It might be a little late in the game to start talking about Timothy Olyphant‘s Raylan Givens, both as a character and his actual characteristics, but after this excellent episode it’s all my brain wants to do. What did it for me? The conversation between Sharon and her partner as they’re transporting bad-news Jody:
“Playing behind the beat all cool and making a girl do all the flirting. Sh*t only flies when if you’re a pretty boy like Eastwood there.”
“See, Raylan there’s got the badge and the drawl and the squinty, sexy thing and there’s a time I woulda run right to him, done the whole merry-go-round. And now I see that for what it is, and… him for who he is. That man’s an emotional disaster.”
And it’s not like that’s new information, because it isn’t. He’s living above a bar, he’s having a baby with a woman who isn’t in his life anymore, he’s got serious daddy issues, and he’s always at trouble at work. Yet, I root for Raylan. I want to see him happy. I want him to stop make bad choices. But I also like seeing the way his mind works, how it gets him out of trouble (or sometimes further into it). I also like his adversarial relationship with Boyd. I also like seeing him get into a whole lot of trouble with women.Â
So what makes Raylan tick? We know he wants to be as different from his father as he can be. So while his father is a criminal, Raylan’s a man of the law. While his father looks for way a way to get out of jail, Raylan is determined to keep him there. Arlo thinks the information he has on Drew Thompson is his ticket to freedom. And that might be true, but Raylan’s going to do everything his his power to make sure his father dies in jail. And Raylan’s not shy about telling his father that as often as he can.
Who’s the girl this week? Shelley Hennig‘s Jackie Nevada is yet another woman Raylan cannot figure out. After falling for the charms of that bartender, Raylan doesn’t quite trust himself around women. His radar, or bullsh*t detector – or whatever it is in his brain that lets him know if someone is telling the truth or not – doesn’t seem to be working that well these days. So while he likes the attention he’s getting from Jackie, he has no idea if he can trust it. And when she admits she’s got a crush on him (whether or not it’s true), he knows he’s being played.
I’ll admit it; I was nervous about Raylan’s final confrontation with Chris Chalk‘s Jody Adair. Here was a man who just knew Raylan wouldn’t draw on him. He called Raylan’s bluff and he lost. Raylan warned Jody that he could just kill him, considering the threats he’d already made against Raylan as well as the number of people he’d already killed. But Jody wanted to push his luck, make Raylan bleed like Raylan had made him bleed. Wanted to make Raylan suffer like Raylan had made him suffer. But it’s hard to imagine someone being a faster draw than Raylan. People have managed to get the drop on him in the past, but if it’s head-to-head, I’m always going to give the advantage to Raylan Givens.
So maybe Raylan will clean up his act one day. Maybe he’ll settle down with a good woman – heck, it may even be Winona – and raise some kids, and get out of the Marshall business. But I’m not ready for him to do that yet. All his emotional and personal baggage makes for a very good show and a really interesting character. So I guess I’m rooting for his f*cked up life to stay that way, at least for now. It’s damn entertaining.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.
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