Coover was a genius…
“I love this shit, this shit makes me hard.”
“You kill anybody?”
— Tim Gutterson
Justified: Debts and Accounts (2.10) and Full Commitment (2.11)
Hello moth-chasers: just a heads up that for the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging solo and if he has time, Travis will chime in (he just had a newborn!)
What an amazing set of two episodes! I’ll say a few words about the second to last episode before touching on this week’s episode. First, I make a lot of Art’s line that Raylan is a “lousy marshal, but a good lawman.” It is hard to figure out how to parse it. Does Art then mean that he knows about Raylan and Winona, but also knows that Raylan wouldn’t do anything genuinely immoral? Or does it mean merely that Raylan is good at killing lawless folk that deserve to get killed? He is justified, but not ultimately justifiable. And if this latter point, what exactly would that mean? Second, the entire interaction about families, loyalties, and truces was exceedingly fascinating–I’ll say more about this shortly. Third, it is fascinating to see Boyd choosing his path and wow–what a distance we’ve landed from the first few episodes. It is amazing what they’ve managed to do with Boyd since his transformation (or re-transformation) is still entirely believable and quite consistent. Also interesting is Ava’s relationship to Boyd, serving–again I may add–as a neat parallel to Raylan’s explanation to Winona: “I didn’t help you because I’m an outlaw, but because I love you.” Is this the case for Ava?
As far as this week’s episode. Wow. Well, we know all hell is going to break loose in the next two weeks as Raylan begins to piece together the fairly complex web of characters, involving not only his father and Boyd, but also Dickie (and thereby Mags) and Ava. It will push all of Raylan’s loyalties in various directions and it’ll be quite interesting to see not only who is left standing, but also who Raylan will be at the end of it. On the whole, the role of family is exceedingly fascinating in this season (and in this it shares this theme with Sons of Anarchy). We have the Bennet’s. It is interesting that Mags admits that she had some part in raising an idiot (although he was–as the episode so proudly and amusingly pointed out–also a genius!) And we see the same at play with Dickie. We also see how quickly the town turns on Mags (i.e. it will not be as easy as she thought). Nonetheless, Mags has her wealth and her power. But, it’s hard to say what she’s gained with the wealth, since we can easily see that she’ll be losing even more of her family–indeed if not the whole thing. Nonetheless, in not taking the Black Pike deal, she would also be destroying her family since the family was on a dead-end course. We get the Crowder’s making a resurgence based on family bonds, but they are bonds artificially woven given Johnny’s deformity and Ava’s distaste for the majority of the (dead) Crowder clan. I need to think more about what the stakes of family is in such shows — I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. Part of it surely seems to be that SOA and Justified present family as the last vestige of maintaining something like authority or normative claims when other traditional forms are corrupt or destroyed (e.g. civil society or whatever), but, in part, I take the shows to argue that the unit of ‘family’ was never separate from the market or anything like it, and so already through and through corrupted by its presence…or something like that.
The plotline with Winona and Gary was quite interesting–it is interesting to see the show looking at the philosophy of action it has sort of layed down. Both Gary and Winona have done things, neither of which was sure exactly why–as viewers we tend to have sympathy for Winona, but not for Gary–is it simply because Gary’s actions are that much more dangerous and malicious? Or is there something else at play?
Finally, looking forward to seeing how all of the plot lines play out. Will Gary leave? Is Aunt Helen dead? And, will Dickie and Boyd be able to recruit better henchmen?
In any case, looking forward to your thoughts when you get a chance,