By Craig Hubert | Last night’s episode of “Justified” continued right where we left off: Raylan, learning that his father killed somebody in prison the previous evening, sets off to get more information about the mysterious bag. Raylan’s new girlfriend has a troublesome person from her past that has returned, and Boyd and the Pastor (and possibly his sister) are squaring off to determine who will run the criminal element of Harlan County. A few new characters show up, and few old ones (thankfully) return, and the main storyline is starting to fall into place.
Raylan’s New Squeeze
After the departure of Winona last season and the reveal that she is having Raylan’s child, we never expected the writers would introduce a new romantic tangle so quickly. But Raylan’s new squeeze, a bar waitress who we assumed was nothing more than background candy last week, turns out to be a little more important to the narrative than we first thought. “Justifed” loves to hint at Raylan’s sexual conquests but, more importantly, also loves screwing up his love life: Remember, this is the second time he’s been with a woman who is married (although the first one was his ex-wife, remarried). Winona’s husband was a loveable loser who meant well but kept on messing things up and needed Raylan to save him; this new guy, who we never hear by name, is a little more dangerous, some kind of backwoods bare-knuckle boxer with rage issues and a strange sense of humor. It’s hard to tell what role he’ll play in the overall arc of the season, but we imagine he’ll beat up Raylan a few times and cause trouble, at the least.
The Bag is Back
Waldo Truth, the man whose identification card was found in the bag introduced last episode, has a family full of criminals with long rap sheets. Tracking them down offered the writers an excuse to put Raylan, Tim (who never gets enough screen time), and their boss, Art together for a good chunk of the episode. Art, as we find out, is struggling to keep his job.
We’re looking forward to the writers teasing this out, with Art playing a bigger role in the action instead of a comic foil to Raylan. Maybe this will finally be the season where the rest of the Marshall’s office does something instead of make jokes at the expense of Raylan? We still know very little about the bag, but the reintroduction of Win Duffie, a baddie from last season, will hopefully help toward tying all the stories together. Right now, it feels like a lot of loose strands, and we have no idea where this story will end up.
The Pastor and His Sister
“People in Harlan County still party on Friday and Saturday night and get saved on Sunday morning,” Boyd says early in the episode, clearly letting the shady, snake-charming new Pastor in town get under his skin. Until Boyd confronts the new holy man in town, we almost forgot that he was once a preacher himself. Boyd is floundering; he thinks he has his new nemesis figured out, but we suspect the opposite. The wild card here is the Pastor’s sister, who is possibly pulling the strings and, we suspect, more dangerous than her brother. Maybe the sister is running a drug operation through her brother’s tent revival without him knowing? They are certainly creepy, and, even though they have no record of criminal behavior, are up to no good (why else would they be in Harlan County?). And let’s not forget Ellen May, the born-again prostitute who, last season, was a throwaway character, stepping to the front. It will be exciting to see how she’ll be incorporated into the fold, and where her allegiances truly rest. This is “Justified,” folks: Everybody is always conning everybody else.
Questions to be answered: Will Constable Bob return? What part will Colton Rose, Boyd’s buddy from Desert Storm, play in all this? Is Raylan’s new girlfriend hiding something? How will the already divergent storylines come together?