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Episode Review: New characters and mysterious plot points keep 'Justified' fresh

FX

By Kelly Etz, Daily Arts Writer
Published January 17, 2013

Nothing beats the back-to-class syllabus monotony like a new season in Harlan County. It would have been easy for “Justified” to squeeze by on past badassery and just hit the mid-way slump, but FX isn’t known for pulling punches.

Unlike past premieres, “Hole in the Wall” is a bit of a go-nowhere episode that doesn’t introduce just one major villain story-arc. Sure, there is suspicious Preacher Billy with snakes in hand, but the focus of the episode rests heavily on the mystery bag from Arlo’s wall and Waldo Truth’s ancient driver’s license. This is a bag so significant that a couple of teenagers are willing to point a gun at a U.S. Marshall to get at it. It seems like an oddly simplistic plot point, but one that manages to transcend its unsophisticated veneer and have us frothing at the mouth for episode two.

Seamlessly blending new characters, including comedian Patton Oswalt as blundering constable Bob and Ron Eldard as Boyd’s bosom buddy from the military police, the premiere goes down as smooth as homegrown moonshine. The dialogue is damn near poetry, the pacing breezy, the confident swagger firmly in place. With Elmore Leonard’s direct influence running through its veins, the series feels unstoppable. Tuesday nights just got a whole lot sweeter.


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