'Justified' season premiere review: Pullin' guns and 'cultivatin' herb'

Justified demonstrated at the start of its second season last night that it’s working on a level that is, if anything, even more cool, witty, and serene than its debut season. It takes some guts to avoid trying to rev up the pace just to show viewers we’re back!, and to resist worries about the sophomore-year jinx. Timothy Olyphant is the actor most attuned to Elmore Leonard’s source prose since George Clooney captured the polite-cool-cat pose perfectly in Out of Sight.

Wednesday night’s Justified revisited old friends. Thank goodness Walton Goggins is still around as the grinning bad man Boyd Crowder; even better, Boyd’s dropped much of his born-again piousness but remains a devious rascal. And how nice that Olyphant’s Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is amorously assiduous in his persistent pursuit of his ex-wife, Winona (Natalie Zea). By the way, fans of Ava (Joelle Carter) did not need to despair, since she’ll now intriguingly, bafflingly be reunited with Boyd. (We love Boyd for his volatility, but why would any woman want to live with that?)

Added to the mix was Mags Bennett (veteran character actress Margo Martindale, getting a fine showcase here), a backwoods big-time pot grower now looking to take over Bo’s market for meth dealing. Mags is as ruthless as her son Dickie (Jeremy Davies – Lost’s Daniel Faraday) is gimpy. Mags has two more sons who are dumber but no less mean than their mama.

Add Raylan’s track-down of a fugitive sex offender, good use of a bear trap, and prickly 14-year-old Loretta, and I thought the season was off to a great start.

How about you?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (91 total) Add your comment
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  • DTO

    I’m just really happy it’s back.

    • Sarah O

      Me too! Tim Olyphant is so great, as is the rest of the cast. I missed this show!

  • sam

    Just fantastic. Can’t wait until next week.

  • Alex

    I love this show so much. It took a while to warm me up to it, but thanks to Walton Goggins’ fantastic portrayal of Boyd Crowder, I am a believer!

  • Gabriel

    No offense, but you’re a f***ing moron. Ava is not shown with Boyd in the first episode. Meaning you’re letting details slip from the rest of the pre-screened episodes. Be more mindful of the actual audience who doesn’t have the privilege of seeing this in advance

    • Sven

      How that could that possibly be construed as offensive?

    • Danny

      I think, they made it very clear that Raylan and Ava are done – and that she might be reuniting with Boyd. So I don’t think, that Ken slipped anything.

    • Elizabeth

      Well, Ken and I must be smoking some of the Bennett’s product, cause I saw her too… unless the flashback to last season doesn’t count in your book.

      • Sam

        Gabriel is right. Ava is not shown WITH Boyd. There was also no mention of Mags taking over Bo’s meth dealing. WTF Ken? I don’t know what you mean by Boyd and Ava reuniting. How can people who were never together in the first place be reunited? Ava was married to and murdered Boyd’s brother. She always despised Boyd last season. I usually don’t troll but if you’re going to spoil key plot details for everyone you should at least know what you’re talking about.

    • Kyle

      THANK YOU…I wasn’t going to be as harsh as some of you, but I was like uhhh the only time we saw Ava was from the footage of the S1 finale–unless she was w/ Boyd in the mind at the end of the ep, where was it ever stated she was ‘w/’ him? And also, NO mention made of Mags taking over the meth stuff. I suspected Ken may have seen more than just the premiere…grrrrr.

      • Kyle

        in the MINE* oops. haha

      • Ally

        Yall are ridiculous. Is it really that big of a spoiler that the new drug dealers introduced would try to take over the Crowder’s territory and business since the head of the family was killed? C’mon.

    • kaydevo

      Ken, why are you reporting on stuff that hasn’t happened yet? Ava and Boyd were only shown at the show’s start, as the end of last season’s finale was re-shown. There was NO mention of Boyd hooking up with Ava, and how did you see Boyd’s current demeanor? And there was no mention of Mags taking over Bo’s meth biz. You should declare SPOILERS up front and not pretend to do a re-cap (this certainly wasn’t one!). BTW the show was great. Can we get somebody else to review Justified please?

      • george

        Do any of you people understand the English language????

        He says “since she’ll NOW intriguingly, bafflingly BE reunited with Boyd” it doesn’t say SHE IS reunited. He clearly is telly you what WILL happen as the season progresses.

        He also says MARKET for dealing meth… no mention of SELLING meth, just the market in which Bo sold.

        It’s a simple language, if you just learn how to read the words.

      • Harry

        Hey George… if you are going to make fun of people and their understanding of the English Language, it may help if you use it correctly yourself.

        What the hell does “he clearly is telly…” mean

    • Fahad

      Really? That’s all you get from Raylan’s motivations? I see so much more, indncuilg (some admittedly cliched): -Desperately wants to escape the life of a Kentucky coal miner and in his need to escape, does things that force him to go back home. In his buddy Boyd, sees the reflection of how life would have gone had he not become a lawman.- Even more desperately, wants to avoid becoming his father redux.- While not exactly a motivation, constantly feeling the need to show everyone how smart and tough and unbeatable he is, since all the people he grew up with and is now returning to do not think much of lawmen. The exchange between Raylan and Boyd (Raylan: I am a deputy United States Marshal! Boyd: You are a GIVENS! ) was a fantastic illustration of this point.

  • Sven

    Just hope FX or hulu posts it soon…

    • Doug-H

      FX stuff typically takes a week to show up ON Demand or online.. not until all FX showings have been on.. Get your DVR set..

      • Maria

        Easily my favorite new Drama since Madmen. I fucnikg love this show- and I don’t think there’s been a better adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s work since Out of Sight. Only here, it’s more impressive since much more of Justified is based on original material but it just feels like a Leonard book.Anyway- as a huge Star Wars nerd I went uber gay for this clip when I saw it a few weeks ago, even going as far to send Matt a tip’ consisting of there’s this promo out there but I can’t find it.. but you should totally go look for it. Am I rambling? Yes, but I’m just goddamn excited for season 2.

  • MCS

    I wasnt really that big a fan of the first season, but just watched this out of curiosity (and I love a good cable drama). I was really impressed, looking to be a good season. Always, always impressed by Margo Martindale – she and the rest of the Bennetts look to be hard as nails.

  • damian

    It was a really good start indeed but can you really call that a review?

  • C-Lee

    Great episode. Only show on TV right now that my husband and I watch together (and I secretly love me some Olyphant).

    • Mddmouse

      @C-Lee Me too! Public face to hubby, “Isn’t this such a good drama?” – which it is; private commentary – “Woo Hoo, that is a fiinnne man!”

    • Carla in Houston

      Amen! I could just look at Timothy Olyphant for the whole hour each week. It’s just gravy that I also get a great show as well!

  • Diane

    Glad its back….it was too long of a wait…I needed my Raylan Givens fix.

  • casey

    I thought this season started out with a bang. Literally. Ha ha. Puns aside, I’m finding the Bennett clan even more evil than the Crowders. The previews for the season looked amazing. I’m excited for this show to be back. Timothy Olyphant is boss.

  • Lyn

    Best line: “Just because I’ve shot the occasional person doesn’t make me a thief.” Line that made me gasp: “I’ll raise her up myself” — that woman epitomizes backwoods terror!

    • Flyer

      When Mags poisoned Loretta’s dad and then told him she’d raise Loretta, I thought, “that woman’s got ice water in her veins.” If the dad hand’t called the police hotline, Loretta would have been raped and killed. Sure, maybe Mags would have done something to the pedo if he ever showed up again, but it’s clear Loretta’s life wasn’t as important as keeping the cops out of Harlan.

      • TG2

        before any of you even think about the Mags and Cops aspect, you need to understand Harlan County.

        You DO NOT go outside for help. Its handled within the community, PERIOD!

        This is why Loretta’s dad was killed, and if you paid attention in those scenes, the subtle nature of “handling it”, explains this very volitile nature to outsiders, or to anyone that goes “outside” to resolve something.

  • J

    I love Jeremy Davies, but every time I saw him I kept thinking about Daniel Faraday.

    • Flyer

      For me, all reminders of Faraday disappeared when he pulled out that bear trap. What they did to Loretta’s dad was so twisted, and almost funny in a really dark way. “Let’s shoot him!” “That’s not enough. We also need to bear-trap him.” “Okay, okay, we’re sorry we did all that stuff to you. Oh by the way, we just poisoned you.”

  • tigger

    When it was over my husband said, “He didn’t shoot anyone tonight, did he?” Nope, first episode we could recall where Raylan didn’t shoot someone. Great episode though and I can’t wait until next week.

    • stacey

      I love this show. I can’t get enough of Timothy Olyphant. I am not sure if it was Raylan or Boyd but one or both of them shot the guy on the private plane. So I think his record of shooting or shooting at someone in every episode is still going. Can’t wait for next week. Loved the preview of next week’s episode when his boss calls Raylan the hillbilly whisperer. So funny and so true.

    • michael curry

      He shot the drug dealer heavy in the gulfstream…..

    • Carla in Houston

      I loved how Raylan sprayed the pedo with gasoline and then made a point to tell him that by now he would’ve usually shot him, but he was trying to take a less violent approach. Also loved him telling the guy how dumb he was for not knowing better than to shot a gun when you’re covered with a flamable substance. Great line readings by Timothy. He makes Raylan not only sexy but cool!

  • rebecca

    I thought this episode was great! Since the Crowder family was the main villain of last season, I am guessing the Bennet family is going to be the villain of this season, which means that I will definitely be liking the bad guys this time around!!!

  • CCam

    Love that the hat is back! Especially love that Raylan had to work without his gun all episode. The Bennet family looks to be an interesting cast of characters! And who else really wanted to try Mag’s apple pie moonshine?! (The non-poisoned kind, of course). It sounds delish!

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