Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Backstabbers


Betrayal is a tricky path to walk, yet several people choose it on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3.

Willa sees Raylan’s decision as backstabbing when he’s doing what a father needs to do. Sweety is conflicted but desperate about turning over the weapon. Sandy’s affection for Skender is purely transactional in light of her relationship with Clement, but even that is negotiable.

As is true with most dangerous options, it is not an easy choice, but it usually looks to be the only one.

And then there’s Carolyn Wilder, our acolyte of Lady Justice.

She knows the Law doesn’t always mete out true justice, but it’s the system she’s chosen to work within.

So can she support Sweety in his choice while representing Clement and still be considered pristine in the eyes of the law? Will this be as much of an obstacle to her bid for a judge’s position as her ex-husband’s tax lien?

She and Raylan recognize in each other a desire for Clement to meet with appropriate consequences, but they diverge on the means to that end.

I know that’s your kid. You’re angry. I get it. I’d be angry too. But everybody doesn’t get to be angry the way you do.


I appreciate the facets of Carolyn we’re seeing. She’s a brilliant litigator in court, passionate in her defense of her client.

Away from her legal opponents, she’s not afraid to call out her clients for bad behavior and foolish choices.

Carolyn: Messing with a U.S. Marshall’s daughter. I don’t know what you think you’re doing.
Clement: What am I doing? Whatever I want.

On Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 2, she implies to Raylan that she recognizes the level of crazy Clement Mansell operates at. Here, we see her stand her ground when he’d push into her life and space outside office hours.

Knowing what he’s capable of and not panicking or caving when facing him on her own speaks volumes about what she’s seen and done to get where she is.

As does her kindness towards Willa. She sees who the vulnerable are. She doesn’t let her feelings towards… say, their dad affect the respect with which she speaks and acts toward them.

Willa: Did you like the drink he sent you at the bar?
Carolyn: Oh, that was you. The sparkler was a nice touch. Thank you.
Willa: He’s not bad for a white guy.

It shows her heart isn’t as steely as her spine is, which means she’s still vulnerable if she’s not careful.

Meanwhile, Raylan realizes Willa’s been right all along in her assessment of where this adventure’s been going for the two of them.

Willa: I wish you’d just say it.
Raylan: What are we talking about now?
Willa: I got in the way and you got in trouble and it woulda been so much easier if I weren’t around.

It has to be galling to a marshall known for his decisive — if questionable — actions that he is completely stymied by a fifteen-year-old.

The writers have been subtle — or I just haven’t been paying attention until now — but they’ve been filling in Willa’s character outline with how Raylan might’ve been at her age.

She’s inherited his quick fists and his ability to justify the need for violent resolutions.

Willa: C’mon, Dad, I don’t want to do this.
Raylan: I’m guessing you’ll think about that next time you consider punching a girl in the face.
Willa: I barely touched her!
Raylan: You broke her nose.
Willa: She deserved it.
Raylan: That’s not the point.

While she didn’t seem to cotton onto Clement‘s intentions, she kept calm when Tyrone and buddy ran her and her dad off the road. She appeared completely confident Raylan would have no issues dealing with them.

She’s keenly observant of how things unfold at the police station and how Carolyn intrigues her dad.

As his kid, she’s stuck in a situation she sees no way out of.

As her dad but also a US Marshall, Raylan’s just as stuck.

And knowing she’s just as stubborn and proud as he is, he recognizes what it costs her to offer to go to Graceland if he’ll only let her stay with him.

Raylan: It’s hard, Willa.
Willa: What’s hard? Your life? You do whatever you want.
Raylan: You’re my life.
Willa: But am I? Like, am I even in it?
Raylan: To even hear you say that!
Willa: How do you think it feels to ask?

Of all the “betrayers” presented, Raylan probably regrets his actions most, despite being arguably the most justifiable.

I have a terrible feeling about Sweety and that gun. Correction: many terrible feelings.

With the episode titled “Backstabbers,” one naturally sees turncoats everywhere.

I don’t like that he showed the gun to his staff member and hid it in such an accessible space.

I don’t like how sure Carolyn is that she can get him immunity through her connections at the prosecutors’ office.

I REALLY don’t like that Bryl told Clement that Sandy stopped at Sweety’s after going to the river.

And after the debacle that was Bryl and Robinson tailing Clement and Skender, I can only assume the writers thought the white hats needed a Dewey Crowe on their side this time out.

While it might’ve gone against Clement’s inclination to kill Sweety back in 2017 due to his connection with many musical greats, I cannot see Clement hesitating to retaliate if he learns that Sweety’s struck a deal with the prosecutors to turn over the gun.

Clement: You keep them all loaded?
Skender: What use is unloaded gun?

Of course, he’s not lacking for weaponry now. We didn’t actually see Skender’s body when Maureen alerts Raylan that there’d been damage, but I doubt the Albanian love dope survived the night.

And with his entire stash of loaded collectors’ guns just sitting there, Clements probably got some visions of gunslinging his way to infamy dancing in his head.

That leaves Sandy on the board as a piece that may play for either side.

She’s already distanced herself slightly by not throwing the gun away as directed. She takes another step by lying to Clement about it.

With the judge’s killing, she insisted he not tell her about it in some sort of strategy of plausible deniability.

But she’s not stupid.

If Skender’s as dead as we think he is, she’s now a witness and an accomplice to murder.

And if her memory is sharp enough to remember where Clement said he hid the gun at Sweety’s, she will remember how he wouldn’t let her use the bagel toaster and wonder what he is hiding in there.

One must wonder how Clement plans to retrieve the judge’s notebook since that penthouse will probably be off-limits to him and Sandy after the Skender incident.

Also, how did Maureen’s team miss finding it when they searched the place?

If anything, it’s an implicit commentary on systemic racism in policing if you look at how Bryl’s crew took Sweety’s place apart. (And also didn’t find the evidence they were looking for.)

With so many players making moves, the momentum is building toward potentially tragic and assuredly intense collisions.

Somewhat like a cop car getting sideswiped when running a red in pursuit of a Range Rover it’s trying to tail. Seriously, that just can’t be “how sh*t gets done in Detroit.”

Finally, riddle me this: How do you draw a line between Clement and Judge Guy when the murder was a random road rage incident?

I imagine the parkade surveillance footage might be the only thing that might connect the dots for the team.

Over to you, Fanatics. How’s this new, mellower, less-trigger-happy Raylan sitting with you? Was sending Willa away his only choice? With his luck, how long will she stay out of the picture?

What’s your take on Carolyn? Can she lean in on justice without overstepping the law?

And how will Clement and Sandy ride out the Skender situation? How far will pawning that ring get them?

Hit our comments with your thoughts and theories!

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is a lifelong fan of smart sci-fi and fantasy media, an upstanding citizen of the United Federation of Planets, and a supporter of AFC Richmond ’til she dies. Her guilty pleasures include female-led procedurals, old-school sitcoms, and Bluey. She teaches, knits, and dreams big. Follow her on Twitter.

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