‘Justified’ Review: “Noblesse Oblige”
‘Justified’’s 6th and final season takes aim with its third 2015 installment in “Noblesse Oblige,” as Raylan and the Marshals pressure Ava to deliver more substantial intel, while Boyd learns the truth behind Tiger Hawk Security and their employer, Avery Markham (Sam Elliott).
Last week’s ‘Justified’ installment, “Cash Game,” saw Boyd grappleing with Ava and uncovering the significance of his latest heist, while Raylan brushed up against the new players in town mysteriously buying up Harlan land, so what does the third episode of ‘Justified’ season 6 bring?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Justified’ season 6, episode 3, “Noblesse Oblige!”
I’ve said it before, though it bears repeating, ‘Justified’ has never been as flashy or water-cooler stirring as some of its FX counterparts, and even though only 10 episodes remain in the series at large, Harlan County certainly wasn’t going to light aflame by episode 3. Fun and fluid thought they’ve been, the prior two episodes have been devoted largely to tidying up old business, reintroducing characters and putting into place the newer elements, and only tonight do we start to see how certain storylines rub up against one another to spark ‘Justified’’s final run.
“Noblesse Oblige” begins and ends with Boyd and Ava on their backs, rediscovering their relationship's spark, even as neither fully trusts the other. In the first instance at least, drunk at the bar and reminiscing of high school days, we see the two reclaiming common ground spiritually, while the ending sequence bridges a more physical connection. Last week showed us that Ava seems to be playing both sides as necessary, and while tonight’s hour saw her primarily entrenched in Boyd’s plan to rob the Pizza Portal, stolen glances at Raylan defending her from the Marshals to keep in play the character’s wild card status between the two Harlan gunslingers.
The inaugural promos for ‘Justified’’s final season seemed to say as much, even as showrunners teased that Ava wouldn’t literally burn down the Crowder residence over the course of the season, and the final episodes continually highlight Joelle Carter at her best, playing everything from drunkenly “over-it,” to flirtatious, terrified, and everything in between. In particular, Avery Markham’s insinuation that Ava may prove no more than Boyd’s token to threaten certainly landed, and there’s no telling how far Ava might go to free herself of forces pushing and pulling in every direction.
Boyd too certainly has his confidence shaken throughout the hour, first in meekly admitting defeat to the Tiger Hawk thugs, and later realizing that the legendary Avery Markham, friend to Bo Crowder, was the possessor of Calhoun’s fortune. Still, even though Boyd might well have genuinely backed off of future heists, Markham’s diminishing of Boyd’s outlaw stature brought that explosive Crowder ego roaring back, particularly after his threats to Ava. I only wish that we might have seen Sam Elliott’s Avery Markham in action, rather than accept the threats and exposition that follow such a legendary figure from scene to scene, but Boyd’s initial deference paints a strong portrait.
That same pride permeates the hour, as Raylan remains resolute in his Gary Cooper fantasies of playing Boyd’s own men against him, or to a lesser extent, Luther’s blind willfulness to accept the consequences of his son’s crimes. We’ve seen Raylan half-heartedly commit to playing Boyd’s case by the books, even as he subtly manipulates Rachel into letting him off the leash, just as we’ve heard Raylan rattle off Boyd’s words about children changing a man’s outlook. Confidence and wordplay are all well and good, though it escapes him that Luther presently commits to lessening his son’s charges, while Raylan has yet to follow through on leaving law enforcement to raise his daughter in Florida. In short, no one seems poised for a happy ending outside Harlan, as the old song says.
For all its exploration of pride and consequence, “Noblesse Oblige” still brought plenty of fun moments as well, between Boyd and Ava’s drunken shenanigans, the menacing venture into Pizza Portal, or Raylan and Rachel effortlessly getting over on Earl and Luther’s boy. Not only that, but tanning-thong Wynn Duffy and the fiery Katherine Hale added plenty of color to the proceedings, in some ways more literal than others, while Boyd’s determination to take down Markham brings about an intriguing dynamic between he and Katherine as well. Definitely not many specifics for the water-cooler, but consider “Noblesse Oblige” another strong entry in an increasingly (and deservedly) confident season.
AND ANOTHER THING…
- From now on, I’m going to answer any and all “How do you know [name]” questions with “We dug coal together.”
- No matter what, Choo-Choo needs to make it through the final season, and find himself a love interest. He’s too adorable, guys.
- “I’m gonna shoot your dick off.” The episode was directed by RoboCop after all, and no, I'm not linking to that video.
- Markham mentions never developing a taste for bourbon, the same thing Raylan said of tequila in the premiere. I’m calling it right now, the entire series ends on a drinking competition. Mags Bennett returns from the grave and destroys everyone.
Well, what say you? Did you feel that ‘Justified’ hit the mark with its sixth and final season’s latest? Has Boyd truly met his match? Give us your reactions in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new ‘Justified’ review of season 6's fourth installment, “The Trash and the Snake” on FX!