What a cracking start to the season.
Art lends a mildly disgruntled – but slightly mellowed? Or is that wishful thinking on my part? – Raylan to Marshals on the trail of the fantastically-named Elvis Machado and the Florida Crowes. (Not a tribute band, FYI.) In a bid to short-circuit matters, Raylan points out that “we got a perfectly good Crowe right here in Kentucky,” but, as we find out during an utterly hilarious scene, the newly-rich Dewey either can’t or won’t help, so off our hero heads to sunny Miami to catch some crooks (in more ways than one) and avoid seeing his ex-wife and baby daughter because that hat ain’t big enough for all the Manly Man Feelings he’d have to deal with if he saw them in person.
On the other side of the law, meanwhile, Boyd and the majestically-eyebrowed Wynn Duffy head to Detroit after a dope deal goes sour, and find themselves in the middle of a trade disagreement between their suppliers and their suppliers – I think? – that I’m not sure I entirely understand, but somehow manages to be both grim, gory and blackly funny at the same time.
And that’s Justified for you. Reviews suggest that season five may not be as good as the others, and, on the one hand, it’s easy to see from this first episode how things could go wrong: Darryl Crowe could easily outstay his welcome, Wendy Crowe could annoy me by getting the better of Raylan like Lynsay/Lynsey/Lindsay the bartender did in season four, and whatever is going on with Boyd and the Canadians could get wearisome. So, yeah, it’s easy to see how things could go wrong. But it’d also be churlish to worry about that now, when everything in “A Murder of Crowes” is so marvellously, gloriously right. From the opening court scene to the final seconds, this is Justified at something close to its wonderful best; unapologetically smart, wickedly funny and completely, thoroughly engrossing. The writing is amongst the sharpest on tv, and Walton Goggins as the grandiloquent, ruthless Boyd and Jere Burns as the magificently deadpan Wynn Duffy are absolutely terrific, of course. But my heart belongs to Timothy Olyphant’s weary, laconic, coiled-spring of a Marshal Givens. Swoon. Great to have you back, Raylan. Great to have you all back.