Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 8 Review: The Question


I admit that Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 8 leaves me with some intense feelings.

Mostly, I feel incredibly cheated by a revival that promised to carve out a new path for Raylan Givens — one where his sensibilities as a father would temper his quick trigger, shaping his renegade spirit into an inspiring leader.

Instead, Detroit breaks him. Then, all the ghosts of the past return. And does everything that happens in Detroit even matter at the end of the day?

Seriously. Are we meant to care about Robinson, Bryl, and Downey? Do the Detroit PD deserve to have their resources tied up investigating Downey?

If she was Clement’s mole in the department, there was NOTHING in the script to even hint at a connection between the two. That’s not good gotcha writing; that’s bad plot planning.

Instead, I offer this interpretation.

Downey is in the book and is guilty of providing false testimony for money in order for Judge Guy to have enough to put the defendants away.

However, Clement doesn’t know her name — and wouldn’t care as she’s small potatoes in the scope of the book’s potential marks — when she frisks him at the sting on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 6.

So, she wasn’t the person who gave him the heads-up to come to the meeting without the book or a weapon. She would’ve wanted him to bring the book as she could’ve lifted it off him and made it truly disappear.

For that bit of double-dealing, my money’s still on Carolyn. She needed Diane out of the picture but didn’t want Clement arrested, as her role in the sting would come to light. As his lawyer, she can’t be seen to be conspiring against her client. That would ruin her chances at a judgeship.

You read my application. You know that I have lived in Detroit my whole life. I understand the place. I understand the people. I’ve worked both sides of the line because while everyone is entitled to a defense, some people need to sit in a room and think about what they’ve done. You likely made calls about me. If not, you will. And you’re going to be told that Carolyn’s not good at playing the game, making me ideally suited for that bench.


So Downey’s a dirty cop but not involved with Clement.

Carolyn, on the other hand, realizes she can’t use the police to take Clement out, so she reaches out to the Albanians and makes a deal she knows Raylan would never endorse.

You know why I did what I did? This way satisfies us both. For me, it’s like Skender doing it. Much better. For you, this is only way you get this man who kills people. It’s a soundproof room but maybe later there’s a certain odor. A tenant complains, we go through the wall. Ooooh, so this is where he’s been hiding! Ooooh, too bad. Too bad.


Carolyn’s horseshoe luck holds out. When Clement escapes the panic room trap, the first thing he does is wipe out anyone who knows about her pact with the Albanians.

Except Raylan. And then Raylan takes care of Clement.

There are lots of ways to justify Marshal Givens shooting Clement “The Oklahoma Wildman” Mansell.

Michigan is a Stand Your Ground state. Clement had broken into Carolyn’s house. He’d threatened and laid hands on her before. He’s known to be armed and dangerous. He’d just killed an entire gang of Albanians.

All of this justifies using deadly force, as any reasonable person could assume he had intent to do more harm.

Can’t believe it, Chickenfat. What you kill me for?


However, the look on Raylan’s face when he sees the cassette demo tape in Clement’s hand indicates he’s not ready to make that argument.

Instead, one can almost see him replaying his conversation with Raymond Cruz on Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 5 in his head.

Cruz left law enforcement as well. Although he claims he doesn’t lose any sleep over killing his bottle-opener-wielding perp, the fact he no longer carries a badge belies his claim that the system works.

I suspect Raylan loses a lot of sleep over the five weeks we don’t see, which leads him to tender his resignation.

Hey, y’know, I’ve never seen anything like it. You stepped in a big pile of shit in Detroit. And, once again, you scrape it off your boot, and you get your man.

Dan Grant

I’ll just say here that the intervening years since the OG Justified series have treated Chief Grant very well. Matt Craven, in reprising the role of Raylan’s beleaguered boss, should at least look like he’s aged a bit.

Same goes for Winona.

Winona: When did you decide to do this?
Raylan: A week ago.
Winona: You didn’t talk to me about it?
Raylan: I didn’t think I needed to.
Winona: Are you okay?
Raylan: Yeah.
Winona: Why now?
Raylan: Question I’ve been asking myself? Why I didn’t do it sooner.
Winona: Well, if you couldn’t do it for me, I’m glad you could do it for her. Don’t muck it up.

It’s a sweet reunion — seeing Winona and Raylan together again — but the relationship’s mellowed, and the two are the picture of amicably separated ex-lovers.

Willa’s learner’s license is far more frightening than Clement ever was. Maybe even more terrifying than Crowder’s return.

And while we’re considering moral ambiguity, let’s drop the mic on Carolyn Wilder.

As ever, Carolyn sees herself as a white hat, someone who will make the world better by meting out justice in a way that will punish the guilty and protect the innocent.

Carolyn: What are you going to tell the DPD?
Raylan: That God himself sent down a lightning bolt and the book came with it.
Carolyn: The world’s better off. And I’m tired.

But if we’ve learned anything from her overlap with Raylan, it is that her means to an end doesn’t adhere to the straight and narrow.

Judge Wilder may never keep a notebook like Judge Guy — she’d never be dumb enough to write those sorts of things down — but she’s not above stepping into the shadows when it’s the strategic thing to do.

I don’t know. She may live up to her own hype, and she may not lose any sleep over the deaths she had a hand in — Clement, Toma, Skender, Sweetie — but her armor is less shining and more dinged and dented through real-life wear and tear.

Maybe, just maybe, that’ll make her the kind of judge she dreams of being.

Carolyn: Goddammit, Raylan.
Raylan: Yeah, I get that a lot.

Will we see her visiting Florida with Raylan as she proposes? Will Raylan welcome her visit, considering she is a living reminder of Clement’s shooting? Will her role as a judge — and Raylan’s role in getting her there — factor into future shenanigans?

Who else could we see crossover from Detroit to Florida or wherever it is that Raylan chases Boyd? Sandy? Dickie? Trennell?

Because, mark my words, the narrative fans were clamoring for has only just begun.

And that’s what really gets my ire here.

What was the point of spending seven and a half hours building to a reveal that has nothing to do with the preceding seven and a half hours?

Yes, it’s fantastic that Walton Goggins is back as Boyd Crowder. Yes, there’ll be some reckoning to be done, as he’ll want to look up Raylan and may even discover Ava’s still alive. Yes, Raylan’s just a cooler character when Boyd’s around.

But if that’s where we were going, what did we just spend our last two months watching?

Devoting time and energy to watching a novel serial that spends a lot of time wandering through moral quandaries with characters missing crucial brain cells and riding the craziest luck streaks only to have it all flushed in favor of a “Best Of Harlan” reunion feels like the most disrespectful bait-and-switch nonsense.

It doesn’t escape me that this finale is titled “The Question,” which echoes the Justified: Season 6 Episode 13 series finale title, “The Promise.” I’ve got so many questions about how they couldn’t follow through on the promise of new frontiers.

Welcome back, Boyd. Rest in peace, Toma. You both deserve better.

Over to you, Fanatics. Did you stick it out to the reveal? Was it worth it?

Hit our comments with your takeaways from this season and what you think the future holds for our coal-mining buddies.

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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