Justified Recap: The Ballad of Sheriff Shelby

There was something elemental about this episode, something that worked on a most basic, atomic level, like a high-speed particle collider in narrative-TV form. Last week's episode set the players in motion — from Josiah and his ankle monitor to Shelby preparing to take down Boyd to Colton and Tim meeting cute — and this week, they all come running at each other at full speed. It was pretty glorious.

So Raylan starts off the episode on the trail of footless Josiah Cairn, who has managed to put quite a lot of distance between himself and that old rocking chair of his for a guy with one bloody stump below his ankle. Between dealing with the dumb-shit local cops in person and Art and his bottomless grab bag of foot puns, Raylan's having quite the morning. He finally starts looking for Brace-Face, Josiah's daughter. He finds her boyfriend at the trailer park, and he's being pissy as hell for reasons Raylan doesn't have the patience to try and understand. Enter, then, our old pal Shelby, casting weary glances at Raylan's tough-guy routine and correctly intuiting that the boyfriend making target practice of a crude drawing of a Native American face means they're looking for this guy named Teddy. So begins an episode-long tentative partnership between Raylan and Shelby that was as unexpected as it was delightful. Raylan has no reason to believe Shelby isn't every bit in Boyd's pocket as he was during last season's election, and Shelby doesn't really have time for Raylan's ghost-chasing with regard to Drew Thompson. But Shelby might be the one local official in Harlan with his head on straight, and he manages to win Raylan over with his dedication to the job at hand and his genuine decency. He's just so goddamn decent! There's no way he survives this season, right? Read More...



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