Justified is definitely heading into next week's season two finale on a high note. Anyone who thought that they would take a breather after the excitement of "Brother's Keeper" - that includes myself - was sadly mistaken.
Tonight's "Reckoning" was chock full of suspense, deception, and even a few heartfelt moments as Raylan and company dealt with the aftermath of Aunt Helen's murder.
There was so much going on that we might as well start from the beginning, which set the tone of the episode so perfectly. This was unlike anything we've seen on Justified before, as the muffled sound around Raylan so accurately portrayed how distressed this man really was.
Between all of the people he has killed recently, Winona stealing that money, and now his dear Aunt Helen, who raised him like he was his own, getting blown away, I can't imagine Raylan was too mentally stable at this point in time.
Marshal Givens' instability was prominent throughout, as he was quiet early on, then became extremely aggressive with Arlo at the jail, and even was close to executing Dickie by episode's end.
I'm still not sure whether Raylan was actually thinking about killing Dickie and was convinced not to, or if was just playing with the young Bennett the entire time.
And how about a round of applause for Jeremy Davies' performance. That crying jag he performed while Dickie was frightened of getting shot in the head felt entirely too real.
This character, while he wants to be tough and lead the Bennett clan is all too wimpy of a guy, which is why I wouldn't have been surprised if he also relieved himself while Raylan's gun was touching the top of his head.With this scene, and the one earlier with Dickie, Mags, and Doyle in the woods, I continue to feel sympathetic towards Dickie. His mom and brother continued to gang up on him, just as they did to Coover before his death, and their was really nothing Dickie could do about it. He doesn't have the resources or the intelligence to out-maneuver his dear old mom.
Dickie may be a screw up, but he loves the family business and just wants to be a bigger part of it. Mags just treats him like a little kid, pulling all of the strings in the background.
How did she, and her friend, convince Jed to implicate himself for Helen's murder? This lady has some major power around these parts.
While Boyd was on the outskirts for most of the night, it was about time that there were some repercussions for his quick switch from preaching do-gooder to crime syndicate leader. I loved that Raylan went directly to him to "kick the living shit out of [him]" after finding out that Boyd's hijacking was the reason Dickie went after Arlo, not because of the Black Pike deal.
But Mr. Crowder made up for his missteps by once again being the brains of the operation. Him explaining to Raylan that he had some leverage in the fact that Mags's deal with Arlo and Black Pike was not yet final was what set the rest of this exciting episode in motion.
While Raylan was screaming and yelling at Boyd, he also managed to disrespect Ava for a second time. According to Boyd, Raylan better not let that happen again. According to me, I can't wait for the Deputy Marshal to go down swinging on his third strike. It is not just Boyd that seems to be in this relationship for good. Ava's explanation to Arlo that he was the life Helen chose was pretty metaphorical to what Ava is choosing to do with Boyd. And then they lived happily ever after...well in Harlan County, probably not.
"Reckoning" was another thrilling episode of Justified's stellar second season. With the little bit we saw of Loretta, she must have a big role in next week's finale. There is no reason to continue to come back to her if she's isn't going to be a factor in the future.
What did y'all think of "Reckoning?" And what are your predictions for what will go down in next week's season finale of Justified?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.