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'Justified': The Best and Worst Of 'The Kids Aren't Alright'

January 15th, 2014 1:30pm EST

Justified Today, the depressing yet predictable news that Justified would end in its sixth season was released. Although it’ll be sad to see this amazing show, filled with some of the most redeemable, charming characters in television history, go, it’ll be interesting to watch the trajectory of this season to see where the show will be heading in its final season. Will Raylan and Boyd have a show-down that will head towards them being major adversaries next year? Is a major event going to change Raylan’s outlook on the law and his place within it?

Everything that happens this season will point towards how the show will end, so it’s bound to be a fun ride. Tonight’s episode is the first where I’ll be looking for those sorts of clues. Hopefully it will make for a more enjoyable viewing experience.

Now for the best and worst moments of “The Kids Aren’t All Right”

Best: Raylan and Loretta

The relationship between Raylan and wayward child Loretta has always been one of the best in Justified. In season two, he was a good influence in her life when she was surrounded by child molesters, drug dealers, and bad parental figures. Since her father was murdered by the Bennets and her wannabe family ended up being the culprits, Loretta has spent time in foster care building her connections in the small time drug world. Raylan pops up in her life every once in a while to point out that she’s messing up her life, but not long enough to actually make a difference. Their dynamic has always been sweet, showing the best side of Raylan.

That’s why it’s so cute that she called for Raylan when she was arrested for selling pot to a cop’s son, telling the police that he was practically her stepdad. Maybe she was simply setting him up to take care of her crazy, angry drug dealer problem. Or maybe she just needed a few words of advice from the only person who makes her feel like she’s worth anything. Either way it was nice to see the two together again.

The best part was when Raylan told Loretta a story about getting arrested when he was about her age. His friend was bailed out by his parents in no time, while his father left him to stew in lockup overnight. Raylan does the same for Loretta, not letting her off the hook for her crimes. In a way, Raylan is acknowledging that his father may have actually done him some good in his life, influencing the path he eventually took. By leaving Loretta locked up, he may be pushing her towards the same realizations he probably had when he was younger. Raylan is acting like a better father to Loretta than he does to his own daughter.

Worst: Boyd and Mara Paxton

In her small amount of screen time, Mara, the Russian wife of the still-living Lee Paxton, has made a good impression. There is something interesting about her, whether its her ambivalence towards her boring husband or her street smarts. I like that she doesn’t cower afraid of Boyd and Deputy Nick Mooney and just give them what they want. What I don’t like is the direction it may be heading between her and Boyd.

First Boyd mentioned he found her attractive. Then he seemed to begrudgingly respect the way she was shaking him down for money. I really want the show to explore Boyd’s short attention span towards the things he puts his whole heart into. He abandoned his ministry, his preachy racism, and his limited straight and narrow path. Will he end up dropping Ava just as fast? If so, hopefully its due to his ambition (and his connection to Wynn Duffy, Detroit, and now Canada could point toward that) not lust for Mara.

Best: Sammy Tonin Fallout

Last week I bemoaned the fact that a dozen characters were introduced while established characters got a bullet. Sammy Tonin, the son of Theo Tonin, was one of the victims of the character annihilation. In the previous season, Tonin got rid of Nicky Augustine for Raylan, as he was threatening to kill his family. (No great loss.) Now it looks like Tonin’s death may actually have consequences for Raylan and be that great foreshadowing to the final season I was discussing earlier. If Art finds out that Raylan facilitated Augustine’s death, he won’t ever trust him again, let alone allow him to stay a Marshall. Tonin’s death may be the beginning of the end of Raylan’s career.

Worst: Only a Sliver of Rachel and Tim

We only got one scene of the underused Marshalls. The episode could have used a lot more of them sassing Raylan for his poor life and career choices and a lot less of random drug dealers shooting random druggies with BB guns.

Best: Raylan Talks About His Past

Raylan’s history has always been fascinating. He grew up in an abusive home, surrounded by crime, yet grew up to be a lawman. Tonight Raylan discussed his past twice. First, he shared with Loretta his father’s wonderful parenting skills. Later he told the story of watching people he knew get shot, which lead him to learning to use a gun long before joining the Marshall service. Raylan’s likely been thinking more about his childhood ever since his own child was born.

Worst: Social Worker Alison

Unless Alison ends up being a secret criminal, her addition on the show feels like treading water. Raylan doesn’t really need a love interest because it’s not that kind of show. His on and off relationship with Winona made sense because it helped show what sort of person Raylan is while the show was still trying to establish his character for the audience. I doubt the audience is waiting on baited breath to see if Alison (played by Amy Smart) will finally give into Raylan’s charms. And if she’s being introduced to die, that’s as far from desirable as possible. However, if her continued presence on the show meant more Loretta, I’d be all for it.


Related: Justified, Recaps

Photo Credits: Fox Broadcasting Company

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