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Justified battles more than just "The Devil You Know"

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Written by : published Wednesday 8th February 2012

"The Devil You Know" is the latest installment of FX's Justified. Dickie (Jeremy Davies) and Dewey (Damon Herriman) escape from prison with the help of Ash (Todd Stashwick, The Riches, Men of a Certain Age), who wants Dickie's family's money. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) searches for them, and to stay ahead, looks to the keeper of said fortune, Ellstin Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson, 24, Forrest Gump). Unfortunately, most of the money is gone, or so says Limehouse, and as the bad guys get into a power struggle, with few believing Dickie's insistence of poverty, Ash is gravely injured and Dewey is killed. Dickie gets away.

Meanwhile, Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough, Despeate Housewives, Tin Man) goads Devil (Kevin Rankin) into standing up to Boyd (Walton Goggins). Devil gets Johnny (David Meunier) behind him, but that doesn't stop Boyd from killing Devil first as soon as Devil makes a threat.

While Justified has been back on the air for three weeks now, it's a hard series to review, and getting harder all the time. That's because episodes, including "The Devil You Know," aren't about a certain event or complete story anymore. As the series goes on, plots get more and more serial, with each week just adding a piece to the larger framework, rather than standing alone. This is certainly not a complaint, as only the best shows are able to successfully do this. But it makes it quite difficult to review an hour at a time.
 
Justified reaches some awesome new levels in season two with the Mags story, and it's gratifying that there are continuations of that still occurring in season three. Yes, Mags is dead, but her money sets the sights of many a bad dude on her son Dickie. Dickie is now out of prison, but Limehouse tells him that there is little money left. Too bad that's not something that the people after the cash are likely to believe, especially with how untrustworthy Mags turns out be towards her neighbors. Dickie is still, and will continue to be, a wanted man.

The best thing that Dickie could do is let Limehouse keep the money. Now some may keep coming after Dickie, but it buys him time and leverage to not have the stash with him. Ash learns the hard way that it's not so easy to get Dickie's family's fortune. Others could repeat the mistake. Boyd, for one, is likely to try. But maybe by not keeping any of it, and possibly still having business with Limehouse, Dickie will have a little flexibility and protection from his enemies. Of course, Dickie is still hunted by the law as a fugitive, so there's that...

Speaking of season two faces, in "The Devil You Know" Raylan pays a visit to Loretta (Kaitlyn Dever) to ask for information. Fans get to see what has become of the girl. She may not be happy, but she's leading an honest life, helping with a family. This should teach her the right things and keep her on the straight path. That's really the most important bit of this small scene, as Loretta isn't getting involved in this season's issues, so she's not important anymore. That's good for the safety of her character, but bad for the viewers who enjoy her.

It's wonderful to see Dever again, even in this tiny, insignificant role. She has been wasting away on the sitcom Last Man Standing lately, and any reminder of what a terrific actress she can be is welcome on the TV screen.

What is Boyd going to do now? Presumably, he still wants Dickie's money, not realizing that it's gone. But knowing that others are going after it, Boyd is probably wise to lay low. Especially after a betrayal by a close lieutenant, which doesn't exactly put Boyd in the best position to go after any large score right now.

But the bodies are piling up around Dickie. So something is going to have to break in this plot soon.

What does Robert want with Boyd? By approaching Devil, is Robert looking to get into business with Boyd? Take over Boyd's territory? Is Robert testing the waters? Or trying to undermine Boyd? Does Robert want Boyd's cooperation, or want him out of the way? It's a real mystery. All that is known is that Robert represents an organized crime group, which wants to make at least part of Kentucky theirs. To what end? Well, we will have to wait for the rest of the season to play out. But he certainly a threat, even if an undefined one.

Which means that Raylan's job is quite a challenge lately. Raylan knows the score with Boyd. But he's just met Robert, and been thoroughly unsettled by him. And surely Raylan isn't comfortable with all of these familiar faces, such as Devil and Dewey, winding up dead. Sure, some casualties are to be expected on a series like Justified, but it seems that the herd of recurring characters is really being culled as of late. Which leaves room for something big and, likely, unpleasant. Even with the plot remaining murky, the anticipation level is building as viewers are left to wonder what Raylan's main challenge will be this season, and how he will cope with it.

Watch Justified Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.

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Article first published as TV Review: Justified - "The Devil You Know" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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