Justified Recap – Episode 12: Getting Back in the Groove?

by Cheryl Collins
Justified E12

Raylan finally has a sense of purpose again, and so — maybe — does Justified.

As we head into the final episode of this series’ penultimate season, we at last get what we’ve been waiting for: Raylan and Boyd teaming up to get rid of Darryl Crowe. It’s taken a while — through many weak story lines, much lousy writing and uninspired direction, and a number of dead-end characters — to get here.

Raylan was wearing his hat, so we can guess he’s ready to kick some ass as he seeks the guy who shot Art, the “only man he ever cared about,” after he’s drifted aimlessly through much of the season in his own moral purgatory.

Maybe we just needed to get Wynn Duffy back into his RV for the world to begin to kind of feel right again.

In the last episode, it was Daryl Crowe walking into the lion’s den of the marshal’s office looking to make a deal — and offering up the 12-year-old Randall as a sacrifice. This week it was Boyd making the same trek, looking to help get rid of Crowe in exchange for a “clean slate.” Boyd never mentions Ava’s fate as part of the deal, in effect sacrificing her, too (or so it seems).

Raylan tries to nail Crowe by playing hardball, threatening to make life harder for Ava if she doesn’t help, and risking a life sentence for Kendall in a game of chicken with Darryl and Wendy, as well. This all made me hate Raylan a bit.

Meanwhile, back in the state pen — yes, this story line never ends — Ava finds herself unwittingly at the top of the food chain after she got the best of Judith, and the white supremacists want to knock her off that perch. They go after Penny — the thin young women with perfect skin and fabulous hair, which is very typical of female prisoners — and shank her in the bathroom. Ava then reaches out to Raylan, in desperation and fearing for her life, but it turns out he is just another guy making empty promises to get what he wants; by this time, Boyd has already agreed to cooperate, without her, and he has nothing to offer. She is now on her own, and it is life or death.

Raylan had told Boyd “you are who you are,” an echo of a line used against him earlier this season: a reminder that he can’t escape his own character. Now we will find out who Ava is, as will Boyd.

(As an aside: this shows seems to be obsessing on bathrooms and bathroom functions of late. “Mind if I take a shit?” call out Dewey to the old woman, who then aims her shotgun at him. None of it is funny or interesting or even real sounding. Just crudity for crudity’s sake.)

Wendy Crowe is managing the guilt of her failures as a parent and her misplaced loyalty to Darryl with pills and beer. Her pre-teen son Kendall too has been left to his own devices while locked away, betrayed and seemingly forgotten by the folks who are supposed to protect him.

And Dewey. He returns to Audrey’s in search of money or drugs with a plan to hit the road and find his “dream,” and storms into Boyd’s meet with Darryl, guns raised high. (This was after he showed up to find that his two favorite whores had given away his prized “family heirlooms” and then committed the ultimate act of betrayal: given them to a buff black guy. Dewey bests him, pretty unrealistically. Lesson: don’t get in between a guy with a “Heil Hitler” tattoo and his gator-tooth necklace.) Dewey then admits to killing Messer on tape. Oops! Dewey’s story line ends with a whimper.

Just as the Crowe family is disintegrating, so is Boyd’s “family”: his “woman” has left him, and his “son” Jimmy betrayed him with a gun held to the back of his head by the drug cartel guys. Hey, is that camera still on at the barn where the dope is?

As everyone seemingly agrees, this show works best when there is a lot more interaction between Boyd and Raylan (which we’ve had little of this season) as well as more face time with Rachel and Tim — and a bit of Wynn and his RV on the side. And we got all of that this time. It feels a bit too little, too late, but I’ll take it.


This episode is called “Starvation.” Last week’s episode was “The Toll.” I’m still looking for suggestions on what the significance of these titles is.

Has anyone else noticed that the state pen seems now void of black prisoners? The black-white tension that was so interesting and ripe for interesting subplots was perhaps more than Justified could bear.

Wynn Duffy seems to get pretty up close and personal with Boyd on that couch in the RV. What was that about?

Did everyone catch the “American Hustle” reference? (You know, the “science oven.”) Weird in that I just happened to watch that flick this week, and did not catch the ref the first time I watched the show.

Use of the word “pussy”: 0.

Comments (3)

Wynn Duffy’s RV has been named “The Wynnebago” by fans. I do enjoy his sexual creepiness towards men. He has previously threatened to violently rape Raylan after being accused of not being a natural blonde, so there is some psychosexual thing going on there. I think he might use it as a negotiating technique, to unsettle the opposition, in the same way a straight man would undermine a woman by calling her “sweetheart” or “little lady” and being overtly sexual towards her. This did not work on Quarles, however, as his homocreepiness trumped Wynn’s by quite a large margin. Remember Wynn’s face when Quarles told the story of how his father raped him and pimped him out as a child? That was the first time Wynn was visibly shaken.

I did not catch the American Hustle reference, but you seem to have a knack for catching stuff like that. (Excellent movie BTW.)

Agree with the crudity thing. I assume that people talk like that IRL, and is *is* realistic, but there are a lot of things people do IRL that isn’t regarded as interesting television. I envision an entire episode where you see EVERY character on the toilet. I mean, sometimes the phone or doorbell rings while you’re on the toilet, right?
Come to think of it, I DO want this to happen, as it would be fun to see every character deal with it in their own way.
“Ah do appreciate your call, Raylan, but seeing as I am in the middle of evacuatin’ mah bowels, perhaps we can postpone this conversation ’til ah am no longer in a state of fecal urgency?”
“Marshal, you have caught me with my pants down in the most literal sense. I am currently in the boys’ room of my mobile office. Now, either you join me in here, or you keep your pants on – figuratively speaking – and wait for me to finish…”
“Goddamn Raylan, can’t a man take a shit in his own goddamn whorehouse?”

I also don’t understand the episode titles. They must have some kind of hidden meaning, as they don’t overtly refer to what is happening in the episode. I prefer unambiguous “Friends”-style titles: “The one where Boyd goes to Mexico to make a drug deal”. (No, I really don’t.)
“The Toll” meaning “The price you have to pay to go past this point” could refer to Ava having to kill Judith to get to control the prison heroin trade. “Starvation” could be the disappearance of the heroin (half got taken by Raylan when that knife-happy Crowe died, and the other half when Dewey bum-rushed the deal).

The mono-racial prison: I think I mentioned this earlier but aren’t dorms racially segregated? The earlier black vs white tension was in the yard, and since then we’ve only been inside the dorms. But yeah, if I trusted the writers more, I would like me some racial prison tension. But only if they could do so organically and tie it together with the rest of the universe. I assume that Limehouse has a few tentacles inside the prison? This could be an entire season, the men on the outside (Gunnar, Boyd, Limehouse) trying to outwit each other to get “their” women (Gretchen, Ava, my-wishful-thinking-Limehouse-relative) on the inside the upper hand, or vice versa.

And poor, sweet Dewey. It seems so fitting for him to be his own undoing in that manner. And he went out on a malapropism: “Third person? You mean this guy?”

The weirdness of the titles tells me that perhaps the scripts were heavily rewritten and/or or the story arcs seriously changed somewheres along the line, which would help explain some of the throw-it-and-see-if-it-sticks level of writing and plotting this season, especially the last four or five shows.

Re: the mono-racial prison: even the prison yard looked all-white to me in this episode. Justified is walking back from that flavor to the story line, which is too bad. Person or persons want it to be more light-hearted, I suppose.

Sounds like your bathroom episode is some kind of YouTube video in the making. Fan fiction at its finest!! I just found Dewey asking the older lady if he could use her bathroom to “take a shit” extremely unrealistic. Although of course, people talk like that. To your point, they also say things like “Hmm, when’s the last time I watered my plants?” or “Time to clean the litterbox,” but those don’t make for compelling dialogue either. The lame crudity speaks to a very juvenile sensibility they are either expressing or trying to reach.

Not sure if you watch Game of Thrones, but I am doing a group recap/discussion on that show, as well.

We rarely see anyone watering their plants in any TV series, unless there is a need for a little old lady who becomes a witness to something that happens in the street. Old ladies watering their plants seem to be at least 50% of all witnesses in the American legal system.

The puerile potty-talk probably says a lot about the writers. I remember an old Monty Python sketch in a typical Agatha Christie whodunnit murder-at-the-manor setting, which is a perfect example of writers being unable to distance themselves and their interests from their characters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTVDOx35FNg

Oh, do I watch GoT! I’ll be there in a jiffy!

Speaking of swords-and-sandals, do you watch Vikings? Plenty of fodder for discussions on depictions of strong females in media, as well as women in history. On a forum I frequent, most non-scandinavian viewers of Vikings can’t believe that it is a pretty accurate portrayal of history. All scandies on the forum have to explain to the incredulous non-scandies that, yes, a thousand years ago, women could divorce their men, fight in battles alongside men (why don’t we go pillaging together like we used to, don’t you love me?), and kill any man, including their husband, if they raised their hand against them. It’s also very pleasing that white anglo-saxon christians are the bad guys.
Amusingly, Vikings runs on History Channel, and is probably the most factually correct program they’ve ever broadcast, despite it being fiction.

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