Season 4 of Justified left many of its characters in new positions of power and submission. Boyd finds himself a bittersweet drug kingpin for Detroit. Raylan is a father now (albeit an absent one). And Dewey Crowe, hell, at least he has his kidneys. The season premiere sets up a bunch of story lines involving these new positions that will most likely be intertwining further on, which is something the show has always pulled off nicely. There was a grim tone to the premiere (to match its impressive body count), but the show’s familiar sharp wit and dark humor were as strong as ever to balance the bleakness. More of my look at “A Murder of Crowes” after the jump.
Season 5 kicks off with Raylan on the stand, drolly owning up to his abuse of Dewey Crowe. Hearing a lawyer read through the long list of ways Raylan has dealt with Dewey over the years, you really have to wonder how he still has a badge. Judge Reardon orders in favor of Dewey’s lawsuit, which awards him $300K. Damon Herriman‘s slow-motion reaction shot after hearing the verdict was priceless. This two-bit white supremacist may never have to sling oxy again.
Unfortunately for Raylan, his Crowe-induced headache is just getting started. Down in Florida, Dewey’s cousin Dilly shoots a corrupt member of the Coast Guard they were dealing sugar to. At first I thought they were referencing cocaine (“booger sugar”), but it turns out they were talking about actual sugar that they sold to second tier candy companies. Sounds like a bizarre racket, but lucrative enough to shed blood over.
Dewey’s always been a secondary character, so it’s a nice surprise that his extended family will be one of the season’s meaty focuses. As Raylan says, he figured the Crowes would all be “locked up or dead by now.” With the exception of Dilly, Dewey’s cousins appear to be the brains of the family. Wendy Crowe is a paralegal and Daryl Crowe is something like the Boyd Crowder of the Everglades. I already like Daryl a lot. He’s thoughtful and clever – unlike any of the other male Crowes we’ve met. His two exchanges with Raylan were fantastic. I look forward to them sharing more scenes this season.
The colorful rogue’s gallery of Justified is already pretty damn deep, so it’s impressive how the writers can keep introducing villain and villain and have them all be highly engaging. For example, even if we never see the alligator poaching Haitian again, he’s not treated like a throwaway role, y’know? Same with Sutter. For the few minutes they’re on screen, they’re fully fleshed out characters. These small characterizations make a huge difference.
Boyd was left with nothing after season 4 except a huge opportunity as the area drug kingpin of Kentucky for the Dixie Mafia. He won’t be able to enjoy his new position, however, until Ava is at his side again. But before he can work on releasing her (by any means necessary), he has to take care of business in Detroit. His adventure with Wynn took some dark turns. The entire scene with “chainsaw guy” was super dark, tonally and visually. Same with the Paxton Funeral Home scene. Darkness now seems to follow Boyd around now, like those cartoons where a rain cloud hovers over just one person. Now that he nearly beat that old prick Lee Paxton to death, he’s going to have to explore other options to bail out his beloved.
Raylan chose not to visit Winona and his daughter while on assignment in Florida. Maybe he doesn’t feel ready yet to be a father, maybe he’s afraid the Givens circle of violence will envelop her too. Whatever the reason, it’ll be interesting to see how Graham Yost and the other writers bring him into the child’s life.
This episode set up the stories the show will be delving into this season, with the apprehension of Elvis Machado delivering some standalone gratification. Justified seasons typically start in this manner, and “A Murder of Crowes” was another ass-kicking beginning.
• Dave Foley was surprisingly imposing, huh? I like the casting of two Canadian comedians (Foley and Will Sasso) as Canadian criminals.
• Raylan mentions Tonton Macoute (or Uncle Gunnysack), which is a Haitian bogeyman.
• I don’t think we’ve seen Wade Messer since season 3′s “Harlan Roulette,” when he ran off to call 911 after Fogle was shot. Seems he’s been in prison all this time and is now working at Audrey’s. He’s a whole lot more skittish now, especially around Raylan, who he once helped hang upside down from a tree.
• Convicted felon Dewey is dumb enough to carry around a pistol with his name engraved on it. I’m sure he’ll make an exemplary brothel manager.
• A room full of sex dolls…Detroit knows how to party.
• The Coopertown Restaurant Raylan and Sutter meet Daryl at is a real restaurant in Coopertown, FL that also offers airpboat tours of the Everglades. Judging from the pictures I saw online, they filmed inside the actual location.
• The Crowe who stabbed Dilly had “25:17″ crudely tattooed on his chest, which refers to Ezekiel 25:17, the Bible verse Jules Winnfield bastardized in Pulp Fiction.
• Most Badass Moment: Boyd breaking Picker’s nose with the briefcase and Wynn deftly disarming the goon. Nice to see Wynn kick some ass.
• Best Line: Boyd had a few great ones this episode: “I think he bumped his head.” “I’ve been to Iraq, it’s a lot like Detroit only you have better music.” “Now pick up my goddamn money.”
• Body Count: 9