It’s Walton Goggins’ birthday today (he’s 43, all of a year older than me) and I thought I’d celebrate by writing some things about him. He’s probably my second-favorite actor on “Justified” – sorry, but Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan is that awesome. That said, I wasn’t prepared to be a fan of Boyd Crowder, especially early on, but he grew on me. Good thing Graham Yost decided to deviate from adhering to the “Fire in The Hole”, the Elmore Leonard short story that the show was based on. In case you haven’t read it, Boyd dies when Raylan shoots him in Ava Crowder’s dining room.
Goggins, who I’m also appreciating from watching “The Shield” on Amazon Prime (Hey, I’m late to watching this one), has made Boyd a villain, but one with quite a few layers. He likes to act like he’s the smartest guy in the room – only the fact that I’m a writer has kept me from having to consult a dictionary on some of the words he uses, but he also knows, deep down, that smarter people than him are out there. He’ll use religion and race to further his agenda, but he’ll shed those personas like clothes when they no longer help him – though doing that has angered some of the.. ahem… more fanatical adherents,. He’ll kill people without compunction, especially those who cross him – Devil springs to mind here, but he’s also able to plan things out longer – like that whole exploding cigarette situation last season. Boyd tried to go straight for a while, but he was inexorably drawn back into the criminal world.
Now “Justified” is starting its last season – and while I think it’s got plenty in the tank, it’s always good to go out on top before creative bankruptcy begins to take its toll – witness “Sons of Anarchy” which has jumped off the rails into cartoonish stupidity. Not even Goggins appearing on the show in a… different role has made this worth watching, at least to me. Somebody tell me if Gemma gets her comeuppance for her lies. I think Yost is too smart of a showrunner to let it devolve into that. It’s going to come down to the beginning – the Body-Ava-Raylan triangle. Right now Raylan has Ava working for him as a confidential informant and it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out. Also, there’s a new boss – Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) is taking over as head of the Marshals in Raylan’s division, replacing the retiring Art Mullen (Nick Searcy) – and though she clearly views Raylan as a friend, she’s also not going to put up with his maverick act as much as Art did. I just hope Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts) gets a bunch of snarky lines.
OK, back to the birthday boy. Goggins will probably be pulling out all the stops in this season (the promo has him wearing Raylan’s hat at first and then the two squaring off as if to duel with pistols).If his hair, which gets more disheveled when Boyd’s situation starts unraveling, doesn’t approach Albert Einstein levels by the final episode, I’ll be sorely disappointed. I’m hoping that he’s going to find another TV show after this – though his IMDB page shows that he’s already got five movies already lined up for 2014-15. The man does not stay idle.
Happy Birthday, Walton, and I can’t wait for January.