Posts tagged boyd crowder
Posts tagged boyd crowder
Season 4 of Justified has been action-packed, full of mysteries, and crowded with death. Even for a season of FX’s modern Western, this year seemed to pull out all the stops. So now that we’re coming down off our Harlan County adrenaline rush, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments the season had to offer.
It’s easy to see the world of FX’s western drama Justified as particularly male. After all, the show primarily follows U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his dark mirror, criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). It’s a show where it’s easy to ignore the contributions and importance of the female characters, much as it would be in the tough backwater dealings of Harlan County itself.
The world of Justified, however, is full of messy, complicated, and great female characters. From Margo Martindale’s Emmy-winning turn as murderous matriarch Mags Bennett to Ava Crowder’s (Joelle Carter) road to the dark side, this is not a show interested in pigeonholing women in bland love interest roles.
You won’t see any Madonna/whore dichotomies in Harlan; even characters walking mostly on the right side of the law like Raylan’s ex-wife Winona (Natalie Zea) will occasionally dabble in the criminal life. The show never quite knew what to do with Winona, but felt most interested in her character when she gave into temptation and swiped a bag full of cash from a courtroom evidence locker. Why? Because Justified likes its characters to have the capacity for acts of both kindness and cruelty.
The show, based on stories by the prolific writer Elmore Leonard and helmed by showrunner Graham Yost, isn’t interested in clearly demarcating the difference between right and wrong. Unlike a childhood game of cops and robbers, the bad and the good blend together in a way that gives the world depth and gifts the characters with multiple layers. The criminals in Justified’s world can be downright charming, while heroes like Raylan are far from angelic.
Justified’s storytelling interest lies in the messy complexities of both hero and villain, and how the line between crime and justice can easily blur. This is certainly true when it comes to the female characters. There are few women on the show who could be pigeonholed as purely “good” or entirely “bad”.
For instance, season two’s main antagonist Mags Bennett was a cold-blooded killer, sure, but she was just trying to make a better life for her family. Like a moonshining Gatsby, Mags was just pursuing the American Dream with the only tools available at her disposal. She also looked after Loretta with a mama bear ferocity, made even more complex by the fact that it was Mag’s herself who’d killed Loretta’s father.
This season, Ava Crowder has also started down a very dark path. Once upon a time Ava only killed in self-defense; now she’s ordering a hit on the prostitute she once promised to protect. As Willa Paskin noted in her excellent piece on Salon, Ava is now an anti-heroine who just keeps breaking bad.
While Ava is obviously influenced by her Bonnie and Clyde love affair with Boyd, she’s always in control of her own decisions. It was her decision to let Boyd stay in her house, her decision to lift the ban on criminal enterprises, and even her decision to change her tune on running the prostitution business in Harlan.
Most recently it was Ava, not Boyd, who decided the ultimate fate of Ellen May (Abby Miller) should be death. This decision came about almost entirely out of self-interest, since Ellen May’s comprising knowledge has the power to land Ava behind bars. Ava is breaking bad just as surely as Walter White over on another cable show where drugs are currency.
Yet while Ava is clearly an anti-heroine, she and Boyd are still presented by the show with a great deal of sweetness. Their relationship is built on mutual respect, trust, and genuine affection. When Boyd gets down on one knee to propose to Ava, it’s clearly meant to be a heartwarming moment for these two characters. (And one which might have brought a tear to my eye, although I’m willing to blame allergies.)
It’s not a wholly pure moment however, as Boyd produces the ring from underneath a giant pile of cash accumulated from their criminal enterprises. As Boyd himself notes, they’re not exactly a normal couple. But it’s the dichotomy that allows for these two people to be at once beautiful and repugnant that interests the writers of Justified.
This holds especially true for Ellen May, a bit player on the Harlan stage until this season, when the question of her ultimate fate pushed her towards center stage. Initially Ellen May worked as comic relief, like when she accidentally shot a furry client in a bear costume. But even comedic characters have an inner life, and this season Ellen May began to be haunted by the things she had done.
A particular weight was the murder she’d witnessed by Ava’s hand. So Ellen May takes up with the new religious movement in town, the aptly named Last Chance Salvation church. In another great example of a female character being a lot more than meets the eye, the duplicitous mastermind behind the church’s hit on Harlan’s criminal element is actually not the preacher but his sister Cassie.
Ellen May’s inner life, usually denied characters like her, will clearly continue to reverberate for Boyd, Ava, and the rest of the criminal domino pieces in Harlan. In fact Ellen May could potentially be the key to taking down Boyd’s whole operation.
From Harlan County criminals like Ava to Lexington marshals like Rachel (Erica Tazel), the women on Justified are just as messy, complicated, and ultimately tough as the gun-slinging male leads. And we wouldn’t want them any other way.
Strap on your Stetsons because FX’s Emmy-winning hit Justified is returning on Jan. 17 for a third season. It’s been far too long since we’ve checked in with sarcastic law man Raylan Givens and watching the first four episodes I realized how good it felt to be back in the saddle again with the show.
Last season focused on the unfurling dreams of the Bennett clan lead by the dangerously good Margo Martindale as matriarch Mags. Throughout the season, Martindale’s performance as Mags became such a standout that losing her by season’s end was as much a tragedy for the show as in the show. Fittingly the ghost of Mags lives on in the third season, still haunting the lives of our favorite Harlan County residents.
Season three starts off on a great foot and hints at some further twisty complications down the road. For starters, Raylan has a whole lot more on his plate now that the downfall of the Bennett family has left a power vacuum in Harlan.
Stepping into the picture is a new addition from Detroit named Quarles, played with both scary intensity and boardroom cool by Neal McDonough. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve (some literal) and some less than savory connections to former small time crook Wynn Duffy. Plus there’s the mysterious Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) who has a history with Raylan’s criminal daddy Arlo (Raymond J. Barry).
The other power player is none other than Raylan’s sometime friend, often nemesis Boyd Crowder played by the always fantastic Walton Goggins. Boyd began to set up his operation and get back into the crime game last year and he continues his efforts this season.
What’s so great about the show is that the world of Justified is such a fully-realized one. From the Marshals office in Lexington to the backwoods of Harlan County, the show has such an indelible sense of place. Unlike many shows on the dial, there’s no mistaking the landscape of Justified for anywhere else. And just like a real small town, characters never truly disappear from the world of the show unless they do so in a body bag. Seeing minor characters pop up in different configurations and roles is part of the charm of the show, lending reality to the small town feel. Season three sees the return of several major and minor players from seasons past like Dickie (Jeremy Davis) and wise-beyond-her-years Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever).
What I’ve always loved the most about the show is its sly sense of humor, even in life or death situations. Most characters on Justified are some shade of gray and they all share a welcome sense of humor that grounds even the most outrageous acts. Star Timothy Olyphant has credited this to the writers and to the world created by the work of novelist Elmore Leonard, on which the show is based. But Olyphant himself is a big part of what makes Justified so intensely compelling. His U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens is flawed and tough while still retaining a very human sense of humor and compassion. The show itself rarely gives into the urge for melodrama, sprinkling even the most intense moments with bits of levity. It’s an adept show that can get a viewer to both cringe and laugh when its hero runs over a criminal (twice!) with his car.
It’s that ability to balance drama and humor that makes the relationship between crime fighter Raylan and criminal Boyd so fascinating. Underneath all the suspicion and hostility is a very real sense of camaraderie and affection. The two men might not always like each other, or indeed be on the same side, but their scenes always carry an undercurrent of respect. The beginning of season three sees quite a bit of the complex dynamic between the two, including some explosive fisticuffs in the premiere.
Season three also seems to be delivering on the promise of a more active Ava. Last seen shot by Dickie in the finale, Ava has certainly toughened up. She was already beginning to dip her toes into Boyd’s life of crime last season and this Bonnie and Clyde dynamic continues. Ava has always been a series standout since her intense husband-murdering monologue in the show’s pilot. Not many actresses could pull something like that off, but Joelle Carter has always struck the right balance between flirtatious and tough. It’s great to see Ava continue to develop and gain more agency.
The third season promises some nice stories for Raylan’s fellow marshals as well. Tim (Jacob Pitts) has a good time laughing at Raylan’s injured desk-bound state in the premiere. We see Chief Deputy Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) get out from behind the desk when tragedy befalls a fellow marshal. Underused but fantastic Rachel (Erica Tazel) also gets some nice moments, especially in the fourth episode where we learn more backstory on her character. Her interactions with Raylan have always been infinitely fun to watch. With an African American community introduced in the first few episodes, its possible Rachel will play a bigger part this season. One of the great things about Justified is its unflinching look at race in the backwoods and how bigotry still runs rampant in these communities.
Justified is a rare treat, a show with subtle humor, humanity and flawed heroes and antiheroes that feel like real people. Coming off a phenomenal second season, it would have been easy for the show to drop the ball. Don’t fret though; the third season is shaping up to be another gun-slinging, hillbilly-whispering good time.
Justified starts its third season on Jan. 17th at 10 p.m. EST on FX Networks.
What are you most looking forward to in Justified’s third season?
‘Justified’ Season 3 Preview Guide: More Trouble in Harlan
Last season on FX’s western hit Justified, U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) faced off against the deadly, apple pie-serving Mags (Margo Martindale). He might have won that fight, but he made plenty of enemies in the process. Meanwhile, his criminal counterpart Boyd (Walton Goggins) hooked up with pistol-packing Ava (Joelle Carter), last seen shot in the season finale. Not all love stories ended with bullets flying though: ex-wife and current paramour Winona (Natalie Zea) discovered she was pregnant.
The second season of the Kentucky-set western cast back into Raylan’s past to explore a family feud with the Bennett clan. It didn’t work out so well for the Bennetts but it did work out well for the show, which scored Emmy nominations and a win for stand-out actress Martindale. What will Raylan be up against in Justified season 3?
What to Expect from Justified Season 3
Familiar faces and ghosts from Raylan’s past will abound when Justified returns for its third season on FX on January 17. The fallout from Mag’s suicide in the finale will have an impact even beyond the first episode, according to TV Fanatic.
Dexter and Gossip Girl fans have another reason to be excited: Desmond Harrington will show up in the season premiere! The details on his character are mum but word is he’ll be sporting a southern accent, a tough attitude and connections to “businessman” Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). Looks like Harrington might get to show off some of the tough-guy skills he learned as the villainous Uncle Jack Bass on Gossip Girl.
Other familiar faces reappearing besides Duffy is Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and the always hilarious Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman). Of course this is Harlan, where there’s always another criminal right around the corner. In Justified season 3, we’ll be saying hello to two new complicated bad guys when Quarles (Desperate Housewives’ Neal McDonough) and Limehouse (24’s Mykelti Williamson) stop by to make life more complicated for our favorite lawman.
Speaking of complications, Raylan’s love life might get a bit messier with the introduction of assistant director for the U.S. Marshals Service Karen Goodall (Carla Gugino) in the episode airing January 24. The lovely Gugino is no stranger to the tales of Justified author Elmore Leonard, having previously starred in the short-lived TV adaptation of his work Karen Sisco. With her pretty face and tough demeanor, she seems like a natural object of affection for Raylan. Should Winona be jealous?
”They were always attracted to one another,” executive producer Graham Yost told Entertainment Weekly. ”But when Raylan was free, Karen wasn’t — that kind of thing. Now comes this situation where the attraction is still there, but Raylan has reconnected with Winona.”
Women aren’t the only thing complicating Raylan’s life, not when he has old friend turned weird friend/nemesis Boyd around. The two men have one of the most fun dynamics and complicated relationships on the dial, both admiring and suspicious at once. Expect to see more of the two of them butting heads and joining forces in the upcoming season. In fact, Raylan might even try to help Boyd out of a jailhouse pinch. Who could have seen that coming?
The official FX description of the Justified season 3 premiere, “The Gunfighter,” makes it a sure thing that this season will be as dangerous and exciting as ever: ”The arrival of a dangerous new player in Lexington puts Raylan on a collision course with a sadistic Dixie Mafia hitman.”
Justified returns to FX for a third season of gun-fighting and hillbilly whispering on January 17.
—Will you be watching? And what are you most excited about seeing this upcoming season? Sound off in the comments at BuddyTV.com!
Spoiler Alert: ‘Justified’ Spoilers
Last season FX’s western US Marshal drama Justified went out with a bang, or at least a glass of apple pie with some very unhealthy additives.
Thankfully, the phenomenal Margo Martindale received some Emmy recognition for her work as tough mama bear Mags. Less fortunately, Mags’ departure left a baddie power vacuum in Harlan. So what’s next for quick-drawing US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant)? Read on to find out!
Beware, Justified spoilers ahead! This is your last chance to turn back!