Actually, I opted for the more standard left justification.
Okay, a brief disclaimer for anyone who’s never read one of these Rooster Recaps before: this is spoiler central. Seriously, the entire article is just one big spoiler… that’s sort of the point.
I have the rare and unparalleled privilege of recapping the newest season of FX’s Justified, which is probably the best show on TV right now. My sincerest apologies to the authors of the other Recaps. If you’re unfamiliar with Justified, you should rectify that. The show, now in its fifth season, follows Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a gun-totin’ modern-day cowboy trying to uphold some semblance of the law in his home county, Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan deals with a varied host of antagonists and allies throughout the course of the series, but everything usually ends up connecting back to his buddy/nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins).
The preceding season focused on the hunt for Drew Thompson, a man thirty years thought dead. The search brought attention from the Detroit mafia, allowing them to tighten their stranglehold on the criminal enterprises of Harlan, it sowed discord amongst the Crowder outfit, revealing Boyd’s cousin Johnny’s (David Meunier) betrayal, and tangentially resulting in his fiancée Ava’s (Joelle Carter) arrest for murder.
One of the nice things about Justified is that despite being a straight-forward crime show with very few earth-shattering twists, it still manages to take things in unexpected directions. Season Five kicks off in the same way, in a court room where Raylan is finally being tried for his (ahem) mistreatment of redneck petty criminal Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), a series regular, though absent for all of season four. Not wanting Dewey to become more trouble than he needs to be, the defense offers him a settlement of $300,000, which he gleefully accepts.
Dewey receives some unwanted attention after a cousin of his, Dilly (Jason Gray-Stanford) is implicated in a murder in Florida, which was technically executed by Dilly’s Cuban criminal cohort Elvis (Amaury Nolasco). Considering a possible link to Dewey, who spent some of his newly earned money to purchase Boyd’s lucrative brothel, Raylan heads to Florida to assist Deputy Sutter (David Koechner) in his investigation. Now, those of you who have watched since season one will remember that Raylan operated in Miami before being transferred to Kentucky, and still has several ties in the area, including a familiarity with the current patriarch of the Florida Crowes, Daryl (Michael Rapaport). Oh, and his ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) is currently living in Miami with their newborn daughter… who I’m pretty sure is yet unnamed.
Not wanting the whole family to fall apart, Daryl agrees to hand Elvis over to the marshals. His paralegal sister Wendy (Alicia Witt) agrees to escort Elvis, but he pulls a gun on her and escapes. Sutter and Raylan track him to a dock where he’s setting sail to Cuba. Raylan shoots the boat, causing it to take on water, but rather than turning himself in, Elvis draws his gun and the marshals shoot him.
Meanwhile, Daryl, now realizing that most of his criminal enterprises are disintegrating, has Dilly killed and, under advisement from his Haitian associate (Edi Grathegi), decides to pay his cousin Dewey a visit in Harlan, but that’s for the next episode.
While all this is going on, a second plot focusing on Boyd unfurls. Boyd is trying desperately to clear Ava’s name, but that grows difficult when the Dixie mafia seemingly attempts to screw him over. His associate Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), who’s Kentucky’s conduit to Detroit, insists that Boyd’s heroin trade is not being intentionally upset by the guys at the top. So, Boyd and Wynn go to the head office in Detroit to sort things out. Man, is it ever weird up there. Though the sequence in Detroit only takes place in two buildings, they do an awesome job of establishing what the criminal scene is like up there. Harlan is the poorest county in the country, but these scenes take all that destitution and poverty and scum and sickness and cram it into one derelict office building.
Oh, so the other important thing that happened in the season four finale is that the power in Detroit switched hands. Theo Tonin (Adam Arkin), the boss, fled the country and gave control to his son Sammy (Max Perlich), whose first act as king was to eliminate his father’s second-in-command Nicky Augustine (Mike O’Malley). So, Wynn and Boyd arrive in Detroit to deal with Sammy when, to their great surprise, Nicky’s old sidekick Picker (John Kapelos) betrays Sammy and murders him. Boyd and Wynn manage to overcome Picker, and Picker confesses that in the power shift, he betrayed Sammy to the Canadian mafia (which is a quaint concept), and that if Boyd wants his drugs, he’ll have to deal with them.
Boyd, Wynn, and Picker go to a Tim Horton’s (of course) to meet the Canadians, who assure Boyd that, if he hands over his money, they will deliver the shipment he was promised. Though things are changing, they want to keep Wynn as their man east of the Mississippi, and Boyd as their Kentucky manager. A little wary, but with no other options if he hopes to get enough cash to save Ava, Boyd accepts the offer and hands over his money.
Later, Boyd pays a visit to Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the rich jerk who set Ava up and turned on Boyd. Paxton refuses to pay off the judge in charge of Ava’s case, but says that he’ll clear Ava of all charges if Boyd confesses to the murder and gives himself up instead. Boyd, not totally taken with the idea, beats Paxton to death instead. Maybe. He could be alive. It’s made ambiguous by Paxton’s wife Mara.
As of yet, we haven’t seen much of the other marshals, Art (Nick Searcy), Rachel (Erica Tazel), and Tim (Jacob Pitts), and Johnny Crowder’s whereabouts are still very ambiguous, but I’m sure all will be cleared up soon. The big questions regard the Crowe family and the new management up in Detroit.
Oh, and another new twist: Jere Burns, who plays Wynn Duffy, is now officially a regular cast member. His name appears in the opening credits and everything. No more guest starring for him. I’ll be very interested to see how his relationship with Boyd develops.
If you watch Justified in a drunken stupor or if you’re unable to catch every episode, make sure to check here for recaps of all future episodes!