‘Justified’ Presents Raylan With His Future Self

Published 1 year ago by

Tim Olyphant and Eric Roberts in Justified Season 5 Episode 9 Justified Presents Raylan With His Future Self

[This is a review of Justified season 5, episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]


Whenever a season of television finds itself struggling to attain a cohesive direction or to discover a compelling throughline across several disparate, truncated, or otherwise seemingly abandoned threads, there’s no more effective tool to getting things back on track than offering the characters something of a wake-up call or, at the very least, something weighty to ponder – which is exactly what Justified does in the season’s ninth episode, ‘Wrong Roads.’

Of course, there are many varieties of wake-up calls, and an even greater assortment of ponderous ruminations to be had. But in this particular instance, the show chooses to go with the ever popular option of granting several characters – at least those with a certain level of burdensome self-awareness – a glimpse at where they just might end up, should they continue down the road they’re currently traveling.

This has the rather potent effect of causing characters to think about the future and, just maybe, second-guess their decisions up to this point. It’s the television equivalent of waking up at three in the morning, wondering whether you made the right choice on your 401K plan, or if all that money you invested in Bitcoin was such a smart idea.

At any rate, in addition to having an especially on-target title, ‘Wrong Roads’ also tosses in a few additional characters to help send the message home. Last week’s ‘Whistle Past the Graveyard‘ managed to get Raylan thinking about his daughter and ex-wife, this week brings Eric Roberts to Raylan’s side as the “bourbon-soaked” Memphis DEA agent Alex Miller.

As it so happens, Miller’s the kind of guy defined by his general disregard for authority, penchant for shooting first and asking questions later, and the semi-friendly manner in which he conducts himself with certain known lawbreakers – in this case, one Hot Rod Dunham. And in case the comparison wasn’t clear enough, it turns out Miller’s unable to break away from the job long enough to have ever begun – let alone maintained – a relationship with his kids.

Walton Goggins and Michael Rapport in Justified Season 5 Episode 9 Justified Presents Raylan With His Future Self

The team-up of Givens and Miller finds them in the presence of killer siblings Jay and Roscoe (Wood and Steve Harris, respectively), interrupting their effort to get a piece of Boyd and Wynn Duffy’s burgeoning Kentucky heroin empire. The duo is too late to prevent Hot Rod from being shot and killed by one of Jay and Roscoe’s associates, but they do cut short the brothers’ attempted stick-up of Boyd and the “gaggle of a**holes” gathered round his table – though not without Miller resorting to shooting Roscoe.

It’s another prime example of the kind of dangerous company Boyd keeps, but as it turns out, he’s got bigger problems. Rowena (Deidrie Henry) tasks him with killing Elmont Swain (Muse Watson) in a show of good faith before she’ll help Ava become the new pipeline for heroin in prison (displacing Judith, who she later tasks Ava with killing).

Like Raylan, Boyd finds himself face-to-face with a decent representation of what the future holds for him. Elmont’s a bitter, dying old man who’s run afoul of the wrong people because he took it upon himself to kill those responsible for his wife’s demise. Boyd lends a (likely genuine) sympathetic ear to sucker Elmont out of his nursing home with the prospect of someday dying a very rich man, but in the end, Elmont just winds up dying in the front seat of a pick-up truck.

These encounters aren’t merely prophetic with regard to Raylan and Boyd; they make it clear their seemingly unconventional paths are actually well-trodden ones, leading to little more than emptiness and gloom. Now there’s something to the idea that folks like Raylan and Boyd might apply a certain level of exceptionalism to themselves, insulating them from such clear and distinct warning signs.

Such exceptionalism is certainly one reason why Art’s so fed up with his deputy that he’s taken to treating him like a teenager caught sneaking in the door an hour past curfew. Like everyone else, Art’s been suckered too many times thinking Raylan’s going to change. Now it’s beginning to look like even Raylan knows that, at this point, change would take something far more stirring than a simple transfer to set the wheels in motion.

Thankfully, Art’s got plenty of time left to figure out exactly what’ll do the trick.


Justified continues next Tuesday with ‘Weight’ @10pm on FX.

Photos: Prashant Gupta/FX

TAGS: Justified
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  1. After a couple of good but not great episodes this episode seemed to finally get the plot moving.
    I’m not implying that there were any of the dreaded “filler” episodes but over the past few weeks there’s been so much set-up that it at times felt like the beginning of a season rather than the middle. So at some point we needed real forward movement and we got that last night.

    Eric Roberts character was another great addition and I hope this wasn’t the last we see of him and I’m pretty excited that judging by next weeks preview it looks like we will finally see Danny Crowe test his 21 foot theory. :)

    • Also,
      It’s about time Wynn Duffy has come back. I remember reading before the season that he was promoted to series regular and his name is even in the opening credits but he seems to be in this season less than before.
      Along with Dewey Crowe, Wynn Duffy earns points for every episode just for showing up and his line last night reminded us why.
      “Because it tastes like my a** on a Sunday.” :) :) :) :) :)

  2. I enjoyed the idea of “future Raylan.”
    However, am I the only one that thought Eric Roberts acting was terrible last night?

  3. Wow! I guess I’m not watching the show right. I had no idea they were going all philosophical on us. I thought it was just entertainment. But I guess that would explain why this season really doesn’t seem to have a very gripping story line to follow. It’s hard to get very enthused when it’s all over the board like it is.

    As far as the Ava in prison goes that’s way over done in my opinon. I would have liked to see her sprung when she was supposed to be sprung and back raising hell with Boyd. This prison story is just taking time away from all the other characters and seems like a side show instead of a part of the main show. I mean you know that Boyd is going to get more crap from thatprison nurse or whatever and eventually kill her so eventually Ava will either get beaten within a inch of her life or get killed. you just know something like that has to happen because it’s not going to end with her being a major pipe line inside for very long..

  4. I do hope Raylan does go back to Winona……Raylan is like the man from lamoncha. (Right the unrightable wrong) but in this age of tv …..it would be nice to see a nice ending for a change….the show keeps throwing bimbos at him and it just isn’t working……..

  5. Why does every show have to have a love story in it now days? Is everything supposed to be a soap? Isn’t the dynamics between the good, sort of good, sometimes somewhat good, and the evil enough interest to juggle?

    On the other hand this big split off with that Winona never made any sense in the first place. I mean if she didn’t like the idea of being a cops wife because he might wind up dead…..Then why start things in the first place? That whole thing never made sense