Tuesday, July 18, 2023

REVIEW: 'Justified: City Primeval' - Raylan Makes Quick Decisions About Clement and Sandy's Criminality in 'The Oklahoma Wildman'

FX's Justified: City Primeval - Episode 1.02 "The Oklahoma Wildman"

Raylan hunts a killer. Carolyn takes on a former client. Willa makes a new friend.

"The Oklahoma Wildman" was written by Dave Andron & Michael Dinner and directed by Michael Dinner

Clement has never been convicted despite numerous criminal charges filed against him. He always escapes justice because he has an incredibly skilled defense attorney. Sweety brought Clement and Carolyn together. He operated under duress because Clement has always been a dangerous man. Any time in jail could require him to share every detail about every crime he committed and those who conspired alongside him. Clement and Sweety first got into business together by stealing from a local weed dealer. That provides some symmetry between this project and the original series. The sixth and final season of Justified focused on the potential legalization of marijuana in Kentucky and the fight for who owned Harlan County when that possible prosperity arrived. A lot has changed in the world since then. Marijuana has been approved for recreational use in so many states. It's still complicated on a federal level. Far too many people are still incarcerated for simple possession. However, the system has moved towards legalization overall. That makes this a somewhat silly target for Clement to pursue repeatedly. He justifies it by saying it's the one way he can count on the people he steals from having physical money. He hasn't adapted to a changing world where so much has become digitized. That makes it harder for him to pull off these criminal scams. That's the path he wishes to pursue though. He is a sociopath who forces these confrontations with law enforcement. He operates under the belief that he is untouchable. Carolyn is simply too good in the courtroom. The criminal justice system is too corrupt to get out of its own way. Defending Clement isn't Carolyn's ideal. This is simply her job. It's what she has to do. She and Raylan operate on opposite sides of the law. They are meant to hold each other accountable. That rarely happens. The connection is still palpable. They can disagree without wishing ill will towards the other. Raylan needs to solve Judge Alvin Guy's murder as quickly as possible in order to salvage the remainder of the summer with Willa. The initial evidence points to Clement. And yet, it isn't neatly resolved within a few hours like Raylan always wants. He is pulled in deeper. He must devote all his time and attention to this investigation. That leaves Willa free to roam the city. It also leaves her vulnerable to Clement's influence. He makes his presence known. He invades Raylan's personal life. Willa is his only connection in this city. It's still incredibly personal. He feels the need to protect his daughter. It simply runs the risk of jeopardizing his investigation. All it takes is one misstep for Carolyn to prove the Deputy U.S. Marshal has a grudge against her client. That's the responsible action for her to take even though she lives in fear of Clement as well. Raylan checks on her but the two simply don't have a strong enough relationship yet to be open and honest with one another.

Raylan has no history with Clement. He needs to learn everything through his criminal file. It's an impersonal assessment of the events currently happening. However, everyone else has a deep connection in this city. They have history with each other. Wendell was the first officer through the door during one of Clement's prior arrests. He recognizes Sandy's name. It takes a beat because of all the names he covers over the course of this job. These criminals are still memorable. They aren't fooling anyone. Raylan and Wendell suspect Sandy is hiding someone in her apartment. They are trying to get a good read on her. She could be in over her head with no way out. Or she could be enjoying the chaos that Clement has invited into her life for years now. She stays for a reason. She also has a legitimate job at a casino. Sure, she's frustrated by her boss. She's annoyed by how frequently these officers invade her life. She copes by smoking weed. That's the way she handles life. Meanwhile, Clement is incredibly controlling and demanding. He walks around with such blatant arrogance. That has developed over a lifetime of never being held accountable for his actions. He isn't some criminal mastermind. In fact, he delights in making these public confrontations with the individuals pursuing him. That makes it more personal. This isn't the first time Raylan has had to threaten someone with the promise of a quickdraw shooting. It forces Willa to see exactly how her father behaves on the job. That is jarring. Raylan is just trying to be a good dad. He wants to protect her even though she is a rebellious teenager. He wants to keep her safe. That may be impossible given the threat he currently faces. He is the latest trapped in this doom loop created by Clement. Carolyn and Sweety know how that feels all too well. That brings them together for a moment. However, it doesn't ensure cooperation to get a guilty criminal off the streets for good. Clement has committed crimes throughout the country. He earned his moniker as the "Oklahoma Wildman" in a completely different jurisdiction altogether. And yet, his deepest ties lie in Detroit. Sweety and Carolyn have been burned in the past. Clement isn't the sole reason for their misfortunes. He is the presence that still lingers in the most immediate and dangerous way. Their lives are prevented from moving on. Sweety is forced to deal with owning the bar that has become a hiding place for the gun Clement uses to commit murders. Meanwhile, Carolyn is required to represent her client to the best of her abilities. They carry those burdens themselves. They have each other. That hasn't been enough to escape from this dire situation. So instead, Clement continues to operate freely. Raylan is personally incensed. That motivates him to get this case right even as it disrupts what he hoped would be filling his time. The job remains that important to him. Other priorities are apparent but haven't changed that core impulse within him.