Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Justified, 'Bloody Harlan'

Before she goes out — taking her life with a glass of her own poisoned "apple pie" moonshine — Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) expounds on what family means to her: "You do what you must do to protect them, even when you know it's wrong." It's a more complicated statement than it seems: over the course of Season 2, we saw that Mags could be intensely loyal and intensely cruel to her three boys, whose family feud with agent Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) came to a bitter head. Martindale gave the performance of the year as Harlan County's pot-growing matriarch — or she at least tied for performance of the year with New Mexico meth-chicken entrepreneur Gus Fring of Breaking Bad — and this finale was the perfect send-off, revealing the complex dignity in the villain.