As Justified moved into its second episode,”Riverbrook,” we’re still left wondering what direction the show is going to take. Will it be a show where, each episode is largely independent of the previous one, or a series that builds progressively with each week?
At the beginning we have a great scene where Raylan goes to visit Boyd at a federal detention center in Lexington, KY. Clearly building on the dramatic end of last week when Raylan shot Boyd, the two characters talk about why Raylan came and was he trying to kill Boyd when he shot him and just missed. We were left wondering after last week if that was the last we’d see of Boyd Crowder, but obviously not.
Their connection and Boyd’s potential relevance to the show gets deeper when Boyd proclaims to Raylan that he feels God intervened in Raylan’s attempt to kill him, allowing Boyd to live for a new purpose. This certainly did not seem like an irrelevant conversation or an irrelevant statement. My feeling was that, by mentioning how Boyd and Raylan were friends and taking the religious angle, the show is setting up Boyd to somehow work with Raylan in the future.The show continues to build on last week with a phenomenal scene involving Raylan performing a prisoner transport of one of Boyd’s cronies, Dewey Crowe. Though we’ve only known Raylan for two episodes now, looking back at it, of course he lets Dewey drive himself on the prisoner transport. Raylan definitely has an edge of the law quality to him and allowing the prisoner to drive himself, in Raylan’s car no less, is certainly the sign of someone who’s bored with standard operating procedure.
Although the show gets away from Boyd, Dewey and the premiere bad guys, there’s another great scene at the very end of the show where Raylan is performing another prisoner transport, but this time he’ll bring another deputy with him. The prisoner transport scenes are great because they tie the front and back of the episode together, but they also bring it back to the series premiere. Raylan joked about how, after the shooting in Miami, he was being relegated to prisoner transport for a while. Instead, he’s sent to Kentucky and he’s doing prisoner transports anyway.
The opening two scenes lead us to believe that this is a show which will build on itself week over week. We never go back to it, however, instead running off into a story about a prisoner escape, his 15-year old buried loot from a bank robbery and his ex-wife.
I don’t have a problem with a new story developing every episode, but I’m just not sure what type of show is developing and it makes it a bit more complicated to watch. Does it matter when this week’s criminal, Douglas Cooper, mentions Raylan’s Dad? Should we be paying attention to little nuggets like that or is it just to maintain a loose connection from episode to episode?
Beyond that, when we spend the first fifth of the episode tying up loose ends from last week, the rest of the episode suffers because of it. While overall I enjoyed the episode, especially the parts tying everything together, the story this week suffered. Last week we were treated to a plenty of tense scenes throughout the episode from the opening shooting to Raylan shooting Boyd.
This week? We’re chasing around money that was buried in a house 15-years ago by a man who breaks out of prison three months before he’s scheduled to be paroled. He then teams up with his ex-wife (who’s about 20 years too young for him) and her cousin/boyfriend (I guess that’s at least accurate for Kentucky) as they break in to empty houses and cut up the floor boards. Not exactly the same as Boyd yelling “fire in the hole” before blowing up a church or Rayland smashing Dewey’s nose into the car steering wheel.
While the premiere delivered, the second episode left me wanting more of what I got in the premiere. But, let us know what you think? Did you like the change of pace from Boyd and his skin heads to Cooper and his band of looting misfits? Or are you too looking for more action?