The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

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“You kicked the man out of the house, when he’s on house arrest?”

— Raylon Givens

Justified, “Life Inside”

Dear Travis,

What a satisfying show and what a great start to this season. As far as I can tell there are two broad themes developing here; these themes are equal parts conceptual and equal parts character-driven. The first is what Raylan’s step-mother aptly calls a “neat trick” — trying to escape the past. While the second is the rise and role of women in this show.

On point of the former, it’s exceedingly well done how the entire show tracks various elements of the past: from the 9 months prior to the present moment to last week’s murder of Loretta’s father, to the even more ancient past of Raylan’s relationships (not to mention Boyd, Eva, and Raylan’s Miami past). All of these themes and motifs are expertly presented so that they interweave into a dynamic tapestry…one that is driven as much by the characters as much as broader themes dealing with the most abstract (good vs. evil) to the more general (e.g. the legacy of racism and sexism, as the image of the confederate flag aptly hints immediately after Helen’s comment about the past).

On the point of the latter, we see women front and center in this episode, but in a strange way. First, I am extremely excited by the prospect of so many interesting female characters this season. Not only do we have Eva and Winona, but this season we have the addition of Mags, and I suspect, Loretta. this episode was quite elaborate in the way the various female facets interacted (“I never had a daughter before” was both apt and just plain creepy.) What struck me, however, was how pivotal women were, but nonetheless how indebted and anchored to the men they still were. Although they wield power, they essentially exist in a man’s world (a phenomenon you aptly pointed out in Sons of Anarchy as a sort of post-feminism). Here, we have the episode centering on two women, first Mags and Loretta, then Cassie and the guard’s wife. All are central to the action (no second half without Cassie, no Raylan finding the bad guys without the guard’s wife), but they are essentially at the whims of the men and, in one case, are a mere carrier for the man. It’s a strange sort of agency, that isn’t fully demeaning, but neither fully activated or potent.

In any case, I am looking forward to seeing how things develop with Raylan and the women in his life, but mostly I am interested in seeing how Raylan and Mags interact and what will unfold between them. I am certain it will be nasty as both of them are quite stubborn, unrelenting, and set in their ways. Both–to speak with Omar Little–have a code.

Until next week,


Written by Martin

February 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Justified

Tagged with , , , ,

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