Daily Read (5/25/16)

Great news: Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time adaptation is looking for non-white actors to play the lead roles.

Epix is working on a Get Shorty series, adapting Elmore Leonard’s novel (of which there is also a movie).

Fox 2000 has acquired Walt Becker’s YA fantasy novel Charlie Paris and the Young Ambassadors.

Kyle S. More will play John Hinckley Jr. in Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Reagan. (There’s some further casting at that link, too.)

Justified to End After Season 6

JustifiedDuring his TCA press tour presentation yesterday, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf confirmed the rumors that season six would be the last season of drama Justified.

“It was [showrunner] Graham Yost and Timothy Olyphant’s decision,” he said. “I would have liked to have had more Justified. It’s one of my favorite shows.”

Justified, based on the work of Elmore Leonard, is currently airing season five, so I assume this means the final season will air in early 2015. Thoughts? While I’ll be sad to see such a good show go, I am a big fan of letting shows end on their own terms and in a good place, creatively, so I can’t really complain.

Justified Season Finale Thoughts & Roundup

JustifiedJustified‘s fourth season came to an end on Tuesday night with “Ghosts,” and I’ll admit I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one. At the beginning of the season, I really liked the fact that they were attempting an overarching mystery plot, but I think I wound up liking it better in theory than in execution. As with most long mystery plots, it wound up being fairly convoluted and sometimes hard to follow exactly what was going on and how it all connected. But at the same time, week to week, this was still one of my favorite shows on TV; they did do a good job of making every week an interesting set piece even if the way they all connected was sometimes hard to follow. I liked the way the finale spent plenty of time on both Raylan and Boyd, and set them up to be in new, interesting situations in season five. And that final scene with Raylan is definitely one of those TV moments that sticks with you.

Here’s some coverage of the end of the season, including a bunch of interviews with showrunner Graham Yost about the finale and what’s to come. If you have some good ones I missed, put them in the comments!

Justified: Foot Chase

Let’s be completely honest: I had a really hard time following this episode of Justified. I wasn’t really sure whether the issue was with me or it or both – I was a little distracted while watching – so I checked out Alan Sepinwall’s review and was somewhat relieved to see that he thought it was a mess too. I agree with Sepinwall that a few episodes like this are the likely result of a more ambitious, ongoing mystery arc for the season, and it’s possible that this one will seem better, or at least make more sense, in retrospect.

There were two aspects of the episode that I did really like, though. One was Raylan’s return to witty one-liners. He’d been a bit dour recently, for obvious reasons, but I like snarky Raylan best. “I think Lynyrd Skynyrd’s overrated. I know you’re in Boyd’s pocket” was a classic, as was this exchange with a lawyer: “Which one’s your client?” “The dumb one.” “That don’t narrow it down.” Raylan also admitted that he hadn’t really shot many people recently, so maybe he needs to start doing that again in order to get back to his usual snark? That would be fine.

And the other thing I liked was Ava and Boyd’s story, ending with Boyd’s unconventional and yet perfectly in character proposal. It’s a testament to the skill of both the writers and the actors that this relationship, given that it’s so unlikely in some ways and doesn’t really get that much screen time, winds up being one of the most compelling elements of the show. I do like that Ava is questioning her new life of crime, though – I wouldn’t want her to fall into it without too much thought. The prospect of marriage and a house and babies has distracted her for now, but I look forward to her revisiting her doubts in the future.

Justified: Kin

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.

Justified: The Bird Has Flown

Last night’s “The Bird Has Flown” was a bit of a slow episode of Justified. Just when I was really buying into the ongoing mystery format . . . they leave it out entirely for an episode. And there wasn’t exactly a case of the week, either.

Instead, the case of the week basically took place within Raylan’s personal life, as he tried to track down Lindsey and Randall. His motives here were never quite clear, even to himself: Was he trying to get his money back, or was he trying to “save” Lindsey? Probably both, to some extent. He and Rachel eventually track the couple down – I don’t think we ever really doubted that they would – but not before Randall has spent Raylan’s money on fighting gamecocks and almost killed a gas station clerk who showed interest in Lindsey while being conned. (Wouldn’t you think by now he would learn that he’d get caught less if he changed his con to something that didn’t result in people going to the hospital? Be more competent, criminals!) When Randall and Raylan finally fight, it’s different than most of the fights on this show because Raylan can’t just shoot and kill people: Rachel gives him a shotgun loaded with beanbag ammunition. “An associate of mine thought non-lethal force might come in handy. I figured what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.” Ha. By the end, Lindsey has run off and Randall is under arrest, and honestly, I never bought into the relationship between Raylan and Lindsey enough to really care about this plotline, so I’ll be happy enough if this is the end of it.

Elsewhere, Boyd Crowder continues being the most terrifying man on the planet in the wake of Billy the preacher’s death. I’d sort of forgotten last week that a large part of the reason why Boyd wanted Billy dead was not just because of the way his preaching was eroding the drug business, but because Boyd and Ava were worried Ellen May would tell Billy about the murder she witnessed. This week, Ellen May returns and makes a fairly heartbreaking case for the fact that as awful as her life at Ava’s brothel undoubtedly was in many ways, it was also basically all she had, and people form makeshift families wherever they can. “I just want to come home. Can I come home, please?” They sort of say yes, but then make plans to send her to Boyd’s relatives in Alabama to get her out of the way; Ava tries to convince Ellen May that this could be good, that it’s the chance to get out of Harlan County that she herself never had, and I don’t think she’s entirely lying. But while Colt is driving Ellen May to the bus station, he gets a call that he claims is from Ava, telling him to bring Ellen May home after all. The call was actually instructing him to murder the woman, though it’s a little unclear whether it was simply confirmation or a new instruction. And even if Ava technically made the call, she’s clearly less than thrilled about it; this is Boyd’s decision, but Ava seems to understand that it’s necessary. When Colt stops at a gas station to fiddle with his gun and do some drugs to shore up his courage, Ellen May runs. Good girl. I have a feeling she won’t be able to run from Boyd for long, but I hope she makes it.

Justified: Truth and Consequences

This week’s Justified, “Truth and Consequences,” continued this season’s tendency so far of making the “case of the week” in fact part of the overarching mystery of the season. I’m really enjoying that storytelling method, because it’s a good way to keep a long plotline going while a) keeping the action level up, since that’s what we expect from this show, and b) keeping the story from getting too convoluted. This week, Raylan and Tim go to find Drew Thompson’s supposed widow Eve, now remarried, divorced, and working as a psychic. When the FBI shows up while the marshals are at her house, she runs and promptly gets kidnapped – and Raylan realizes that the FBI agent is working with the kidnapper. Raylan uses his super-marshal powers to get the FBI agent to tell him where Eve is being held before he kills himself, and the marshals rescue Eve and convince her to cooperate. And so we finally get a bit more of the puzzle: Thompson witnessed Theo Tonin murder a government informant, and then told his wife that he was planning to fake his death, but didn’t tell her the details in order to ensure her safety.

Elsewhere, Boyd continues his battle with the St. Cyr siblings. (Are they really siblings? Are they sleeping together? This was sort of suggested. Hm.) He tries to bribe Cassie to get her brother to move his preaching elsewhere, but she refuses: “Unlike the rest of these sorry souls around here, I’m not afraid of you.” So Boyd sends one of his guys after Billy, but the would-be assassin (or was he just going to beat him up?) is bitten by one of the snakes Billy handles during his sermons/performances as proof of God’s protection. But when the bite victim doesn’t get as sick as he should, Boyd realizes that Cassie has been “milking” the snakes to take away the risk. He shows up with a new snake for another great showdown with Billy, and Walton Goggins is really magical in these scenes. Billy refuses to believe what his sister was doing, and ends up collapsing after the truly dangerous snake bites him. Well. That’s one way to get rid of your enemies.

On the home front, Lindsey finally admits to Raylan that her (ex? supposedly?) husband was in jail because they had been conning men together by having Lindsey get involved with them to get information on how Raymond could rob them, but Raymond wound up jealous and hurt one of the men. Raylan being Raylan, having that blind spot for people he wants to save, takes her at her word and threatens Raymond – and so, of course, by the end of the episode, Raylan’s place has been ransacked and Lindsey and Raymond are gone. The obvious suggestion, of course, was that Lindsey was continuing her con on Raylan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if things wind up more complicated than that.

There’s a quiet little subplot burbling along with Rachel this season. When Art calls her on her risky, not quite by-the-book behavior on the job, she points out that Raylan pulls this nonsense all the time and never gets punished for it, which is really quite a good point. The show occasionally showing that it’s aware of how ridiculous the whole Raylan situation is really makes me like it better. Art: “Well, he’s a lost cause. I still have some hope for you.” Heh. At the end of the episode, Raylan meets Rachel at the bar, and she confesses that she’s left her husband. “Is this where I’m supposed to ask if you want to talk about it? . . . Thank God. I thought you were gonna want to talk about it.” Oh, Raylan, never change.