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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 5, ‘Sounding’: Everyone Gets Electrocuted

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 5, 'Sounding': Everyone Gets Electrocuted

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 4, ‘The Trash and the Snake’: Always Another Snake

Well, they can’t all be barn burners. After a strong start
to the season, “Sounding” settles into checking off some narrative
boxes so it can get to more important business down the line. True, this
episode had guest stars from seasons past, electroshock and yet another
unexpected explosion, but it all felt a little limp. Nothing felt strictly
unnecessary, but then nothing was that exciting, either.

The big story this week was Ava, who justifiably freaks out
after her encounter with Katherine and decides to head for the hills. Of course
she hasn’t thought it through, so she goes to Limehouse for help, realizes she
doesn’t have the scratch to pay for his assistance, and winds up trying to pull
a short con on Limehouse’s man Errol. In response to Ava’s disappearance,
Raylan puts Constable Bob on the case, which leads to Bob tasering Errol in the
middle of a hardware store. Now it’s always great to see Patton Oswalt, and Bob
did have some funny business this episode, but the gags all felt like Constable
Bob’s greatest hits, and the end of the story fell flat, like someone said
“Oh, we’re out of time? ZAP! Ok, problem solved.” It felt like the
writers didn’t quite have enough material for this story, so they thought they’d
throw Bob in to smooth things over. That plan was only partially successful.

A key bit of business is wrapped up this week, as Fekus is
tortured by Wynn Duffy but is able to stick to his story long enough for Wynn
to be convinced of his (and therefore Ava’s) innocence. Turns out Rachel and
Tim got the whole thing on camera, so not only is Ava safe for now, but the
marshals have Wynn dead to rights, which should prove interesting.
Congratulations to the writers for successfully making Fekus sympathetic, if
only for a scene. Danny Strong plays Fekus with his weasel settings at maximum,
so it was surprising to see him go the distance. He even got a congratulatory
bump from Tim! 

Less fortunate is poor Calhoun, who winds up being leaned on
by Seabass and Choo-Choo, since Ty rightly suspects that Calhoun’s been sharing
information about whose land Markham wants to buy. It looks like we’re in for
yet another torture scene, but then Choo-Choo accidentally kills Calhoun with
one punch. It’s pretty funny, but also effective. Choo-Choo (whose real name is
Mundo, but screw that because CHOO-CHOO), has largely been an object of fun
this season, so it’s nice to see he can be dangerous, too. Too bad poor Calhoun
had to get “Amtrak-ed” to do it.

Now Boyd’s encounter
with The Wiz last episode was some obvious stalling in hindsight, but
at least it had the benefit of being hilarious. Boyd’s negotiations with
Zachariah this episode, however, are largely uneventful. Boyd shows up and is
rebuffed, he counter-offers with cash, Zachariah agrees to help. That’s about it.
Zachariah is played by Jeff Fahey, who between this and “Lost” has
found quite the niche for himself as a grizzled coot. He’s playing Ava’s uncle,
who doesn’t take kindly to Crowders on account of Bowman’s mistreatment of Ava,
but he agrees to work with Boyd for a cool 10 grand and the chance to use his
old mining expertise again. The one pop in these scenes (if you’ll pardon the
expression) is when the sparks from Earl’s saw sets off some methane, leading
to our second consecutive unexpected explosion. As unexpected explosions go,
it’s a distant number three behind last week and Mr. Picker’s death last
season, proving you can only go the unexpected explosion well once a year. At
least Boyd returning to mining is an interesting idea to play with in future
episodes.

Finally, we have Ava and Raylan rekindling their spark from
Season 1. It’s not unusual for a show to hearken back to is first season during
its last, but unlike, say, “True
Blood”
, this doesn’t feel like a regression. Joelle Carter and
Timothy Olyphant have always had excellent chemistry, and Ava and Raylan’s
flirtations in the first few episodes of the season hinted that this might be
coming. Ava might be playing Raylan to ensure he watches out for her, or she
might truly care for him again, or it might even be a little of both. It’s a
great new wrinkle in the three-way dynamic between Raylan, Ava, and Boyd that’s
powering this season. The stakes keep going up.

Grade: B-

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