The Justified: City Primeval Roundup is a weekly recap feature where we take the various people, places, and things from the new limited series and score them on a scale from one to five cowboy hats. We play fast and loose with the rules here, similar to the way Raylan Givens handles an investigation. A real loose cannon situation over here.
EPISODE ONE — “CITY PRIMEVAL”
Trying to carjack Raylan Givens in the cold open of a Justified spinoff series
Buddy, that is a recipe for a bad day, especially when Raylan has his kid in the car. Although, I suspect it would’ve worked out the same way if he were alone. It’s kind of Raylan’s thing, this whole “calmly thwarting bad guys who wish to do him or those around him harm” business. We know that. We’ve seen him do it a lot in Kentucky and at least once before in Florida. These two know that now.
This opening section also did something smart, which is turn Raylan’s “loose cannon who shoots first and sometimes plays fast and loose with the Bill of Rights” deal into a liability. Which… it kinda should be in any reasonable world. It’s fun to watch Timothy Olyphant crack wise and toss loose-lipped punks into his trunk but it’s also good to remember how bad that would look in a long piece of investigative journalism in some newspaper.
A lovely start after a long break. Welcome back.
Barry, the guy who got sold out to the authorities by his own mother
Tough, tough week for Barry. Busted for trying to blow up a judge with a car bomb, which he did because the judge slept with his mother after sentencing him to prison, and which he got caught for because the same mother sold him out to the authorities. That’s really just a tough run. He did get that pot roast, though. There is that.
Dumb flaming drinks, generally
Here’s something to think about…
If you order a big loud fizzly sparkly drink at a bar, it looks pathetic. But when you order, say, fajitas at a Tex-Mex restaurant, which are just about the same thing from a presentation standpoint — sizzling, popping, steaming, all of it — everyone looks and is all “oooooo” as the plate hovers past them, jealousy and hunger burning in their eyes and stomachs.
Lots to think about here. There should be an entire college course taught on this phenomenon. The course should serve fajitas during every class session. You know, for educational reasons.
Judge Alvin Guy
Two things are true here:
ONE: The Justified franchise has a long history of colorful judges — please go back and rewatch Stephen Root’s performance as a fiery Kentucky jurist, both to help me prove my point and also because Stephen Root rules — and I was very excited when we were introduced to Judge Alvin Guy, a hot-tempered, mother-seducing egomaniac who was being investigated by the federal government and liked to waive around a ledger filled with potential blackmail. I was actually kind of sad to see him get gunned down so early, even if the misdirect of it all — authorities wondering if he was killed for reasons related to investigations and/or blackmail instead of just your standard road rage fiasco — looks like it’s gonna be fun.
TWO: Keith David, who played Judge Guy, has been in everything over his long career, and I really do recommend you zip over to his IMDb page sometime and start scrolling. It’s a fun way to spend five or ten minutes.
Sandy the Casino Waitress
- Seems like a fun lady
- Kind of got stranded in that car with the Albanian mark while her psycho boyfriend chased down a judge and murdered him over a parking garage fracas
- Is going to be difficult for me if she sticks around this series because I am incapable of saying this name in my head without going full-on Travolta about it
We all have some problems here.
See, you think you like a jukebox. You’ll notice it and go “Oh, nice, a jukebox” and go over and pick a few songs and it’ll be a fun time for everyone. But then you remember a few things. Things like, for example, other people getting to use it, too. And those people having different musical tastes than you and playing, to choose an example at random, 15 Dave Matthews Band songs in a row. And things like some people being little punks and shoving a million quarters into the machine to play one song over and over, like in the John Mulaney bit about “What’s New, Pussycat?” This can all go sideways very fast.
My point here is that the music in a bar should not be a democracy. Just pump something in and keep it consistent.
Sweety the Bartender
I don’t have a super great read on this guy yet beyond knowing the following things:
- He runs a dive bar that he pours drinks at himself and has a pool table
- The bar seems to cater mostly to riff-raff and defense attorneys
- He is an old man who goes by “Sweety”
Too early to vault him into the four or five hat section but this is a very promising start.
Two things are true here as well:
ONE: What we appear to have on our hands here is an old-fashioned chaos agent, as opposed to the calculated menace of someone like a Boyd Crowder. Very little thought or planning is going on here, and even the stuff that starts out that way — rolling an Albanian hot dog tycoon with his casino hostess girlfriend — gets sidetracked immediately by… well, by chaos. We are about 50 minutes into this whole endeavor and he’s already murdered a crooked judge and marched off with a blackmail ledger. I’m very excited to see where all of this ends up. I hope he gets to use a rocket launcher at some point.
TWO: It is very funny to me that the main antagonist in the original Justified series was a character named Boyd and the antagonist in this new Justified series is played by an actor whose real name is Boyd.
It’s nice when things fit together.
Police dogs that climb trees
Real good news, bad news situation here. Because, like, I love the idea of dogs climbing trees. It would be fun to be out just strolling through a park and see three of them chilling in a little treehouse. But on the other hand, I don’t love something as pure on paper as “dogs climbing trees” being used for police business. Kind of tarnished the fun of it a little.
I don’t know. I’ll think about it more and get back to you.
Well well well…
It really is nice to have Timothy Olyphant back on my television screen in a cowboy hat running around solving crimes. I… I don’t think I realized how much I missed that. I’m trying to be careful here not to let my vision get clouded with rose-colored nostalgia glasses but… I don’t know, man. It’s just still really, really good. You could send him to a new city every few years for a new little limited series and I don’t think I would ever complain. Pretty much a perfect match of character and actor.
I touched on this earlier, but it really was nice how the show handled the whole “plays by his own rules but gets results, dammit” of it all at the beginning of the episode. Times have changed a little in the last 10 or 15 years. It’s okay for Raylan to have to deal with that, too, especially now that he’s out of Harlan and no longer in a place where he’s a known entity.
It’ll be fun to see how he navigates Detroit, kind of in a reverse Beverly Hills Cop situation. And, now that I typed that sentence and have it in my head, I guess I wouldn’t hate if Eddie Murphy shows up as Axel Foley in his Lions jacket at some point. I would probably start barking and clapping like an aquarium seal. I’m really not a very complicated person.
Carolyn the Lawyer
Very early but I think we like her. She fights for her clients and she’s got a loser ex and she and Raylan kind of made little heart eyes at each other when she wasn’t cooking him like a sirloin steak on the witness stand. I say all this knowing that I am susceptible to being easily wooed by charismatic defense attorneys who may or may not have one foot in the underworld. You know, the Saul Goodman of it all. I feel okay about it.
I could end up being very wrong on this one (I am wrong a lot), but my read on her so far is “female Tim Gutterson” and that is really not a bad place for any character to start out from.
A few notes here:
- I love pretty much any wise-cracking kid in any movie or television show, especially when that wise-cracking kid is paired with the type of hardass character who usually pushes around adults but gets flummoxed by the kid’s shenanigans
- Willa is played by Timothy Olyphant’s re-life daughter, Vivian Olyphant, which is cool
- I would like to see her kabong a bad guy with a frying pan like Ava Crowder
Calling someone “Slim”
This is just cool. “Slick” also works, especially if the person you’re talking to isn’t tall and skinny. I’m a fan of a well-placed “champ,” too, although that can come off dismissive if the tone isn’t right. It really all depends on the situation and delivery, but it’s very, very cool when it works. Try one of these out this week and see if it flies. Little homework assignment for you.
Having Justified back
Let’s just go ahead and do this every summer.