tv review – FX’s Justified, episode 5.9

‘Wrong Roads’ wasn’t all that special, but what it had going for it was a get-together of some of Justified‘s greatest characters, portrayed by fine actors who deliver the show’s signature banter with great gusto. Because of it Justified got back some its spark and felt like Justified again. The episode also introduced us to Eric Roberts’ DEA agent Miller, a nice addition to the cast. Roberts, always exuding charisma, sleeziness, cool and wits, was a joy to watch. Raylan and Miller were trying to track down Hot Rod, which led them to Jay and Roscoe who, because of this, were set on the trail of Boyd Crowder. It was a nice chain of events that led to one of the season’s most enjoyable scenes: a meet between Boyd, Picker, Duffy and Daryl Crowe Jr., which got disrupted twice because firstly Jay and Roscoe barched in, and later Miller and Givens. It was a tense and humorous scene, a blend Justified once excelled at.

What didn’t work, again, was Ava’s story: it’s a distraction among much more interesting material. After last week Ava told Boyd to do something for a prison nurse, who would then smuggle heroin into the prison. This led Boyd to kill a man, but in the end it turned out it wasn’t enough. The nurse held all the cards and demanded Ava would kill Mother Superior too, otherwise nothing of the deal will come to fruition. This turn of events wasn’t a surprise and we’ll see what Ava will decide to do next week. It’s unfortunate how much Justified loses its momentum during the prison story, and how much of the show’s signature style is missing in those scenes. There just isn’t anything interesting there, no originality, it’s a plot all too familiar to the audience.

Miller was an interesting addition because of the actor portraying him, but also because he functioned as a warning to Raylan. This man could very well be Raylan’s future self: a man invested in his work, married to it, with only CI’s as friends. Never did the show mention it, it was a neat and subtle parallel, reinforced by Art’s speech at the end of the episode. Now what’s left to be seen is if Miller’s still alive next week: he tried to bust Dewey and Danny Crowe, but that didn’t go so well. With his cousin facing Miller on the road, Dewey started the truck and hit Miller who was left on the road with an agitated Danny Crowe near him. Hardly a good sign.

With ‘Wrong Roads’ Justified got its groove back. Let’s hope the show keeps it up; we’re in the homestretch now. 7/10

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