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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 8, ‘Dark As A Dungeon’: The Past Is A Shadow

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 8, 'Dark As A Dungeon': The Past Is A Shadow

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 7, ‘The Hunt’: It Has Been A Day

One nice thing about “Justified” over the years is
that it’s never flinched from Raylan’s contentious relationship with his
farther, Arlo. Raylan’s an angry, angry man, and the wellspring of all that
anger is Arlo. “Justified” has never sugar-coated their relationship,
and it’s often gone to some very dark places. Arlo was permanently scarred by
Vietnam, but he was still a son of a bitch. He and Raylan hated each other,
full stop, and Arlo’s death never really felt like something Raylan had to come
to terms with. Arlo’s dead? Great, he can’t make Raylan miserable anymore. But
this week he’s forced to confront his father’s ghost as he prepares to leave
Harlan.

After Winona confessed her feelings last week,
any ambivalence Raylan may have felt about leaving Harlan is gone. He wants
out, pronto, which means he needs to take care of Arlo’s leftover possessions
in the ancestral Givens home. Raylan, as contemptuous of Arlo as ever, finds
his box of old war photos and letters and unceremoniously burns the whole thing
on the front lawn. It’s not just Arlo that Raylan has contempt for, it’s his
entire past, and Harlan along with it. When he and Ava have it out at the end
of the episode, she implores him, “Admit it, you could have just as easily
been an outlaw as a lawman.” Raylan doesn’t dispute it; in fact, he says
it’s obviously true. Raylan became a lawman as an outright rejection of
everything his father was.

In the episode’s final minutes, Raylan opens up Arlo’s
“fraidy hole,” a secret shack that Arlo forbid his family from
entering. In a welcome return, Raymond J. Barry appears as Arlo to mock
Raylan’s investigation, since the shack turns out to be empty. “Every evil
thing inside you, I thought was in here,” Raylan tells him. “And it’s
a big, fat nothing,” Arlo sneers back. There’s no key to unlocking Arlo,
no great mystery that needed to be solved. He’s gone, but he still haunts
Raylan, and he won’t ever stop.

Raylan’s so gung-ho to leave Harlan behind that he just
comes straight out and tells Boyd that he’s gunning for him, in another fine
scene of Raylan/Boyd vitriolic banter. “I gotta admit, there’s a small
part of me that’s gonna miss this when it’s over,” Raylan admits after a
few verbal barbs. But Raylan’s got a new life to get to, so he steps up Boyd’s
timetable by joining forces with an unsuspecting Markham in a rather convoluted
plot to tempt Boyd into finally making his move on Markham’s safe.

READ MORE: Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 1, ‘Fate’s Right Hand’: A Smarter Move I Cannot Imagine

Raylan convinces Markham to offer a reward for Walker’s
capture, and Boyd gives Walker up immediately. This being
“Justified,” Raylan does wind up having to kill Walker after Walker
takes some wild potshots at him. But with Walker off the table, now the
Marshall’s office is free to focus on Boyd, who falls for Raylan’s plan hook,
line and sinker. It’s a shame to see Walker go, since Garrett Dillahunt was
excellent throughout his run. But it’s a clear sign that things are moving to
the final stages, as Markham has no men left to guard his treasure, and Boyd is
openly tempted once he sees the $10 million that Markham has in his safe. 

I haven’t been mentioning the “who was the rat?”
storyline that’s been running thought the past few episodes, mostly because I
thought it would have either gone somewhere or resolved by now. But no, people
are still poking around, digging up various clues. The show seems to think it’s
a genuine mystery worthy of our attention, but the interest just isn’t there.
Why should the audience care who gave up Katherine’s husband however many years
ago? Katherine and Markham both think the other did it, so it’s unlikely either
of them did, and it’s not like there are any other significant suspects save
for maybe Wynn Duffy. And even if it was Wynn, what does it matter? Considering
how often double-crosses happen on this show, this much build-up to Wynn
betraying Katherine is the definition of anti-climax. All this business does is
bring up memories of the Drew Thompson mystery from Season 4, and the
comparison is not favorable. So far it feels like the writers needed some
filler material for Katherine, Markham, Wynn, and Art to keep busy with until
the endgame. Hopefully it’s all heading somewhere better.

Line(s) of the Episode

Raylan: “There’s a certain kind of man who would in
this situation say, ‘You’re welcome.’ Not me, per se. A certain kind of
man.”

Tim: “A dick.”

And on a final note, an actual line Raylan has this episode
is, “Harlan — a hell of a
place to make your fortune
.” There have been plenty of
“Deadwood” actors on this show before, but never quite so blatant a
reference. Still, there’s almost no more appropriate show for
“Justified” to give a shout-out to. 

Grade: B

READ MORE: 2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Actor in a Drama Series

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