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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 9, ‘Burned’: Pizza Party

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 9, 'Burned': Pizza Party


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

It’s not uncommon for shows in their final seasons to make
specific call-backs to their first years, as a reminder and reinforcement of
the show’s themes. “True Blood,” for example, took this idea in increasingly
painful directions
, and “Justified” has been doing the
same (except, y’know, not terrible). Markham is a new character played by a
big-time character actor, but he’s still one of the series’ patented
interlopers, come to exploit Harlan for his own financial gain. This is a well
“Justified” has gone to repeatedly, but Harlan’s denizens defending
themselves from threatening outsiders is a running theme, so it’s hardly a
shock. Plus no one’s going to be mad when Sam Elliott is playing your show’s
heavy. These are familiar elements, but not outright repetition.

Which is why it’s so surprising, this episode, when Avery
Markham invites the people of Harlan to his pizza parlor in order to give them
a speech about how he’s here to help Harlan, not destroy it… And he’s
interrupted by Loretta McCreary, who gives an impassioned speech of her own
about how Markham is an outsider who’s come to Harlan to line his own pockets
and not pour any of his profits back into the community.

Yup, it’s just the big set piece from “The Spoil,”
one of the stand-out episodes of Season 2, with Loretta playing Mags Bennett
and Markham taking the place of the Black Pike Mining Company. I re-watched
“The Spoil” just to confirm I hadn’t misremembered it (and if you
have Amazon Prime, you can, too),
and it really is just the same scene, minus Margo Martindale’s electric
performance. Which isn’t to say Kaitlyn Dever is doing a bad job as Loretta,
quite the contrary. She’s always been one of the best recurring
“Justified” characters, with her staunch refusal to play by Raylan’s
rules, despite her young age. But it’s baffling why the writers would so
clearly repeat a specific moment from one of their early seasons. It can’t just
be to show that Loretta has replaced Mags — that’s been obvious for a while
now, and surely there was a better way to do it than just have Loretta perform
Mags’s greatest hits. What’s next, Loretta tells some hapless idiot that the
poison was in his glass? Markham’s already scouted that trick, at least. Plus
we haven’t seen Loretta since Episode 4, so her new prominence seems awfully
sudden.

It’s a downright strange creative decision, but it’s not a
disaster. The scene still plays, even if you’ve seen it before, and Loretta as
Harlan’s new top dog certainly has possibilities. Not to mention that there’s
something so satisfying about seeing Markham scowling at a teenage weed kingpin
who has shown up to his pizza party. Still, it mostly leaves one remembering
how great Season 2 of “Justified” is, and might make viewers more
inclined to head to Amazon Prime to reminisce, rather than anticipate the next
episode of Season 6.

Markham’s finally brought in some reinforcements in the
person of Boon, a cocky young quick-draw expert who’s heard tell of Raylan and
is clearly itching for a showdown, just like so many “Justified”
goons before him. Boon is played by Jonathan Tucker, sporting the worst hair
imaginable, and this is a show with some pretty bonkers hair. Boon is
simultaneously threatening and flirtatious with Loretta, and his threats are
the impetus for her to team up with Boyd. She’ll supply the drugs, and he’ll
supply the muscle. Boyd’s happy to back Loretta, since she’s Harlan born and
raised, and he’s prefer to keep the weed business local. This team-up obviously
sets Raylan on edge.

In other news, hey, Wynn Duffy’s the rat! Which he basically
had to be, since there were only three possibilities and Katherine and Markham
both suspected one another. And the mystery ends about as anti-climactically as
possible, as Art basically just says, “Oh these old sealed files got
unsealed. It’s Duffy.” Not exactly a barn-burner, and I’m still not
convinced this plot detail deserved the amount of screen time it’s received so
far, but at least the mystery is solved.

The bright side is that Art and Raylan use their new info to
blackmail Wynn into snitching for them once again. More Wynn Duffy is always a
good idea, and he’s been sadly sidelined this season. We even get the return of
the infamous Wynn Duffy
banana hammock
! Did you know Jere Burns is 60 years old? The man
stays in shape.

Zachariah makes his big play, chaining up Boyd underneath
the safe as the fuse burns down to the explosives. It’s a pretty half-assed
plan, since Boyd is able to quickly get Carl’s attention by screaming for help
and manages to clear the area right before the dynamite goes off. Speaking of
half-assed plans, Seabass shows up to Katherine’s hotel room, looking for more
money. He’s got Markham and Katherine dead to rights, but then he falls for the
old “let me check my purse for a tennis bracelet oh just kidding it’s a
gun” routine. Another classic example of “Justified” criminals
biting off more than they can chew. Turns out Seabass was hardly a criminal
mastermind… Hell, that could be the epitaph for a great deal of characters on
“Justified.”

Grade: B

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