Justified: The Gunfighter

Harlan County isn’t very big. According to the last Census its population was just over 30,000. For being such a small place it sure houses a whole shit ton of bad guys.

That’s the theme of ‘The Gunfighter.’ The title obviously refers to Raylan and his penchant for putting holes in people, but before he goes about doing that we have to meet the folks who will be on the receiving end. First up is Neal McDonough’s so far unnamed Detroit Mafia badass. Local Dixie Mafia boss Mr. Arnett took out a loan from Detroit he couldn’t repay and apparently the mafia frowns upon that. Who knew? McDonough comes to town to collect, and ends up killing Arnett and his slutty assistant in front of a stunned, but likely impressed, Wynn Duffy. With Arnett out of the way McDonough looks poised to set up shop in Harlan, incorporating Duffy in his plans, I’m sure. McDonough has the screen presence, and creepy smile, to play an excellent foil, something he’s done many times in his career.

A less compelling new character is Fletcher “The Ice Pick” Nix. Played by Desmond Harrington of ‘Dexter’, Nix is the muscle for Mr. Arnett, and a wanted fugitive. We see how he gets his nickname, albeit at the expense of a jeweler and pizza man. He’s aware of Raylan’s past, specifically his quick draw abilities we witnessed in the series’ first episode, and challenges him. With Wynona counting down from 10 the two men stare down, gun on the table. Raylan, not being a moron, correctly guesses that someone nicknamed “The Ice Pick” may be carrying said weapon and cleverly yanks the table cloth, moving the gun and averting damage to his trigger fingers. Nix is shot in the shoulder, perhaps due to Raylan’s aim not being one hundred percent after being shot last season. In any case I’m interested in seeing where the Nix character goes, even if his mumble-rific voice annoys me.

Boyd Crowder and Wynn Duffy are holdovers from last season and their intentions aren’t plainly started just yet. I’m guessing Boyd hit Raylan because he wanted to get sent back to prison. I just haven’t figured out why yet. The look on Dickie’s face as Boyd strolls by is priceless. Duffy is still involved with the Dixie Mafia, and has employed Nix in the past, so we’ll see where they plan on taking that story. Ava, Raylan ex and Boyd’s curent lover, has sure stepped up her game, being a conduit with Boyd locked up. Is it just me or did it seem like she became totally entrenched in that life a bit too easy?

The one bad guy we haven’t yet seen is Mykelti Williamson a.k.a Bubba of “Forrest Gump” fame. The only recurring black character has been Raylan’s fellow Marshall that no one can remember the name of.

So many angles for evil, and one protagonist to tame them all. No one is going to top Mags Bennett, but we shouldn’t expect them to. A solid start to whats hopefully a memorable season.

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