TV Recap: Justified, ‘A Murder of Crowes’ (Season 5 Premiere)

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Does U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) ever get a break? Nah. The Hero of Harlan once again finds himself slowly becoming embroiled in a fight against another family gang. This time, it falls to the clown of last season, Dewey (Damon Herriman) who is handed a $300K settlement as a result of mental and physical damages inflicted upon his person. His cousins catch wind of it, so it becomes safe to say some sort of family reunion will take place soon. Off the bat the producers and actors remind us while there is a serious tone to each season, the absurdity with some deaths or simply how characters fall into certain unfathomable situations are addressed with cynicism and sarcasm. Raylan often wonders “is that even possible?” and at moments the viewer asks the same thing. I address this first, as last season was chock-full of “how stupid can you be” moments and while yes, there are a lot of moments where you would think the writers of the show are going over the top, but the fact there are characters who acknowledge the very same thing reinforce the reality of the existence of individuals who through juvenile behavior wind up in bizarre, yet entertaining situations.

Photo Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FX Networks
Photo Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FX Networks

“A Murder of Crowes” contained a lot of significant events, halfway through the episode one could forget early deaths only because later ones are all the more intense and unexpected. While everything in the episode is significant, it is also confusing as to which events should be treated as most important. The writers and producers have crafted “A Murder of Crowes” much like the first episodes of previous seasons. The characters are introduced, set into place, and several plot points are placed and left open to the imagination for future speculation. In terms of how he handles the criminal element, Givens has not changed. However, now he is a father. His personal life has been flipped upside down, and the ghost of Arlo (Raymond Barry), his own father weighs heavy on the shoulders. It is clear a question to be answered later will be whether Raylan is going to follow in his father’s absent footsteps or whether Raylan will break the mold and be a different man. An opportunity to see Winona (Natalie Zea) and baby in-person is passed over, a decision Raylan may regret sooner than later.

On the flipside, Boyd (Walton Goggins) appears to be regressing to a more vicious, uncompassionate man. Boyd has spent the last few seasons trying to handle business respectably, according to his definition, although last season saw Boyd being pushed to his limits. With his wife incarcerated, Boyd feels his efforts to be a better man failing. Could we see Boyd ultimately embrace evil once again? Boyd and partner Wynn Duffy )(ere Burns) either in comedic or pathetic fashion fall into a power struggle in Detroit. Thanks to the quick death of Sammy Tonin (Max Perlich) and the news big Theo has headed for greener pastures put Boyd in a no-win situation where only brute force and merciless execution will ensure his survival.

Photo Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FX Networks
Photo Credit: Kurt Iswarienko/FX Networks

While it is clear there will be a series “Big Bad” focus, meaning a main foe for Raylan, there are also some sub-levels of the criminal element who will either align with Raylan for find themselves in the employ of this new criminal element. It is a toss-up which of the criminal gangs will turn out to be the main focus, or whether Darryl Crowe (Michael Rapport) is successful keeping his dimwitted family as the stronger foe. My eyes bulged out of my head when I realized our two Canadian gangsters were none other than Dave Foley and Will Sasso. You want to hear about the legend of Tim Horton? Let Foley and Sasso tell you. Even the appearance by Amaury Nolasco from Prison Break served as a reminder how you never know which television personalities will show up in Justified.

I expect the season to also show us if Raylan is not really or unwilling to be a father, and how his yin-yang counterpart Boyd Crowder is going to survive yet another bout with a mafia grabbing at his neck. Chainsaws. Don’t forget about the chainsaw. Boyd is going to miss his ear.