Taking the momentum from season 2, Justified continues the adventures of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens and his swagger. The third season adds new threats to Harlan County with Robert Quarles, a mafia man from Detroit. Succeeding Mags Bennett as the local threat is Ellstin Limehouse, a butcher and banker of sorts for the local criminals. And of course there’s Boyd Crowder adding a bit of mischief in his self serving way. Is this another sold season or does it peter out by the end. Spoiler, look at the article subtitle.
The third season picks up with Raylan having been shot, then skips weeks until he’s healed. From there we see him practicing his quickdraw, something that’s been lost since his injuries. I liked this aspect, taking away his superpower as it were. What does a man do with his talent striped away? It was reminiscent of Roland Deschain in the Dark Tower. Only, it was dropped almost immediately, begging the question, why bother at all? Quickly though, the show established the two new forces in Harlan County, Detroit suit Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) and Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson – Bubba!). Having seen McDonough previously, briefly on Terriers, I was excited to see what sort of menace he would bring in Raylan’s life.
Raylan had plenty of badass moments and lines throughout the season. Between throwing a bullet at Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), telling him the next one will be moving faster, or shooting his gun in the ceiling of a bar when threatened by Quarles, Raylan proves he’s still the man. Boyd had his dealings that directly and indirectly impacted the other dealings going on in Harlan. Raylan’s father, Arlo, and his on setting dementia seemed a little out of place. It’s understandable that he’d loose a bit of himself with Helen gone, but his downward spiral seemed a bit sudden towards the end.
While I could easily recount the many awesome moments this season, I had one prevailing thought, that was it? The problem lies with Quarles. His state by the end of the season, broken, desperate, and on the run dictated the ending of the season. This last episode felt like it was wrapping up loose ends rather than giving a bombastic ending, or even a gratifying one. The final episode withered and died much like Quarles himself.
With the embarrassment of riches currently on television, I guess I’ve come to expect more. With shows like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and even Spartacus training me to look deeper, I can’t help but be let down. Justified feigns complexity, but is just an excuse to string a series of Raylan’s badass moments together. Honestly, I’m good with that. I just wish the show would stop pretending to be something more than it is.
Feel let down by the end? Think I’m being to harsh? Comment below!