Justified: Riverbrook   Rewatch 
June 30, 2014 10:27 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Raylan hunts an escaped prisoner who is determined to reunite with his ex-wife...and his stashed fortune.

I like these self-contained episodes that start off the series, it gives you a chance to get a feel for the characters in their everyday work before diving into the more complex overall story. They still work in themes that will appear throughout (Raylan’s disdain for criminal families, especially his own father; Boyd’s hospital bed conversion to a Man of God) but they don’t overwhelm you with story and character right off the bat like some serial dramas (I’m looking at you, Game of Thrones and The Wire.)

Raylan Body Count remains at 1 from the pilot, with the big kill going to Tim this episode. (Hat tip to desjardins)
posted by InfidelZombie (7 comments total)
This episode is a marked step down from the pilot, as you'd expect since they can't just lift Elmore Leonard dialogue verbatim for new stories. I feel like there was a sort of transitional period between episodes two through four where they're trying to figure out what the show is going to be. The Alan Ruck episode coming up, in particular is kind of a turd. It's interesting going back watching this and feeling like they don't know what they're doing yet.

By the time they get to episode five with Arlo, they start picking up, starting to realize that the Harlan lowlifes and Raylan's interactions with them are the heart of the show.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:37 AM on June 30, 2014

I love Tim. He is my favorite person in the series. He seems level-headed with a good moral compass. Someone I'd like to have a beer with.
posted by desjardins at 10:56 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I feel like they haven't ever used him as much as they should have, he's just kind of there most of the time. Same thing with Rachel, both of them are really good characters (and good actors) but they never really have their own stories.
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:53 PM on July 2, 2014

One thing that really bothered me in Season One is the dearth of female characters. There's Rachel, Ava, and Winona, and that's pretty much it. Rachel doesn't get any backstory or depth at all in season one (IIRC).

Phire convinced me to stick with it, though. The gender ratio really never got much better but at least the female characters had a bit more depth. Ava and Winona at least get to make their own decisions, mostly.
posted by desjardins at 1:25 PM on July 2, 2014

I've been watching Justified for the first time, after reading years of Sepinwall gushing for the series (mostly in the form of his advocating for Margo Martindale to get awards during and after s2), and I feel the series didn't really pick up until later.

This episode, despite the nice opening (Raylan is not invincible, as it turns out) and the appearance of (an underutilized) Kristin Bauer van Stratten, is an especially notable quality trough.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 9:49 AM on July 3, 2014

Winona also does some grotesquely stupid things in season... 2? 3? That just seemed utterly out-of-character with someone who had initially seemed so savvy. I love her clear-eyed assessment in the pilot that Raylan is actually, contrary to his cool patter and devil-may-care posturing, an incredibly angry man. But she never quite lived up to the potential that that conversation promised.

I wasn't much of a fan of this episode's A-plot, but I absolutely love the rapport that Raylan has with Price (and a lot of other criminals on the show). Raylan seems to approach his job like "eh, you're a criminal and do bad shit, I'm a cop and I catch you, that's just what we do", without acrimony or even necessarily condescension, and actually talks to them like human beings. It's a nice touch, especially given his rather complicated relationships with Arlo and Boyd.
posted by Phire at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree that I like Raylan's rapport with the criminals. So often in media we see the cops testing the criminals like pieces of shit (and even calling them that), so it is nice to see him just accept them as they are, not getting too close, but not treating them as subhuman either.

Pam! From True Blood! Oh. I love her. Pam. And the love between Pam and her ex-husband is cute.

And I laughed out loud when they showed the boat and car in the driveway. That was hilarious. "I guess they found the money already."

And sex positive, too, really. That was refreshing.
posted by jillithd at 6:29 PM on February 20, 2016

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