Synopsis of Justified 6.05 “Sounding” from the FX network’s Website: When Ava makes a drastic decision, Raylan turns to an old friend for help. A suspicious Duffy looks into Ava’s release from prison. I copied and pasted the above synopsis of “Sounding” from the FX network’s Website, but it’s too concise. It needs at least two more sentences to summarize the episode fully. For instance, to summarize Boyd Crowder’s role in the episode, the synopsis requires the addition of the following sentence (which is a slightly revised version of its first sentence): “After his research uncovers a possible underground path into Avery Markham’s vault, Boyd turns to an old enemy for help.” The “old enemy” is one we have not seen in the previous five seasons—and I don’t remember hearing about him either. He is the uncle of Boyd’s fiancée (and one-time sister-in-law) Ava Crowder (née Randolph). The last time they saw each other, Uncle Zachariah told Boyd he’d fill him full of buckshot next time. That meeting between Boyd and Ava’s uncle eventually works out smoothly, which allows Uncle Zachariah Randolph to join Boyd’s gang as an expert on digging through an abandoned coalmine shaft into Markham’s former bank vault. All it took to get Uncle Zach to put down his shotgun and join the gang was a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and a $10,000 bank transfer. The second sentence FX needed in the synopsis is yet another revised version of the first sentence. This additional sentence summarizes Ava’s “drastic decision”: “After she makes a drastic decision, Ava turns to an old acquaintance for help.” Ava’s “decision” is to try to run from all her life-threatening troubles (i.e., Boyd, Katherine, and a potential return to prison) by trying to get an untraceable car from Ellstin Limehouse—the head of the African-American crime community in Harlan County. Of course, Ava hadn’t really thought through her decision to run from her problems, so her “plan” (such as it was) falls through. Fortunately, Raylan and his “old friend” help Ava get back on course for the season conclusion’s destination. By the way, Raylan’s “old friend” is Constable Bob Sweeney—comic book fans might think of Constable Bob as Doiby Dickles to Raylan’s Golden Age Alan Scott, or perhaps he’s Woozy Winks to Raylan’s Eel O’Brian. With those two additional sentences, the synopsis of “Sounding” sounds complete: After his research uncovers a possible underground path into Markham’s vault, Boyd turns to an old enemy for help. Similarly, when Ava makes a drastic decision, Raylan turns to an old friend for help. After she makes her drastic decision, Ava turns to an old acquaintance for help. Meanwhile, a suspicious Duffy looks into Ava’s release from prison. Obviously, Ava factored into this episode a lot (the character is mentioned in three of the four sentences in that synopsis), which is why Joelle Carter (the actress who plays Ava) has received a fair amount of Internet attention this past week for her performance, which was exemplary in Carter’s ability to portray Ava as a woman who is struggling to hide her nervous panic from everyone around her, as she deals with her fear of either returning to prison or ending up with a bullet in the back of the head. Unfortunately, Joelle Carter’s performance is about the only good thing in “Sounding.” It’s not that the episode was bad; it’s just that it wasn’t very good. It was merely passably adequate. Too many of the subplots had circumstances that lacked verisimilitude in favor of light comedy relief. However, I can forgive the goofiness of the scenes featuring Uncle Zacharia and Constable Bob—and let’s not forget the continued goofiness of Choo Choo Mundo in which each of his scenes presents him as a caricature. As a constant caricature, Choo Choo is beginning to wear thin. Nevertheless, I am willing to forgive the goofiness. After all, the comic relief element of Justified has been a constant presence since the pilot episode. It’s just that “Sounding” was a bit overloaded with the caricatures in place of actual character development—save, of course, for the development of Ava’s character as she struggles with her panic attacks. The problems with the episode are the two torture scenes that lacked verisimilitude in the exact same way that 90% of all torture scenes in theatrical films and TV series lack verisimilitude: They use the easy shortcut version of torture in which the person being “interrogated” suffers some sort of unbearable pain for a few minutes (or perhaps even a few time-lapsed hours) until he or she does one of three things: Tells the torturers-interrogators what they want to know. Convince the torturers-interrogators that he or she doesn’t know what the torturers-interrogators want to know (this one doesn’t happen very often). Dies In “Sounding” two of those scenarios occurred. In the first torture scene, Wynn Duffy and his bodyguard, Mike, torture Albert Fekus with a cattle prod that Wynn claims delivers “two million volts.” This interrogation technique is used to see if Fekus changed his story about Ava stabbing him because the Federal government wanted to use Ava as a confidential informant against Boyd Crowder. Fortunately, the sniveling little shit whose surname evokes the actual concept of “little shit” was able to hold up to the five or six times he was shocked with “two million volts”—convincing Wynn that Fekus only changed his story about Ava out of a sense of altruism toward a woman he lusts for and wanted to impress. Yeah, there is a complete lack of verisimilitude in Wynn accepting Fekus’s statement, but the bigger problem is that anyone schooled in the use of torture knows that inflicting pain on someone until they “talk” isn’t the purpose of torture at all. Anyone other than a psychopath will eventually say anything that they believe will cause the torture and pain to stop. Studies have shown that only a psychopath can hold up indefinitely to the pain of physical torture or the stress of psychological torture. The second torture scene in the episode never really gets going, but the pre-scene monologue about torture comes close to getting the details correct when Seabass tells real estate agent Calhoun Schreier about a man in Afghanistan who held up for weeks before finally cracking under the pain and stress of “peroneal torture” in which the peroneal nerve just below the knee is continuously pounded. That Taliban man in Afghanistan eventually cracked under the peroneal torture, and told Seabass and his cohorts whatever he needed to say to get the torture and pain to cease—so the writers on Justified didn’t actually get it right. The true purpose of torture is not to get a person to talk; it’s to get a person to suffer a complete psychological breakdown after prolonged torture that will allow the person to be reshaped into an obedient and compliant puppet who does whatever he or she is told. Unfortunately, in Seabass’s interrogation of Calhoun to discover how either Boyd or Raylan know which farms Markham has targeted for buying, Choo Choo was given the task of beating on the real estate agent. Choo Choo delivers one punch (“like an Amtrak”) and that is it for Calhoun, as he dies just as the torturing got started. A TV series that got it right when it comes to the purpose and effect of torture is Game of Thrones in which Theon Greyjoy suffers prolonged torture by Ramsay Snow to the point of a psychological breakdown that allows Ramsay to turn Theon into the obedient servant who has been renamed “Reek.” It also looks as if Gotham may be on the right track with a recent episode that indicated that Fish Mooney’s lieutenant Butch Gilzean has supposedly been tortured by Carmine Falcone’s enforcer Victor Zsasz to the point where Butch will now be Penguin’s obedient servant. Perhaps I’ll devote an upcoming Spontaneous Quixote column to the depiction of torture in Hollywood films and TV series. For now, I’ll just wish this show (Justified) that I enjoy so much didn’t take so many shortcuts when it comes to characterization and the depiction of reality. Justified 6.05 “Sounding”3.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (1 Vote)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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