After a strange and somewhat scattered run of episodes, FX's grainy and appealing crime show Justified wrapped up its third season last night, giving us some satisfying moments amidst all the chaos.
In a whole Chekhov's gun sorta way, we finally got to see Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) use that ominous cleaver he's had all season on something other than pig meat. Yeah he gave the season's main villain Quarles (the fantastic Neal McDonough) the what-for with his butcher's blade toward the end of last night's episode, which of course was gross and scary, but also felt just right. Finally Limehouse's presence this season felt, well, justified and two of the many vague strings of this season were at last knotted together.
What a season Neal McDonough had, huh? His character didn't always make that much sense — for a guy with such little protection he certainly did piss off a lot of people who could just come by and shoot him — but McDonough played it with such flair and bravado that the garishness of the character ultimately didn't matter. McDonough created a terrifying pale demon in Quarles and it was thrilling to watch his descent into madness. Sure he wasn't as canny/cool as last season's perfect nemesis Mags Bennett, but those were big shoes to fill, and it's respectable that McDonough and the show writers put those aside and came up with a completely different pair. Oh and a shout-out must be given to the wonderful Jere Burns for giving us such arch weaseliness all season as the hapless accidental lackey Wynn Duffy. Hope to see you next season!