Justified is back and the best show on TV right now. Did you watch? If so, take a look at our review of S05E02 “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and let’s talk about it.
LOSER: Guys with guns more expensive than Raylan’s annual salary
Raylan Givens spends some time with a money launderer with a vintage confederate pistol, stealing his car to go check on former Mags prodigy Loretta in jail for some drug-related problems. Loretta expects Raylan to bail her out immediately because of course she does. But Raylan leaves her in there, only to be told by Loretta’s hot social worker Allison (played by Amy Smart) that doing something like that just makes her feel like no one cares about her.
Raylan takes the wakeup call from the hot chick and instead muscles Loretta’s scumbag drug dealer boyfriend, Derek, to breaking up with her after bailing him out from…
WINNER: Avon Barksdale’s return to the drug game
The actor who played Avon Barksdale on The Wire, Wood Harris, makes his debut on the show as a drug dealer with a quick trigger. When Raylan encounters not-Avon and his associate intimidating Derek due to him owing them something, it’s not the most cordial thing on Earth. As much joy as seeing the former Avon on TV brings me, something tells me that he will not be long for the world this episode.
Turns out that Avon and crew took Derek to find something he buried with Loretta. But it’s not where they left it and Avon and his friend aren’t happy about it. But right as they’re about to off Derek, in comes Raylan with a shovel to temporarily knock the friend out (line of the episode is Avon asking “Are you alright” and him answering “Nah, homeboy hit me with a shovel”). Raylan then finds out that Loretta’s the one who got Derek into problems with Memphis drug dealer Rodney “Hot Rod” Dunham.
LOSER: Ava’s jail time
Ava’s panicking about her case’s status with Boyd and Boyd tells her it’ll all be alright and that he’ll take care of it. But, unfortunately, Boyd doesn’t have the situation under control. And his problems get exacerbated by the wife from last week, Mona, telling a cop that a man with spiky brown hair and big white teeth assaulted her husband Lee and put him in a coma.
Fortunately for Boyd, Mona’s got other intentions and doesn’t finger him when the cops storm in on Boyd’s bar. She wants $300,000 from him so she can be in America in a real way, not in shitty Harlan. Boyd doesn’t have the money but she says he’s resourceful and can find a way.
The cop catches up with Mona and threatens her after learning Boyd came to talk to her in the hospital, basically saying that either Boyd will take the wrap for Lee’s injury or she will. Things get a little rapey because the cop is not a nice dude.
WINNER: Negotiating with drug dealers
Raylan comes face to face with Hot Rod to try to get Loretta and Derek out of his debt. Hot Rod knew Raylan’s dad Arlo and threatens Raylan for trying to interfere with the kids’ debt. But Raylan is having none of that shit and does his badass “I’m going to tell you how I’m going to kill you all if you go down this road” shtick and Hot Rod acquiesces. Such a badass.
Raylan drives Loretta home and gets to the root of what’s going on; Loretta moved the money she and Derek had buried. Raylan realizes she played him to make her problems to go away. Kids these days and their brilliant machinations.
LOSER: Crowe family reunions
Following up on the tip from the Haitian dude last week, Daryl shows up at cousin Dewey’s whorehouse looking for some family time. Not much developing here other than some fine booties at the Crowe whorehouse again but hey, that’s something.
WINNER: Internal investigations
Art tells Raylan that Sammy Tonin tried to call the Marshals’ office the day before he died and Art is a little suspicious about the whole thing. Raylan says it’s probably just because he offered him a deal, but Art isn’t so sure. Art follows up with some higher up friend of his who owes him a favor and it seems like Art’s sniffing around the fact that Raylan may have had something to do with Nicky Augustine being gunned down in his car at the end of last season. Ruh roh.
LOSER: That Canadian drug shipment
Everyone in Harlan is jonesing for the last drug shipment coming in from Canada. Some dealer dude is bragging about it to some drug whore offering a Pop Rocks blowjob in return, Wynn and Boyd are talking about it to all of the smaller dealers waiting for the pipeline, and someone else must have been talking about it because the shipment got jacked and everyone involved was killed by an unknown party. Mystery.
The return of Loretta is an interesting one, though it’s kind of a downer that she’s not getting on the straight and narrow. She’s a teenager and pretty much en route to who she’s going to be an adult. Sort of sucks that Raylan’s assistance with her life didn’t make her aim for bigger things.
Either way, any episode with Avon Barksdale in it is an automatic win. It DEEPLY pains me that we might not see Wood Harris and his real-life brother Steve again this season. But there’s just so much going on in this show, so many plotlines with very real stakes — including the somewhat surprising one developing around investigating Raylan’s part in the Augustine shooting — that you can’t help but see that Justified is currently TV’s best drama.
Five out of five shovels to the head for the episode. We’re all better for watching “The Kids Aren’t Alright”.