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Justified “The Moonshine War” 

Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Raylan’s back in the saddle for season two and the premiere picks up at the moment last season’s finale ended, with Raylan, Ava, and Boyd pinned down as the shooting subsides. Daddy Crowder lays lifeless outside so Raylan tells Boyd to get Ava to safety, and we presume he does, but we don’t actually see her again during the episode.

Raylan catches up with the Miami contingent as the assassin niece of the drug lord flags an 18-wheeler. When she’s about to cap the driver, Raylan yanks her out of the cab of the truck and then Boyd jumps up, eager to avenge his daddy (I’m guessing because she killed him before he could himself). Raylan isn’t having it, though, so he wings Bo and asks the truck driver to get him to a hospital. He takes the niece to Florida and demands that the drug lord stay the hell out of Kentucky. While they discuss, AUSA Dan (Matt Craven) comes in and shuts everything down and offers Raylan his Miami gig back but Raylan declines and goes home to his dingy motel room.

When Raylan gets to work, he surrenders his piece as part of the investigation and there’s some joking about whether he should have an Uzi but he says he’ll probably get the same again. Rachel invites him out of desk duty hell to tag along on a sex offender aonymous tip, and that sets us up for this season, as the Bennett clan, much entrenched in the weed trade, apparently draws the line at sexual deviants. The plot turns on Loretta, a 14-year old girl (played by the very young Kaitlyn Dever) who’s kidnapped by said sex offender when she ransacks the Bennett’s weed.

Raylan and Rachel rescue her and return her home but her daddy (Chris Mulkey) falls to Mama Bennett, who poisons him with her “applie pie” moonshine because he fetched the law into their business out of concern for his daughter’s safety vs. asking the Bennetts to intervene. And Raylan winds up in bed with Winona, but we don’t get a replay of the superhot scene in June when she came to his room and silently took off her wedding ring. Gary isn’t mentioned, but I’m hoping Winona’s in bed with Raylan free and clear. Boyd turns up in a mine, blowing sh-t up and getting paid for it.

So we have some new players, some old players, and the impeccable swagger of newly-minted producer Timothy Olyphant filling out Raylan’s hat (which I think was mentioned half a dozen times by various characters). The Losties will appreciate Jeremy Davies on board as the number one (slightly bonkers) Bennett son. Familiar face Margo Martindale is bad ass Mama B, Mags. There were some squirmy moments as she soothed and threatened and then killed and then soothed again Loretta’s daddy (after her son locked him in a bear trap), but this is still FX’s least violent show. So glad they’re back. If you missed it, you can catch season one on DVD.

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