If you didn't watch the first season of Justified, you missed out -- Timothy Olyphant is pretty amazing in this rural crime drama. He plays the character of Raylan Givens, a Deputy U.S. Marshal who gets transferred to his home state of Kentucky after a bad shooting, and he's all smiles and Southern "aw shucks" charm until it's time to break out the gun and the grim determination. And since his new jurisdiction includes his hometown of Harlan County, we get to watch him reconnect with various phantoms from his past, including an ex-wife, a high school flame, an old mining buddy turned radical, and his grifter father. It's fun to see how he deals with the familiar faces he meets, and to find out how he knew them in his previous life, and it makes it that much harder when he has to shoot them. The new season looks like it'll be more of the same, and I'm certainly not complaining, because the new villains are pretty dope (pun intended).
The first 20 minutes are given to wrapping up the story arc from last season, where Raylan's mining buddy Boyd helps him take down some killers who came up from Miami for revenge. (They also killed Boyd's father, which was a mistake.) Once that's out of the way, and Boyd's in the wind again, Raylan gets to settle into the case of the week -- a reported sex offender harassing a teenage girl. As Raylan and his fellow deputy Rachel Brooks investigate, they cross paths with the Bennetts, a marijuana-growing family who look like they'll be this season's long-term villains. The matriarch is Margo Martindale (Dexter's Camilla), and her "tads" are Jeremy Davies (Lost's Daniel Faraday), Brad William Henke (Lost's Bram), and one other guy who's also a police officer. While the drug-growing cop is a scary customer -- he plays it real cool when he reconnects with his old pal Raylan -- it's hilarious to see the two Losties being all evil and/or stoned (usually both). And Raylan knows all of them, which makes it awkward when he has to ask them about their pedophile employee while politely ignoring their side business, not realizing how ruthless the Bennett family actually is. By the end of the episode, even the folksy matriarch is shown to be a horrible, horrible monster.
As long as they keep Davies and Martindale around, I'll keep tuning in to see if Boyd shows up and to see what happens to young Loretta, the pedophile's almost-victim who gets taken in by Ma Bennett at the end of the episode. One of these days, she's gonna find out who killed her father, and she's gonna have to go all Winter's Bone on these people. And while I don't really know or care where they're going with Raylan's on-and-off relationship with his ex, I'm curious to get to know the unassumingly badass Deputy Brooks more, and how she deals with the undercurrent of racism she faces on a daily basis. Now if they could just change the cheesy rap theme song to something more country, like the Sons of Anarchy theme, we'd be all set.
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