Justified, “Bulletville”

I’m a little late on my Justified recap thanks to a weird two days where I somehow avoided the internet and my blogging responsibilities all together. So odd.

ANYWAY, “Bulletville”: Pretty solid, right?

Raylan has been fighting his past and his emotional baggage all season long and although there are some missed opportunities here, the episode brings most of those issues to a head. And actually, as much as the episode is about Raylan’s inner turmoil, there is a lot of focus on Boyd and his problems as well. In the end, these two men are products of a messed up community and a boatload of messed up parenting and all they have is, well, each other really.

Both Raylan and Boyd find out that in the end, their fathers are always going to look out for themselves and the strained ties between the two fathers and two sons is never going to improve. Bo Crowder finds out that Boyd blew up the latest delivery of meth and decides he’s done with the reborn version of his son. And so, he kills every single one of Boyd’s new followers, leaving the Crowder son aimless and having a crisis of faith. Walton Goggins played the scenes wonderfully and it was nice to see that the conversion Boyd had in prison ended up being real, it’s just that he doesn’t know what that really means for his life moving forward. A person could have all the faith in the world when things are going well, but with all sorts of adversity ahead for Boyd, it will be interesting to see how he feels about his life and his god.

For Raylan, he’s not surprised to see that Arlo is willing to sell him out to Bo, but I’d imagine that there was just a smidge of hope that things could change. But after Arlo reveals his plan, the Raylan we’ve seen in recent weeks try to figure out how to avoid shooting people at will becomes unleashed. He tells Arlo to never call him son and then shoots him in the arm. When a few of Bo’s henchman show up, they’re capped too. And later he pops a couple of folks from the Miami cartel as well. I think all those killings are justified, right?

However, “Bulletville” didn’t always feel like a finale. I understand the desire to keep some things open for next season and I assume that’s the reasoning for keeping the Miami bass alive, but that’s the story that’s the least interesting moving forward. Bo’s now dead, Arlo doesn’t have anyone to cut a deal with — well, for the time being — and now Boyd and Raylan seem to be on the same side or have at least come to a general understanding. So where does Raylan go from here? Surely there are more Crowders that could come out of the woodwork, but I can’t imagine anything will be more personal than dealing with Boyd, Bo and Arlo.

It would be interesting to see a Raylan who is more guilty over his actions, but “Bulletville” didn’t create a situation where any of the killings could make him feel bad at all. For the most part, he was just defending himself. So I can’t quite say where Raylan goes from here. Boyd, however, offers more of a compelling story moving into season two, because not only does he face a crisis of faith, he has to deal with the death of his father — a death he would have rather caused than watched. Is revenge in his future?

Either way, I’m satisfied with how the season turned out, especially in the second half. Your thoughts on S1 of Justified?


One response to “Justified, “Bulletville””

  1. Agreed with your comment that it didn’t feel quite like I thought the finale would. Even though Raylan’s conflicts with his past and his family and friends were clearly the most compelling storyline this season, I think the finale could have gotten away with less payoff of those storylines. You’re right, there doesn’t seem to be that much conflict going forward, especially now that Boyd seems to have been absolved of our suspicions about his motives and Raylan seems inclined to believe he’s a changed man.

    I think another critic (Poniewozik?) pointed this out as well, but “Bulletville” sort of regressed Raylan’s character from the person who seemed to be dealing with his trigger-happy nature and suppressing it to the Raylan who shot the drug cartel guy in Miami. And I liked the Raylan who had a lot going on underneath his skin that he was trying to hide more than the Raylan who’s free to shoot wantonly. That’s too easy for Tim Olyphant to play, and not as compelling a performance.


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