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Walton Goggins (#110 of 19)

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 13, "Papa’s Goods"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 13, “Papa’s Goods”

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 13, “Papa’s Goods”

Aptly titled “Papa’s Goods,” the series finale of Kurt Sutter’s super-violent Shakespearean biker-gang saga, Sons of Anarchy, represents a high-water mark for this profoundly uneven seventh and final season, specifically in the way it grapples with the power of erasure, the way characters delude themselves into thinking they can wipe out their footprint on the world, and ultimately the inevitable persistency of cyclical violence. Such ideas seem incredibly relevant for a series finale like “Papa’s Goods,” which carefully considers the deceptively sudden nature of saying goodbye. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) finds himself at the center of a volatile maelstrom in the wake of killing his mother, Gemma, for past sins, and now faces certain doom at the hand of multiple parties, including the leaders of his own contingency. Still, he has an exit strategy and it lines up in some way with his father’s own sacrificial act some two decades earlier.

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 10, "Faith and Despondency"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 10, “Faith and Despondency”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 10, “Faith and Despondency”

It’s been a while since Sons of Anarchy has unleashed a parade of carnal images like the ones that begin “Faith and Despondency”: the Grecian-assed Jax (Charlie Hunnam) finds comfort in the arms of Winsome (Inbar Levi), the prostitute SAMCRO plucked from the streets during “Greensleeves”; Gemma (Katey Sagal) sports a thousand-yard stare as Nero (Jimmy Smits) straddles her from behind; Juice (Theo Rossi) looks equally numb as he’s raped by Tully (Marilyn Manson) in a cramped prison cell. But it’s two other couples who emanate the most passion: Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Althea (Annabeth Gish), who’ve always been better at communicating with each other under the sheets, and Tig (Kim Coates) and Venus (Walton Goggins), who genuinely appear to be in love.

A Cut Above: An Interview with Django Unchained Editor Fred Raskin

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A Cut Above: An Interview with <em>Django Unchained</em> Editor Fred Raskin
A Cut Above: An Interview with <em>Django Unchained</em> Editor Fred Raskin

By all accounts, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is a massive film in both scope and scale, boasting a large ensemble cast, a story that spans years, and a mix of locations and climates. The job of assembling all of this was given to film editor Fred Raskin, who, while working closely with Tarantino, cut the film to a final run time of two hours and 45 minutes, leaving almost two additional hours of footage on the cutting room floor.

A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Raskin honed his craft working as an assistant editor for Tarantino’s late editor Sally Menke, aiding her on Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. He then moved up to the position of editor with director Justin Lin, working on three Fast and the Furious films: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, and Fast Five. After Menke’s tragic death in 2010, Raskin got the call from Tarantino to take the lead on editing his new Spaghetti-Western-meets-blaxploitation flick.

After spending nearly a year assembling Django Unchained, Raskin, who is now armed with a BAFTA nomination, opens up about his work on the Oscar-nominated film, the job of a film editor, and working with one of his cinematic heroes.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 13, "Slaughterhouse"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “Slaughterhouse”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “Slaughterhouse”

The major criticism of Justified’s third season is that it’s included a few too many plot elements. Especially in its latter half, season three has been a nonstop cavalcade of conniving and double crossing, and as such has, at times, been too busy to truly resonate. This was especially the case in last week’s episode, which moved neatly from one plot point to another, wrapping up the story of the Bennett money. However, this week’s finale, “Slaughterhouse,” is the sort of episode that can prompt a reexamination of an entire season’s worth of themes and ideas. I’ve long suspected that Justified has been illustrating a point about the ultimate emptiness of its characters’ continual struggle against each other, but it’s also a dark and unsettling examination of our relationship with the past.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 12, ‘‘Coalition’‘

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, ’’Coalition’’

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, ’’Coalition’’

If Justified feels plot heavy of late, it’s out of necessity given the premise of the third season: A disparate bunch of criminals, lawmen, and mobsters fight it out for control of Harlan County crime following the death of Mags Bennett. As countless characters play their own angles and hatch their own plans, the season has been, at points, a tad bloated. Thematically, though, this makes sense, as the mess of plot elements is conspicuously juxtaposed against the whole lot of nothing it ultimately amounts to. The show’s making a pertinent point about the destabilizing force of power struggles. However, as this week’s episode, ’’Coalition,’’ rushes to bring most of the plot threads to a close, I wonder if this point is worth all of the excess clutter.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 11, "Measures"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Measures”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Measures”

An episode like “Measures” seemed inevitable at this point in Justified’s third season. Its role is simple: to set up the bloodshed coming in the final two episodes. This isn’t a criticism: There may not be much to say about “Measures” thematically, but the expectation of what’s to come creates more than enough tension to prop up the episode. It says perhaps even more about the season as a whole that episodes without clear through lines and ideas have become such a conspicuous rarity.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 10, "Guy Walks Into a Bar"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Guy Walks Into a Bar”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Guy Walks Into a Bar”

It’s fitting that the title of this week’s installment of Justified is the classic joke lead-in “Guy Walks Into a Bar,” because the entire episode plays out like the season’s punchline. It’s the point when all of Harlan County’s absurdities become so extreme they begin to wrap back around on themselves, and everyone finally just throws their hands in the air and says, “Screw it.” Really, the episode may as well have been titled “Forget It, Raylan, It’s Harlan County.”

At this point, Harlan’s so-called “criminal underground” has become so pervasive it’s ceased to be underground at all and has simply replaced law-abiding life as the norm. In a different setting, Ava’s (Joelle Carter) willingness to take up a life of crime and become a madam might seem like a stretch, but it’s entirely believable in a setting where illicit behavior has become not only accepted, but expected.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 9 "Loose Ends"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 9  “Loose Ends”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 9  “Loose Ends”

Justified never shies away from telling you exactly what it’s doing, and when it titles an episode “Loose Ends,” you can bet it will be all about tying up, well, loose ends. Given the particular brand of people who populate Harlan County, it’s not surprising that the tying up of these loose ends involves landmines, shotguns, and more bodies pushed into the swamp. Nor is it surprising that it manages to tell us something about Justified’s value system: Either you’re your own man, or you’re as good as dead.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "Watching the Detectives"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives”

FX

Justified Recap: Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives”

For two episodes with very little action, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives” wind up revealing quite a bit about Justified’s representation of violence. These are both plot-heavy episodes that serve mostly to move the various pieces around and transition the audience toward the season’s end game, but they’re also further proof that Justified has little interest in following traditional narratives of violence, and in particular how it relates to power. The various adversaries are certainly trying to carve out as much power for themselves as possible, yet their use of force only renders each of them more vulnerable and their many power moves ultimately serve to demonstrate how little control ear player has over their situations.