As Cool As A Fruitstand

…and maybe as strange. A movie blog.

Justified s03e03 – Harlan Roulette

Posted by Hedwig on February 4, 2012

In a reversal of last week, the meat of this episode was provided by the case-of-the-week, whereas the background consisted mostly of pieces getting moved into place for further developments.

The show continued its habit of introducing intriguing baddies and dispatching them right away: this time, it’s sadistic pawn shop owner Glen Vogel, who likes to toy with oxycodone addicts, Wade Messser (from last season) among them. The rigged “Harlan Roulette” game he makes them play is compelling and twisted, but not very tactical, and while I would have liked to see more of his antics, the way he came to his untimely end was fantastic, and very typical of Justified’s brand of humor. And I loved the interaction between Raylan and Messer – James LeGros gives the latter a nice mix of hope and resignation.

The case-of-the-week was also stronger because it was tied to a strand of the overarching plot: the rise of the Dixie Mafia. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Neal McDonough’s villain in the first episode, but he gets more established here, and it’s chilling. Wynn Duffy discovers a man tied to a bed and gagged, and McDonough just shrugs it off like it’s a common occurrence, all while talking sweetly on the phone with his son. And the scene in which Raylan confronts the both of them in Duffy’s trailer is a marvel: we know that McDonough has his tiny gun up his sleeve, but Raylan doesn’t. And then there’s the creepy smile McDonough flashed when Raylan takes a picture with his camera. Brrr.

The rest of the developments are necessary, but not all that interesting. Boyd is taking steps to establish a criminal empire of his own, starting with Johnny’s old bar. Limehouse buys his spoiled weed, for a pittance  – it’ll be interesting to see how (or if) their alliance grows. And there’s a cop in prison (played by a guy I recognized from THE RICHES) who’s also interested in the Bennett money. It’s all set-up, and little pay off for now, but it certainly makes me interested to see where the season is going.

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One Response to “Justified s03e03 – Harlan Roulette”

  1. Kaj said

    I was kind of hoping that “Line (and line-reading) of the night” would be a regular feature. 😉

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