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‘Justified’ Review: “Over the Mountain”

Justified Over the Mountain Review
FX

Justified’ season 5 takes aim with its fourth installment of the year in “Over the Mountain,” as Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is tasked with finding Wade Messer, who has since become lost in the woods with Dewey Crowe, while Boyd (Walton Goggins) confronts his cousin Johnny (David Meunier) about their ongoing feud.

Last week’s ‘Justified’ episode “Good Intentions” saw Raylan dealing with a mysterious attempted intrusion at his FBI-seized mansion, while Boyd  worked to uncover who stole his shipment, fending off an assassination attempt as well, so what will the fourth episode of ‘Justified’ season 5 bring? Has our new big bad set out to make life in Harlan worse than ever?

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

Dewey lures Wade Messer into the woods with the promise of digging up one of his secret cash stores, though Dewey turns a gun on him before long. The ensuing struggle sees Messer shot in the gut and beaten with the shovel, but by the time Dewey returns from his truck with a tool to continue digging, Messer’s body has disappeared. In the frantic pursuit, Dewey stumbles down a hill, and loses track of his surroundings.

The next day, Raylan learns from Art that Messer was in fact a criminal informant on Boyd, though he rarely provided anything useful, and has since failed to report in. GPS from his informant phone places the signal at Audrey’s, while Dewey remains lost in the woods. Elsewhere, cousin Johnny Crowder visits with Boyd and Ava in prison, but despite Boyd’s surprising offer that they could put aside past differences and work together for financial gain, Johnny has no interest.

Raylan arrives to Audrey’s to find young Kendall Crowe tending bar, as Tim finds Messer’s phone. Meanwhile, Dewey breaks down and prays to God for his survival, coincidentally finding a blood trail that will lead him toward the surviving Wade Messer. Tim and Raylan next pay a visit to Messer’s house, instead finding Danny Crowe and his vicious dog, as Danny claims to be Messer’s new roommate.

Dewey finally tracks down the dying Messer, but is himself found by a family of hunters who observe his plight, and insist on taking him in for care. Dewey finds himself unable to finish off Messer without the hunters seeing him, but still manages to leave Messer behind to die without the family realizing. Meanwhile in prison, a notably short guard named Albert (Danny Strong) corners Ava and attempts to intimidate her into a submissive rape, though the altercation is broken up by a female guard before long.

While Carl continues to tail Johnny, Boyd finds himself interrupted by a visit from Tim and Raylan to the bar, the lawmen pressing that he’d been feeding Wade bad information to take to the Marshals. Raylan insinuates that a missing criminal informant would likely make Boyd a primary suspect, for which Boyd reluctantly turns over the number to Wade’s private burner phone, as Raylan leaves Tim behind to trace its signal. Meanwhile at the Marshal’s office, Detroit chief Ed Kirkland calls Art to explain they have new information on Sammy Tonin’s whereabouts on the night of Nicky Augustine’s murder, though he’ll have to come to Detroit.

Raylan manages to track Wade’s phone to an isolated spot in the woods, while Dewey has since gotten in touch with Daryl for a ride. Daryl chides Dewey for his failure as they attempt to find Wade and finish the job, though upon arriving to the area, Raylan and a cadre of police have already located Wade’s dead body.

Raylan returns to Boyd’s bar to reveal his findings, though they opt not to hold Boyd accountable for the the crime just yet. Elsewhere, the female prison guard assaults Albert, given Ava’s status as a protected prisoner, for which he agrees to stay away. Meanwhile, Daryl keeps Dewey locked in a trailer for the moment, urging him to get with the program and side with what their family could potentially build in Harlan.

Boyd and Carl find that Johnny has gotten into dealing with Rodney “Hot Rod” Dunham, necessitating they back off for the time being and better plot their coming revenge. Elsewhere, Raylan urges Vasquez to look into the Crowes for Messer’s murder rather than Boyd, while Art arrives in Detroit to find the police picked up the Canadian mobster (Will Sasso) from Boyd’s earlier dealings. In exchange for extradition, the mobster offers to answer Art’s questions about Nicky Augustine’s murder, namely that Sammy Tonin claimed to have a Kentucky lawman in his pocket, whom Mr. Picker could likely identify, and now resides with Wynn Duffy.

That night, Allison tersely suggests Raylan not spend the night, though when Raylan prods, she reveals that earlier in the day an abusive father who’d chained and treated his son like an animal nearly attacked her with a tire iron, all in the name of keeping his family together. Meanwhile Sheriff Mooney and Mara offer a recuperating Lee Paxton a dead man’s hand purporting it to be Crowder’s, for which Paxton expresses relief. Mara poses if Paxton still plans to testify against Ava, for which Paxton defiantly insists she deserves her fate as well.

The next day, Raylan arrives at Audrey’s to intimidate the Florida Crowes into leaving town, noting Jean Baptiste’s response when Raylan casually mentions that Messer had in fact been a criminal informant. Daryl insists he can put down roots where he like, before Raylan produces a court order to remove young Kendall Crowe from the establishment, bringing him into custody of social services. The elder Crowes threaten Raylan and nearly instigate a gunfight, before Kendall agrees to go of his own volition. Elsewhere, Boyd and Carl find a stash of dead bodies from the earlier failed heists.

OUR REVIEW:

Poor, poor Dewey Crowe. Even bullied into assuming control over his own operation, only to wind up lost in the woods, and ultimately held prisoner inside one of his own trailers. Whatever intent the other Crowes seem to have for Harlan County hasn’t presented much within the three episodes they’ve been in town, though by now we at least have a clearer sense of who’s who, and more time to acclimate to Michael Rapaport’s bizarre inflections. Some of ‘Justified”s stronger pulls have long been its villains, though the prior season understandably attempted to do something different, while season 5 seems content to heap misery on its characters until something sticks.

And while “Over the Mountain” didn’t necessarily give us a clear sense of the road ahead for one-third through the season, we at least got a welcome return for Johnny Crowder, and a welcome bit of insight into Ava’s prison lifestyle, however ugly the image of Jonathan Danny Strong attempting to force himself remains. The ‘Star Wars‘ reference is well appreciated for a series whose pop-culture purview only presents itself every so often, though we might have liked a bit more insight into her fellow prisoners, or at least her protected status, rather than throw such a rampant sleazeball into the mix.

If nothing else, the family theme at least lands like the blunt impact of a shovel to the head, Allison’s tale reinforcing how the very word can outshine the cruelest of treatment for your actual kin. Raylan’s morality has taken something of a spitshine in recent episodes, to say the least (Art is now all-but certain of Raylan’s dirty deal last season), but remanding young Kendall Crowe into custody seemed petty and provoking, even by his standards. It’s clear that the birth of his daughter, and the loss of his own father last season has warped the very idea of family, to the point where Raylan almost pokes and prods the notion in others from sheer petulant curiosity, which may cause even more trouble than he’d already heaped on himself luring the Crowes to Kentucky in the first place.

The same could be said of Boyd, attempting to lure Johnny back into his good graces on the empty promise of profit, though the family betrayal runs too deeply with Johnny for any meaningful progress. It was certainly nice to have Boyd and Raylan’s first meeting of the season as well, though by now the bond between Boyd and his affairs seems so strained by the various rivalries and impediments, it can be hard to find the same joy and relish that once accompanied the two sharing a room. We’ll likely have a bit of forward movement on Johnny’s dirty dealings with “Hot Rod” Dunham in the coming weeks, but for now, our ‘Justified’ somehow seems more bitter than it used to. But hey, at least Tim’s back!

Well, what say you? Did you feel that ‘Justified’ hit the mark with its fifth season’s fourth installment? Has Raylan truly gone over to the dark side, with Art hot on his trail? Give us your reactions in the comments, and join us next Tuesday for another all-new ‘Justified’ recap of season 5, episode 5, “Shot All to Hell” on FX!

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