HuffPost TV Critic Maureen Ryan does a great job of breaking down why each new episode of "Justified" (Tue., 10 p.m. EST on FX) goes down so smoothly in her early review of the show's return. In this Season 3 premiere, though, not enough can be said about just how cool Raylan Givens is, and just how perfectly Timothy Olyphant captures that bygone era of the Western gunslinger.
It was appropriate that the writers gave viewers a scene that was essentially a stand-off at high noon, "Justified"-style. In this instance, Raylan and Winona came in to her place to find Desmond Harrington ("Dexter") there. As shown earlier, he likes to kill people, but he likes to do it with a certain flair. Making a witness count down from ten, he puts the gun on the table between him and his intended target.
He tells them that at "One" they will both go for the gun, and may the best man win. But as with most villains, the game is rigged, as he prepares a secondary weapon and stabs the victim's hand when they go for the gun. Only he didn't account for the steely cool gaze and calm of Givens. At "One" he stabbed for Givens' hand, but it hadn't moved. Instead, he got Winona's tablecloth and air, while Givens then went for the gun and got his man.
It's the kind of showdown that's become a signature of the show, presented with a style and subtlety not usually seen in action sequences. It gives "Justified" a mood all its own, and one perfectly suited the calm demeanor of its protagonist.
The third season of "Justifed" continues to unfold Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST On FX.
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