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JUSTIFIED Season 3 Premiere Advance Review

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Justified is finally back and the season premiere, “The Gunfighter,” is just the beginning of a very riveting third season.  I know we have all missed Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and his hat, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and his ABCs, and the rest of this compelling cast.  Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) may not be there physically but her presence and legacy will live on forever.  Desmond Harrington from Dexter guest stars in the season premiere.  “The Gunfighter” – The arrival of a dangerous new player in Lexington puts Raylan on a collision course with a sadistic Dixie Mafia hitman.  Written by:  Graham Yost and Fred Golan; directed by Michael Dinner.

Last season’s finale of Justified ended in gunfire. Raylan and Ava were on the receiving end of some bullets but death was never an option.  Raylan is as indestructible as his hat.  He is just going to have to get used to doing things a bit differently until he is declared fully fit for duty.  Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) offers Raylan some advice and what his weapon of choice may come to if he doesn’t heal properly.  You can always count on Art to add a bit of comic relief to every situation.  Art also relays the magical news to Raylan, “Crowder’s here,” and that is when the episode truly begins.

Justified gets better every season,especially when they delve into the beautiful mind of Boyd Crowder.  I can’t get enough of Boyd and his “Always Be Cool” attitude.  He remains calm until the time comes to unleash the fury, and that he does stupendously in this episode.  When he flashes that coy grin you know you are in trouble.  Walton Goggins does a sensational job making us adore this flawed bad boy that he has so famously brought to life season after season.  Boyd has even won the heart of the very beautiful Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter).  Is there anything that Boyd can’t accomplish if he sets his mind to it?  Raylan is wondering that exact same thing when he gets wrapped into a conversation with him about missing items, gentlemen’s fashion, Mexicans, apologies, and expressions of gratitude.  That conversation ends remarkably well for all the parties involved, mainly those of us viewing it from home.

Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) meets up with Emmitt Arnett (Steven Flynn) and that is where we are introduced to one of my favorite guest stars, Mr. Nix, played by Dexter’s Desmond Harrington a.k.a. Quinn.

What happens when Devil (Kevin Rankin), Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) and Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) get together to make a deal?  They get advice.

For all of you Timothy Olyphant fans, the heartthrob is sans a shirt several times in this episode.  Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea) knows how to treat a man and crush his spirits at the same time.  Raylan offers up some future delivery room comedy.  If they are going to make it realistic, they are going have to search really hard when it comes time to cast that baby.  Those two are gorgeous, so not just any baby will do.  Baby names are addressed and let’s hope that they don’t settle.  I am siding with Winona on this issue because if something is coming out of my nether regions, I’m sure as hell going to be the one to name it.  Team Winona!

Nix continues to surprise us, and he is as serious about his pizza (olive and eggplant) as he is about his beauty.  Nix likes to play games he can win.  On a side note – it’s so nice to see Desmond in a role where he isn’t spray tanned orange.  I know Dexter is in Florida but why does everyone have to be spray tanned orange?  I just don’t get it.

Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) asks for Raylan’s assistance with a “conversation that isn’t going to be a conversation.”  That “conversation” ends in women’s tennis and a possible “pee pee dance.”  Tim is hilarious, but Raylan doesn’t think so.  I loved Jacob in Eurotrip.

A “small world” elevator ride forces Raylan to express what we all think when someone stares at us.

Raylan offers Yvette (Jennifer Birmingham), Mr. Arnett’s secretary, some solid advice. Will she listen to him?

Raylan knows exactly what he can do but he is amusingly shot down by Art.  It’s a good thing Raylan has Art to watch his back.

Ava is an incredible woman, and she does something that we have all wanted to do at some point in our lives, even if we don’t want to admit it…think about the holidays.  I adore the promising pairing of Ava and Boyd.

Nix is back to playing games and he finds himself up against a worthy competitor.  This one scene stole the episode for me, and I have to say bravo to the team behind it. It is subtle but slick.

Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) and Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) are treated to a very special surprise.  Can you guess what it is?

What a fantastic way to start out season three, and it only gets better as it progresses.  Justified fans will not be disappointed because this really feels like a premiere, and there is nothing better than a solid premiere.  Don’t miss the season premiere of Justified, Tuesday night on FX.

Season 3 Premiere Advance Review
“The Gunfighter” Airing January 17, 2012
Watch Justified Tuesday nights at 10 EST on FX
January 15, 2012
By Lena Lamoray
Warning: Minor Spoilers

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