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Justified, Season 5, Episode 2 - “The Kids Aren’t Alright”

“The Kids Aren’t Alright” is a good episode but it’s got a filler vibe to it. It sets up future episodes and provides some intriguing moments.
“The Kids Aren’t Alright” is a good episode but it’s got a filler vibe to it. It sets up future episodes and provides some intriguing moments.
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Justified, Season 5, Episode 2 - “The Kids Aren’t Alright”


From the Mouth of Babes.

Review: Justified – “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
Season 5, Episode 02
Air date: Tuesday, January 14, 10PM E/P on FX

“Just give me a target to shoot for; I’ll hit it.” – Raylan

Women are causing some major issues in “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” From a young teen to full grown variety, seems like the men of Harlan, KY are getting an earful, and not all of it is pleasantries. “The Kids Aren’t Alright” is a good episode but it’s got a filler vibe to it. It sets up future episodes and provides some intriguing moments.

Sheriff Nick Mooney (William Gregory Lee) is itching like he’s got poison ivy on his balls to get Boyd (Walton Goggins) arrested for the attempted murder of Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson). Mooney thinks he’s got Boyd right where he wants him but things aren’t always what they seem. Mara (Karolina Wydra) is no fool. She needs Boyd. If she’s going to get out of her so-called marriage with a nice lump sum, she’s going to need someone savvy and enterprising on her side. But Mara’s lack of cooperation puts Mooney into a foul mood. “Is this a joke, Mara? Or maybe this is just a language barrier thing? Well, what does ‘skinny, medium height with dark, spiky hair, and big shiny teeth’ mean where you’re from, because here in America, it means that piece of shit right there.”

This sets up the intense rivalry going on between Boyd and Mooney. They’ve been at each other for a while but I’m still not completely sure why. I’ve racked my brain and went through previous episodes from seasons three and four when Mooney was Deputy Sheriff for former Sheriff Shelby Parlow (Jim Beaver). Mooney isn’t squeaky clean. He’s hiding behind his badge and authority, doing dirty deeds to get his convictions. I’d love to say I’m interested, but Mooney doesn’t seem a formidable enough foe for the brilliant and cunning Boyd Crowder. Nevertheless, I have no choice to see how this plays out. Maybe Mooney will surprise me.

Boyd is magnanimous. He defuses a tense situation at his bar where a room full of his angry distributors is there questioning Boyd’s drug business. With a rousing speech comparing cell phone service to unstable deliveries, Boyd is able to quell his distributors; the free round of drinks doesn’t hurt either. Goggins is, in a word, phenomenal. He’s brings such a magnetic energy to Justified that it is hard to see the show being able to continue without him. Granted, Olyphant is a key part of Justified as well, and if either of these two were to leave the show, it would be the end.

Speaking of Olyphant, he amps up his swagger as Raylan contends with two ladies in “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” First up is Loretta (Caitlin Dever). Loretta has gotten herself into a world of drug infused trouble and she’s claiming Raylan will vouch for her. I’m reminded of the story about the boy who cried wolf. Loretta can only apologize and “swear” she won’t do it again so many times before she’s going to wear out her welcome with Raylan. He’s got a soft spot for Loretta and now that he has a little baby girl of his own, I think he feels an obligation to help her. But at what cost? Loretta could be bad news for Raylan especially with her dealings with Hot Rod Dunham’s (Mickey Jones) marijuana business; things seem to be getting a bit out of hand.

Next up is Allison (Amy Smart), Loretta’s social worker. She’s not too keen on lawmen and she’s none too happy about Raylan’s tough love approach when he leaves Loretta in jail. Raylan finally meets a woman who can put him in his place. Raylan has a lot to learn about women. His futile attempt at getting Loretta’s dead beat boyfriend Derrick (Riley Bodenstab) to break up with her is laughable. Doesn’t he know girls like bad boys even though we know they’re no good for us? Let’s hope Allison can give him some lessons. I like Smart. She delivers her lines with cool, self-assuredness. The scene with Allison and Raylan sitting outside of his new digs, a former drug dealer’s mansion, feels so real that you’d think they were actually dating.

And if you thought Raylan’s intimidation was waning, well think again. The face-off with Hot Rod gets intense but Raylan isn’t quivering in his Stetson despite being outnumbered and outgunned. This is one of the reasons I love Justified. Olyphant delivers promises of death so conversationally; it makes you pause to ponder the words that are coming out of his mouth.

Interesting future plot points:

Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) gets an unexpected and unwanted visit from his Florida kinfolk. The look on his face is priceless.

Art (Nick Searcy) is investigating the details surrounding Sammy Tonin’s (Max Perlich) murder in Detroit. Seems Tonin called for Raylan while Raylan was down in Miami. What is Art up to? Why is he shutting his door and speaking quietly over the phone? Does he think Raylan is involved somehow?

Ava (Joelle Carter) is beginning to lose faith when Boyd tells her about Lee Paxton. I think Ava says she has faith in Boyd to his face but deep down, she’s not so sure anymore.

While “The Kids Aren’t Alright” has its moments, it’s not as engaging as I’d hoped. Although, I’m anxious to see how these plot points pan out. Let me know what you thought of “The Kids Aren’t Alright.” Leave a comment and/or tweet me @judybopp.

Check out the interviews with some of the cast at the season five red carpet premiere.

Tune in to Justified, Tuesdays at 10PM E/P only on FX.

For more on the show, go to

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