Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 7 Review: The Smoking Gun


Well, that’s more like it.

While Raylan still doesn’t pull a trigger — literally or metaphorically — on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 7, the pacing and building pressure of the action has a familiar edge to it.

The showrunners do seem intent on making it painfully obvious that Detroit ain’t Harlan. They subvert every expectation at every opportunity. It’s both a novel and frustrating approach, narratively speaking.

Let’s get the business of the Detroit Police Department out of the way first.

Downey’s decision to pin the judge and Rose Doyle’s murders on the PCP-using war vet is the shoe Raylan was waiting to drop on the case.

He’s felt for a while that the case was being hobbled by something or someone. Seeing Downey take the murder weapon and use it to convict a mentally unwell bystander indicates that she’s been working at cross-purposes, possibly because she’s in the judge’s book.

I’m not ready to pile everything on her, though.

Yes, there’s a possibility that she’s in the book, and it serves her interests to have the judge’s case closed so it can fall out of the news cycle, and maybe the book never turns up.

But, if that’s the case, Downey wasn’t the one to give Mansell the heads up about the sting on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 6.

She wants the book; the best way of getting it would’ve been to have Mansell walk into the sting carrying it.

She probably placed Rose Doyle on the judge’s staff as a confidential informant in hopes she’d not only be able to nail the judge but to get the notebook and destroy her page.

It’s still disappointing to discover that she’s bad police.

Look, quarter of these guys cooling their jets, waiting for sentencing up in Wayne County, they didn’t do what they’re being tried and convicted for. But they did other stuff that they got away with. Now, I’m okay with that. And even them, deep deep down, they know why they’re there. Does that make me an asshole? Maybe. But I never sent some poor devil up the river I know didn’t do it just to get a win.


Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make Bryl good police. He’s just a better person than she is.

I’d like to know if the Albanians are still gunning for Bryl. Is he keeping close to the station until things cool down? Do things ever cool down with the Albanians?

Raylan’s gun-in-a-bag approach feels about 15 years and 500 miles out of place. It’s not that surprising that Clement sees right through it.

To be sure, Clement’s never been textbook stupid. He’s a loose cannon with very little sense of personal consequence. He makes choices that would get anyone else dead or arrested.

But once you get away with killing your own mother, the world doesn’t owe you anything, it seems.

It is nice to finally know why the Oklahoma farmhouse flashback scene has been given such prominence in both Clement’s mind and the show’s production.

Of course, Clement’s villain origin story hasn’t been a burning question.

And, as it turns out, it’s not much of one, really. From the credits, we learn the farmhouse flashback is when he was 17 years old.

But a guy doesn’t go from good ol’ farmboy to mom-murdering psychopath all of a sudden.

Clement: I ever tell you about the story about Oklahoma? A day later any other day. And then it changed. Sky turned dark. Mama was, uh, indisposed. Cause that’s what people do: They fuckin’ let you down. I waited patiently for him to leave. Think his name was Dalton? Some shit. He worked a rig down in Glenpool Field. He wasn’t the first asshole from Glenpool to be in her bed, but he was the last. Cause once his car disappeared down the dirt road, grabbed my .22, shoved three inches of steel down her throat. Cause the very last thing I wanted my mama to see before I told her to close her eyes tight and pulled the trigger was her son’s face. Then I drove her one county over and buried her where no one could ever find her. Or. That story’s just bullshit. A tornado carried her away.

So either there was more than his mother’s string of lovers and the bad weather triggering him on that specific day, or he had been building to a murderous psychosis for a while.

One wonders if he ever shared the truth of his mother’s demise with Sandy.

She heard him tell Skender the tornado version on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3. Maybe she’d heard it before that night. It could’ve been part of their scam routine.

Sandy: Here we go. You think I’m going to testify against Clement? I mean, even if he was paralyzed from the neck down and had to be fed with a spoon, even if you swear you’re going to put him away forever like they told me the last time, I wouldn’t do it. And thank Christ I didn’t because he walked, didn’t he?
Raylan: He ain’t going to walk this time.
Sandy: Bull. Shit. You don’t know.

I sincerely hope she gets on a plane after giving Raylan her phone. By that point, she’s already missed the Nassau flight, but there are a lot of places she could go with the money she has now.

Sandy: The only way in the world, I’ll tell you right now, I’d ever testify against Clement is if he was dead and buried with a stake through his heart, and even then I’d be nervous. You can send me to jail if you want. I’m not saying one fuckin’ word.
Raylan: Why do you stay with him?
Sandy: He’s fun.

You can’t help but shake your head at her reasoning for staying with Clement. Part of it is the audacity of the lie. She’s scared witless of Clement. Somehow, she’s fooled herself into thinking that fear is excitement.

As the pieces for the finale fall into place, it’s clear that no one’s getting a clean conclusion to this case.

The most distanced member of the team is Robinson, who has to be seriously looking at early retirement when he looks at his department.

Bryl will have some hard questions to answer regarding the chain of custody of that gun.

Downey’s entire case against Woods is gone with the weapon.

Carolyn‘s made some sort of deal with the Albanians, and I still think she tipped Clement off on the sting. However, with Diane out of the way, she may still reach her mission objective. She just needs to keep the balls in the air a little longer.

You took the only father I’ve ever known. Fuck your mother and fuck you.


Mind you; this has gotten personal.

Clement killed Sweetie and laid hands on her, promising to return whenever he feels like to do her real harm.

I imagine the Albanians will be looking for an eye-for-an-eye justice. Or, in this case, a leg-for-a-leg?

Skender: You should not be here.
Sandy: I screwed up, okay? But I want to make this right. So, did I set you up to get robbed? I did. Did I hook you good, let you take me out and spend money on this and that? I did. But you gotta believe me, honey, I never ever thought that you’d get hurt as bad as this. I mean…
Skender: No. There is nothing you can say. You have broken my heart. And also my leg.

I’m curious why Toma dumps the gun. Is that part of Carolyn’s deal?

Without the gun, the book is the only thing linking Clement to the judge. And it’ll be hard to convict him of murder with only the possession of the notebook.

So if dumping the gun is Carolyn’s idea, she’s given up hope of taking Clement to trial.

Clement: She’s cute, ain’t she? Gets stoned too much. Keep telling her quit smoking that queer shit and drink like a normal person.
Raylan: Some people, you can’t tell them anything.
Clement: Ain’t that the truth.

With only a single hour left to wrap this up, I feel the series has tried something new under the giant shadow of the O.G. series with mixed results.

The case is baffling, and the players aren’t pulling in the same direction. With everyone going their own way, sustaining any momentum in the narrative or developing connections to the ensemble is hard.

And as a marshall, Raylan’s been left without direction until now.

Toma Costia is inadvertently forcing Raylan onto a particular path. His options are getting more limited with every scene.

What do you think, Fanatics? Is this Marshall Givens’s curtain call?

What has Carolyn set in motion?

Hit our comments below with how you think this little trip to Motor City will conclude!

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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