
    I could not help draw a parallel between Carol and Raylan. Both are extremely passionate about their work to the point of obsessive, and both are fearless. I think Raylan was tempted by Carol, but perhaps saw that he could not (would not) have a life like her and he did have people he cared for that he wanted to protect ( even his dad, but especially Winona and Helen)
    Keep up the great writing- I look forward to it after watching my shows!!

  8. Thanks so much, Robyn. You're probably right about Raylan and Carol. "Dave show"?

  9. *smacks forehead* Of course. But you know, I really like "Dave shows." It's like code. :)

  10. Warning, warning. Justified and other pulse-pounders are expected to reach Code Dave this February as the nation is hit by a high-pressure sweeps.

  11. damn that auto correct....
    or maybe because I am Australian and we do speak and spell a strange language.
    Although I do like a code Dave rating

  12. Great episode! I really like hungover, snarky Raylan. He makes me laugh. The conversation with Boyd that you quote had me in stitches. I watched it three times.

    I've commented before on Raylan's inability to respect authority figures -- and here we go again. An obviously pissed off Art tells him to "keep [his] coal-miner-loving mouth shut." But for some reason, Raylan can't. He has to comment at the town meeting -- against the woman he is protecting, no less. It's almost pathological.

    On the other hand, this is the second time that Raylan has had the stuffing kicked out of him when he's upset about where he stands with Art. The first time was when Art forced him to take a week off; this time it's because Raylan knows that Art knows about the money. Is there part of Raylan that thinks he deserves it?

  13. "He cheated on Ava, but apparently he spent six years being faithful to Winona."

    Funny, so many people say that but I never saw it that way. I always saw their scene in Veterans where she brings him breakfast as a breakup scene - she even talks about their relationship, "what we had," in the past tense. It seemed like it had officially ended by that point, so I never saw it as Raylan cheating on her.

    1. People say that because Ava herself said that Raylan cheated on her. It's all about perception. She saw them as a whole more serious than they were. Raylan didn't but he knew he had hurt her when she tells him that she saw Winona at his hotel room (Olyphant's perfect "oh shit" is very telling). I don't think it's cheating but it's understandable that Ava was a lot more invested and into Raylan than vice versa. The moment Winona makes herself available to Raylan, he isn't thinking about anyone else. He finally gets his ex-wife back and that's all he wanted.

  14. "Raylan either dislikes her, or he's being faithful to Winona, or both. He cheated on Ava, but apparently he spent six years being faithful to Winona"

    I think it's fairly obvious that he was being faithful to Winona (though I agree it's probably both because he didn't really seem like he found Carol attractive at all). I like that the show never wrote Raylan as a cheater. He was always very faithful to Winona and never really tempted by anyone. He loves women and loves to get laid, but he seems very content with monogamy as long as it's with Winona (he wasn't ever in a relationship with anyone else as far as we know, all his other romance subplots were flings).


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.