Certainly the ending to last night’s Justified episode, “The Collection” means that the show is building up to some sort of larger story, right? Perhaps a dramatic season finale that wraps up the five minutes dedicated out of every episode to multi-episode stories and characters?
This isn’t a complaint, just something I’m curious about. In fact, because this is the first season of Justified (and after the past three weeks, I’m confident it will be renewed for a second season) part of the fun has been figuring out how the show is going to progress.
Initially, we were not sure if it would be a week to week show (a la Law and Order) a mostly week to week show with some longer arcs (a la House) or a show that continually builds on a large story line week after week (a la Lost). So far, Justified has settled somewhere in the House range with the bulk of each episode being independent of the rest, but with some longer arcing story lines that play throughout the season.
By the end of this season, my prediction is that the show will end somewhere a little bit north of House and reaching towards Lost (for story structure, anyway). Each week Raylan has had a different criminal/fugitive/token bad guy to go after for the majority of the show. It feels like we’re headed towards a season finale where the bad guy Raylan is after that week will be the culmination of the bits we’re given ever week. Be it Arlo, Boyd or someone else.
At this point, the show seems to be angling itself towards Arlo being the final bad guy of season 1. Last week’s episode certainly exhibited just how bad the relationship between Arlo and Raylan can be as well as showing how devious Arlo can be, even at his advanced age. Not only was Raylan disgusted with his father’s criminal ways, he was betrayed by Helen’s involvement with Arlo’s scheme and felt used by the two of them to help cover their plan.Despite all of this, I’m calling the writers bluff. Since Raylan shot him and he was put in jail back in the first episode, Boyd Crowder has seemingly had a renaissance as a person and is no longer the man who has done many bad things (as he said to Raylan). This seems too convenient to me and feels like an attempt at misdirection. By keeping the focus on Arlo and off of Boyd, a large plot twist can come to fruition in the finale.
Consider this: what if Boyd has not had the large change of heart that we’re being led to believe, but rather is trying to manipulate Raylan in some capacity. Certainly Boyd could not predict that Raylan would come to him for help with his father. Once he did, however, Boyd saw an opening. Despite Raylan’s often cavalier demeanor, Boyd understood that dealing with Arlo makes Raylan more emotional than normal. Tell Raylan what he wants to hear in return for…well, something.
Admittedly, I can’t figure out what Boyd would get out of Raylan. Without know the parameters of Boyd’s incarceration, it’s hard to predict what kind of a deal he’d strike with whatever law enforcement agency would give him one. Heck, it’s pretty confusing that they guy who go shot, Boyd, is in prison while the shooter, Ava, is running free. Fortunately, the show does allude to this point on occasion by reminding us that the feds are still investigating both Rayland and Ava.
On the other side of the coin, why does Raylan trust Boyd? How can Raylan know that anything Boyd is telling him is true? Maybe Boyd is just making up what Raylan wants to hear about his father. Certainly Boyd knows enough of Arlo’s background and their history to come up with a credible story to entice Raylan to go after his father. This scenario seems more likely to me than Boyd suddenly becoming a good guy and helping out Raylan. It’s certainly more interesting.
As for this week’s plot, certainly interesting and better than the second and third episodes, but not quite up to the last two weeks. Having amateurs plan crimes that Raylan sniffs out isn’t particularly interesting. It’s simply too easy to see the flaws in their plans. The fake-suicide scheme that Karen came up with reminded me too much of the buffoons from the third episode.
And yet, the angle with an Order of Forfeiture, an art buyer and art forgeries made it a bit more interesting. The writers certainly did a good job of incorporating Carl Hanselman into the larger plot by giving Raylan some pause about spending a life angry at your father. If nothing else, Chief Mullen gets better each week with providing comedic relief with his one-liners. There are a bunch of good ones in this week’s quotes section.
Where do you think Justified is headed? Will Arlo be the ultimate target or will Boyd? Or will the show go another direction and keep those two as consistent thorns in Raylan’s side for the entire series? Tell us what you think.