Tuesday, February 4, 2014

REVIEW: 'Justified' - The Mob Descends Upon Kentucky as Art Has Quite the Day on the Job in 'Shot All to Hell'

FX's Justified - Episode 5.05 Shot All to Hell

Raylan's secrets are at stake when a mob revenge plot descends upon Kentucky, and Boyd's recent successes are tempered by a crushing defeat.

Art is heading into one hell of a retirement. He aided with the apprehension of Drew Thompson last season. Now, just eight months left until he exits, he captures Theo Tonin. "Shot All to Hell" really is Nick Searcy's hour to shine and it's just wonderful to watch. That diner scene with Wynn Duffy, Picker and Marcos was just amazing from top to bottom. From his initial confrontation outside with Marcos, to the playful banter with Wynn, Mike and Picker and his attempt at Raylan Givens-style gunslinging. This season he has been on the search for the truth about what happened the night Nicky Augustine died. That journey leads him to all these destinations tonight. But it's actually in the place where we always see Art, that he finally gets the truth. Art, Raylan and Vasquez are celebrating a great days work. Vasquez says Barkley was the Federal officer on the tarmac that night. But Raylan and Art share a glance that's all too telling of the real truth. The episode ends with Raylan saying it wasn't Berkley in confidence to Art. It's a very powerful ending to a great episode of Justified - even though I'm left questioning how does Raylan think Art will respond to this news.

Elsewhere this season, a lot of time has been spent on Boyd's attempts to free Ava from prison. He's been manipulating Lee Paxton, Mara Paxton and Nick Mooney. His love for her has been driving his actions this season. His business ventures have also been crumbling but getting her out has always been his main focus this year. And everything seems to be coming up all good for him this week. All the various pieces that have been percolating all truly meshed together in grand fashion tonight. He gets to ruin Lee's reputation with the multitude of murdered bodies he has followed by swiftly killing Lee so he can't change the narrative of this story. He then takes out Mooney with the help of his terminally ill mining friend. On top of that, he organizes Mooney's death to occur in front of Mara to intimidate her into keeping quiet without also getting the money he promised - but doesn't really have. It's odd that he would let her life considering she's a really big wild-card - but overall this narrative closure just felt very satisfying.

But it's ultimately what's been happening inside the prison that keeps Ava imprisoned and sent to the State penitentiary. We know very little about what motivates Danny Strong's prison guard or why her cellmate would turn on her like this. If you're gonna shank yourself, you better have a good reason. The show purposefully hasn't spent a lot of time in that universe - which just makes the reveal in "Shot All to Hell" that much more effective. Boyd literally has no control over what's happened to her. He has control of everything outside of the prison but, as much as he tries, he can't control what goes on inside.

Additionally, all the hard work that Raylan did to get Kendal out of the care of the Crowe family is easily undone when sister Wendy comes to town. He gets released into her custody because she can give him a life down in Miami. That doesn't happen. But it's enough so that Allison can't do anything to stop it from happening. But there's a very interesting dichotomy that takes place during Kendal's handful of scenes. While at Social Services, he's rude and very much like the rest of his family - demanding change and then insulting their coffee. But the government also gave him a new and nice shirt. It's a small detail but one that he instantly gets mocked by once he returns to Audrey's and his family. Danny is the most despicable of the Crowe family at this point. Darryl at least can think things through and plan things out. Danny doesn't like being told what to do and will hurt anyone who simply upsets him. He boasts about being able to beat lawmen who have guns on them. And his temper causes him to shot and kill Edi Gathegi's Jean Baptiste. He does all of that right in front of a horrified Kendal - damaging the young kid's mind even more. And he notices just how bad things are especially once Danny's telling him to keep quiet about it. He's trapped in a horrible life without anything to do. Darryl is adamant about keeping this family together. That is his core motivation for everything he does. But Wendy and now probably Kendal are seeing just how bad things get when they're together.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Shot All to Hell" was written by Chris Provenzano and directed by Adam Arkin.
  • Arkin did a fantastic job with the directing of this episode - again I bring up the diner scene which was just amazing. It's also always great seeing him onscreen too - even though he had no lines.
  • Still no clue what Alicia Witt is trying to go for in terms of her weird accent here.
  • Boyd and Darryl meet for the first time - which is fun as we literally get to watch as Boyd pulls the gun on his unsuspecting drinking pal.
  • And Dewey talks to his prostitute friends. It's an interesting monologue for him - as he's slowly realizing just how doomed he is as long as his Florida cousins remain in town.
  • I'm really curious about what Wendy and Darryl were referring to when they were talking about the old way.
  • Boyd negotiates a deal with Hot Rod to start things up together in the Mexican drug trade. Too bad, Johnny too had a plan.
  • Art to Mike: "I know that you're his hair dresser."
  • Art: "I'm gonna give you 10 seconds to leave otherwise I'm gonna shot ya." Wynn: "FYI, that's kinda a thing with these Marshals."
  • Darryl: "Dang, that was cool as ice." Boyd: "I'm not gonna take your complaint after taking you're insult."
  • Art: "Holy lord, that gun was bad. Did you see that thing?" Raylan: "Oh no, I must have missed it."