Justified: Season 3 - Online Review

'McDonough might be his snakily smooth best, but the character is a minefield of weak clichés; an annoyance, rather than someone with the genuine possibility of disturbing Raylan's (Timothy Olyphant) zen-like core.'

You do wonder if Justified: Season Three's primary mistake might well have actually been the end of Justified: Season Two. Having spent an entire Season-and-a-bit building up The Bennetts as Raylan-bothering bad guys, suddenly not having them as the major antagonists here is a shock to the system. That their essential replacement is Neal McDonough's quietly psychopathic Robert Quarles doesn't help matters either. McDonough might be his snakily smooth best, but the character is a minefield of weak clichés; an annoyance, rather than someone with the genuine possibility of disturbing Raylan's (Timothy Olyphant) zen-like core.

The plot too, though deserving of praise for trying to reach further than the previous two series, does not do a great job of making its twisty-turny tale of local politics clear to those of us who are not local (read: all of us). Mykelti Williamson's Limehouse is a major force, but initially he's introduced with the fervour and threat of something far less than that. By the time Episode Six is reached - of what, don't forget, is only a thirteen episode series - it's still not abundantly clear who exactly is filling what role. Perhaps that's an ambiguous strength, but there's enough ambiguity going on here without adding more. The ever-present ambiguous Boyd (Walton Goggins) also feels a little suppressed, caught in a hotch-potch of a gang with little influence until the final few episodes. Goggins still brightens things up when he's around but even he seems noticeably quietened.

The lack of ability to find some consistency in this season's narrative is all the more bewildering when you consider that showrunner Graham Yost is already dipping into the stand-alone episode bag by the fifth episode, and pulling out, of all things, a bit of body horror! Whatever this season needed it was not Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) running scared of his own insides.

By no means is this a bad season of a good show, but it is certainly the least inspiring so far and even previously high standards in other areas are at least somewhat eroded. Boyd's bar looks so clearly like a set that it may as well have been presented as a stage for a play and by Episode Nine the conspiratorial goings on there are beginning to drag.

The only genuinely new pieces of interest amongst the major characters are in Arlo's (Raymond J. Barry) continued fall into an Alzheimer's alike disconnect, Boyd's new found place as Arlo's protector - which further complicates the family dynamics at play everywhere in this series - and finally (thankfully) an end to the Gary (William Ragsdale) saga.




Justified: Season Three was playing on Netflix.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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