TV Review: Justified: Season 4 Catch-Up

Season 4 Catch-Up
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, and Walton Goggins.
Tuesdays at 10pm; FX Network

With Justified hitting its final stretch of episodes, William takes a look at the latter part of the season to see how the show has come together through the course of its fourth season.

“We just gotta figure out how to get out of Harlan alive.”

I have the tendency to forget that Justified often takes its time to really get moving. The first season often played out like a show you’d see on the USA Network – a case of the week with a bit of exposition at the beginning and end of each episode that served to flesh out the season long plot. At some point that format stopped and Justified really began to find itself in the relationships between each of the characters. Legacy is a word I often associate with the show (specifically with Boyd [Walton Goggins] and Raylan [Timothy Olyphant], as it seems these men can’t escape their respective past, no matter how hard they try) and I think that’s a fitting word to describe the show.

However, this fourth season, which I’d fallen woefully behind on, has taken things into a vastly different direction. Instead of having a season long enemy for Raylan to chase after, the mystery behind Drew Thompson’s sudden arrival (and equally sudden departure) into Harlan County proved engaging enough to keep me interested in those beginning episodes of the season while Boyd and Raylan were off on their own respective adventures.

So, it shouldn’t have been that surprising when we finally saw the two leads of the show together, that their intersection would serve to kickstart the back half of the season as both men began to narrow down their search for Drew Thompson. Fantastic plots began to weave together, providing amazing work for all involved (episode eight is a particular standout for Olyphant and will certainly serve as fantastic material for the actor’s Emmy reel this year). Additionally, the show seems to have finally solved the question about what to do with Rachel (Erica Tazel) and Tim (Jacob Pitts), providing some great character moments for two characters who have been drastically underused in the past, while still giving new characters plenty to do.

I’m being intentionally vague here in order to avoid spoilers, but the reveal of Drew Thompson and the subsequent fallout has been perfectly executed. I’m sure the signs will be clear upon future inspection, but Drew’s true identity came as a total shock to me. Equally as entertaining was seeing the characters in the show’s reaction to news, which set off a chase as the Marshals and Boyd felt the pressure to catch Drew before the other did.

At the end of last week’s episode: the Marshals have found Drew, but Boyd (backed by the Detroit mafia) is closing in. Chaos is about to erupt in Harlan County.

It looks to be one hell of a ride. And I couldn’t be more excited to see how this amazing season of television will begin to draw to a close.

I’ll have regular reviews been now and the end of the season. Hopefully I’ve sparked enough interest for those of you that are behind to fire up those DVRs and catch up before the season ends. If you do, I think you’ll be surprised by how engaged and engrossed you are by these episodes.

Seasons 1-3 are currently available on DVD & Blu-ray and through Amazon Instant Video, if you need to catch up or refresh.

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