Justified – “The Hatchet Tour” (Season 4, Episode 9)

Justified Episode 9 "The Hatchet Tour"

This week of Justified might not quite reach the highs of last week’s tour de force, but it’s still an entertainingly dense episode of television, bringing the Drew Thompson plotline to a head with the reveal – hinted at in “Outlaw” – that Sheriff Shelby is indeed the elusive Drew. It may not have been a surprise to anyone watching closely, but it gives the show the space to really explore Jim Beaver’s Shelby/Drew, a character who I’m happy to spend more time with in the back stretch of the season. It also continued Colt’s descent into a downward spiral that can only end in misery.

The busy-ness of the episode ensured it had a strong forward momentum, but this was occasionally to its detriment – I admit that I didn’t follow all the plot details, being a bit puzzled as to why Constable Bob ended up in a firefight with Clover Hill no-goodniks Johns and Paxton. I also felt that the episode squandered what could have been a tenser interaction between Hunter Moseley and Shelby for those of us who’d already figured out Shelby’s identity. But these are minor issues, and more than redeemed by some excellent camerawork and typically strong writing.

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