I’m continuing to watch the series Justified on FX, with Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U. S. Marshal Raylan Givens. A new episode, titled “Riverbrook,” aired last night. The plot involves a couple of prisoners who are in a “bluegrass convict band” called “The Big House Boys.” While playing a birthday party, two of the “boys” take the opportunity to the escape. They cross paths with Raylan at a convenience store, which they have broken into (and traded their prison band costumes—cartoonish striped prisoner outfits—for clothing for sale in the store, a fact that Raylan almost immediately picks up on).
This episode pulls back from the more explicit references to the western that we saw in the first episode. The Tombstone poster is still in the Chief’s office, but we don’t see as much of it as we did in the earlier episode. The most explicit reference takes place during an exchange between Raylan and one of the escaped convicts, Cooper. In the convenience store, Raylan figures out too late what’s going on, and as he’s talking with the first convict, the second gets the drop on him from behind. When he sees Raylan’s badge, he asks what sort of lawman he is, and Raylan responds that he’s a U. S. Marshal. Cooper asks, “Marshal? Like in Gunsmoke?” Raylan responds, “More like The Fugitive.” And that’s about it for western references this time around.
Western references or not, the show remains entertaining, primarily because of Timothy Olyphant. However, this episode spent more time with the criminals, with Cooper, his ex-wife, and her “cousin.” Raylan is a far more interesting character than these relatively incompetent criminals, and I found the episode somewhat disappointing in that, so soon in the series, it shifted too much of its attention away from the main character to minor ones. I hope Raylan returns to center stage in next week’s episode.