Justified Review: Ice Pick Your Poison

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Competing with last year's magnificent second season - which I named the best show of 2011 - isn't going to be an easy task, but "The Gunfighter" gave Justified a great start to season three, delivering an abundance of potential for interesting stories down the road.

As great as Margo Martindale was as Mags Bennett last year, and as fun as Walton Goggins is to watch as the sometimes-a-friend/sometimes-a-foe Boyd Crowder, Timothy Olyphant is the glue that holds this cowboy masterpiece together.

Crossing Raylan

Although the season premiere essentially picked up three weeks after the traumatic events of "Bloody Harlan," Raylan had yet to recover from his gunshot wound, which created a couple of new situations for the U.S. Marshal.

Sure, he was still as sarcastically charming as ever in comparing Winona decorating his place to putting lipstick on a platypus, or contemplating the idea of naming his future child Jiffy Pop or Palmolive, but Raylan couldn't run, he couldn't shoot and he was sidelined on some events he normally wouldn't be.

Thankfully, Deputy Tim Gutterson dragged Raylan out from behind his desk to Winn Duffy's trailer, which caused a spiral of events that led to him sitting at his own table with a gun pointed in his face.

The setup to that meeting between Raylan and Fletcher "The Ice Pick" Nicks was perfect. In the same vein of the pilot, when Raylan's shootout with Boyd felt was almost identical to Raylan taking out Tommy Bucks, the showdown between Raylan and Fletcher was foreshadowed nicely by The Ice Pick's earlier gunfight with the Richard Lineback character.

Knowing how skilled Fletcher was with that ice pick and his gun, and knowing that Raylan would be slowed by his injury, made their showdown even more intense. You had to be questioning how our man was going to get out of it. Would he just be quicker than Fletcher? Did Winona have a secret gun on her?

The man isn't the master of the gunfight for nothing. Hampered by an injury, facing a skilled opponent, Raylan Givens did what he had to do to survive. Watching him pull that tablecloth at the count of two to bring the gun closer to him was a thing of beauty. Him apologizing to Winona immediately afterward, well, that was just hilarious.

The good guys won again, but over the course of the first two seasons, charismatic and ruthless bad guys have been a staple of Justified. Fletcher "The Ice Pick" was really only the second of those two characteristics, but he was so to the 10th degree.

Watching him do his thing to Lineback's man with the watches was fantastic. As he made the pizza guy not only watch but countdown from 10, I almost busted with excitement. It hadn't yet sunk in why they called him "The Ice Pick," so it was definitely surprising and exciting to see him pull off the stab and shoot move at the count of one.

Taking the pizza and shooting the delivery guy was just the pepperoni on the pie. Desmond Harrington, who you most likely recognized from Dexter or Gossip Girl, was a very nice guest start to start the season.

Neal McDonough (Quarles) was every bit as creepy as he always seems to be. He just gives off that vibe. Just as I assumed he was going to be an awful human being, the blonde baddie proved it by being the typical Elmore Leonard villain that turns on the others he was working with at the end. Because that's what Justified tends to do, it wasn't that surprising that he killed Dixie Mafia's Emmitt Arnett, but I definitely was surprised when he shot Yvette the assistant. That's just cold.

Like Mags before him, and Boyd when he decides to be evil, Quarles has the potential to be a very interesting villain throughout this third season. He has the charm, and he proved in that final scene that he has the guts, to do what he thinks is necessary... so, yeah, I could get used to watching him taking on Raylan in the near future.

While all of this was going on, Boyd was sent back to prison to meet up with Dewey and Dickie. He tried to sell the Bennetts’ weed with Arlo and Devil, and Ava started to grow into a bit of a leader herself after Dunham from Memphis wouldn't buy the pot that began to rot. Admit it: you weren't expecting her to smash Devil with that frying pan, were you?

"The Gunfighter" was definitely a great start to the third season of Justified, but what did you all think?  Will 2012 be as good to Raylan Givens and company as 2011? What's going to happen with Boyd and Dickie in prison? What's Quarles' plan? And which baby name do you like better, Jiffy Pop or Palmolive?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (145 Votes)

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


I love, love this show!! There's always surprising twists and turns. This is a role that is tailor-made for Timothy O. He is so cool, sexy and sarcastic - wow!!! The new character Quarles makes Marge look like a choir girl. I was totally shocked when he offed the Assistant - I agree with the writer - that was cold - The face-off between the Ice Pick and Raylan - loved it - I almost turned blue holding my breath - I didn't even try to imagine how that confrontation was going to turn out. Thanks fellow Justified fans - missed that one - you're right - it doesn't appear that Dickie is long for this world - oops - Season 3 is going to be a good one. p.s. Dan -your writing and review of this show is not only entertaining - it's excellent and right on point - Kudos!!!


Symbol1970, as soon as I saw Dickie in line I had a similar thought. I said to my wife "that clever SOB planned this". The fun part will be seeing him execute Dickie and still manage to get back out of jail this season. Poor dumb Dewey, wouldn't be surprised, or saddened, to see him take the fall. I hadn't actually thought that Raylan was also in on it. Makes you wonder... This is easily one of my top couple of episodes, though I've yet to feel that Bulletville can be topped. But the tablecloth move was incredible. I think Raylan is right, it might be time to get out of that room...how many dead or wounded in there so far?

Uss biddle dlg 34

For those of us not saddled with lightweight network & basic cable.... Justified, along with
Suits and the AMC crowd.....join the usual HBO, Showtime and Starz favorites
In the drama top ten. That said, Margo will be missed !!!!


Given the name choices, I'm voting for Felix, and I agree with Ira, only 4.5? I would have easily given this a 4.8! (ok, I'm a bit easier than some). And I loved Ava's reply to Arlo comment about not needing to smash Devil in the face, "Yes Arlo I did, or I wouldn't have done it" -- remind me to listen when a southern woman says she gets ornery!


Great start to Season 3. and yes Sandy, it took me a while to figure out who Ice Pick reminded me of then i thought about it, the bad guy that killed Connery in Untouchables. Def gets 5 stars from me.


Palmolive for a girl, Paul Molive for a boy


It's very interesting that Boyd was sent to the very same prison that Mag's son was being held so he could seek revenge. So here is the question that remains. Did Raylan plan all of this for Boyd? They talked about it before the fight, they get into a fight, he gets send to jail and then sent to the prison. Things that make you go hmmm......


I'm waiting for the showdown between Boyd and Dickie. Boyd purposely got himself thrown into jail (Personally, I think with Raylan's help) and Dickie's days are numbered. Dickie has been so entertaining, but it's time he joined his Mom and brothers in learning the "Mystery."


Great start to the new season! This should be very a very interesting season with alot of the old characters gone, and a new twist to this year. Still one of the hubby and my favorites! True fans.


don't forget us in the UK, are we going to see season 3 of justified, haven't heard if its been picked up yet...we need it

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Justified Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

Raylan, if a book could only be judged by its cover, you'd be a best seller.


Raylan: Boyd I've been to Mexico, I don't think you'd like it.
Boyd: How so?
Raylan: There's a lot of Mexicans.