Justified: City Primeval makes a surprising decision, while also devoting a little more time to establishing its villain.
This recap of Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3, “Backstabbers”, contains spoilers.
I must admit, I had a good chuckle at the brazenness of Clement Mansell in “Backstabbers”.
After Raylan beat the brakes off the man at the end of Episode 2, I expected he’d do the usual villain thing of slinking off into a hole somewhere to lick his wounds. But no such luck. Instead, he heads straight to Carolyn Wilder’s place, interrupts her lamenting a federal tax lien from the IRS that her husband Jamal had neglected to handle, and insists she presses charges against Raylan.
This is ridiculous, obviously. Clement even proudly admits what riled Raylan up in the first place. What he’s doing, clearly, is toying with a woman who he believes he has on a string. Carolyn resists, but there’s probably only so much she can do without imperilling herself or, more likely, the people she cares about, like Sweetie.
Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3 Recap
It makes Clement a good villain, though. This is just as well since a good chunk of “Backstabbers” is powered by the tension that stems from him having chosen an Albanian mobster as a mark, and the inevitable chaos that is going to erupt when he lives up to his nickname of “The Oklahoma Wildman” and brings Detroit’s organized crime syndicate down on himself.
Why is Willa upset with Raylan?
Raylan is similarly honest about his encounter with Clement, and people respond to it in different ways. Willa, for instance, is sulking, though it’s hard to tell why, both because the writing and the performance don’t really communicate it effectively.
Sure, it probably wasn’t great fun for Willa to see her dad brutalize someone, even if that someone meant her harm. And she’s probably feeling a pang of guilt over having caused that situation by waltzing right into an obvious ruse.
But Willa’s defence is understandable too. How was she supposed to know? She barely knows anything about her dad’s life, let alone his potential friends and colleagues, because he’s so keen to get her out of the way. And that trend persists here in “Backstabbers”. It might be for Willa’s own good, but teenage girls aren’t known for being reasonable and understanding – trust me, I have one.
Where is the murder weapon?
Meanwhile, the task force put together to investigate Judge Guy’s murder, which is being lambasted by the press for not getting anywhere with the case, use the attack on Raylan as an excuse to pick up Clement, Sandy, and Sweetie and interrogate them all simultaneously.
It’s the oldest trick in the book, trying to convince someone to confess by telling them their accomplice has already done so. Nobody’s buying it, least of her Clement, who goes out of his way to request a tape recorder for his confession and then sings into it while taunting Raylan through the two-way glass.
These three are all comfortable in their position since they all, in one way or another, have Carolyn. But Carolyn clearly wants rid of Clement, and implores that Raylan finds enough evidence to prove his guilt without a shadow of a doubt. Sweetie, meanwhile, keeps a hold of the gun Clement used to kill Judge Guy and the drug dealers we saw him off in flashback last week, obviously hoping to leverage it against Clement (or for his own protection) in the future.
Why does Clement kill Skender?
As if to make it easy for Raylan, Clement spends the rest of the episode committing more crimes.
Of particular importance is the crime that has already been alluded to multiple times thus far, which is robbing the Albanian mobster, Skender, who is thoroughly in love with Sandy and plans to propose to her. Before that, though, he must get the blessing of her “brother”, Clement.
This whole thing is a bit ridiculous in its execution. Clement and Sandy are playing what amounts to a comedy double-act, and they get Skender fall-down drunk, and there’s even an arty flashback to a made-up story about their mother dying in a tornado.
After a while, Clement pushes Skender into showing them his penthouse and then, once there, opening his safe, which contains guns but no cash money. Clement is, let’s say “displeased” by this.
Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained
At the end of the episode, Raylan drops Willa off at the airport. He’s sending her home to her mother – having cut short her getaway with her new fella – to keep Willa out of harm’s way, and while it looks like the show might not commit to this, it does. We might not see her again for the rest of the season.
To be fair, though, Raylan proves her point by interrupting their tearful goodbye to answer the phone to Maureen, who tells him that Clement has done some damage to Skender. I’m hoping with Willa out of the way, Raylan gets up to some of his old tricks, especially since the rest of the Albanian mob are going to be as keen to track down Clement as he is.
You can catch Justified: City Primeval Season 1 Episode 3, “Backstabbers” exclusively on FX.