After four seasons, Justified has broken the model. While the fourth season was entertaining, it struck an interesting balance between what came before, watching Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) be a badass, and what the show was meant to be, a serialized drama. There were many disparaging threads this season that not only told an enthralling tale, but was centered around one of the best additions to the show, the Crowe family. Not only was this season a marked departure for the show, cutting Raylan’s screen time, but his absence went unnoticed.
Initially, the Crowe’s introduction echoed of the Bennett’s from season 2, a crime family playing nice that Raylan had history with. They turned out to be more with a dangerous combination of smart and stupid spread amongst them to keep things interesting. Aside from continuously crossing paths with Raylan, they became acquaintances with Boyd Crowder, who was busy trying to get Ava out of prison and kickstart his heroin market. Spinning plates indeed.
Again, the main draw of the season was the Crowe family, with each actor doing an amazing job portraying their characters in wonderful ways. Michael Rapaport was fantastic as Daryl Crowe Jr. Initially I wasn’t impressed, but as the season went on, he became more and more dangerous. The counter-balance to this was his brother Danny (A.J. Buckley). He was a special cross of mean and crazy that I couldn’t wait for Raylan to end. Alicia Witt did a fantastic job as their sister, Wendy, who tried to keep the family together and out of jail, but had just as many problems as the rest of them.
Aside from the Crowe’s, Boyd had a larger presences this year as well. While he tried to keep to himself and out of Raylan’s way, they continually crossed paths at the oddest of times. His actions added into the larger story as the season went on, particularly because of his dealings with the Crowe’s. For me, he was the most entertaining part, easily outshining Raylan. I found myself waiting for the story to return to him, not because other parts were lacking, but because his were so entertaining.
The only weakness, or slowest parts were when we turned to Ava. Seeing what they have planned for her in the future, I understand why she was kept in play, but we didn’t need to check in with her every episode, main cast billing or not. Again, not bad, just the same throughout and boring compared to the rest.
Justified has always been about Raylan and his swagger. Honestly, moments showcasing this were sparse throughout. For me, that wasn’t a negative. While I enjoyed watching Raylan in action, it always bothered me that there wasn’t more. As a result, the show’s always felt like it was spinning it’s gears, particularly in season 3. This not only continued threads from the season 4 that set many other actions in motion, but added so many others that it would have been odd for showrunner Graham Yost to not announce the next season as their last. This is the show Justified was always meant to be. I can’t wait to see how it ends.
Who did you find the most interesting? Notice the lack of Raylan? Commend below!
Danny’s death was a little anticlimactic, but funny.