‘Justified’ 2.12 Recap: “My Guns Are Always Loaded”

Last week’s episode of ‘Justified’ was the calm before the season finale storm. With every party involved thinking that they have invincible balls of steel, the coming showdown ought to make the O.K. Corral shootout look like a water fight.

Raylan is pissed. He has the fiery rage of revenge behind his eyes, which promptly earns this episode the title ‘Reckoning’. Dickie Bennett killed his Aunt/stepmom Helen in the final seconds of ‘Full Commitment’ last week, so Raylan is hell-bent on serving Dickie justice.

Instead of dragging the whimpering Dickie into the forest and laying him low, Raylan books him with solid evidence and a witness, putting out the fire of rage and revenge by handing Dickie’s fate over to the justice system.

When Raylan learns that Arlo and Boyd Crowder set into motion the chain of events that led to Helen’s death, we see the most furious, non-alcohol-induced side of Raylan’s personality. We have not seen him like this before. He looks down upon every party involved like a group of dumb boys in a pissing contest – only this is sure to end with one huge cluster of a gunfight.

Dickie gets out of jail, and his momma Mags is hiding something up her sleeve. The Bennetts are already back to their crooked, criming ways. Arlo is after Dickie, but Mags is ready to protect him. Backing Arlo are Boyd and cousin Johnny. If the Bennett clan comes after Arlo, Boyd and Johnny have his back. If Arlo and company go after Dickie, the Bennett clan will fight back. No matter what happens in the finale, with the episode titled ‘Bloody Harlan’, you know that it’s not going to end well.

I have a feeling that the finale might make hung-over Raylan’s words in episode 8 ‘The Spoil’ come true: “And whenever this shit does blow up in your faces, guess what. I won’t be here to clean up the bodies.”

Other than the personal vendetta against Dickie, Raylan has no official business in Harlan County. The events of ‘Reckoning’ take place during Raylan’s personal time. This isn’t official U.S. Marshall business. Raylan is not part of this pissing contest. He’s just trying to control it, to put out the match before it turns into a wildfire.

When everything reaches the boiling point in ‘Bloody Harlan’, Raylan just might walk away and let the blood of every dirty man and woman spill. Letting everyone bring about this deserved fate themselves would result with Raylan’s same choice brand of justice – death – while allowing him to keep his own hands clean.

Some questions you might want to consider for the finale: Already suspecting Raylan of being crooked, how is Art going to react to this? Will Ava become the new Helen by sticking around and watching everything go down, or will she be the stronger woman and fight to call it off? Is Wynn Duffy going to rear his ugly little face in Harlan County? How is Loretta going to play into this? Will Boyd’s henchmen arrive in time to add to their numbers? If so, will they simply be cannon fodder? (I hope so.)

Much like season one’s finale, we really don’t know what to expect from season two’s. But since the show was renewed for a third season just after FX execs saw this season’s final episode, we’re sure to get another fantastic ‘Justified’ season finale.


  1. Ed, Watertown MA

    You mean there was some question about renewing Justified? That’s just idiotic. It’s FX’x best show since The Shield.

      • I find it odd that it isn’t a HUGE series. Everyone I know that watches it is die-hard. And when you have a lot of die-hards talking about the same thing every Thursday morning, it usually becomes contagious.

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