My favorite thing about last night’s episode of Justified, “Kin,” was the way it finally got Raylan and Boyd in back in the same room – or makeshift prison cell, anyway – together. Boyd is one of my very favorite characters on TV right now, and so I am of course delighted that he has become a main character and gets storylines in his own right. But I miss the always compelling interactions between Raylan and Boyd, and the way this week’s story emphasized that the two of them are tied together whether they want to be or not – especially with reminders of the way their fathers worked together. “Your daddies took all that cocaine for themselves.” “Of course they did. That’s another reason we’re so proud of them.” As the interaction inevitably ends with Raylan handcuffing Boyd to a tree to put him out of commission – even briefly – they try to keep up the idea that they’re flat-out enemies. “I’ve come to a conclusion. I don’t like you, Raylan.” “Never liked you much neither, Boyd.” But it’s obviously much more complicated than that. I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly how they feel. I don’t think they’ll ever know.
When he’s captured by the hill people, Raylan tries to claim kinship; his claims are true but no one will take him seriously until he encounters the specific cousin who features in a picture he has of his mother. This was a neat encapsulation of Raylan’s internal struggles with his past and with Harlan County. In some ways, he has done everything he can to distance himself, to set himself apart from the criminal activities of his family and the people he grew up with. But, of course, he’s back there, and no longer really making any noises about trying to leave. And he’s certainly not above claiming kinship when it’s expedient for him, but the way he keeps a foot in each world means he is never entirely accepted in either of them.
And speaking of Raylan’s direct kin, of course, we finally got a little bit of time with Winona this episode. Raylan shows up for a doctor’s appointment – at the wrong time – and has a few adorable moments talking to the baby and feeling it kick, but then gets called to work – partially to deal with his father – before the appointment actually starts. That . . . seems pretty typical, really. Oh, Raylan.