If you apropos of nothing adopt a southern drawl and just say the name “Raylen Givens,” do you suddenly expect a gunfight to break out or for someone to suddenly make a bad-ass boast? I do, and it is perhaps a growing sign that I have become far too invested in the pulp action going down in Harlan, KY. Season 3 is continuing to run strong and if there’s one word I would use to describe this season, it’s consistent. 6 episodes in (if you count this one) and I’ve given the exact same score to each episode. Maybe some episodes were a little better, but I feel like I’d be splitting hairs to give it a new score one way or the other. This has been a great season of TV. Its never reached the same heights as the best episodes of Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, but no episode has felt distinctly worse than any other which was a huge problem with the show’s first two seasons. I’m not actually sure if we’ve had an episode this season as purely strong as some of Season 2’s best moments, but nothing is dragging the season down so far, and last night’s episode was continuing proof that if you’re wanting riveting, edge-of-your-seat TV, Justified is the place to go.

Like a couple episodes ago (I forget which one), all of the stories are so interconnected again that I won’t be able to conveniently split this into a Raylen section and then a Boyd section. Last week, Boyd finally met face-to-face with Quarles and essentially told him he was a carpetbagger and to get the hell out of Harlan before he caught a bullet. In the beginning of this week’s episode, one of Boyd’s doctors who is selling oxycontin to the locals was robbed and murdered by men who were known employees of Quarles. The murder is witnessed by one of the prostitutes who we last saw having sex with Dewie Crowe last season when he pretended to be Raylen for the day. Every single world whether it’s law or crime collides in this act because Boyd Crowder was robbed by Quarles’s men who were acting under the orders of a rogue foot soldier of Elstin Limehouse on property that belonged to the late Helen Givens, Arlo’s deceased wife. As Boyd gets dragged into the investigation (while trying to locate Winona who’s run away and as of the end of the episode has officially broken up with Raylen though she still loves him and wants to raise his baby). Raylen eventually busted Quarles operation and since his investigation into Quarles is hurting the Frankfurt Dixie mafia, Raylen now has another bulls eye on his back. Also, am I the only person who noticed that perhaps Arlo is going senile. Limehouse didn’t know that his man started this whole war between the Crowders and the Dixie Mafia and now he’s being forced to gun up because of his undisciplined lieutenant.

I could have put more thought and time into the plot analysis of that episode but I’m trying to be social and talk to people while I’m here in NYC and it’s not easy to chat and write a good review. As a matter of fact, I think my readers will forgive me if I draw this review to an abrupt close. I have things to say (seeing Boyd and Raylen play off each other was a refreshing throw-back to things we haven’t seen much of this season, seeing Ava become more involved in the criminal side of things was compelling, I’m not happy that Winona and Raylen are off again. Is she on a new show or something like the guy that played Devil. Jere Burns needs a lot more screen time), but I’m tired and after writing all day at my office (I literally just provide copy for a 7 hour shift), sometimes I want to come home and not write so much. I still love writing but I worry that I’m going to wake up one day and be exhausted of words.

FInal Score: A-

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