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Season Four: Ya think ya get all your turmoil from me?


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#1

Atomic Clock

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Posted Apr 10, 2013 @ 2:38 PM

A few months ago before S4 premiered, I posted my wish list in the now-defunked general show discussion thread. These were things I felt Justified needed to do in order to rebound from a disappointing third season. I'm quoting partof it here to illustrate a point:

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1. Keep it personal. The reason the first two seasons of Justified were so good is because the stories were more personal to Raylan. In the first season, he was forced to come back to his roots and confront what he'd struggled to leave behind. In the second season, he was forced to dig deeper into the dark and bloody past of his family history. The third season faultered because the story got too convoluted and minimized Raylan's involvement.


Bingo!!! It can't get much more personal for Raylan than it did in this season. A legendary Harlan mystery floats to the surface in the search for Drew Thompson; a mystery to which Arlo holds the key. Raylan thinks it'll be a career-maker, but he keeps stumbling over his bad choices (hello Lindsey) to gain much traction. His family history with the Hill People was fascinating and I want to learn more. Arlo's death was sudden an unexpected and the final scene between father and son was quietly heartbreaking. Cap off the season with the infamous high school stand-off, Raylan and Winona with guns blazing and Raylan's execution of Nick Augustine by remote control, and you have a winner.

Speaking of Augustine, Yost said we wouldn't have a "big baddy" this year, but I beg to differ. Nick Augustine was more frightening than most any other villain (save Mags Bennett) than we've yet seen on this show. While I loved his bloody send-off in the finale, I do wish we could've seen more of him.

2. The character of Boyd needs to go somewhere. Either he needs to win big, or lose big. The finale of Season 3 was more interesting for Boyd because he too got to deal with the consequences of his actions in the murder of Devil. Beyond that, he spent a lot of the season running in place. I do think the bloom needs to come off the rose with he and Ava. The matching bullet wounds were cute and all, but she needs to start to pay a price for the life she's chosen.


Ding ding ding!!! Ironically, Boyd won and lost big in the same breath. He finally gets to break into the heroin trade and make some real money along side Wynn Duffy, but his fiance is going to jail for the murder of Delroy. Yes, the bloom is in deed off the rose.

Ava's conflict with Ellen May was fascinating as Ava searched for the line within herself. The introduction of Colt was a bit of a dud because we didn't get to learn enough about his connection to Boyd during Desert Storm, but oh well. It was worth it to watch his brief interactions with Tim.

3. It's not a stretch to think that Limehouse will be back. If we have to endure him again, no more waving a meat cleaver around while telling folksy stories and talking about how he wants to be left alone.


Again...bingo! We only saw Limehouse in two episodes, but his performance was far more compelling than anything we saw during Season 3. I gained a new-found respect for him when he chose to turn on Boyd and Ava and protect Ellen May. It seems he might be one of those rare Elmore Leonard characters that actually does change for the better.

4. I know we're getting new characters this season, but we need to see more of Art. Nick Searcy is a treasure and he needs to do more than just sit around the office and get annoyed by Raylan's antics.


Ahh well. Nothing is perfect. Still not enough Art for my taste, but I'll take what I can get.

5. Yes, Elmore Leonard is a good writer, but Justified can be a different, better animal if the writers will let it. I read the Raylan book and it left me cold. The mythology that Yost and company have created has shown that the student can in deed surpass the teacher.


The only real connection we had to the Raylan novel this season was Jackie Nevada. Mileage varied for the fans, but I liked her and wouldn't object to a return engagement as long as tptb doesn't overdo it.

Some other thoughts:

Many of the characters that make this show so rich didn't put in an appearance this year. No Dewey Crowe. No Dickie Bennett. No Judge Mike the Hammer. NO Loretta. But we got a few new winners. Constable Bob is the most obvious. He annoyed the crap out of me at first, but I love a guy who can take a lickin' and keep on tickin' and I will welcome him back in Season 5. I also would like to see more of Josiah Cairn, as you can never get enough of Gerald McRaney, as well as Raylan's cousin in the hills.

Hunter Mosley's return was unexpected and he did a great job, particularly since he turned out to be the man who killed Arlo. And Ellen May...damn! She's the only character on this show who has ever made me tear up as she forgave Ava for trying to kill her.

Preacher Billy was fascinating, not so much as a character in and of himself, but due to his affect on Boyd. I expounded on this more in the Boyd thread. I loved Cassie's ambiguous nature and hope to see more of her.

Finally, there's Drew Thompson, AKA Shelby. Alan Sepinwall had a point in that Shelby was the most obvious man to be Drew for dramatic reasons. I really thought he wouldn't leave Harlan alive. Cudos to the writers for defying my expectations. I would love to see Jim Beaver again, but if we don't and he lives out his life safely in witsec, I'll be satisfied with his final turn as the outlaw turned lawman undercover.

Aside from my praise, there were some weak spots:

The Clover Hill storyline was ok, but it seemed like kind of a stretch for Boyd to think that he could flush out Drew by consorting with a bunch of rich swingers. I find it hard to believe that the rich guys were pulling the crime strings in Harlan and Boyd hadn't known about it until now. As mentioned earlier, Colt didn't live up to his full potential. I know what Lindsey was meant to represent in Raylan's life, but I wouldn't shed a tear if she never appeared on Justified again.

There were a few plot points that didn't make sense to me as discussed in various episode threads. Why wouldn't Boyd dump Delroy's body in a slurry pond the second he realized Ellen May was a potential threat? Where the hell is Johnny? What was wrong with Brad Paisley's version of, "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive?"

Overall, this was a great season and a return to form for Justified. I'd rank the seasons 2, 1, 4 and 3 in order from best to worst. In terms of the best drama on TV, the writers took this show from a distant second place to nearly neck-and-neck with Breaking Bad. Can't wait to see what's in store in the fifth season.

What did others think of Season 4 overall?
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#2

VoiceofJoy

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Posted Apr 11, 2013 @ 3:54 PM

That possum's on the stump.

(granted, I am a "new" fan and this is the first season I've watched real time, so maybe that makes me more excited about it)
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#3

mrk63

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Posted Apr 12, 2013 @ 5:27 AM

I loved this season's return to the basic relationships of the show. Raylan with his fellow marshals, Raylan and Arlo, Raylan and Winona. Boyd and Ava, and, of course, near the end of the season, Raylan and Boyd. Waiting until the end to bring those two into each other's shadow again was masterfully played. As a study of Raylan's motivations in life, the whole season resonates with his desire to do the right thing and his struggle to acknowledge the part of himself that can't quite allow him to make it happen. We saw new sides to Rachel, Tim, and Winona, letting us in a tiny bit on three of the most under-developed characters. Here's to hoping that continues in S5.

The only way I would differ from Atomic Clock is my ranking of the seasons. For me, S2 and S4 are too close to call. Both excellent, both with fascinating characters and great insight into what makes them tick. If S4 is slightly ahead, it's probably because it just ended and I can't get it out of my mind. S1 would be a close second to that tie...while I loved the introduction to Raylan's world, there were too many clunky moments for it to be my #1 or clear #2. S3 is clearly my least favorite, although there were excellent scenes and episodes (especially early on), the whole Quarles thing just felt over-the-top to me.

Still, no matter which season you prefer, it's the best show on TV, with the best acting and writing, hands down.

My hopes for next season are simple. Another worthy story line. Not necessarily a big mystery or a big bad, but something to get our four marshals out there together. I wouldn't mind seeing one or two of them out of Kentucky, like when Raylan and Rachel went out to L.A. in S1. I really want to see Raylan's baby girl, and more of Winona. The last scene between her and Raylan was so tender and said so much about their love for each other that it will be hard to see how he could be with anyone else, even casually. (As to the attraction some see with Rachel...no...writers...just don't go there!) I'd like to see how Tim reacts to Colt's shooting. What plan will Boyd hatch to get Ava out of jail? Where is Johnny? I wish we didn't have to wait nine months for the answers to start.
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#4

thatguy01

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Posted Apr 12, 2013 @ 3:57 PM

IMO, S1 is underrated. It has terrific standalone Elmore Leonard type stories before the producers had time to respond to catching lightning in a bottle with Walton Goggins' Boyd and hired him as a regular to close out the season, which in turn built to "Bulletville." So many great hours that kept introducing great characters.

S2 in four words: Winona robs evidence locker.

That's like the great student who has to average an F into her grade for the semester.

Edited by thatguy01, Apr 12, 2013 @ 6:44 PM.

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#5

Atomic Clock

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Posted Apr 15, 2013 @ 10:37 AM

I've never seen a perfect season yet on Justified. Then again...I've never seen a perfect season on any show except Breaking Bad, which is why I rate it as the best series on television. Yes, the Winona money story did drag S2 down a bit. But then, we did have Lindsey and the chicken truck this season.

As awesome as the Drew Thompson story was this year (Jim Beaver in particular), nothing that we saw topped the awesomeness that was Mags Bennett. Arlo's murder is the possible exception to that statement, but even then, I don't feel we got quite enough emotional fall-out from it. Yes yes...I know Raylan isn't a guy who emotes, especially over Arlo, but we needed a little more follow-up than we got imo. And not just from Raylan, but Boyd as well. That's another complaint I had and Yost acknowledged that it was a problem. Boyd and Arlo never connected once. That failing only serves to dampen the S3 finale even more for me.

As for Season 1, yes, the first half was uneven, but once Bo Crowder and Wynn Duffy came into the picture and Boyd walked, all of the pieces fell into place that elevated Justified from a standard Elmore Leonard procedural into something epic.


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#6

babyblackcat

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Posted Apr 15, 2013 @ 2:29 PM

It's a tough call with Season 2, but Season 4 might be my favorite now. I really want to rewatch the whole thing again as I've done the earlier seasons, but haven't had a chance to do so yet. I really enjoyed all the stuff with Raylan dealing with Arlo and his eventual death, and all the parallels back to season 1 and the comparisons of Raylan's life with Boyd's. I also loved the mystery aspect of it, even when it wasn't incredibly twisty or shocking, it was still so great to watch. First scene to last, it was an incredibly well crafted season.

I didn't find Season 3 disappointing at all though - it wasn't their best, but it was still darn good television. I loved the introduction of Noble's, everyone going for Mags' money, and all the different confrontations between Raylan and the bad guys. Every season has expanded the universe a little, and I like that.
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#7

pinkcadillac

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Posted Apr 16, 2013 @ 11:48 AM

i started watching seas. 2 about a month ago, and after falling in love, watched the whole series in about 3 days.....am going to start a rewatch very soon....cant say right now what my favourite season is/was...
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#8

gl_shark

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Posted Apr 22, 2013 @ 5:26 PM

What did others think of Season 4 overall?


Loved season 4, and "Decoy" was my favorite episode. I would loved to see it get nominated at Emmy time in the writing category.

When I visit my family, we catch up on the shows watching 2 or 3 at once. This season was so fun we were coming up with t-shirt ideas. "Drew Goddamn Thompson" was one idea because Boyd was always saying it.
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#9

pinkcadillac

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Posted Apr 23, 2013 @ 7:09 AM

oh, i would so buy that shirt!
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#10

ChipBach

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 9:52 AM

I think season 4 was my 2nd favorite. Season 2 was just so god-darned good. Although the first 5 minutes of season 1 might have been the best introduction to a show and character on TV...

I have to agree with most of the original post. Some of the things I had lingering problems with:

- Ava getting caught with the body. This seemed a contradiction in Boyd's character. He is so thoughtful, devious, and calculated and to have this issue hang him up seems silly for many reasons. First, I am not sure why they hid Delroy when they shot him. He was clearly going to kill EM and Ava protected her. In every other case of self defense they call the police. Then why not throw Delroy in the slurry to start with? Finally, it would seem that all Boyd had to do to cover the Delroy issue was throw a handful of C4 down the shaft and destroy the body, shaft, etc. Why Ava didn't drive the body directly from the funeral home to the slurry never made sense. Her henchmen dude knew what she was going to do with the body, what sense did it make to stop, toss him out, and do the job alone? Finally, they allowed the funeral director an opening to recapture leverage? Boyd did a pretty good job of putting him in his place, why would you put yourself in a position to trust the dude?
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#11

Atomic Clock

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Posted Apr 24, 2013 @ 3:01 PM

I am not sure why they hid Delroy when they shot him. He was clearly going to kill EM and Ava protected her. In every other case of self defense they call the police.


I don't think a claim of self-defense would've washed. Yes, Delroy intended to kill Ellen May, but EM's life wasn't in eminent danger in the interval that she ran and hid under Ava's protection. She could've called the police at that time and turned Delroy in, but she didn't. When Delroy showed up, Ava was not in danger. She killed Delroy when he was not a threat to her.

But yes...why Boyd didn't hide Delroy's body in the slurry from the start is a mystery. The slurry would've taken care of him in three days. You'd think Boyd would've learned from Mags' mistake after she left Walt's body in a shaft.


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#12

ChipBach

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Posted Apr 25, 2013 @ 3:52 PM

Thinking back on it, Ava and EM may have dumped the body before Boyd was aware of it.
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#13

Atomic Clock

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Posted Feb 10, 2014 @ 1:58 AM

I spelled turmoil wrong.

Let's think of it as a gesture of stupidity that equates a respectful nod to the absent Dewey Crowe. Yeah...ummm...that works.


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#14

stillshimpy

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Posted Mar 27, 2014 @ 9:50 AM

Okay, I'm going to ask because I'm thinking about bailing here.  Is Patton Oswalt's character going to get any better?  If not, is he less prominently featured going forward?  I've watched one episode of season four and I was mortified on behalf of the show for including a character that could have been played by Don Knotts when he was famished for scenery.  

 

It's that bad as far as I'm concerned.  How big a focus is the guy in the Gremlin?  (a touch that made it that much worse)

 

I'm sorry to sound so incredibly negative.  I like this show a lot.  Timothy Olyphant is great, but if I have to sit through something that relies on borderline farce that often, I think I have to take a pass.  Was the "I'm a Cartoon of a Cliched Stereotype!" incompetent-yet-boastful-rejectee-from-the-mall-security-force thing just for the introduction?  I am so hoping that someone says "Yes, it will improve" otherwise ye gods and little fishes, that was not worthy of this show. 


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#15

Inquisitionist

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Posted Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:03 AM

I don't know how far into S4 you are, but I loved this season.  And Oswalt's character will surprise you, as will many other things.  Stick with it!  ;-)


Edited by Inquisitionist, Mar 27, 2014 @ 11:04 AM.

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#16

Atomic Clock

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Posted Mar 27, 2014 @ 12:59 PM

Constable Bob does get better, yes.

Also, I don't want to spoil anything, but Shelby's character alone makes the season worth the trip. Then there's Nicky Augustine, and Picker, and Tim vs. Colton, and Sheriff Hunter again, and...I better shut up. Oh, and episode 4.11, "Decoy," is one of the best episodes ever to come from the series.

I'm really shutting up now.


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#17

stillshimpy

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Posted Mar 27, 2014 @ 1:56 PM

Guys, thank you so much. Seriously, I appreciate the encouragement to stick with it and I'm going to do so. I just needed to know it wasn't going to be "Hey, they added a purely 'comedic' character" :-)

I'm kind of relieved. I'd miss Raylan and Boyd terribly.
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#18

soapfaninnc

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Posted Mar 27, 2014 @ 2:14 PM

I'm kind of relieved. I'd miss Raylan and Boyd terribly.

 

You have to stick with it. It's so worth it.  One of the best Raylan/Boyd scenes of the entire series is the last episode of Season 4 IMO. 

 

​Season 4 did start slow but I'd have to say Seasons 2 & 4 are the best so far. Seasons 1 & 3 were not bad by any stretch just that the characters and the stories weaved were just freaking awesome in 2 & 4.


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