Justified: City Primeval Recap: Raylan Reloaded — Grade the Premiere Episode

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FX’s Justified: City Primeval premiered on Tuesday night with the first two of eight episodes; this is a recap of the premiere episode only.

City Primeval opens with Raylan and his 15-year-old daughter Willa (played by Timothy Olyphant and his daughter Vivian) leaving Florida on a road trip, to deliver the latter to conversion therapy camp after she busted a classmate’s nose. (Mom Winona is on vacation in the Caribbean with… “The ‘Stache”?) When two thugs rear-end Raylan and attempt a carjacking, Raylan grabs a shotgun from the trunk to put a quick end to the nonsense. Stopping at the camp along the way (only to realize they ran too late), Raylan with Willa in tow sets out to deliver the would-be carjackers to Detroit, where there is a warrant out for their arrest. Raylan thus gets called to testify at their hearing, where defense attorney Carolyn Wilder (Aunjanue Ellis) brings to light the U.S. Marshal’s not-ideal treatment of his bounty; any Florida-related charges in turn get dropped.

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Though rarin’ to get back out on the road, Raylan is “asked” to partner with the Detroit PD — namely, Detectives Robinson (Victor Williams), Bryl (Norbert Loe Butz) and Downey (Marin Ireland) — on a task force investigating a very recent attempt on the life of Judge Guy (Keith David), with whom he just locked horns with in court.

Elsewhere, we meet nogoodnik Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook) as he lifts a car to head back to Detroit, where he promptly reconnects with girlfriend Sandy, a casino waitress… and Sweety, a former session musician who runs a bar and is freshly indebted to Carolyn for representing (his friend? son?) Tyrone in court that day.

Following a lead on the bombing of the judge’s car, Raylan and the PD breach a remote house and find lotsa paraphernalia — and a tunnel, into which two people who had been there just fled. A chase ensues, until the PD’s K9 (Hey, it’s SEAL Team‘s Cerberus!) chases one POI up a tree. Said suspect maintains that their only target was the judge, “and it’s personal” — because Guy “banged” his cohort Barry’s mom. When the LEOs later update Judge Guy, he brandishes a diary that clearly contains all kinds of local secrets. “For 20 years, I’ve seen some things your bosses won’t want coming to light,” he notes/boasts.

Overt at Sweety’s, Mansell shows up — much to the bar owner’s surprise — and sneaks off to the bathroom to fetch a gun he had stashed above a ceiling tile. Meanwhile, Raylan & Co. surround bomber Barry’s home as he visits with his mom and talks of how Guy “dishonored our family.” When the cops come in, Barry whisks his mom to the cellar. Raylan tries to talk the guy down, and is having some success, until an impatient Bryl kicks the door in and cracks the guy’s nose.

With this unexpected case seemingly solved, Willa nudges her dad to take them to Harlan Country, which she has always wanted to see. Meanwhile, Sandy picks up a “mark” at the casino and heads home with him, and Mansell follows. But along the way — and entirely coincidentally — Judge Guy engages in some road rage with Mansell, to a degree that the latter bails on Sandy and gives chase. After cuing his female associate/girlfriend to dial 911, Guy ends up getting T-boned in an intersection. Mansell then moseys up to the car and shoots the driver in cold blood, then pinches his (damning) notebook, just because. Mansell asks the woman to lead him to the driver’s home, but first chance she gets, she tries to flee out the passenger side and bolt across a park. Mansell easily catches up to her, shooting her dead in the back.

Raylan, the PD et al get called to the scene of the crash and clock that the judge’s notebook is missing, then get word that his girlfriend — who was working a CI against the nudge — is also dead. Assuming that this brutal double homicide is related to the presumably solved car bombing, they puzzle out loud, “What’d we miss…?”

What did you think of Justified: City Primeval Episode 1? Glad to have Raylan back in the saddle?

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