Justified s5 eps 8 & 9

Having already started to show this season of Justified nearly two years late, Spike has now cottoned onto Five’s other favourite trick and suddenly begun screening it in double bills. Hm. Presumably the idea is to batter through the rest of the season before Christmas but you know how we feel about double bills round here so FFS WOULD EVERYBODY STOP WITH THEM.

Sigh. Anyway, whatever the justification or lack thereof for burning off episodes like there’s no 2016, it turns out these two eps go pretty well as a thematic pair thanks to the common thread of Raylan (on a vacation that turns into a busman’s holiday because you can take Raylan out of Harlan but you can’t take Harlan out of Raylan) spending time with younger and older versions of himself.

Ep 8 has Wendy Crowe cajoling our reluctant hero – with hollow promises of info on her brothers – into rescuing young Kendall from the clutches of his deadbeat dad and the big man chasing his deadbeat dad round the country. It’s not a storyline I would have chosen and I think the truth about Kendall’s parentage is a bit cliched, but on the whole I actually really enjoyed that sub-plot; Timothy Olyphant’s weary exasperation is a joy to behold and Raylan recognising his own troubled youth in Kendall gives the hitherto uninspiring youngest Crowe some welcome depth.

Ep 9 meanwhile has Raylan heading down to Memphis on the hunt for Hot Rod Dunham and teaming up with maverick DEA agent Miller (a guest turn from Eric Roberts) who is basically himself in 15 years time.

Through both eps, the Boyd Crowder/ Crowe family/ drug smuggling business trundles on – that part of ep 8 is exciting, that part of ep 9 confusing since I didn’t entirely understand all the double-crossing going on. And meanwhile, back in Kentucky State Pen, the Prisoner Cell Block Ava saga began to really bore me, which is unfortunate, because, as I’ve said before, it’s taking up a lot of screen time which could be far more entertainingly utilised. By putting Rachel and Tim in them, for instance.

A mixed bag for this first double bill, then, but overall, ep 8 is great, and ep 9 has plenty of great moments, the best of which being the scene where Raylan and Miller interrupt Boyd, the Crowes, Wynn Duffy and Hot Rod’s ex-henchmen mid-standoff. “I would call this a United Nations of assholes,” says Miller. “Well, that’s funny,” says Boyd, “because we were just discussing ratifying some shit.” HEE.

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