Justified Review: Shot Callers

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After an exhilarating start to Justified Season 4, the series has limped into the midway point the past two weeks.  "Money Trap" was the least successful of the first seven hours even though it still consisted of some great chemistry between Raylan and Arlo and the first shootout in a while.

If memory serves, not since squaring off against "The Ice Pick" back in the season three premiere has Raylan had a legitimate gun fight like this.  Although Jody Adair had absolutely no chance at all, the stare down, the quick pull, and the merciless result was reminiscent of our first meeting with the cowboy down in Miami in the pilot.

Raylan Versus Arlo

It was classic Raylan Givens, and just as we don't want to see him kill people and win a showdown every other week, we also don't want to be without an event like that for too long.  I believe this was the first person he has killed this season. Sometimes it has to be done, and on occasion he's the man to do it.  I like seeing him use his skills.  

I also like watching Raylan interact with Arlo.  It's not the father/son relationship anyone would want, but it's one of the most interesting.  The smile that came over Arlo's face when he knew he might be getting something out of Raylan was the happiest he's been with his kid in a while.

Then again, he quickly didn't like the offer and told his son to "eat shit."  Finally, in speaking of his father's coming sooner rather than later death, Raylan said to Arlo, "I'm gonna be glad when I hear the news."  Does it get any colder than that?  I mean, I have a man crush on Raylan Givens as big as Mount Rushmore, but even I didn't like hearing that out of his mouth.

On the other side of the "Money Trap" were the things that either weren't that interesting, or didn't make much sense.  Boyd and Ava at the rich swingers party didn't bring much to the table, and the rich shot callers telling Boyd what to do really was a head-scratcher.

I like the idea of an ever expanding world of Harlan County, but there are times it works and times it doesn't.  As the seasons go on Justified is trying to add dimensions to this world, and with the hill people it worked because it made sense that we would have never heard of those people until then.

This doesn't work.  Why would it take until season four for these guys who make big decisions in this county - and played puppet master to Bo Crowder - to play into anything that was going on?  

Did you think of Bo Crowder as someone who just did what the big wigs told him?  I didn't.  And how come they are wanting Boyd to do something for them now?  Because he came to them looking for something else?  Would this never have happened if he hadn't made his way to the party looking for Drew Thompson?

For maybe the first time in three and a half seasons watching Justified, I thought to myself, this doesn't make much sense at all.

The rest of the hour was enjoyable enough to make "Money Trap" another quality hour of television, but I can't help but worry about how many more times they will attempt to do something similar.

What did you all think?  Did the good outweigh the bad?  Or am I overthinking what I call the bad?  What were your favorite moments from this week?  And how much have you enjoyed Justified through the first seven episodes of season four?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

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


Regarding the Drew mystery, did anyone find the 'pretending' discussion between the Sheriff and Ella Mae intriguing?

Beverly brooks

Show gets better and better. Crowder at the party was a great.


Bringing in the economically superior town folks is actually very realistic to Southern dynamics. Families operate the same way. There are factions and there are tiers who allow you to do. They, like these guys, have no power anywhere else in the country or world but they do have an annex of power. Hierarchies are not all straight verticals. Some heirarchies stack like a series of high hills and mountains. There is never one top dog. There are usually several and some rather never expose themselves to play grand master to protect their anonymity. That's how the truly corrupt operates. They make you think you are the master of your own universe because they do allow --by not cockblocking your autonomy to thrive. People have the ability to stunt others. Many chose not to and that is power.


I disagree with the review. This was a great episode and moved so much forward. Love that Johnny knows Coltin has in fact not killed Ellen Mae and is coming unglued. Since Johnny is all for killing Boyd...having his army buddy in such a volatile state...kudoos to the writers. What a shock to find out the Clover Hillers expect Boyd to be a puppet...and that Bo was their puppet. That was a great twist. And then we come to the best. Raylan finally pulled and put Jody down...what a cool controlled shooter. Liked the flirting with Jackie and that Raylan knows his judgement is shakey at best when it comes to women...darn you Lindsey. And Arlo. wow that entire scene was HOT in so many ways. What Timothy and Raymond do in a single scene....it was great and I do believe Raylan has mixed feelings about Arlo. Remember that Arlo was more than willing to gun down his son to save Boyd so Raylan looking forward to news of Arlo's demise makes sense. But Raylan has a conflicted heart and when it happens he may have much to deal with. Great episode.


Jody just like to kill people for the sport of it - Glad Raylan showed him that HE IS the true bad as****.
Ava and Boyd at the big boys party did nothing for me. On the other hand, is Jimmy going to get that girl prostitute killed? I'm sure that he perked Boyd's friend's suspicions with all of the insinuations and questions seemingly from out of nowhere.
Arlo and Raylan together is always a nice dance. Arlo has to be the worse father I've ever seen.
Love the conversations Raylan has with his boss - Am I doing the funny thing with my eyebrows - funny!


another good show. i believe things are coming together for a great conclusion. seemed a little akward between Raylan and the young girl. best line of the night was by Ava.


Raylan's words to Arlo were cold, but I don't believe him. As much as he hates his father, he loves him. I think that Arlo's death will crush Raylan. I would not be surprise if it sends Raylan spiraling out of control. I totally believe that Bo was dancing to those rich men's control. It is rich men like them that the real faces of crime. They just have too much power to ever go to prison. However, they just made their last big mistake. Boyd will take them all down, if not out. Now I can see Boyd on the path to becoming one of them eventually.


"You look like 10 pounds of shit in a 5-pound bag!" ;-)


First, Raylan was being kind to Arlo, given the circumstances of his upbringing and their relationship as adults. I have no problem with family cutting family off cold, when such situations exist. I read somewhere, earlier this year, that Boyd and Raylan's relationship was going to put them on either side of a line, even more clearly than before. However, in light of the introduction of the rich puppetmasters, I now wonder if they aren't going to be on the SAME side of said line. As to Bo taking orders from the puppetmasters--yes, that is very possible, though Bo would not be the type of person to ever admit that he was taking orders from anyone AND, it was likely in his best interest that he keep the puppetmasters in the shadows. Boyd, on the other hand, is not going to be anyone's puppet..he's smarter than his old man ever was.


I think the thing with Boyd will turn into something bigger and I hope with Raylan involved, love when those two are "working" together. Cause I am sure Boyd will not take being told by the bigwigs what to do!
It was a slower episode but still a good one! thats the best thing about this show slow or not its all gonna tie together and make sense. And if were Raylan I would want Arlo dead to, crazy old coot!

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