Justified, Season 4
How Raylan lost his pride—and got it back.
Photo by Prashant Gupta/FX.
Last week on Justified, after it appeared that Lindsey had played Raylan for a fool and made off with his money, I asked why pretty girls always made Raylan—a smart and cunning federal marshal—so dumb. In Episode 4, we learned that yes, Lindsey had played him, and Raylan spent most of the rest of the episode as the butt of one long joke.
It’s not always easy for a comedy to be dramatic (Weeds, I’m looking at you) or a drama to be funny. But while Justified is most definitely a drama, its understated comic moments endear the characters to the viewers—a testament to its Elmore Leonard pedigree.
The shaming of Raylan begins from the very first scene of “This Bird Has Flown.” “I’m thinking you should have seen this coming,” Rachel cracks as they survey his trashed apartment above the bar.
When Raylan informs fight promoter Joe Hoppus that Randall and Lindsey were going to make him a mark until Raylan intervened, the naked and cranky Hoppus growls, “Any fool that didn’t see that grafter Barbie coming a mile off deserves getting his ass fleeced.” Later, when Raylan arrives at the convenience store from which Lindsey had called him in a panic, he’s talking to the poor clerk who earned the wrath of Randall by developing a quick crush on Lindsey. “Guess I should have known it was too good to be true. I don’t meet many people with a common interest. I just thought … I don’t know.”
Finally, Raylan tracks down Randall and Lindsey. Raylan and Randall scuffle until Lindsey shoots both of them (with nonlethal bean-bag rounds). She comes to check on Raylan before she leaves and whispers, “You want your money? It's all right in that van right there.” Oh joy! Lindsey’s not a bad girl after all. But wait. When Raylan opens the van, he finds … chickens.
On a less great show, that would’ve been the end of the story. On a terrible show, this would’ve gone on even longer, until we couldn’t take Raylan’s sad-sack persona another moment. But this is Justified, so just when it looks like Raylan is on the verge of becoming the next Ted Mosby, he saves himself.
Randall, cuffed to the van, is trying to sell Raylan on the idea of entering the cockfighting (er, “fighter management”) game himself. “I know you’re shackled and it’s ain’t half-fair, but you say one more word about chickens, I’m gonna shoot you again ,” Raylan warns. Moments later:
Randall: “There’s money in fighting chickens, Raylan. You think about it”
So yeah, Raylan lost the girl, and he lost his “goodly sum” of cash. But he ended the day with his pride (somewhat) restored.
Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.