Justified Season 5, Episode 1 recap.

Over the holidays my entire family came down with the flu, and I was the only healthy person in a house full of sickos. Quarantined for my own protection, I had six days and nothing to do, so I re-watched all four seasons of Justified, and my assessment from the end of season four stands: Mags Bennett is still the best antagonist Raylan Givens has faced, and it was the most cohesive and well-plotted of the seasons to date, but season four offered so much world-building and texture that it is the most fun season to re-watch. It’s my favorite. So far.

Because this season? This season introduces us to Dewey Crowe’s extended family, including his no-good relatives from Florida. At this point, all Justified is missing is Florida, the most bugf*ck crazy state in this fine union, and home of the world’s worst superhero. (Hopefully this season also includes a reference to the real-life heist of 200 bottles of rare Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, in a crime that is just begging for the Justified treatment.)

We left Raylan in a contemplative spot at the end of season four; he closed the Drew Thompson case and survived the latest incursion of the Detroit mob, but he also participated in his most morally-compromising moment yet, setting up Nicky Augustine’s murder. And his father is dead (RIP Arlo), and Winona and his future child are gone. Who will Raylan be three months removed (the length of his suspension handed down by Art) from those events?

Answer: Pretty much the same Raylan. He’s shooting stuff—and logs his first kill of the season—avoiding Winona and his new baby daughter down in Miami, and sassing Art and ex-cons alike. At least he’s cut his hair?

He’s got his plate full this episode, from Dewey Crowe filing a police battery suit against him, which results in a $300,000 settlement, to being sent to Florida to track down another Crowe, one of the Florida Crowes, who are, according to Dewey, “bad news”. Dewey is generally a chickensh*t dumb*ss, but that’s a little eye opening. He hangs around with Boyd yet he seems scared of his cousins, led by family patriarch Darryl (Michael Rapaport). Darryl is in some trouble of his own, apparently owing money to a man called the Haitian, so he decides to leave Florida. The Haitian mentions Kentucky; hard to tell whose idea that really is, though. Raylan drops the info about Dewey’s windfall very deliberately to the Haitian—have to imagine he has some idea that could lead to piquing Darryl’s interest.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, things are really bad. Sammy Tonin has lost control of his outfit and owes a lot of money to “the Canadians”. This leads to Boyd and Wynn Duffy losing a shipment of dope that Boyd cannot afford to lose. The judge that got Ava’s case has no family to intimidate and he has no money for bribes, so he really needs that dope to generate some cash. Things go from bad to worse as Picker, the lone survivor of Nicky Augustine’s ill-fated trip to Harlan County, murders Sammy for the Canadians (played by Dave Foley and Will Sasso in a brilliant bit of casting). The Canadians want nothing to do with Detroit and Harlan County any longer, so Boyd has not only lost his shipment but his entire pipeline. Fortunately(?), Picker knows some people in Mexico.

Boyd’s situation at the end of season four was bad, and in this episode it only gets worse. With no money and no options, he goes to Clover Hill to beg Paxton for help. Paxton proves as dumb as he is arrogant, pushing Boyd—we can practically see his hackles rising ever further—until Boyd finally just kills that assh*le. And here is where Justified introduces its most intriguing new element—Paxton’s trophy wife. She’s smart, a doctor from Eastern Europe, and she seems to really care about Paxton? Hard to call, could be an act. At any rate, Boyd widows her and she strikes an uneasy deal—Boyd’s money for her silence. Of all the threads introduced this episode, this is the one with the most immediate and most immediately large consequences.

So, Boyd is desperate, Raylan is Raylan, Ava’s in jail, Detroit and the Canadians are out of play, the extended Crowe family is preparing to move north, and Raylan is avoiding Winona and his daughter. Season five is starting with everyone’s interests spread far across the board; it will be fun watching how the disparate pieces come together.

Raylan’s body count so far: 1 (season)/18 (total)

Photos from the premiere the other night are attached.