Tuesday, August 8, 2023

REVIEW: 'Justified: City Primeval' - Raylan, Carolyn and Sweety Reckon With the Past as They Face the Present in 'You Good?'

FX's Justified: City Primeval - Episode 1.05 "You Good?"

Carolyn's past becomes Raylan's present. Mansell puts a plan into action.

"You Good?" was written by Eisa Davis & Chris Provenzano and directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Every person currently entangled in Clement's crime spree faces a divergent path in front of them. All of them are informed by the past and the choices they've made along the way. This isn't the first time they've had to choose between options that would dramatically alter their lives. They can't always run away from those parallels either. Carolyn's life was destroyed by her husband's actions. That relationship has ended. She wants nothing to do with him anymore. And yet, Jamal keeps showing up. He believes he can win her back. Every mistake he made can be forgiven. Carolyn's law practice is in turmoil. She chose to defend heinous clients before this split occurred. She believes in the righteousness of everyone having strong representation in the courtroom. Her own sense of moral justice is strong. She would be a fine addition to the bench. That doesn't seem possible because of what Jamal did. Carolyn has the resources to completely pay off the tax lien. She is willing to bankrupt herself to ensure Jamal is nothing more than a memory. She sees him showboating in pursuit of marking his territory. He has to prove to Raylan that Carolyn is his. She wants him to leave. He doesn't listen. Raylan doesn't either. He too functions in a similar way. He shows his badge to flex his power and influence. His race already does so much heavy lifting in that regard. Jamal can't believe Carolyn would be interested in Raylan. The deputy marshal seemingly stands opposed to everything she believes in. The law enforcement agency he serves in has a despicable history of racism. Raylan prides himself on handling the job better than the local Detroit cops. He sees the corruption that's intrinsic to this place. It has sidelined Bryl's career even though he was leading the investigation into Judge Alvin Guy's murder. Bryl was too caught up in his ego and the belief that he knew what kind of justice was needed. So many law enforcement figures fall into that trap. They wield this incredible power. They abuse it simply because they can. Lives are taken because of the legitimacy given to the badge. Raylan's tactics are unconventional and problematic at times. He gets results. He crosses lines. He is always tempted to compromise his morality. He nearly lost everything in his pursuit of Boyd Crowder. He was ultimately redeemed by ensuring the proper version of justice was issued. His decisions still impacted the lives of others. He determined their fates beyond the scope of what his job requires. He leads with that humanity and understanding. He wants answers from Carolyn. He also wants to explore what this connection can possibly become. His behavior shows that Carolyn isn't moving on to something better. Raylan is simply the latest version of the mess she has lived with and no longer wants around. She has the wisdom to walk away. The temptation is still real to obtain what she wants more than anything else. Clear boundaries have to be set between the personal and professional with Raylan and Carolyn. That's increasingly difficult to do because their emotions frame everything whether they want them to or not.

Raylan wants to be involved in his daughter's life. He is still choosing to remain in Detroit. He couldn't sleep soundly if he left without holding Clement accountable. Clement isn't worried about his well-being. He's not afraid that the Albanians will kill him at some point. He's completely invested in his new con with Sweety. He goes into every blackmail situation planning on getting the most money possible. When he believes Sweety can't deliver, he goes back to increase the intimidation. Clement is very effective at doing so. It frightens Sweety. They have different motivations for wanting this cash. Sweety is hoping Clement lets his guard down enough so he can deliver the fatal blow. He wants to escape this life for good. That's impossible with the terror that hangs over him by Clement. Sweety knows how to play along. He puts on a good face. He's still horrified because Clement is unpredictable. He has witnessed that up close. Sweety was present for that tragedy. He was allowed to escape consequences too. That hasn't emboldened his actions. He simply built a simple yet sustainable life for himself. He found something to love. It's all being disrupted once more. He doesn't trust the criminal justice system to produce a different outcome. He trusts Carolyn completely. She's done with this drama too. She wants to succeed Alvin Guy as a judge. That's her big aspiration. She hopes her stellar work earns the attention of those making the appointment. She judges those who exert their political influence to deceive their way onto the job. Carolyn is now willing to accept whatever needs to be done to assure that outcome. She believes she is the best possible candidate for the job. Of course, she has her biases. She knows how to behave fairly. She knows what is expected of her in this new role. Sweety has the answers to make it happen. She's not in pursuit of money. That has strained her opportunities in the past. Right now, it's about so much more. Everyone is chasing after Alvin Guy's book for different reasons. Money is absolutely transformational. Sandy is already planning on the escape to Aruba. No one is leaving anytime soon. The stakes are still too low to create something new elsewhere. Moreover, Clement can never be trusted to honor his promises. He exerts his control and dominance. Sandy can't fight back. Everyone has a choice though. Raymond Cruz decided to kill the criminal who taunted his career for years. The job couldn't get him. He found a way that helped him sleep peacefully. That action carries consequences that have been absolutely destroyed his life. Raylan followed a different path in the past. Right now, he's plagued by this new criminal invading his life. It's an all-consuming obsession. A different outcome could occur. The specifics are different as is the location. The morality has to prevail in order for Raylan to continue holding himself highly. That may not be an option anymore because it's a new world where he is the old man still trying to hold onto what has always mattered in his career despite it coming at the expense of so much.