Abby Miller

Justified Season 4

On the whole, season four of Justified was pretty spectacular. With a few exceptions, almost every episode was filled with perfect writing, skillful, action-packed direction, some of the greatest acting performances on television, and really interesting character arcs. We also said goodbye to one of the show’s greatest assets, Raymond J. Barry as Arlo Givens in one of Justified’s greatest show openers ever, a vicious prison shanking. While Arlo’s passing was a loss to the show, we all made it through, and have one helluva episode to remember him by. Though most of this season did involve the marshallin’ stiffy-inducing search for fugitive Drew Thompson, who was Arlo’s buddy in Vietnam, and who brought cocaine to Harlan County. Drew, of course, turned out to be the kindly old Sheriff Shelby (Jim Beaver), who rescued dumb-but-sweet prostitute Ellen May (Abby Miller) from the clutches of Boyd and Ava, since she witnessed Ava kill Delroy… Now that Raylan officially brought in Drew/Shelby and skirted the Detroit mob, this season’s central “mystery,” now what? With most of the season’s plot wrapped up last week, this week’s finale did not have that much to do. Raylan had to tie up some loose ends with the Detroit mob, and Boyd had to get that whole Delroy thing squared away. The episode, entitled “Ghosts,”directed by Bill Johnson and written by Fred Golan and Benjamin Cavell, was certainly a very good one, but Justified could have done just a bit better. There were some unanswered questions left over […]

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Justified Season 4

While Justified never ceased being one of the best shows on television, it entered into a third season slump. After a near-perfect second season, featuring one of the greatest TV villains, Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), it couldn’t help but underwhelm in its junior year, replacing her with a slew of uninteresting baddies. Season four, however, is proof positive that a show can redeem itself. It has remained Harlan-centric villain-wise, with the exception of Mike O’Malley’s Detroit mobster Nicky Augustine, who is a vast improvement over who he replaced, Adam Arkin. No offense, Arkin… but O’Malley is killing it. Villains aside, the reasons why Justified continues to triumph this season is because of the consistently amazing writing and direction. The dialogue is nearly poetry, with Boyd turning phrases that sound as if they come out of Shakespeare’s notebook – Nicky even tells him this week, “I’m going to need Google Translate on my phone if I’m going to keep talking to you.” This week’s episode, “Peace of Mind,” co-written by Taylor Elmore and Leonard Chang and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton, is no exception. While perhaps less action-packed than last week, it features snappy dialogue, macho encounters, and a fluidity in the transport of people and places as the law and the criminals both chase after Ellen May (an excellent Abby Miller) who is also on the move – from Noble’s Holler, to her former pimp’s house, to the church, to Lexington.

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Justified Season 4

So, I guess Justified thought we were in need of some testosterone this week? Sure, why not. The title of this week’s installment is “This Bird is Flown,” and the meaning there is fairly obvious – in addition to the rooster component, Lindsey “flew” off with Raylan’s secret money that he procured from doing his off-the-books marshallin’. Though other than lamenting that he thought Lindsey “liked” him, Raylan takes the situation like the man that he is, procuring a new giant gun (ah, the phallic symbolism!) and brawling in the dirt with Randall, mano-a-mano. Sure, this episode mainly existed to tie up the Raylan/Lindsey/Randall storyline and didn’t cover too much ground in terms of the season as a whole, but it was a helluva fun watch and gave us a much needed break from hearing the names “Waldo Truth” or “Drew Thompson.” Or the term “marshallin’ stiffy.” Though Art and Tim were again sorely missed… it looks like they can’t coexist in the same episode as Rachel? Nevertheless, we also were treated to an interesting thread with Boyd and Ava deciding to off Ellen May, which paid off nicely with ending in an unexpected way. So while somewhat unspectacular, this episode was well-paced and oozing with masculinity… and obviously, Raylan, no woman doesn’t like you best.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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