The season 4 premiere for Justified was a change of pace for the series, in that it was intent on setting up a mystery for Raylan to solve as opposed to giving him a villain or adversary to eventually face off against.
So far, this has worked to the show's advantage, giving Justified a break from falling into too much of a rut. And considering the series is already jam-packed with regulars who're more or less Raylan's adversaries, e.g. Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and Raylan's father, Arlo (Raymond J. Barry), there's no real reason to introduce another villain for Mr. Givens to contend with at this particular juncture.
And even though Arlo doesn’t actually make an appearance in the second episode of Justified, his presence still looms large. Sure, he's just murdered a fellow inmate and member of the Dixie Mafia for asking too many questions about the diplomatic pouch Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) was recently seen with, so it's only natural the old guy would be the topic of conversation. But aside from the homicide and his connection to the pouch, it's the larger notion of familial bonds and, more importantly, legacy that keeps the old guy feeling present during much of 'Where's Waldo.'
There's an overwhelming sense that season 4 is going to have, as part of the overall arc, a reminder of where Raylan has come from, now that he's about to have a little Givens upon which he can impart his typical nuggets of wisdom. Of course, now that our hero is soon to be a father, there hangs over what is otherwise a reason to be excited, the fear that he'll amount to nothing greater as a father to his child than Arlo did to him. And with Winona having already left him, Raylan's inadvertently closed the gap on becoming like his old man before the child has even been born.
And there's another reminder in regard to miserable fathers and the kind of offspring they produce, as Tim (Jacob Pitts) reads off the extra-long rap sheet of Waldo Truth's eldest son Judd, before mentioning the rest of the Truth clan pretty much have criminal histories to match. As it turns out, the name on the ID that came along with the diplomatic pouch in Arlo's wall has a connection to a richer history than anyone could've rightly imagined. So, with the help of his boss, Art (Nick Searcy) and Tim "The Ticking Time Bomb" Gutterson, Raylan runs off to answer the mystery of where's Waldo, and winds up opening a whole can of worms about who Drew Thompson is and why he came to collect old Waldo some 30 years ago - and tell his put-upon wife that her husband would never be back.
While the pursuit of the real Waldo Truth takes up the majority of Raylan's arc in 'Where's Waldo?,' Boyd, on the other hand, has begun to take an interest in the new preacher running around, converting his drug dealers and his prostitutes. And while Ellen May (Abbie Miller) is quoting "palms" to Ava (Joelle Carter), Johnny (David Meunier) is making allegations of conspiracy against Billy St. Cyr (Joseph Mazzello) and his sister Cassie (Lindsay Pulsipher) – because, as Johnny sees it, losing Hiram and now Ellen May means Boyd Crowder's business is being specifically targeted.
Anytime Justified can see fit to let Boyd quote some scripture is a good time indeed. There's just something particularly excellent about Goggins' cadence when speaking from the good book that says everything about why the character was spared from the bullet he had planted in his chest at the beginning of season 1. Here, his brief showdown with Billy appeared to have resulted in the preacher making Boyd look the fool for his materialistic ways, but while everyone was looking at the pulpit and listening to Billy refuse further donations, the crafty Mr. Crowder was watching Cassie, and in the process may have found who's really pulling the strings at the Holy Ghost Revival Church.
But no matter what, there are a lot of people pondering their place in what's coming up next, and what, if anything will be left to those who are rounding the corner. As bad as Raylan has it, Art's right there with him. The poor guy is looking at retirement, and he's got two questionably stable marshals he can't possibly hope will take over when he's gone, and now Rachel (Erica Tazel) has become something for him to worry over as well. It seems no matter how much effort someone puts into preparing for the future, their past is always right there to make it as questionable as possible.
Various other items:
- Between Benny and Roz, and now the Truth family, Justified's proving it can write a character of any size and pretty much make you want to see more of them. Not many television shows out there that can do that.
- It's always a pleasure to see Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) back on the series. After surviving his time with Robert Quarles last season, Duffy doesn't seem to have lost a bit of his creepiness. The tête-à-tête between him and Boyd is an enjoyable bit of villainous one-upmanship.
- The scene at the beginning of the episode, where Raylan has his first encounter with Lindsey Salazar's (Jenn Lyon) husband, is a good indication of where Mr. Givens is this season. He was assertive without being the kind of guy we all know him to be, and he managed to avoid a fight with a pretty dangerous fellow when, in the past, Raylan may have been more than happy to show someone whether or not he could make them leave a bar.
Justified continues next week with 'Truth and Consequences' @10pm on FX. Check out a preview of the episode below: