With Raylan Givens' woman troubles behind him (for now), the new episode of FX's "Justified" finds the U.S. Marshal resuming his attempt to resolve the Bluegrass Conspiracy. Showrunner Graham Yost spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the latest episode, "Kin," and the latest happenings in Harlan County.
This week's episode saw our favorite U.S. Marshal finally reunite with his old antagonist Boyd Crowder in the hills of Kentucky, as Raylan continues his hunt for the elusive Drew Thompson. It was hinted that the missing man could have ties to Raylan's father Arlo, and that giving him up could bring his prison sentence to an end. "Yeah, I wouldn’t bet money on that. I will say that. We just liked the idea in episode 5 of kicking the Drew Thompson mystery up another notch," said Yost. "Raylan in episode 4 was dealing with Lindsey and Randall, and now he’s back on the job that he should be doing. And Boyd and Ava, having had their adventures with Preacher Billy and Cassie and the threat with Ellen May, as far as they know, they’re done with all that, and now they can focus on the hunt for Drew Thompson as well."
The episode also featured the return of the recurring character Constable Bob, played by Patton Oswalt, as Raylan continued to pry into the mystery of who prompted young burglar Roz to retrieve the mystery case from Arlo's wall. "We had so much fun with Patton in the first episode, and he had fun, and there was just a general agreement among all of us that it’d be great to keep going. So we wanted to reintroduce Bob," the producer said. "And Bob will play a critical role in the season, and that’s not something that we’d imagined when we first thought of Constable Bob. We thought pretty early on after Patton agreed to play the part, 'Oh, maybe there could be this, maybe there could be that,' but that’s one of those things of just seeing where it goes and then following."
The hills and backroads of Kentucky can be on the seedy side, and "Justified" has always played with the idea of communities largely cut off from big city influence. "We like the idea on Justified of finding out about these other isolated communities, based loosely on if not present-day fact, certainly historical fact. There are people of the backwoods called Melungeons. No one is entirely sure what their genetic line is, but they’re a very different kind of culture. So we were interested in that, but we didn’t want to make them specifically Melungeons. We just played with it: Well, what if there’s some history with Raylan’s family?" Yost explained. "What if Frances, his mother, was descended from the hill people? We shot the hill people stuff up in Frazier Park, which is a different area for us, to give it a different look."
The showrunner knew that the first meeting of the season between Boyd and Raylan would have to be a memorable one. With Boyd on the hunt for Drew Thompson and his missing millions as well, the hill people abduct the two and put them in close quarters. "We were interested in the first time they set eyes upon each other this season being in a confined space where they weren’t allowed to leave, so they’ve got to talk. Because at this point in their relationship and the history of the show, it’s always the question of, what further do they have to say to each other, and why would they chat?" Yost explained. "Because Raylan’s so annoyed by him and Boyd’s kind of had it with Raylan’s bad treatment. So we thought it’d be nice to put them in the box, and then come out of the episode with the basic notion of 'may the best man win.'"
One of the highlights of immersing the characters in the hill people subculture, Yost says, is the chance to play with certain societal norms such as traditional gender roles. "I think it goes back to that idea that in an incredibly misogynistic, hard-and-fast gender-role society, you always get the sense that women are actually running things behind the scenes, or at least that’s the myth that we tell ourselves. And it’s true to an extent, because that will happen," he said. "Like in 'Winter’s Bone' — which we all on Justified love, it’s a great movie — there is a degree to which even though the men rule, the women kinda run things."
What did you think of last night's episode?