As entertaining as it is flawed, ‘American Ultra’ is sure to divide audiences with its haphazard mix of ultra-violence and heartfelt romance. A gleefully-belligerent experiment in style that thumbs its nose at your expectations.
Justified has looked and felt a little different with each new season, so it should perhaps be less surprising in retrospect that its fifth season was, once again, something new: a letdown. The series’ incredible writing team has been articulating variations on a narrow set of very old themes so gracefully for so long that, if anything, they deserve immense credit for their unlikely four-season streak of greatness. It wasn’t that the Crowe-family-centric fifth season was bad, per se – one could easily stitch together a potent highlight reel – it was more that it finally felt like the series was simply spinning its wheels for the first time. It’s the job of the series’ sixth and final season, then, to right the course and get us re-invested in Justified’s vision of Harlan County and its assortment of charismatically gifted heroes and villains. “Fate’s Right Hand” has a lot of work to do, but for the most part, it’s a smoothly paced and assured premiere, one that portends a back-to-basics approach, albeit a ruthless one.