Justified Review: Crowder Complexity

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After the thrilling events of last week's "Decoy," Justified took its foot off the pedal just a bit to showcase the more subtle brilliance of this show in what has turned out to be another fantastic season.

Six weeks ago I posited that Colton's entire arc might have been out of place.

"Peace of Mind," and the past few episodes overall, proved me wrong. 

The way that his path kept crossing with Deputy Marshal Tim Gutterson's not only gave Colt a rightful place in this season's story, but it helped evolve Tim into something more than a rarely-there sidekick.

Finding Ellen Mae

Sure there were the comedic moments - like last week's conversation about Lt. Dan and Gerard Depardieu - but when Tim came into that former snake-filled church, their interactions became some of the most intense and complex that you will see on television.

They have things in common, and that's why their dynamic has been so fun to watch. But at the end of the day, they are on completely opposite sides of life, and as you would imagine, the good guys won once again.

It was Tim and Colt's multiple meetings, and the fact that the latter did such a horrific thing to the former's friend, which made their final showdown so memorable. Tim Gutterson was ice cold in that moment, and in the second that Colt said he quit smoking, he also quit living.

If there has been one continuous gripe by critics about Justified, it has been the show's inability to create meaningful and substantial arcs for Tim and Rachel. This season finally proved that wrong in the way of Marshal Gutterson, and in doing so, proved me wrong in my theory that Colt was a waste of an introduction.

Before Tim made it to the church to save Ellen May from Colt's bullet, it was Ava who was about to take down the unassuming prostitute.

Prior to this week's episode, Matt Richenthal spoke to star Joelle Carter, who told him that now the question will be "whether Ava will continue her steps toward the dark side or listen to her moral compass."

Watching the character struggle with that has been a joy to watch this season, and Carter has been great. Of course all of our guesses would have been that Ava wasn't going to be able to go through with it, but that didn't make it any less satisfying when she put the gun down and decided not to murder Ellen May.

What was even better though, was the complexity of Boyd Crowder's reaction. First, he hangs up, calls Colt and tells him to kill Ellen May. Finish the job big guy. On the other hand, he tells his fiancé that he respects her on every level.

He told Ava he wanted her to do something awful, but when she couldn't do it, he wasn't upset.  Does he want her to be as bad as he is?  Or like he said, does he respect her for not being like him?  Does he dislike himself for the things he does?  Or does Boyd just understand that some necessary evils are meant for some to undertake, but not others? 

Boyd Crowder is a character of multiple layers, and Walton Goggins continues to showcase them as well as any actor on television.

On top of all that seriousness, "Peace of Mind" also gave us plenty of humorous moments, like Raylan and Art talking about Julia Roberts, as well as Raylan and Limehouse talking about pulled pork.

There is only one episode left. What did you think of "Peace of Mind?" What were your favorite moments? And what are your predictions for the finale? How will Justified Season 4 end? What is next for Raylan, Boyd, and the rest of our favorite Bluegrass Staters?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (112 Votes)

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


Whoa. All of the really great theories and ideas posted here is why I enjoy coming here, so I'll add one more. What if Winona is wounded next week, delivers the baby and then dies, leaving Raylan to raise his daughter? This is my half-baked theory after seeing next week's preview that showed a herd of bad guys in the nursery with the expectant parents.
I love Boyd and Nicky's interactions, so it would be good to see Nicky survive, despite his failure to get Drew. This is more entertaining than anything to do with either Ava or Ellen May, I got tired of both of them a few episodes back, but since the writers aren't contacting me, I guess I'm stuck with them. Whatever the writers have in mind, I cannot imagine losing Boyd, he's the one that makes Raylan look good.


ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SHOW!!! i like how the "comedic bantor" between the cast members seems "just right". Can't wait for next week gonna be a good one


Remember when Tim Olyphant went on late night TV and said Winona would be killed this season and then said "just joking"? Maybe it really was a huge spoiler. I was thinking the chair is wired to explode but that's a little obvious for Justified. So is lonely law man who lost his true love and unborn child, and is bent on revenge, it's a tired idea. Another topnotch episode, a "meh" season is getting rescued big time in my view. Love how Gutterson has a much harder time than Raylan killing a man. Super story arc for Cole, better than expected. Can't wait for the finale and then I will be lining up to buy the DVD.


Lotsa things to tie up next week, but has everyone missed the subtle dialogue over the episodes of several weeks back (via reveals by Shelby/Drew) suggesting that Arlo is not Raylan's actual father, or perhaps Drew could be Ellen May's father. (The timing is a little off on the latter unless Ellen May is 30-ish, so the relationship may be more symbolic than actual.) Natalie Zea's other series (on Fox) is such a nasty mess, it may have doomed itself, so Justified might not want to finalize her exit.


I honestly have no idea what will happen next week, and that is why I love this show.


Great episode and for some reason early on the bit about Raylan wanting to know why his boss was suspending him and his boss asked do you to hear te whole thing or just the good stuff just really struck my funnybone.


Slower pace than last week - still great. The ending was totally an expected event - yikes!


Great episode, again...the thing about Justified, is even an 'average' episode of the series, would be, writing/style/banter/awesome-wise, a top episode in any other drama series in television. So while not as good as last weeks "top three of season" episode, still brilliantly done. Thing about series finale...first, Justified season finales are simply amazing, so there's some pressure for intense action, since they're 3 for 3 so far. Second, I ordinarily would think Winona would end up being fine even when a beautiful damsel in distress, and Graham Yost indicated this a year ago...but Natalie Zea's got a full time gig in other hit show, and they were talking at beginning of this episode about the need for Raylan to fill out forms (insurance?)...they wouldn't harm the baby girl, but I'm now not sure about Winona surviving, to at least give birth or have a C-section done. Will see what happens next week.


It might be something, it might not. But with this show nothing is included by accident, and it was interesting Limehouse's phone conversation reference to Robert Quarles as "the last guy who came up here lost an arm" - an odd choice of words if Quarles died.

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Justified Season 4 Episode 12 Quotes

Nothing brings you peace but the triumph of principles.


Winona, I don't know shit about girls.