Posted by: ckckred | April 11, 2014

Justified Season 5

Justified-Season-4

Spoilers follow

The final episode of Justified’s season 5, “Restitution,” didn’t feel like a conclusion for the show’s year.  Sure it included traits that all season finales include: a showdown with the yearly villain (Daryl Crowe), tying up some of the story lines, and a good indication at what season 6, the show’s last, will bring.  But “Restitution” didn’t seem to be much of a climax with little tension leading up to the episode.  That isn’t much of the episode’s fault as season 5 itself, which has been a bit lacking for Justified fans.

The one and most notable aspect for Justified’s season 5 is how big it was, too big for the show to handle.  Over the past thirteen episodes, there were storylines not only involving Raylan and Boyd but Ava’s prison term (which had the ill-timing of coming out after Orange is the New Black), the Crowes’ shipment of heroin from Mexico, and the mother-son relationship between Wendy and Kendal.  Some subplots just appeared and vanished (Lee Paxton’s part was so short it added little to the season long arch) while a few characters (such as Alison) served little purpose.

Because of the vast number of stories the series was juggling, there wasn’t enough momentum riding into the finale.  Justified is best when it focuses on Raylan and Boyd and this season both Timothy Olyphant and Walter Goggins continued to shine.  But the season allocated the two to the side too often to focus on the story of the Crowes.  While it was clear Daryl Crowe was the seasonal antagonist, he never really filled the role as a seasonal antagonist until he convinced Kendal to take the blame for shooting Art.  Otherwise, he felt more as a rival to Boyd, frequently butting heads with him alongside his klutz of a brother Danny.  And though Kendal’s potential prison term was the nail in the coffin for the Crowes, it was hammered in too late and too softly in the season to cause any tension in “Restitution” (by then we knew the Crowe’s downfall was already starting).

I’m being a bit overly critical and I don’t mean to appear that the fifth season of Justified was by any measures bad.  It’s still one of television’s most dependable and best dramas and even in this year’s weakest hour, Justified was still incredibly entertaining, and I cannot accuse the series of lacking ambition.  Rather the show didn’t quite live up to its previous seasons and while I’d recommend the series to anyone, I felt a bit dissatisfied.  Hopefully season 6 will see the show in full gear.

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