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Justified: Hole in the Wall

"No one ever said running a criminal enterprise was gonna be this hard."

Why do I love Justified? Complex characters, outstanding storytelling, and subtle humor. Season four premiere? Check, check, and check.

Timothy Olyphant was in fine Raylan form. The gun battles on this show are memorable, and I loved Raylan shooting out Jody's air bag, as well as the confrontation with multiple criminal idiots in the junkyard. (Moonlighting from the Marshal Service and not even trying hard to conceal it is bound to come back and bite him, though; I'm sure Art will find out.) I have to give Raylan points for his determination to be a good provider to Winona's baby (who hasn't arrived yet, so it can't be that long after third season finale). Raylan has probably decided to be an exceptional father if only to show up how incredibly awful Arlo was. That visit to the prison dripped with animosity on both sides.

Arlo appears to be right in the middle of a new plotline that involved a bizarre parachute death in 1983 and a mysterious bag hidden in the wall of his house. If we're going to get more flashbacks to the 1980s, could we please see bad, bad Arlo in his prime? Why is knowledge of that bag important enough to make Arlo kill that poor trustee? There's no way they won't know Arlo did it, too.

Meanwhile back in Harlan, Boyd's oxy business is doing poorly, what with the competition for souls at the revival tent. Boyd has become so upfront about being a criminal now that he just recruited his own too efficient hit man. ("Oops.") I know it wasn't really funny, but Colton Rhodes killing the unfortunate Hiram was as funny as Ellen May shooting the john in the bear suit. No, strike that, not quite, because Ellen May shooting the john in the bear suit was awesome.

Ellen May may be ready to give up her life as a soiled dove by turning to the very preacher who is having a deleterious effect on Boyd's business. I hope that means that Ellen May is getting her own plot line this season. I'm also intrigued by Preacher Billy; loved the snake. I expect at some point, hopefully soon, Boyd and Preacher Billy will have a Biblical duel of words before it comes to blows.

And speaking of intriguing characters, I loved Constable Bob Sweeney (Patton Oswalt). I loved his earnest professionalism in the face of an outright insulting job description and pay scale. I loved his car with the do-it-yourself police lights. I loved that Raylan turned to him for help, and Bob actually helped. For the most part, anyway; Raylan did get his car back. I'm willing to bet that at some point, we're going to see Constable Bob do that knife trick in a car.

So this episode just flew by. Lots of interesting set up, and several laugh out loud moments, mostly involving deadly violence. Honestly, violence usually doesn't make me laugh. Justified is sort of special that way.

Bits and pieces:

-- The credits were the same, but Natalie Zea is no longer in the cast because she's in The Following, which I don't plan to follow. I bet we get a guest appearance at some point.

-- Great title, because there was literally a "Hole in the Wall". It's probably also a reference to the famous outlaw hideout.

-- Why is Boyd hiding money from Ava? It was an interesting parallel to Raylan hiding money from his landlady slash love interest, Lindsey, and Arlo's stash in the wall. And speaking of love interests, are we going to see Sharon the macadamia nut super hot bondswoman again?

-- Waldo Truth. What a great name.

-- The parachute incident took place on January 21, 1983. For what it's worth. What exactly was that white powder?

-- Duplicitous cousin Johnny is walking with a cane!

-- Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard with a lot of fuzz; I actually didn't recognize him) is from Bel Air, Maryland, the home of John Wilkes Boothe. And he shot an enemy in the bicep. You don't think of someone getting shot in the bicep.

-- Where's Jim Beaver? I want Jim Beaver.


(I completely missed the quote about macadamias being the most overrated of the nuts. Anyone get it?)

Raylan: "You ever hear the saying: you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole; you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole?"

Bob: "If I caught him, I would've opened up a Costco-sized can of whupass on him."

Raylan: (to Arlo) "Kind of hoping it's a girl. End the family line right here."
No, he's not bitter.

Boyd: (to Colton after he killed Hiram) "Well, I guess I have to be more careful with my words."
I couldn't help laughing.

It's hard to give an opener four out of four Costco-sized cans of whupass because it's there to lay the groundwork for later terrificness. So let's say three out of four cans of whup ass,

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


  1. Great review, Billie!

    "...several laugh out loud moments, mostly involving deadly violence. Honestly, violence usually doesn't make me laugh. Justified is sort of special that way."

    I laugh more at this show than any comedy I watch.

  2. Oh, Justified. When it premiered, I thought it'd be only a vehicle to find an audience for Timothy Olyphant's macho persona; just some shootouts and one-liners. But it turned out to be so much more!

    (Likewise, I found this site looking for LOST reviews. And it turned out to be much more than that as well. That was early 2008, right after the 4th season premiere. I'll have been a reader/commenter for 5 years soon!)

    I liked the episode more in a "it's good to be back" sort of way. Justified seasons tend to build up well, starting slow. I trust them to wow me again.

    What intrigued me more than the fact that Arlo wants to keep the secret well hidden is how those kids learned about it in the first place.

    And, like you, I can't wait to see a verbal confrontation between Boyd and the preacher!

    As a Tarantino fan, I find violence often funny if it's done in an unusual way. I'm twisted and have a very dark sense of humor.

    Finally, the new site has a link for "Watch this episode or the entire season now". Don't play with our hearts, please!

  3. Hey, Gus -- I thought Arlo hired the two kids to get the bag out of his wall while they were pretending to wire strip. And I just realized I didn't even mention them in the review, along with the girl flashing her, um, at Raylan. Too much went on in this episode.

    The link should work. No access to Amazon where you are?

  4. The link works for me. Gus, it might be a regional thing: the link is to the Amazon page for buying and streaming individual episodes.

  5. What a wonderful start to the season. The dark humor in this show is so very well done. I do find myself laughing at the most inappropriate times -- like a guy getting shot, but what was with that bear suit? Hilarious.

    The assholes quote is one of the best things I have heard in quite some time. I actually paused the show and put that quote on Facebook. It's had a lot of positive response from my friends who are equally as odd as I.

    Loved your point about the men hiding money from the women. Not sure yet about Raylan's new squeeze, but Ava will not be happy when (not if, I'm sure) she discovers it.

  6. Oh, the link works fine. But I wich I could watch the entire season now.

  7. Great start to the season, but am I the only one having trouble taking Boyd seriously after Walton Goggins' Sons of Anarchy cameo?

  8. I'm so very glad Justified is back! This premiere made me so happy, and your review captured all the reasons why. Great existing characters, great new characters, lots and lots of humor, and a nice undercurrent of pathos. Loved that scene between Arlo and Raylan at the prison!


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