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Justified

Posted February 17, 2016 into Telly by John Birmingham

Warning. Spoilers.

No. Seriously. Spoilers!

I finally left Harlan County last night, seeing out the season finale of Justified. I’ll be back. The fable which rebooted the TV western is so dense and layered with meaning, so well crafted in plot and character, that it’s worth a second viewing just as much a good novel is worth a second read.

I’d been concerned the storytelling might fall away as the show passed it’s fourth season, the point at which most long form TV drama seems to peak and then fade, but as The New York Times wrote of the last chapter of Marshal Raylan Givens story, “freed of the distractions of laying the groundwork for future events, the producers of “Justified” put together a focused, intricately plotted season that fully demonstrated the show’s hallmarks: the understated sophistication of its writing and direction, and its soulfulness, an authenticity and direct communication of character and place that you rarely feel in television drama.”

I couldn’t say it better myself, so I won’t try.

There were times when Boyd Crowder, as arch a villain any, including Walter White, teetered toward caricature, but you had to let him take that on credit. It would be hard loving a woman like Ava, who was more than his match intellectually, criminally and in her murderous intention to secure herself from fates. She walked on stage in the first season and straight up killed Boyd's brother, not the last man she would put down. And yet Ava always managed to come off as the victim and men died around her because of their chivalry and their stupidity about it.

Not Raylan though. I loved that great moment when he’d captured Ava, yet again, and before she escapes him, yet again, when she ruefully recollects his ability to withstand her charms. Perhaps because they grew up in Harlan? Raylan was not a man who always thought with his head around a pretty lady, so much so that it seemed to surprise himself on those few occasions when he managed it.

And the villains. What can be said of Harlan County’s towering villains? They were magnificent, every one of them. The poor, doomed bastards. I think the treacherous Wynn Duffy was my favourite. But the last of Raylan’s nemeses, Boon, was probably the most self aware. Of all the men who tried to put him the ground, Boon seemed best to understand the mythical roles that both had to pay. Didn’t help though, did it?

There was much to love about this criminally underrated show. I started to slow down my binge watching at the end because I didn’t want it to finish. But like all cowboys, Raylan eventually had to ride off into the sunset. It says a lot about the producers' and writers' understanding of their hero that they indulged us with such a generous denouement. That final exchange between Raylan and Boyd, especially knowing that Raylan did not get the life he wanted, that was an almost perfect way to close out a story.

21 Responses to ‘Justified’

beeso asserts...

Posted February 18, 2016
I didn't name one of the twins Raylan for nothing. Probably my second favourite bit of tv of all time.

SZF puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2016
Please tell us the other twin is named Bullock...

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BigDogthePirate is gonna tell you...

Posted February 18, 2016
Ankle surgery in April & 4 weeks off work. #bringonthebinge #bingeworthy #justified

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buboe mutters...

Posted February 18, 2016
Mags Bennet and her apple pie.
Hands down my favourite.
Followed closely by her mad son Dickie.

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Surtac mutters...

Posted February 18, 2016

I have just (this last weekend) finished watching the last series of Breaking Bad and am still unwinding from that. But I do have the season 1 dvd of Justified sitting there ready to start (along with s1 of True detectives and Broadchurch s1 as well).


But I'm ashamed to admit I also have all five seasons of The Wire as yet unwatched.

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted February 18, 2016
Oh man I just posted in the wrong thread. Now I feel dumer this Dewie Crow.

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TL mumbles...

Posted February 18, 2016
I watched Justified simply because Timothy Olyphant was so good in Deadwood (if you have not seen that go watch it now). But for me, Walter Goggins (Boyd Crowder) stole the show in Justified.


I think part of the appeal is there's an element of "swamp people schadenfreude" when watching Justified. All those quirky hillbillies are mighty entertaining -- but at the end of the day I think the biggest thrill is that we don't live amongst them...


Great show though...

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted February 24, 2016

4 my money ... ($20.00 ahead with Palace Movie Club) Walter Goggins stole the show in the H8TEFUL EIGHT in glorious 70mm.

It was a little hard not to keep thinking 'bout 'Boyd Crowder' when Walter was retorting to Sammy L J's ruminations on the ruckus that befell them in Q's latest bad boys r us.

Which leads me back to Justified - completed my mission to binge Raylan over the school hols - four weeks in to the new term and I surely do miss him.

Tried to get a little satisfaction with a forced binge of True Detective S2 - took me a week to get over the 2.37am end time ... either it was lack of sleep or lack of story, not sure exactly which.

All three seasons of Deadwood is sitting patiently, waiting for the family to give me 36 hours of uninterrupted TV time .. God bless wireless headphones.

Got The Wire in a remastered letterbox blu-ray boxset - up to ep. 8 - looks and sounds awesome ... don't nobody tells me how it ends.

Loved US House of Cards 3 - but really itching to back binge on newly acquired original House of Cards starring Sir Ian Richardson, so much to watch so little time.

Surely somewhere there's a paying job that offers good money for binge ... I mean they pay lifestyle commentators don't they.


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Barnesm reckons...

Posted February 18, 2016

So may great lines. At times I would hope in real life I'd get a chance to deliver some of them, but for them to work I'd have to be in a situation I'd never want to put my self.


At least I can occasionally use the Walter White "Respect the Chemistry".

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 18, 2016
As far as I am concerned, none of this is Justified.

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Gingernuts swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 18, 2016
Great TV. So many nuanced characters, and great to see Damon Herriman going full hillbilly as Dewie Crow.
However, it did take me a while to get past my first impression when I saw Timothy Olyphant on screen in this role - I thought "Jeez, Cameron Daddo can act".

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Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted February 20, 2016
Anyone been watching Longmire? How do they compare?

Bangar has opinions thus...

Posted February 22, 2016
Different type of show but well worth watching

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Brother PorkChop swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2016
At a loose end whilst visiting our cousins across the pacific, I went and watched Revenant yesterday. Nice film but the preview for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies described as action, romance and horror clearly took my fancy. Who'd a thunk they could do that. So in between jawing with locals about the Huskers I may treat myself to a little PPnZ. And a couple more burgers and local brews at Leadbellys. I do think the States have changed a bit since my last visit maybe 8 or so years ago.

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Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted February 22, 2016
Ok, so today it was Deadpool. Great flick but I now understand the ratings and warnings. Not nanny state BS in this instance. Especially when my 7 year old daughter used the line "oh yeah, I'm touching myself tonight" in the right context but just so wrong. (Got a pb at little As) And she got that from the trailer that popped up on YouTube.

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Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 22, 2016

Started on Justified over the weekend. Only 3 eps in but I'm hooked already.

I'd forgotten how good an actor Goggins could be.

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Lulu has opinions thus...

Posted February 22, 2016
"Warning. Spoilers."

Am I the only one who hears this in River Song's voice?

GhostSwirv is gonna tell you...

Posted February 24, 2016



MIRANDA

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted February 24, 2016


Ooooooooooooooooppps - what a mashup!

I saw the River and Serenity overcame me.

Then I saw the Song and realised I need a Doctor fast!

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AuntyLou asserts...

Posted February 23, 2016
No Sweetie...not the only one.

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Tony has opinions thus...

Posted February 27, 2016
Followed Justified as each season appeared and could barely wait for the next. Walton Goggins stole each scene he was in but what a great parade of villains. What continually delighted me was the erudition of the characters, how they could be utter hillbillies but express themselves so eloquently. Superb writing. The other contemporary cowboy reboot, Longmire, is also well worth watching. Slower but completely absorbing, fortunately Netflix took it over when the cable company gave it the boot wanting to attract a younger audience. Bloody fools. It was one of their highest rating shows. Robert Taylor is wonderful as the grizzled sheriff, and Lou Diamond Phillips plays his stolid but wise best friend.

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