Written by Taylor Elmore and Keith Schreier
Directed by John Dahl
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on FX
More than any past season of Justified, this year has had both the widest quality gap between episodes, as well as the least consistency in terms of which plotlines feel rewarding at any given time. “Weight” reshuffles the deck once again, a fast, funny, exciting hour that introduces another big name, nails the surprise re-appearance of an old friend, and takes another Crowe out of the equation (two if you count the one with four legs), but makes the previously intriguing adventures of Ava in prison feel like a drag. On balance, there’s still much more good than bad on offer here.
For starters: scribes Taylor Elmore and Keith Schreier deserve a whole heap of credit for turning what could have been a cheap ploy for our attention into one of the most delectable set of scenes in recent memory: the surprise return of Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) is an utter, unadulterated delight, doubly so because he’s here in his natural born capacity as Harlan’s immortal, ragged jester par excellence. The fact that seemingly about half of his scene with Dewey amounts to giggling is delightful; Raylan and Dickie’s tete-a-tete, though, is on another level, just a nonstop volley of great digs and delectable performance beats. John Dahl’s direction does the scene a great favor as well, quietly emphasizing their difference in stature and poise. If that winds up as Dickie’s final appearance, it’ll be a hell of a way to be remembered. (Another nice touch: Raylan making no mention of Dickie murdering his Aunt Helen, as though it’s either too painful to recall or he’s not even worthy to even hear her name uttered. Or both.)
Almost as great: the sorry fate of mean sonofabitch Danny Crowe, played to sadistic, dumb perfection by AJ Buckley. One of the key maxims of Elmore Leonard is that criminals are, by and large, dumb. So far, the most consistent throughline of Season 5 has been that “dumb” can mean a lot of different things, and many of those things don’t rule out danger. Danny’s insistence on the “21-foot rule” was already a great running gag, but the definitive conclusion brought about by Danny’s choice of weapon and lack of situational awareness was a stroke of genius, and according to Graham Yost, that’s one of the many series chestnuts for which we have Olyphant to thank. He earns that producer credit, folks.
There are other reasons to think we might be able to comfortably expect smooth sailing for the remaining three episodes. (Pretty please?) I was concerned that we might have seen the last of Amy Smart’s Allison, especially since she was last seen very sensibly dumping Raylan, but here she is again, briefly giving shelter to young Kendall Crowe, who quite understandably wants out of this whole living-with-Danny-and-Daryl-