Justified: City Primeval Episode 7 Recap — Don’t Be a Chump

“The Smoking Gun”

Raylan stands in a hallway, wearing his hat, in Justified: City Primeval Episode 7, "The Smoking Gun"
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

The following recap contains spoilers for Justified: City Primeval Episode 7, “The Smoking Gun” (written by Dave Andron & Michael Dinner and directed by Katrelle Kindred).

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.

When I noted last week that Sweety (Vondie Curtis-Hall) seemed to expect there to be a gun behind the jukebox in his bar, I was not thinking that it was the gun that he’d stashed there, because that’s kind of a foolish place to stash a piece of incriminating evidence. So, as much as I dislike the quick flashback in Episode 7 showing us that Trennell (Joseph Anthony Byrd) removed the gun from that spot, I get it. We have to imagine that Sweety was being weirdly stubborn about it, or that he was insisting it was a good hiding spot because of the ways it wasn’t, or something like that.

I just wish Justified: City Primeval had shown us that playing out episodes ago instead of throwing it in here, where it’s a bit too easy to start thinking that Trennell did his man wrong by moving that gun. After all, if it had been there as Sweety had expected, maybe he could have turned the tables on Mansell (Boyd Holbrook) at the 11th hour. But, if you think about it, it makes sense that Trennell moved it. That was not a smart place to hide that particular gun.

Alas, our friend Sweety is dead and his bar has been burned down. Episode 7 opens with a flashback to 1988, and I was happy to see him one last time—playing bass, no less. We learn that he’d promised Carolyn’s (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor) dad that he’d look out for her, and that her father died from a “rough life.” That’s about how I’d read the relationship between Carolyn and Sweety, but the confirmation was nice. And we see Sweety expressing his dreams about opening the bar as well as the jukebox in the corner that would play only the music he wants to hear.

All of this is effective at bringing home the sadness of Sweety’s death for Carolyn, as we cut to her learning of it in the present, and it’s important to bear all of this in mind as we see what she does later in “The Smoking Gun.” Sweety was like a father to her, so she fully means it when she tells Clement off. She’s going to take him down, and if Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is collateral damage, so be it.

At least that’s how I read things when Carolyn tries to lure Raylan away from meeting with Clement but proceeds to give the Albanians the go-ahead when he won’t be persuaded. At that point, Raylan seems to be trying to give Clement the ol’ Tommy Bucks treatment, but Toma (Terry Kinney) et al. break up the party.

So Episode 7 ends with Raylan and Clement in the custody of the Albanian mafia. It’s anyone’s guess how things go from here. Before he tosses the gun that killed Judge Guy into the river, Toma says that sometimes the old ways are the only ways, and we know that he intends to kill Clement. But does he intend to kill Raylan also, just because he is in the way?

I’d guess that might be the case, and that the finale might see Raylan forming some kind of tentative alliance with Clement that allows them to get away from the Albanians and have their showdown in the streets of Detroit, but I’m just speculating.

Maureen hunches over an interrogation table with Darryl on the other side in Justified: City Primeval Episode 7
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

One thing we do know from City Primeval Episode 7 is that the law has failed Raylan when it comes to bringing Mansell to justice. The turn Maureen (Marin Ireland) takes in “The Smoking Gun” is one of those things that isn’t surprising because it is. She seemed like a good egg. She took in Raylan and Willa (Vivian Olyphant) early in the season, and Raylan trusted her so we were primed to trust her, too. But as experienced viewers of television, we’re also primed for just this kind of betrayal to play out.

After Trennell hands over the gun that killed Judge Guy, Raylan brings it to Maureen, asking that it be processed quickly and quietly. Next thing he knows, she is arresting the indigent vet, Darryl Woods (Corey Hendrix), who Wendell (Victor Williams) had previously insisted wasn’t a reliable witness.

Raylan puts it together—Maureen is in that little black book—but still pulls a say-it-ain’t-so act on her before she tells him to go back to Miami. I wouldn’t say that Raylan always wants to see the best in people, but he does seem particularly sad when someone he thought he could trust lets him down.

I suppose that’s all of us.

Meanwhile, Norbert (Norbert Leo Butz) wants to let Raylan know that he may be a dirty cop who’s framed people, but he’s only framed people he knows are guilty of other things (good for him, I guess?). So he gives Raylan the murder weapon, and this feeds into the events of the aforementioned conclusion of Episode 7.

Raylan talking to Sandy
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Sandy (Adelaide Clemens) is feeling the walls closing in, so she’s already trying to skip town before Clement calls to let her know he’s taken Del (Andy Carey) hostage. And I guess she calls Raylan mostly in an attempt to save Del’s life. Too bad that doesn’t work.

It’s not entirely clear if Sandy proceeds to leave Detroit after her meeting with Raylan in the airport, but I hope so. Indications from Skender (Alexander Pobutsky) are that the Albanians intend to kill her, and I think at this point Clement also intends to kill her, so take the money and run, Sandy! Go to Aruba or Jamaica or whatever!

And I suspect that would also be Raylan’s position.

It’s the finale of City Primeval next week, and with both our protagonist and antagonist in the clutches of the Albanian mob as Episode 7 ends, it’s hard to predict what will happen. I expect Clement to die, but I have no idea how many other people might also die or what the fallout might be for Raylan, Carolyn, and others.

I don’t expect any reform of the Detroit PD.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

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

Caesar non est supra grammaticos

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