Justified Review: "Brother's Keeper"

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While the overarching story of Carol and Black Pike versus Mags and the Bennetts came to a close, "Brother's Keeper" had so much more going on it, that the momentous meeting between Carol, Mags, and Boyd seems like an afterthought at this point.

That meeting of the minds was indeed fantastic though, as Mags outwit Carol and the fine people of black pike out of a ton more money than anyone could have ever thought. Because Mags knew all along that she had the upper hand, she continued to be calm, cool, and collected.

As always, Margo Martindale played the scene masterfully.

Bother's Keeper Scene

So that is probably it for our new friend Carol Johnson, as she heads off to the next mountain with her tail between her legs. Luckily, she did get a big smooch out of Raylan Givens, even if that was all the U.S. Marshal would give her.

And how about Boyd? That was his big plan? To double-cross Carol so that he could get on Mags's good side? Well now apparently he has the freedom to do whatever he wants in the county - well other than getting into the weed game. Does this complete his turn back to the dark side? Or does he have something else up his sleeve?

Also a highlight of that meeting was what went down just outside of it. It wasn't the showdown between Raylan and Dickie Bennett that we've been waiting for, but the stare down these old foes put upon each other did help raise the tension for the rest of the episode.  

Unlike Raylan and Boyd, who I feel have some sort of a mutual respect for each other, Raylan just seems to pity Dickie as an enemy.  

You had to feel bad for the limping fella when Raylan shot him straight about Mags not wanting Dickie in on the important meeting.

What was so great about "Brother's Keeper" was how high the Bennetts rose before having everying crash down around them immediately afterward. The Bennetts, and Mags in particular, were on cloud nine after receiving all that new money and power in the Black Pike deal.  She couldn't have been more happy or proud of herself in that moment.  

And then with the death of Coover, and the strangely more hurtful loss of Loretta, Mags's whole world kind of fell apart. We know that she never really felt all that much love towards her baby Coover, but how can she seemingly be more upset that she's not going to see Loretta again? She is a pretty sick woman. It will be interesting to see how and if the Bennetts recover from this, or if they fall into the background for a while.

And it was the final third of "Brother's Keeper" that really lived up to the episode's title, as many were attempting to protect those they loved. Whether it was Dickie trying as hard as he could to literally "brother-keeper" his little bro Coover from doing something he'd regret, or Raylan feeling responsible for the livlihood of Loretta McCreedy, the men of Justified were set on saving the day. Unfortunately for Dickie, he failed.  He was no competition for Coover's paws, as the little brother almost strangled Dickie to death before taking Loretta to see her dead daddy.

Raylan, on the other hand, did save the day. After dropping off Carol at the nearest gas station like she's some floozy, he doubled back to get the truth out of Dickie before finding Coover with Loretta out by the mine. At the last second the deputy got the job done and put an end to the big baffoon that is Coover Bennett.

There was a whole lot of feeling of finality at the end of this one, as the deal with Black Pike was done, Loretta was saved and sent to child services, and the Bennetts seemed to be in remission for a while.  If this gives us a bit of a break from all the excitement for an episode or two, I'm fine with that. Give me a couple of stand alone eps before heading down the final stretch.

What did you think of this episode of Justified? Comment below!


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (69 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


that line should have been "and put an end to the big baffoon that WAS Coover Bennett". I know, I'm nitpicking. Besides my OCD, I couldn't agree more.


What is the reference to the 2 marshals in the ending credits. I didn't write the names down to look them up.


Ava is with Boyd for the season, and Raylan with Winona. Not going to change


Margo Martindale is so good, I actually looked at her on freeze-frame and asked, "Are you actually EVIL in real life?" The way she inhabits Mags, it's almost eerie. The intelligence and the spite are very real in her dark eyes.
As for the wrap of the storyline, it seemed apparent by next week's preview that Mags is going to 'go after' Raylan in some fashion, although I don't know how, as there would be pretty compelling evidence for murder or conspiracy. Coover confessed to the murder to Loretta - who is old enough to be considered a credible witness, and McCreedy's body was discovered next to his at the bottom of the mine shaft. (McCreedy's watch is also a useful piece of evidence). As for this episode over all, who else but Elmore Leonard and crew could turn a 'whoop-do-doo!' of a party into perhaps the most suspenseful episode of the season?


I really liked this episode also. Alot of drama and good acting on all fronts. I was happy to see Ava dressed up in dress and heels, although I was disappointed not to see Raylan acknowledge her at the party. The flirtation between Carol and Raylan was intertaining. Raylan has alot of irons in the fire Arlo/Helen, Ava, Winona, Boyd, Art and now the Bennetts. This show has alot to offer in what directions to take before the season ends and in the future. Raylan's relationship with his ex-wife is not something is good for the show. Clearly she is using Raylan for something other than love. Next weeks preview indicates she only wanting to disrupt his relationship with Ava. Winona saw that Raylan was interested in someone else other than her and set out to ruin his relationship with Ava, although we know that Ava and Raylan's relationship was questionable due to the fact of Raylan shooting a criminal in Ava's house and shooting of her husband. It is certain Ava and Raylan have unresolve feelings for each other.


I don't think the story line with Carol and Black Pike is wrapped. Black Pike hasn't paid Mags yet (and Carol pointedly didn't shake on the deal). Also, if the murder of Loretta's daddy gets put on Mags, then the Bennett land would be forfeit (and, therefore, easy pickings for Black Pike). I would expect more development on this and the Carol-Raylan dynamic.


Mags was "seemingly more upset" about Loretta because she was trying to manipulate Raylan. Her concern is to cover up the family's role in the murder of Loretta's dad, to cut it off at Coover. She wanted to silence Loretta. Hence the chilling shift in her face when Raylan said no--she dropped the mask: even if some elements of the mask were real, ultimately she is coldly "playing an angle," as she accused Boyd of doing. Another moment of Margo Martindale's--I agree--absolutely masterful work. This show is on its way to becoming a true work of art.


Wow. That was an amazing episode of an amazing show. Can't wait to see how they top it in the finale.


Amazing! This show is so good. Im actually liking the thought of boyd and ava! Loved every minute of this episode

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Justified Season 2 Episode 9 Quotes

Raylan: Payin' respect. Show you're here with peaceful intent.
Carol: Who says I am?

Boyd: This is a picnic on a Sunday afternoon.
Ava: Wish I had packed a basket.