Justified: City Primeval Episode 2 Recap — These Guys Did Not Dig Coal Together

“The Oklahoma Wildman”

Raylan pushes Clement up against a yellow cab
JUSTIFIED: CITY PRIMEVAL "The Oklahoma Wildman" Episode 2 (Airs Tuesday, July 18) Pictured: (l-r) Boyd Holbrook as Clement Mansell, Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens. CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

The following recap contains spoilers for Justified: City Primeval Episode 2, “The Oklahoma Wildman” (written by Dave Andron & Michael Dinner and directed by Michael Dinner), but not the book by Elmore Leonard.

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Despite the title of the episode being “The Oklahoma Wildman”—a clear reference to Clement (Boyd Holbrook)—I was a little surprised at how quickly Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Wendell (Victor Williams) put together that Clement was the one behind Judge Guy’s (Keith David) death. But I suppose I shouldn’t have been, because Justified was never a mystery show. Raylan pretty much always knew who the baddies were; the problem was bringing them to justice. And in this regard, it seems Justified: City Primeval is primed to follow suit.

It does make sense that it would be the vehicle that Clement was driving that put the authorities on his trail, though Episode 2 spares us the details of how they figured out who the car belongs to and cuts right to Raylan and Wendell showing up at Dell’s apartment. This is where Sandy (Adelaide Clemens) and Clement have been staying, and I do have to wonder if Dell will factor into this story down the line. So far, he’s just a name, but they’ve damaged his car and implicated him in some messy business. I suppose it’s possible he’s dead.

Clement puts a hand to Sandy's cheek
Adelaide Clemens as Sandy Stanton, Boyd Holbrook as Clement Mansell. CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Regardless, Sandy has just returned to chastise Clement for not following through on their plan and tries to fend off these cops while he hides in the backroom. The opening flashback sequence of the episode soon becomes relevant, as Wendell recalls Sandy’s name from an event in 2017 when Clement was arrested by Detective Raymond Cruz (Paul Calderon). It’s worth noting that Raymond Cruz is the name of the protagonist in Elmore Leonard’s novel, City Primeval. Whether he’ll factor into the story of this series in the present or if this is just an Easter egg remains to be seen, since by and large Justified: City Primeval would seem to be replacing his character with Raylan.

We further learn that Clement and Sweety (Vondie Curtis-Hall) worked together in 2017. We see them rob some drug dealers, whom Clement summarily executes along with the other guys who were on his team (besides Sweety). I guess they don’t call him an “Oklahoma Wildman” for nothing.

Regardless, it’s Sweety’s personal connection to Carolyn (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor) that leads her to become Clement’s lawyer, and which Clement is continuing to use as a threat over her in the present day. If she doesn’t help him, well, he’s got dirt on Sweety, who she clearly views as a kind of avuncular figure in her life.

Clement and Carloyn consult in her office
Boyd Holbrook as Clement Mansell, Aunjanue Ellis as Carolyn Wilder. CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Further, Sandy decides against throwing the gun Clement used into the Rouge River and instead hides it back in the ceiling of Sweety’s bar. That may or may not have been stupid of her—I don’t think we know enough about how all of this will go yet to say. On the one hand, Raylan and Wendell know she did this. On the other, Carolyn stops them from searching the bar by demanding they get a warrant. So, on a third hand, Sweety will probably proceed to find that gun in the ceiling and potentially be able to turn the tables on Clement. And Sandy is just kind of in the middle of all of this.

This does all mean that, from a narrative point of view, almost all of the threads that felt disparate in Episode 1 have been tied together by the end of Episode 2, so perhaps it makes sense that FX is releasing the pair of episodes together for the show’s premiere. That includes the fact that Raylan’s daughter Willa (Vivian Olyphant) is along for this ride since Clement decides to pay her a visit pretending to be Raylan’s colleague.

Willa Givens (Vivian Olyphant) looks on in Justified: City Primeval
Vivian Olyphant as Willa Givens. CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

“The Oklahoma Wildman” ends with Raylan giving Clement a beating outside of the hotel where he and Willa have been staying. Raylan threatens to kill the man while Willa looks on in tears, all of which makes sense—this guy is the worst—but Willa didn’t know that. She’s only inferring that she’s been duped as she witnesses the beating.

Plus, this might be the first time she’s ever seen her dad get angry like that. Raylan’s generally calm and collected. Even if he’s also the angriest man her mother’s ever known, that’s probably something they’ve tried to keep Willa from witnessing in the past. The way Clement begins talking about Raylan’s infamous shooting of Thomas Buckley (Peter Greene)—which provided the opening scene of the original series—may even have been what truly set him off. And while it’s tempting to impugn Willa’s intelligence in this episode in a couple of ways, the girl is 15 years old so let’s give her a pass on that front.

Equally, it tracks that Raylan would lose his cool in the way that he does. We have seen this kind of thing from him before. Clement gets under his skin in the kind of way Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) or Robert Quarles (Neal McDonough) did, and the man was creeping on his daughter.

Indeed, I’m tempted to say the beating was justified from something like an ethical point of view. Unfortunately, from a legal one, I think Raylan has played right into Clement’s hands. He got Carolyn to tell Raylan to stay away from him earlier in the episode. Now, he’ll use this beating as evidence of violent harassment. This was his plan.

The stakes of Justified: City Primeval thus seem to be set coming out of Episode 2. The question is going to be how Raylan can get the upper hand on Clement, and how (or if) he can manage the legal fallout. Dollars to doughnuts, he’s going to shoot that man dead at some point.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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