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‘Justified’ Review: “Kin”

Justified Review Kin
FX

Justified’ season 4 heads uphill in its fifth episode of the year “Kin,” as Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant)’ meets with the mysterious “Hill People” in a last ditch effort to find Drew Thompson before his father can barter release from prison, while Colton (Ron Eldard) attempts to track down the missing Ellen May.

Last week’s ‘Justified’ episode “The Bird Has Flown” saw Raylan and Rachel tracking down the wayward Lindsey and her bruiser ex-husband Randall (Robert Baker), while Boyd and Ava dealt with the dilemma of letting Ellen May back into their organization, so what will the latest episode of ‘Justified’ bring? Will Raylan be the one to find Drew Thompson or will Boyd Crowder beat him to it?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Justified’ season 4 episode 5 “Kin!”

Colton uses his military police badge to convince the gas station clerk to allow him access to the station’s security feed, which reveals next to nothing about Ellen May’s disappearance. One thing that does catch his eye however, is the appearance of what looks to be a police car driving by the bottom of the frame.

The next morning, Raylan meets with a visibly pregnant Winona at one of her ultrasounds, and attempts to convince her that he’s turned a few things around, but a miscommunication over their text messages leads her to realize that Raylan actually showed up late for the rescheduled appointment. Their reunion sours even further once Raylan gets a call from the office he can’t ignore, where he’s told that Arlo is being led into the police station in chains to make a deal!

Raylan arrives at the station as FBI Agent Barkley (Stephen Toblowsky) angrily turns over files and control of the Drew Thompson case to the Marshals, learning from Art that Arlo has agreed to give up Drew Thompson’s location in exchange for his freedom. Raylan reluctantly agrees that Thompson’s testimony to bring down Theo Tonin would prove more valuable, but gets the department to allow him 24 hours to catch Thompson on his own before his father makes a deal.

Wynn Duffy and Barkley meet with Theo Tonin’s surrogate Nick Augustine (‘Glee’s Mike O’ Malley), who goes back a long way with Barkley. As the two share stories, Augustine presses that his boss wants Drew Thompson to be delivered alive, to which Barkley reluctantly agrees in exchange for a fee. Knowing that Barkley would run off with the sum considering the FBI no longer controls the case, Augustine coldly shoots his old friend dead, and passes the responsibility to Wynn.

Colton meets with Sheriff Shelby (‘Supernatural‘s Jim Beaver) hoping the police cruiser picked up Ellen May, though the Sheriff has no record of it. Returning to the bar, Colton claims to have accomplished the murder, before Boyd takes a meeting with Wynn Duffy about finding Drew Thompson. Elsewhere Raylan meets with Constable Bob (Patton Oswalt) to ask young Roz (Alexandra Kyle) who told her and her boyfriend to search Arlo’s house for the bag, ultimately revealed as the girl’s stepfather Josiah Kairn, an old foe of Raylan’s and friend of his father’s.

Raylan pays the ankle-braceleted Josiah a visit, handcuffing him to the side of his moving car until Josiah reveals that Drew Thompson went to hide with the “Hill People” years ago, and would most likely still be there. Raylan next borrows an old family photo from the possessions left in Bob’s trunk, and calls Tim to keep watch as he heads off on foot to meet with the reclusive Hill People. Walking alone in the wilderness, Raylan soon finds himself confronted by the Hill People, who place a bag over his head and ultimately dump him into a small hold with…Boyd Crowder!

Having both been deceived by Josiah, Raylan and Boyd trade barbs while their guards decide their fate, one which Raylan attempts to avoid by claiming kinship with one of their people, Mary. The guards scoff, but Boyd and Raylan manage to get the jump on them until the Hill people elder Cotes breaks things up. Raylan insists that the photo proves his relation to Mary, but fails to answer any of the necessary questions as Cotes leads the two men to be killed and disposed of. Raylan is only spared by the timely intervention of Mary herself (‘Chuck’s Bonita Friedericy), who indeed recognizes Raylan. Fortunately, Raylan bargains for Boyd’s life as well.

Leading Boyd and Raylan out of the woods, Mary reveals that Drew Thompson didn’t stay with the Hill People very long, but she believes he did settle in Harlan after all. Mary leaves as Boyd and Raylan walk back together, bonding over the secrets their fathers kept from them, but Raylan gets the drop on the moment to handcuff Boyd to a tree for a head start on finding Drew Thompson. Minutes later, Raylan returns to Tim at the base of the hill, finding Colton waiting as well, before directing Colton to find his boss a mile back.

Later that night, Boyd ups his price for finding Drew Thompson to half of the Kentucky heroin trade, to which Wynn Duffy reluctantly agrees. Standing in Wynn’s trailer, Johnny Crowder protests the arrangement, but Wynn assures him he can follow up on his fratricidal plan after Drew Thompson’s been found. Elsewhere, Colton pays another visit to Sheriff Shelby looking for Ellen May, but Shelby again turns him away. After Colton leaves, Ellen May steps out, and Shelby offers his protection in exchange for testifying something useful against Boyd Crowder!

Finally, while Boyd pays Arlo’s lawyer to tank his deal for giving up Drew Thompson, Raylan returns to Josiah’s cabin to find the man’s active ankle bracelet…and his severed foot nearby!

Boy, this season escalated quickly! It jumped up a notch! So while the snake-handler church storyline seems to have fallen entirely off the map, the Drew Thompson chase really kicked into gear by finally putting Raylan and Boyd in the same arena. “Kin” escalates the season’s pace significantly, and provides a big improvement over the previous four episodes, even finding ways to include Winona! To be fair, the first four episodes of the season still crackled with ‘Justified’s usual dialogue and a number of intriguing characters, but a repositioning episode like “Kin” sets a much higher standard for the season going forward.

What say you?  What did you think about ‘Justified’s latest effort “Kin” Stay tuned for our coverage of the new season, and join us next week for another all-new ‘Justified’ episode recap of “Foot Chase” on FX!

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