By Penny Clift
Justified Review Episode Eight – Dark As A Dungeon Miss it? Watch it here Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial
This week’s episode “Dark as a Dungeon” finds several characters contemplating the dark history of their past. Raylan is a man on a mission as he seeks to purge himself of his past and embrace his future in a place other than Kentucky and Harlan in particular.
My favorite scene in this episode features Raylan facing the ghost of his father, Arlo. This is a relationship which never found closure. Raylan seems to despise his father and yet he can’t compel himself to let go of the pain their dysfunctional relationship causes him. It manifests itself in the cleaning of his father’s house as he drags his old army trunk into the yard and burns it with all the contents inside. He sets fire to the trunk which holds a lifetime of pictures, love letters and even his dad’s old dog tags. It is as if with the burning of the trunk, Raylan is burning his ties to the past.
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Raylan removes a key from the dog tags before throwing them into the fire. The only thing he chooses not to burn is the key to this childhood nightmares, his father’s secret place. This place represented everything evil about his father in Raylan’s mind.
In typical Raylan style, he ventures out to this secret place in the dark with only a flashlight. He puts the key into the lock and turns it with a mixture of dread and anticipation of finally learning what secret his father kept in the small shed. He is visibly perplexed to find it empty.
That is when Arlo appears, whether a figment of Raylan’s imagination or an actual spirit, we don’t know. Raylan laments to his father that the place he feared held every evil he imagined about his father was just an empty building. No slave girls or animals to be slaughtered, the place he had been forbidden to ever go, was empty
Arlo explains that it was his “place”. A place he could go to escape everything and everyone. When Raylan points out the fact that he took the key to war with him., Arlo says “Wouldn’t you want to go far away from that?” Raylan muses on about it being the place of his nightmares as a child to which Arlo says, “Nothing. A big fat nothing.”
So maybe Raylan’s father wasn’t as bad as Raylan always imagined him. This would be hard for Raylan to process. He has held onto the image of his father as an evil man for so long, discovering that there is nothing in the dungeon will be hard for Raylan to accept. It does bring a change of heart in the matter of moving his mother and father’s graves. He decides to let them lie together in peace. However, he does remove his father’s gift of a tombstone with his own name engraved upon it. When asked where he would like it located he answers “Your guess is as good as mine. “
Raylan is hell bent on getting Boyd and getting himself out of Harlan. He sets up Walker by making a deal with Markham. He holds out the promise that Markham can buy his land if he helps him with the manhunt for Walker and trapping Boyd. Markham goes on the radio offering a one hundred thousand dollar reward for anyone who helps capture Walker.
Walker shows up at Ava’s house offering Boyd a deal. He knows the combination to the vault. Walker offers Boyd a share of the money in return for getting him out of the area. Recent events have left Markham the lone man to guard his money.
Boyd agrees to the deal. I have serious doubts if Boyd would uphold his end once he had the money.I am sure Walker would be expendable at that point. He would indeed escape the area, just not in the way he expected.
Raylan shows up during the planning of this unholy partnership. Boyd meets him outside where the two exchange their usual witty barbs. When Ava steps out to invite Raylan inside, Boyd is obviously displeased. Once inside, Raylan gives them the news of the reward. Boyd then tells him Walker is in the back of the house.
Walker hears Boyd give him up and escapes out the window. Raylan gives chase, shooting him in the back. “You shot me in the back.” Walker laments. “If you wanted to be shot in the front you should have ran towards me.” Raylan replies.
Raylan’s attitude towards people he feels deserve no mercy is evident in this scene. He shows no remorse as Walker lays dying while trying to explain to Raylan why he took this path. Given Walker’s same remorseless attitude toward murdering innocent people, Raylan’s attitude isn’t misplaced.
It leaves us to wonder what Ava’s intent was in inviting Raylan inside. Was she hoping Walker would kill him or was she trying to convince him she wasn’t doing anything to send her back to prison?
After Boyd leaves, Raylan hears and feels the explosion that Zachariah sets off in the mine shaft. This enlightens him to the nature of Boyds’ plan
Ava believes Boyd will take the reward money and leave with her. She is wrong. Boyd won’t leave with one hundred thousand when he can have millions. Ava tells him this is where he is making a choice. The choice he makes is obviously money. Even Ava should be able to see Boyd’s priorities at this point.
Ava then goes to meet with Raylan. She tells him the mine that Boyd is using to tunnel to the vault. They both make references to dealing with the past. Raylan along the lines the past is done, the future is a choice and Ava’s belief that the past and future are always at war.
There was also a scene between the ever more irritating, Kathryn Hale and Art. She offers Art evidence that Markham was the man who informed on her husband. She seems to be going about her revenge plan at a different angle. She can marry Markham, have his money and let the feds get her revenge for her. Can’t help but feel Duffy won’t be pleased with this new plan.
The story has elements that stretch believability. A mine shaft that goes underneath the town and under the bank vault in particular, seems highly unlikely. Calls to mind Barney Fife breaking through the bank vault into the beauty parlor on the other side. It is a stretch to say the least.
Ava has been no help to the investigation whatsoever, so I would be inclined to believe she would find herself back in a cell.
Markham left with no men is also highly unlikely. He has a vault of cash, I think he could hire a few extra. While we are on the subject, the vault of cash. Really? I guess he doesn’t know how to launder money. He just carries ten million dollars around with him on the off chance he finds a big safe where he can stash it. I don’t think he could accumulate that much money and be that stupid.
I did enjoy Gutterson this week. “What happened to your lawn? No seriously what happened to your lawn?” On we march to the big finale.
What are your thoughts on “Dark as a Dungeon”? Let us know in the comments.