Justified Season 5, Episode 8 “Whistle Past the Graveyard” Recap

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With just one episode of “True Detective” remaining and a still a month until “Game of Thrones” returns for its Fourth Season, it’s become clear that there’s going to be some time to fill in the upcoming weeks on this burgeoning blog of ours as far as the TV department goes. So I thought I’d start with what has been consistently one of my favorite shows for the past five years: “Justified”.

Unfortunately for me, the first episode I’ve chosen to recap has instantly been panned as one of the all-time weakest in the show’s storied history. TV critic extraordinaire Alan Sepinwall had this to say about it, “’Whistle Past the Graveyard,’ though, was the first episode of the season — and one of the few episodes in the life of the show — to fall almost completely flat.” I believe that the brunt of the criticism of this episode, as well as of the Fifth Season as a whole (which is now 8 episodes deep), that there is almost a complete lack of cohesion between the respective storylines of the two characters who have always been the backbone of the show: Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. Additionally, this season seems to sorely be lacking a strong antagonist, especially in comparison to years past (Mags Bennett, Robert Quarles, etc.) In fact it’s not even clear at this point WHO that antagonist is supposed to be. If it’s Daryl Crowe Jr., I’m afraid that despite Michael Rapaport’s best efforts at menacing Southern drawl, that’s just not going to cut it in the eyes of many viewers. Danny Crowe is menacing in a dangerous, loose cannon type of way, but he hardly has the personality or the wits to fill that void. Also, this season has been shockingly thin on certifiable lunatic and woman’s tennis aficionado Wynn Duffy. With all that being said, I think that the writers have earned our trust and there’s still time to pull this season together and finish strong. Onto the episode itself…

This week on “As the Crowes Turn” we open with Boyd, Jimmy, and the Crowes (Daryl Jr., Danny and Dewey) dealing with the aftermath of dropping American bodies, in direct opposition to the cartel’s orders, south of the border. Boyd, as is usually the case, is able to talk his way out of trouble by agreeing to haul the bodies, and the large quantity of heroin with them on their voyage back to America. They only get so far before running into problems on a smaller scale (corpses in an unventilated area tend to stink) and on a much larger scale when the ragtag group is pulled over by a Mexican police squad. Despite Boyd’s efforts to tell the officers that they are simply a group of Bible thumpers spreading the good word in a country that is already 85% Catholic, his act has gotten less convincing over the years and the officers aren’t buying it. As one of Mexico’s finest points out, Gringos only come to Mexico for two things: Margaritas y drugas. Boyd ends up forfeiting two thousand in cash as well as the truck, and all the heroin stashed within.  Despite their setbacks, Daryl winds up calling on an associate that can help them retrieve some of their lost cargo. Daryl is trying to make his brethren indispensable, but it certainly seems as though everything is setting up for Boyd to bring those hopes crashing down in the weeks to come.

On a slightly more disturbing Crowe tip, we’re also introduced to the “Uncle’ Jack” that Kendall Crowe reached out to in desperation at the conclusion of the last episode. Turns out that not only is his “uncle” a lying, two-bit scheming pussy, but that he’s also not actually the boy’s uncle at all, but his father! Turns out Wendy, who we’ve been led to believe is Kendall’s sister is actually his mother after she fell for Jack despite the fact that he was a, “real hustler and asshole piece of shit”. Kendall, for his part, already figured this out on his own. Anyway, Jack is on the run from a man named Michael, whose son Jack put into a coma (by blindsiding him with a brick) after he figured out that Jack was stealing money from him. Jack gets Kendall mixed up in all this by “kidnapping” him the second Wendy takes her eye off of him.

This prompts everyone’s favorite ginger Crowe to call none other than the vacationing Raylan Givens, who is trying to convince the suspended Alison to go to Florida with him on his trip to see Winona and his baby daughter by showering her with swimwear (awkward). Raylan pitches in on the condition that Wendy discloses everything she knows about her brother Daryl’s illegal activities. During this time, Jack manages to screw up even worse by scurrying away with his tail between his legs at the first site of Michael, leaving his 15 year old son alone with a potentially dangerous stranger (As if Kendall hasn’t been through enough for one day. Poor Kendall). Eventually, Raylan gets everything under control (Without even shooting anybody! He is on vacation after all…) rescuing Kendall and arresting Michael and Jack because, “…he’s a fugitive and you’re a dick”. Unfortunately for Raylan, the only info on Daryl that he gets out of Wendy is that he’s “in Mexico”. Raylan really is a sucker for a pretty face and a questionable relationship with the law.

Stray Observations:

-Another storyline that I’m just not that invested in thus far is Ava’s. This week we see her dislocate her own shoulder in an attempt to score some painkillers and start her mini drug empire within the prison walls. One positive note is that the prison nurse requires “her man” to commit an undisclosed act on the outside. Hopefully this will bring Ava, Boyd and eventually Raylan back into the each other’s business back in Harlan County.

-Apparently, Jimmy is fluent in Spanish. That’s…kind of weird.

-Raylan trying to keep Kendall’s spirits up was a nice touch, even if it did end with Raylan handing him his envelope of scam cash. It even included a touching eulogy to the dearly departed Arlo: Raylan trying to give advice to Kendall.: “I didn’t grow up with a whole family full of trouble. Just one. But he was the asshole king of them all.” Raylan’s mentoring history has been spotty (see: Loretta) thus far, but hopefully Kendall beat the odds of being at least half a Crowe and eventually make something positive out of his life.

-Boyd’s response to Daryl’s insistence that he wants to become “family”: “You keep in mind I just executed the last blood relative I had.” Boyd is not one to mince words and needing Daryl and trusting him are, indeed, two entirely different things. Daryl would be wise to heed his warning. Somehow I doubt that he will.

-I also highly doubt that Raylan will ever make it to Florida.

-Dilly’s dead Jack, Dilly’s dead.

-“The dude I was on, I could feel his insides letting go!” –Dewey “Four Kidneys” Crowe

-I’m currently binge watching “The Americans” and plan on doing recaps of Season 2 in the near future, so look out for those!

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