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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a prime example of the early-in-the-season lulls with this episode of Justified. Be amazed at the sight of the sluggish character arc for a forgettable side character! Hold onto your hats as you venture in a cat-and-mouse game that ended just as it was getting started! And behold the absence of the season’s major storyline!
Or--to put it in a less facetious way—this fourth episode in this season of Justified felt like the epitome of why reviewing shows on an episodic basis can be a drag at times. There were always some sluggish first steps in previous seasons of Justified, but that didn’t mean my overall season opinions weren’t any less fantastic. It’s like if you reviewed a game by its levels or a music album by individual songs: you certainly don’t forget the faults in the full product, but reflecting on them in something like a full review only exasperates the moody vibes.
So before I officially dub this Justified’s episode, “This Bird Has Flown,” as rather boring and forgetful, know that I won’t be any less surprised if I find this season on a whole to be fantastic. It’s just this one lackluster step that I’ll be talking about today.
And of all these episode reviews that I began with such a somber prose, it just had to be the one with fighting chickens and a bean-bag-shooting shotgun. However, the goofiness of those two things in Raylan’s quest to track down Lindsey and Randall felt exactly like something the writers would add for flavor to this side story. Looking at that whole affair on the whole, I found myself wondering what kind of action before the climax was there. Sure, there was some fun with Givens giving the leader of the underground fighting circuit a hard time and Rachel slapping the chicken fighter guy with a stick for not giving her any personal space, but where was the chase? Where was the past where Lindsey and Randall did their best to hide from Raylan instead of having an awkward experience in a gas station that led to Lindsey calling Givens out of fear for her crazy ex-hubbie?
I already mentioned in my previous reviews that I felt the relationship of Raylan and Lindsey was very filler-esque, so the idea of Raylan being conned out of his twenty grand in baby money by his (now-ex) girlfriend just felt lazy. But even with all that, I cannot deny the final controntation between the love triangle trio was great stuff. Even though it was very predictable that Randall would attack soon after Raylan turned his back at him after one beanie bullet to make a clever speech to Lindsey, the fight itself was very entertaining. And at least this part of Givens’ love life is now over, with plenty of screeching fowl and painful bean bag shots to boot.
Meanwhile, Boyd and his crew had to figure out what to do with their disloyal and unpredictable employed prostitute, Ellen May. It seems that religious nut Billy actually did die from the snake bite from the previous episode. For the record, I never hated Ellen May as a character. I prayed that she survived all the crazy insanity she fell into in the past two seasons, and her personality itself was likeable, upbeat, and optimistic. But as the focus was all on her this episode with Boyd and Ava debating on what to do with her with the things she saw, it only confirmed that Ellen never grew as a character. When she saw all the (obvious) hints that Colt was going to kill her instead of drive her back to Ava’s arms and ran off, I couldn’t believe it for a second. To put it the nicest way I can, Ellen May never got any wiser from her not-so-intelligent persona, so how in the hell can I believe that she pulled a fast one on one of Boyd’s plans.
Still, this episode was a great moment for Ava. As we saw her in the process of finally deciding to allow Boyd to pull the kill switch on Ellen May, it was as if Ava herself was letting go on the innocent and moral Ava that we saw in the very beginning of the series. Even as we saw her go down a slippery slope after ditching Raylan for Boyd as her lover, there was still a sense that she can go back to the lukewarm life without any regrets. But as she finally agreed to let Colt kill Ellen May, Boyd’s smug look of approval cemented that there really is no going back for her. Even if she won’t pull the trigger herself, Ava finally crossed the line from moral ambiguity into darkness as she gave the death sentence on a mostly-harmless girl.
And this insight on Ava here actually showed that sometimes, it is best to look at things thoroughly like reviews on individual episodes. Yes, it makes the faults more glaringly apparent; but for a mostly forgettable episode like this, I (and hopefully you, the reader) can at least remember the tragically poignant character moment for Ava.
Well that, and the crazy bean-bag shotgun.