Justified Episode 5.02: “The Kids Aren’t All Right”

There was so much great stuff that I’m not even sure where to begin. So let me start with the titular kids, one of whom is Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever), one of the pivotal figures from the brilliant second season of the show.

Note: we're dishing here—you know there will be spoilers! And now that's it's been announced by showrunner Graham Yost that the show will end with next season (sigh), every moment feels even more precious to relive.

Loretta’s back, and she’s in trouble again: she and her loser boyfriend Derrick (Riley Bodenstab) got caught selling weed to a cop’s son, so Loretta reaches out to the one person who’s consistently had her back, Raylan Givens. At first I was a little disappointed that clear-eyed Loretta had developed a crush on someone as ridiculous as Derek, but I should have known better: the entire thing was just part of Loretta’s scam to cheat Memphis marijuana kingpin “Hot Rod” Dunham (Mickey Jones) out of a whole lot of money. It’s always great to see the continuity on this show, so I enjoyed getting a glimpse of Hot Rod again, but what I enjoyed even more than that were Hot Rod’s henchmen, Jay and Roscoe, played by real-life brothers Wood Harris (who was so memorably Avon Barksdale on The Wire) and Steve Harris (The Practice, among others). They were hilarious even when “Seal-Team Six-ing” a hapless “brother” who’d been cheated out of money by Loretta and Derek. (Though obviously, it was all Loretta’s plan, because Derrick is kind of an idiot.)

Loretta scares me sometimes, but at least her heart’s in the right place, because she made sure to get Raylan involved when she realized Derrick might actually get killed because of her. I love the relationship between Raylan and this pseudo-daughter, in whom he sees so much of himself, but it’s also a little sad that he’s a much better father to Loretta in many ways than he is to his own actual child, whom he couldn’t bring himself to visit when he was in Florida last week. Maybe this is part of Raylan’s curse in relationships in general; there’s no one better to have around in an emergency, but he’s sorely lacking in the skills needed to navigate the more mundane aspects of a life with other people in it.

Considering relationships and life outside the law, Raylan managed to wangle a date with Loretta’s social worker, and I really liked her and her cool assessment of all Raylan’s personal damage. I hope she’s a keeper! Raylan also managed to move into a giant fancy house owned by a Racist Scumbag who was apparently involved with the Detroit mafia or the Dixie mafia which has now been confiscated by the U.S. Marshals. Raylan is also driving a very fancy Mercedes, also confiscated by the U.S. Marshals. I did not know that was one of the perks of the job, and now I want to see Art Mullen ensconced in a sportscar of his own. What do we think he’d choose?

Speaking of Art Mullen: he may be Raylan’s friend and sometime mentor, but he’s also a very savvy lawman, as his follow-up on Nicky Augustine and Sammy Tonin’s deaths showed us last night. Uh oh for Raylan! I smell trouble with a capital T headed his way.

Meanwhile, in the other main storyline (which has yet to intersect with Raylan’s, though I have every faith it will), Boyd Crowder is learning the hard way that being the boss isn’t always a piece of cake. First of all, there are his drug distribution problems; the Canadians from last week promised a shipment (their last), and they did ultimately deliver, but someone hijacked the delivery. My money is on Cyrus (Bill Tangradi), last seen shooting darts at a junkie and promising a hooker named Candy that she’d get first dibs on the new drugs. This is probably because Boyd appears to have exactly two henchmen, and what’s a criminal enterprise with only two henchmen? Not a very successful enterprise, though Wynn Duffy seems to make it work with just his one plank-like associate. Boyd can’t even collect the “rent” that Dewey Crowe owes him on Audrey’s whorehouse (particularly since Dewey believes that he bought the place outright.)

Meanwhile, Boyd’s mental disarray about Ava is affecting him as well. Last week, he beat down the odious funeral home director Mr. Paxton (Sam Anderson) after he referred to Ava as “white trash,” but failed to kill him. Uh oh! It’s not like Boyd to leave a victim alive. Moreover, he spared the life of Paxton’s mail-order Latvian bride Mara (Karolina Wydra), who is now blackmailing Boyd to the tune of $300,000 not to mention that he was the “burglar” who tried to kill her husband. (With Paxton waking up, that may actually be a moot point, though I wonder how his short-term memory held up to the beating.) Meanwhile, Mara is also being stalked by a vengeful Sheriff Mooney (William Gregory Lee), who thought she was his ticket to finally putting Boyd behind bars, and also seems to have quite the sideline in terrifying young women. Sure, Mara doesn’t have the purest motives, but I do like the actress a lot and I’m honestly a bit terrified for her with Mooney.

Last, but not least, my dear Dewey Crowe seems to be developing a problem with his family— i.e. the fact that his Florida cousin Daryl has decamped to Harlan and is making free with the goods and services at the whorehouse. Why do I have a feeling that Dewey’s $300,000 is going to be a bone of contention for Boyd and Daryl? Just please, let’s spare Dewey and his kidneys further harm, OK?

I was having a discussion with a friend last night about how she hoped they weren’t loading up too many plot threads this season that would somehow have to be resolved even if that meant cramming each episode overly full (which is what happened in Season 3) but I will always cut Justified a lot of slack. Yes, there are a lot of seemingly disparate elements going on right now (the Crowes, Boyd’s twin dilemmas of his drug supply and his quest to get Ava out of a lengthy prison sentence, and Raylan’s adventures in fatherhood and involvement in the murder of Nicky Augustine) but with that said, I have every faith that these strands will come together in a perfectly finished weave by the end of the season.

Meanwhile, I will sit back and enjoy the marvelous acting and writing (best line of the night was Racist Scumbag’s Latina housekeeper who can even cook iguana: “It’s very tender!” One line, but it was all in the delivery.) I’ll be sad to see this show end after Season 6, but I also think going out while you’re on top is a good thing—for TV shows, though not for heads of the Tonin crime family.

Read more coverage of Justified on Criminal Element.

Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.

Read all posts by Regina Thorne for Criminal Element.


  1. Terrie Farley Moran

    As always, you nailed this episode. And I am heartened by your line
    “I’ll be sad to see this show end after Season 6, but I also think going out while you’re on top is a good thing—for TV shows, though not for heads of the Tonin crime family.” I was crushed by the announcement that season six would be the end but I guess that is better than us all watching season fifteen and wondering if “this boring stuff” is ever going to end. As if Justified could be boring. LOL

  2. Mary Saputo

    I have loved to watch Kaitlyn Dever on Last Man Standing and think she’s one of the best young actresses out there today. She’s always interesting and I was glad to see Loretta back. She’s a smart little cookie and I’m sure she’s going to continue to give Raylan a run for his money. Course. He doesn’t have much and since the show is supposed to end after next season, it won’t be a long run. What a shame to lose another quality show. When Boyd’s shipment was hijacked, did anyone else see that little “sparkle” in his eye? Methinks they’ve finally made him mad. Look out now!

  3. Terrie Farley Moran

    bitsy08–re: Boyd–I think you’re right.

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