Justified Review: Cutthroat Pawn

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What Justified has become so wonderful at recently is not only mixing serialization with episodic stories so well, but also creating episodic plots that - in and of themselves - are integral to the seasonal arc.

That was never more evident than in "Harlan Roulette."

Wade Messer, who we were reminded hung Raylan up a tree last season*, worked for the pawn shop owning Glen Fogle... who worked for our beloved Winn Duffy... who in one way or another is involved with the all kinds of crazy Mr. Quarles, who we met in the season premiere.

Raylan at Work

(*Both Wade asking Fogle if hanging Raylan up a tree made them friends, and then Raylan shooting down their friendship by reminding the pill popper that he hung him up a tree and left him for dead, were hilarious ways of reminding the audience of their relationship.)

The weird and wild web of baddies continues to be connected, which made the story of JT, Wade and Fogle that much more interesting. Because we knew that there was a good possibility it would lead to Raylan running into Duffy again and/or Quarles for the first time, there were extra stakes tied to the story here.

Even if there weren't, though, this week would have still been a very entertaining hour, mostly due to the fantastic work of Pruitt Taylor Vince as Fogle. The long-time actor was recently seen on The Walking Dead, where he was one of the only likable characters on screen as Otis.

Here his Fogle wasn't all that likable, but he sure was intriguing to watch. I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of that Harlan Roulette sequence. I mean, making the dude pull twice? And then laughing about it in his face? It was no wonder JT fired off the final blank rounds right back at Fogle.

Of course, he hadn't loaded the gun for the original game, but when he did throw a round in, it was just as tense watching him pull the trigger a few times before finally putting JT to bed. What do you call that game?  

The man was severely twisted, continuing the long line of thrilling Justified villains to grace the screen.

When he and his lackey were both given the opportunity to rat people out to get off scot-free, Fogle changed. He turned from the Mags Bennett - I do what I want when I want and I don't care about the outcome - type to the Dickie Bennett - I will pretend to be hard but at the end of the day I want to free and alive - type within a matter of minutes.

Like much of the time on Justified, coming from the Elmore Leonard model of baddies, the villains turned on each other, and in this case it was awesome watching Fogle and his man pull on each other when moments earlier they were pointing their guns at Raylan.

Fogle was attempting to give up Winn Duffy, which would have done wonders for Raylan. Instead, he died, so Raylan had to make a surprise visit to Winn, which led to the meeting between Raylan and Quarles. That meeting, in the moment, felt truly epic. It gave off this vibe that these two were going to come to blows at the very climax of this season.

I'm still not sure which was more studly, the snapping of the cell phone pic, or tossing the bullet at Winn and telling him that the "next one's coming faster."

On the other side of town, Boyd Crowder was making some long-term moves with the plan of creating an evil empire that no longer had to be the middle man, which included one absolutely exhilarating scene.

I love watching Boyd give long-winded intellectual speeches to morons, so his oratory to the new bar owner and its patrons was just fantastic. It wasn't quite as good, though, as the bing-bang-boom that followed it. Having a couple dudes sitting in the bar, waiting for the owner's men to pull on Arlo and Devil first, was nothing short of genius.

Getting Johnny's bar back is nice, but what else does he have in the works? What is he going to do in order to compete with the Frankforts and Miamis of the world? The way that Limehouse showed him up on the bridge seemed to light a fire under him, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Boyd Crowder take over the world at this point.

Between Boyd, Limehouse, Quarles and now the prospect of Dickie possibly getting out of the big house, there is a lot going on in Kentucky right now. Who will end up on top of it all? Or will Raylan take them all down, like the Master Marshal that he seems to be?

I'm just as excited as ever to see how this third season of Justified will begin to unfold as we creep towards the middle of it. What did you all think of "Harlan Roulette?" What was your favorite moment? And how good did Limehouse's barbecue look?!?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (78 Votes)

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


Great episode of a great series...But, listen Justified, just hire all the Deadwood actors at once and get it over with. Why piece them off this way?


Wondersful beautiful there are not words for how great this show is!!!!!!!


Oh, and not to ignore Walton Goggins, who is super great. He plays so perfectly against Olyphant, as well as of most every other character.


JUSTIFIED is one of the best adaptions of Elmore Leonard that I, as a longtime fan, have ever seen (and I gather Leonard agrees). John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson were good as Leonard characters in movie adaptions, but nobody tops Timothy Olyphant as Raylan, just seeming to catch the Leonard spirit so well. Olyphant has long been underrated as an actor (and hot as well). After Deadwood, I later saw him as the "crazy" vet in " The Perfect Getaway" and was completely convinced.


Sometimes, I'm hard pressed to say what I enjoy more - watching the show or Dan's review - so exciting and well depicted. Last week's show was good, but a little slow. Oh man, this week - Justified came out blazing-I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. The roulette scene terrified me--and I don't miss Fogle at all - to say he is was not a nice man - is an understatement. The scene at the bar was epic, (love Goggins) the scene in the trailer was awesome--Raylan Givens is the coolest lawman around - hands downs. Can't wait until next Tuesday and I too love my DVR---I will re-watch this show!!!


Another winner, this show just keeps getting better and better! Is it tuesday yet?


I can only simply say (again) how much I love this show...From the inception, to the execution, everyone is on their game...Tuesdays,
at work is all about, when this day is over...Justifed is one tonight...
Thankful for DVR so I can watch as many times as I want to before the
next episode...To catch all the little inuendos, smirks and gestures that
I may of missed while pondering the last scene...
I am/was happy to see another Deadwood Alumni here Pruitt Taylor Vince, so
sorry to see him go so early....He is another super actor...
Thank you again to all who put some much effort into a splendid, intelligent and action packed show. Only Six more days until the next episode...


Thanks for the edits people! And kmd, you mean the Dixie Mafia isn't out of Frankfurt, Germany?


i think you mean never MORE evident. otherwise you wouldn't have like the episode


Probably my favorite scene was the one in "Johnnie's" bar when Devil inquires about what Boyd's line is now. Walton Goggins was never more enigmatic. He and Tim were both robbed last year at the Emmys and totally snubbed this year at the Globes.
This show just keeps getting better. I am totally disappointed when the hour is up each week and immediately start counting the days until the next episode. The only other show I do that for is Mad Men. Totally different shows, true, it is the writing, acting, characterization, and ultimately, the story telling, that puts both shows in a whole other league. Oh, by the way, it's Frankfort, not Frankfurt. We Kentuckians can spell!

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Justified Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

JT: That's not how Russian Roulette works.
Fogle: You're not playing Russian Roulette dumb shit, you're playing Harlan Roulette.

Raylan: These boots aren't made for running.
Officer: And yet chasing fugitives is a marshal's primary function.