Justified – “Blaze of Glory” – review

March 17, 2011
By

The cold open of tonight’s episode squared up the robbery from last week right away, giving us a quick montage of clips from the ATF’s interviews with Boyd and Ava.  The couple stick to their story, claiming that Boyd didn’t know about the robbery until he was in the thick of it, fighting for his life and that of his woman.  They both play it cool and are sent on their merry way, with good old Art Mullen even stepping in to help defend Ava’s honor at one point.

But instead of then going on to see what kind of shit the Bennetts were up to or going home with Boyd and Ava to see how they plan to get away with using the money they kept from the robbery, we see a fight between Winona and Gary over him yet again fucking up their finances, this time over a horse.  The way it was filmed, with the voyeuristic shots of them from outside the house looking in, had me somehow convinced that good old Wynn Duffy might be rearing his maniacally fucking evil head again at long last during this episode.  (I mean, shit, his name was dropped weeks ago and still no sign of him returning?  That’s some bullshit!)  As it turned out, “Blaze of Glory” wasn’t about an evil force coming at Winona so much as some surprising darkness appearing within her soul and, take note, Raylan’s willingness to do wrong himself to protect her over those troubling traits.

With no further scenes in the episode focused on what’s happening in Harlan with either the Boyd or Bennett family storylines, “Blaze of Glory”  might at first seem like a strictly disposable episode (aside from the opening scene explaining how Boyd gets out of last week’s jam, naturally), but the Nerd would be awfully fucking surprised if what happened in this episode doesn’t reverberate throughout the rest of the season.  First, let’s discuss the plot itself.

Winona gets some time alone in the evidence cage (in a pretty eye-rolling way, let’s be honest) and stumbles across a whole lot of money in one of the evidence lockers.  She takes one one-hundred dollar bill and goes to test it out at the bank and see if any flags go off or whatever (it’s a pretty compulsive, if not out-right stupid plan) only to have the place robbed before she can leave after having quikcly come to her senses.  One of the robbers takes the bill off her, hence forcing her to go tell Raylan, giving the whole precedings even more weight for him.  (As if one of the dude’s molesting and stomping his ex-wife weren’t stakes enough.)

The bad guys were decent and their scam clever enough, Scott Wilson’s character managing to outfox both the Marshals and his partners in crime at every turn.  (And thank god he was being crafty in the scene where he has an asthmatic attack while trying to kill the psycho dude because that shit was just weak on the surface.)  Raylan gets a decent scene in his showdown with the two idiots in the second bank, for sure, but the real money scene was obviously Art Mullen and Scott Wilson facing off in the puddle jumper lot.  The “chase” was classic and a great excuse to add some lore and character to one of the show’s many under-used good guy characters.  Luckily Raylan is able to convince Art to give him the money to process at the end, letting Art be the hero but Raylan Winona’s hero.

Winona doing something as sketchy as stealing from the evidence locker is different enough for her character, but by doing so she has dragged Raylan into some strange territory.  There may be other examples but this cover-up, small scale though it may be, feels like the most corrupt thing Raylan has done to date on the series.  Everything else, be it setting up Old West scenarios with murderers or cutting Boyd some slack when he should be taken down, almost always feels totally (I apologize in advance) justified.  I don’t think this cover-up will ever come up again but the moral ambiguity of both Raylan and Winona will definitely come into play sometime soon.  As I call myself the “Nerd of Noir” for some fucking reason, you know I’m all for our characters going darker t00t-fucking-sweet.

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Nerd of Noir

I love crime/noir fiction, comics and movies. I think my opinions are web-worthy. Then again, what asshole doesn't think that their opinions deserve a blog?

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7 Responses to Justified – “Blaze of Glory” – review

  1. JustiFan on March 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Um…did you by any chance see the teaser for next week’s ep? The cover-up does indeed come up again, in a big way — and it looks the sh!t is gonna hit the fan with a loud splat.

    It’s interesting that the women in Raylan’s life have both crossed a line in this episode. Ava is now Boyd’s willing accomplice and Winona not only stole evidence (possibly screwing up the work of some poor prosecutor by tampering with the chain of custody) but put Raylan’s career in jeopardy covering for her stupidity. Winona has never been the most likable of characters on the show for me. She’s selfish to a fault — cheating on Raylan with Gary, if we understand the allusions, then cheating on Gary with Raylan and satisfied with neither. Raylan walks on eggshells to make her happy (something she can obviously never be) to the point of apologizing to her without even knowing what she’s pissed off about. Here, Winona dangles the possibility of “Little Raylans running around with toy guns” only to slap Big Raylan across the face by conditioning his desire for fatherhood on quitting the Marshals Service. Make no mistake, that was a condition, folks. With Winona, it’s never a discussion. She says what she wants and goes from zero to bitch when she doesn’t get it. Think I’m wrong? Watch that scene again.

    Raylan is obviously still in love with her or he thinks he is. Next week’s episode is going to rip the blinders off big time, I believe. He’s put up with Winona not wanting to be seen in public with him, criticizing the fact he lives in a crappy motel, his limited wardrobe and his choice of career but I can’t believe he will put up with crossing this particular line. Shooting opponents or letting Boyd go fit with Raylan’s moral code. This cover-up does not and it cannot, which means his relationship with Winona will be tainted as a result.

    So with Ava and Winona going out of the picture, who’s the next love interest?

  2. Nerd of Noir on March 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    JustiFan –

    I try not to watch the teasers at the end of the episode, same as I try to avoid movie trailers best I can – they always give too much away.

    But I’m happy to be wrong about this being more than just a moral revelation on Winona and Raylan’s part and that the cover-up is actually a bigger storyline. It should really shake things up in a cool way.

  3. Stephanka917 on March 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Manipulative Winona getting popped in the face was the most satisfying thing I’ve seen in ages.

  4. Patti Abbott on March 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Looks like the story continues next week. Is anyone but we three watching this? I think it is damned brilliant, the way they have the nerve to let their arcs, now two at least, idle, while they throw out a new line. Winona exposed. I just love this show. Who could not?

  5. JustiFan on March 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Patti Abbott – I hope people are watching. The writing, acting and casting are utterly superb. I’m betting all those dangling arcs are going to converge in something that will surprise the heck out of us.

    I’m also glad to find others are reading the Nerd of Noir’s fabulous reviews. I stumbled on them a month ago and they’ve been my Thursday morning post-show ritual. I fully plan on working my way through the books he’s given positive reviews.

    Stephanka917 – I loved that too. It was also nice to see Raylan finally be the one to walk off angry. Winona was likable in the first episode, where she told Raylan that he was the angriest man she knew. It’s hard to reconcile those early, tentative moments between them with what appears to be a replay of the self-destruction of their marriage.

    Nerd of Noir – I can understand not wanting to spoil upcoming episodes but I’m so bummed that the hour is over, that I don’t give up until the credits have rolled. Thanks for another great review. I’m already looking forward to next week’s.

  6. Jack on March 18, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Top Chef is still beating Justified in the key 18-49 age group on Wednesday night cable, but we’ve been ticking higher and have more overall viewers (lots of us geezers).

    Raylan definitely needs a new love interest. Wasn’t there a blond Fed hanging around a little last year?

  7. LouisD on March 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Pretty solid episode, can’t wait to see how it plays out next week. I’ve been loving your reviews Nerd, keep it up!