Synopsis of Justified 6.09 “Burned” from the IMDB Website (slightly edited): Ava must decide whom to trust. A new player bidding for power derails Avery Markham’s plans for Harlan. Boyd gets closer to his dream of riches, but an unexpected betrayal causes him to question Ava’s loyalty. In my review of “Dark as a Dungeon” (episode 6.08), I said this season of Justified doesn’t have as much tension as past seasons have had. Well, it’s as if the producers anticipated my complaint and had already decided that at about this point in the season they would need to start ratcheting up the tension—and this episode does just that. I can think of only three intense moments over the first eight episodes. Initially, I thought there might have been four, but I decided the season’s opening confrontation between Raylan and a Mexican police chief didn’t actually have very much tension in it; it was a great Raylan moment, but there was never any question on how that scene would play out—which leaves the following as the three tense moments in all of the previous episodes: The staring contest between Raylan and Avery Markham in Loretta McCready’s kitchen, which I wrote about in my review of “The Trash and the Snake” (6.04); The confrontation between Ty Walker and the smartass college fraternity dude, which I wrote about in my review of “The Hunt” (6.06); Boyd’s confrontation with Ava during their hunting trip to Bulletville, which I also wrote about in my review of “The Hunt.” Of those three tense moments, only Raylan’s staring contest with Markham was clearly not going to result in someone’s death—as it was too early in the season for any of the principal characters in the room to die.* Neither of the other two tense moments resulted in deaths, but it wasn’t clearly the case that they wouldn’t. It’s also interesting that of those three earlier tension-filled scenes, one of them involved Loretta, as she is also involved in the three (perhaps four?) tension-filled scenes in “Burned” (6.09). Yes, that’s correct, this current episode, “Burned,” has as much tension (perhaps more) as the previous eight episodes combined! What’s more, of the six (perhaps seven) intense moments in the season thus far, Loretta is in three of them—and she’s only been in three scenes all season! However, Loretta isn’t the primary reason for their intensity. Raylan and Markham’s staring contest would have been tense even if Loretta had not been there. Similarly, both of Loretta’s “Burned” scenes are intense because of the introduction of the season’s first truly interesting and charismatic villain—Markham’s new enforcer, Boon. In the first of her (and Boon’s) two scenes in “Burned,” Loretta comes home to find a headless viper in her living room. As she stares at the dead snake, wondering “what the hell?” a strange, charismatic man enters through the back door in her kitchen. He doesn’t introduce himself save to say that he’s new to the area, but we later learn this charismatic sleazeball is named “Boon. He acts as if he’s impressed that Loretta might be such a crack shot with a handgun that she was able to shoot the snake’s head off with one shot. He tells her (paraphrasing): Anyone who could do that is someone to be feared. However, if she wasn’t the one who shot off the snake’s head, then that would mean some psychopath paid her a visit while she was out—and she might want to take steps to make amends with any enemies she might have who could have sent such a psychopath to call on her like this. At one point during his monolog, while Loretta was walking backward toward a possible weapon (such as a kitchen knife), Boon displayed his prowess with his pistol: His quick-draw action resulted in pointing the gun at Loretta to stop her backward movement, His ability to spin the weapon and cleanly re-holster it, and His ability to then quickly draw it out and point it at her again. Obviously, all of Boon’s charismatic mania (or maniacal charisma) was meant to intimidate Loretta into selling her farmland to Markham and abandoning her intention to become Harlan’s top producer of premium pot once Kentucky legalizes marijuana. She is visibly shaken by Boon’s visit, and she probably wishes she had taken Raylan’s advice back in “The Trash and the Snake” episode when he told her to hire a couple of big enforcers of her own to guard her house. Markham needed to bring in Boon from his marijuana farms in Colorado because all of his previous men have died—not just Choo Choo and Walker, but the other men who were just extras hanging around in the background. Raylan was either directly or indirectly responsible for the deaths of all of them except Seabass. Instead, Seabass died in this episode after he confronted Markham in Katherine’s hotel suite. After he was paid about $50,000 in “The Hunt” for his loyalty, Seabass’s attempt to rob more money as “severance pay” is another example of Markham’s approach as an employer not working for him—or at least not working with the kind of thugs he hired as guards and enforcers in Harlan. Choo Choo, Ty Walker, and Seabass all served together in Iraq and hired themselves out as “security company” mercenaries after they were discharged. Markham’s motto has been “pay your employees well and they will be loyal.” However, once Choo Choo refused to kill the prostitute he was ordered to kill, it was clear these men have their own code that Markham’s money isn’t able to override. Thus, Choo Choo had to be eliminated as a liability. Subsequently, Walker had to be eliminated when he became a fugitive from the law because he could provide evidence against Markham if law enforcement arrested him—with Walker’s dying words to Raylan being that he wasn’t involved in Markham’s scheme for the money. A mercenary who isn’t doing his job for the money is an interesting notion—one that I hope is not explained to us. Finally, Seabass shows himself in this episode to be disloyal to Markham despite the high “loyalty salary” he was paid. As a mercenary, he is doing it for the money, but his primary loyalty was to Walker. However, Markham doesn’t have on him the amount of money Seabass is demanding—so, in lieu of money, Seabass agrees to take the diamond bracelet Katherine stole during her “girls day out” with Ava a few episodes back. However, as Katherine slowly fumbles in her handbag for the bracelet, Seabass suddenly ends up with a hole in his chest. Katherine then pulls her gun from the handbag and delivers a second shot to his forehead—an action that both impresses and clearly frightens Markham. With all three of his henchmen now dead, it’s understandable why Markham brought in his Colorado enforcer to oversee his operation in Harlan. However, what isn’t so understandable is why the writers and/or producers of the series eliminated all three of Markham’s main henchmen without doing much with them this season. Why did they bring in a new character with only four episodes remaining? It’s fair to say that none of the three original henchmen were charismatic; with the exception of Walker’s confrontation with the fraternity dude, none of their scenes held my attention. It’s especially odd that Garret Dillahunt’s Ty Walker was eliminated so soon—and once he was, it’s odd Seabass had this episode’s quick sendoff. I thought the writers had selected him as the man from Markham’s organization who would face Raylan before Raylan then faced Boyd. Instead, Boon seems to have now been brought in to face Raylan—and their brief scene in this episode (with Loretta between them) indicates the show finally found a character (and an actor) who can carry out a confrontation with Raylan. I’m guessing the original plans that involved Choo Choo, Walker, and Seabass were abandoned when those characters didn’t work out as planned—and whatever was planned has now been given over to Boon. Raylan first meets Boon at Markham’s party for the townspeople after Boon sees Loretta and tries to “intimidate” her again* in the same friendly and sleazy (freazy?) way he used when he was at her house. This time, he compliments her appearance, “Twice in one day? Aren’t I a lucky man? Tell you what, that dress never had it so good.” Boon delivers this “freazy” sort of intimidation while Loretta is standing next to Raylan, so I assumed he didn’t know who Raylan was—but I assumed incorrectly: Boon: (Delivered in his charismatic freazy manner) Name’s Boon; pleased to meet you. Raylan: I wouldn’t rush to judgment on that. Boon: I think it’s safe to say considering everything I’ve heard about you from my employer (indicates Markham across the room). Raylan: I venture you’re another one of his . . . uh . . . Colorado boys? Boon: That’s right. Raylan: Tendin’ to his fields out there? Boon: Not tendin’ so much as protectin’. Raylan: Well I feel I should warn you, Markham’s previous employees have not fared well in these parts. Boon: What? Them military jarheads guys? Course not. Those boys don’t have no soul. They don’t know what it is to really live it down. You know what I mean? Raylan: (shaking his head while looking astounded by Boon’s charismatic lunacy) I do not . . . no! Boon: Man, you’re everything I hoped for . . . right down to the hat. I’m disappointed it took Boon so long to show up in this final season, but it looks like it’s going to be fun to watch him for the final four episodes. * I suppose the staring contest scene could have resulted in Loretta’s death, but that would have caused Raylan to then kill Walker at that early point in the season. However, if that scene were to occur now it could result in the deaths of both Loretta and Walker—except, of course, for the fact that Raylan already killed Walker with two shots in the back. ** Loretta came to the party to show Markham she wasn’t going to be intimidated . . . after she hired Boyd’s men to protect her. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.