Justified: Restitution

"Is it true what they say about hard times showing you who your friends are?"

I haven't been all that happy with Justified this spring, but these last two episodes were an improvement and a return to form. And they just set up what could be a blow-out of a final season.

It took every bit of cleverness Boyd had to stay alive this time. Changing Raylan's name on his cell phone to Darryl's was inspired. (Isn't it delightful that Raylan is one of Boyd's cell phone contacts?) Boyd also tried to turn Alberto's minions in exactly the same way Johnny turned Hot Rod's, but unfortunately, they'd already been to Vegas. And then he showed serious courage in the face of a horrible death at Alberto's hands knives. It took too long and cost him too dearly, but Boyd finally realized that the heroin trade was not for him. Being the cause of Jimmy's death was the last straw. (Poor snake-in-the-face Jimmy. I liked him.)

Like Boyd, Ava also did a lot of clever and courageous things in this episode while trying to stay alive. Confronting Gretchen publicly was a clever move, even though it didn't work. So was picking a fight in order to get tossed into solitary. Ava was stuck between a prison rock and a marshal hard place, wasn't she? It made sense that she would make a deal; clearly, that was what they were setting up all season.

It's sad, though. I don't like the idea of Ava as a snitch. Will she really betray Boyd in the end? Will Boyd ever even suspect that Ava could betray him? Boyd is very smart and one hell of a survivor, so maybe he'll figure it out, but Ava has always been his weakness. He won't want to believe it, even if it becomes obvious.

So Raylan played two huge cards here -- setting up Ava's release, and turning Wendy against Darryl. While I still think that what Raylan did to Kendal was awful, he did it with the best of intentions, and the scene where Raylan good-copped Kendal by telling him about Arlo forcing him to kill a feral pig may have been the best scene in this episode.

Darryl's final scenes were good, too, mostly because of Wendy. She pulled it together, got Darryl to confess on tape, and then she shot him in self-defense -- not once, but twice. What she said to Darryl in the end sounded genuine, that he'd become hard because he had to survive, and I believed that she really did love him. I just wish the Crowes had been more interesting villains. I usually care about the bad guys on this show because of the complex characterisation and excellent acting. Although I found Wendy and Kendal marginally sympathetic, I didn't care much about the Crowes.

I do care about Rachel and Tim, though, and this episode gave them a lot of great stuff to do. I was worried that Darryl would get the better of Tim during that tense confrontation in the street, but fortunately, no. And instead of Raylan, it was Rachel and Tim on one end of the gun battle at Ava's house, and they were the ones to take out Alberto and his minions. (Okay, Boyd got one of them with his hands literally tied behind his back; that was pretty damned cool.) This episode also included two of the best Rachel scenes ever. Rachel stood up to Darryl, even though she looked like she was three feet shorter than he was. And then she did the same to Boyd and said she was going to get him, in that nice, soft voice. I believed her. She isn't Art's favorite for nothing.

I was relieved that Art made it, and with his wit intact. Killing off Art would have been a hard one to take. But it was sad that Raylan and Art have indeed reached the end and that Raylan was ready to accept his transfer and move back to Florida.

That is, after he takes down the man in the center of everything: Boyd Crowder. The final season of this series always had to be Raylan versus Boyd. It had better be epic.

Bits:

-- As soon as Ava's lawyer said that her cellmate and the guard changed their story, I knew it was a set-up. That was way too simplistic a plot fix for a show like Justified.

-- We found out what happened between Katherine Hale and Vasquez. She had his boss murdered to derail her husband's trial. Since it looks like we're getting more Mary Steenburgen next season, I bet we'll get more Vasquez, too.

-- I'm so glad that Wynn Duffy survived the season and will still be working with Boyd. Jere Burns didn't get enough to do this season.

-- As Raylan decided to go home to Winona, Boyd was fixing Ava's house. Always in parallel, these two.

-- I just realized one of Alberto's minions was one of the scary twins from Breaking Bad. And oops, he's dead.

-- The frightening Mr. Yoon still exists. Villains don't conveniently just go away on this show.

-- The final moments featured a different version of "You'll never leave Harlan alive", this time with a female vocalist. I hope that wasn't a hint that Raylan might live to depart, but Ava won't. Not that I don't want Raylan to survive the series, because I do.

Quotes:

Boyd: "You ever pulled off a shot like that, Mister Ranger Sniper?"
Tim: "Good guys don't need to shoot people with their hands cuffed, Crowder."
But it was still really cool.

Raylan: (to the dying Darryl) "Didn't I tell ya you were gonna wish I killed you? Well, dontcha?"

Raylan: "I'll see you again before I go."
Art: (quietly, to himself) "Darn."

Winona: "Did you hear that, sweetie? Daddy's comin' home so that Mama can finally take a nap."

Ava: (looking at her house) "Are those bullet holes?"
Boyd: "It's been a tough couple of months, Ava."

Boyd: "I don't need a weatherman to tell me which direction this wind is blowing. I'm done with heroin."
I liked Boyd's little smile when Katherine Hale brought up robbing banks. Even though it might be the death of him.

Three out of four bullet holes, although I bet I used bullet holes before,

Billie
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Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.

5 comments:

Katerina said...

This was the first season that I watched in real time. Justified had always been on my "watch list," and I ended up having a Justified marathon - streaming it from Amazon, during the 2-3 weeks before this season started. (My mental voice acquired a drawl that lasted for at least a week or two after, and it was hard not to do the same in person. :) ) I'm kind of glad this season wasn't part of my marathon, because it may have put a stop to it, leaving me unprepared for what I hope will be a terrific final season.

This season just didn't grab me. It was incredibly lacking in Raylan/Boyd exchanges, which always elevate any scene. More Tim would have been nice, too. I also wasn't impressed with the Crowes (with the exception of Dewey, of course - always a favorite). It was just missing it's old spirit. I found the heroin and Ava plots boring. I never really understood why Boyd didn't press Danny Strong's character to confess. I also have a hard time believing Ava will snitch on Boyd, but we'll see.

Lastly, regarding Katherine Hale, it seemed to me they were implying she had been the real boss, not her husband. I can live with this mediocre season if it was mainly a setup (overly long) for a fantastic finale - but I wouldn't watch it again.

Jess Lynde said...

I liked the setup aspects of this finale, far more than the resolution aspects. But, I am relieved to be done with Boyd and his heroin, Ava and her prison stint, and the Crowes. At least this season's Boyd and Ava misadventures should pay dividends in terms of where they are at psychologically and emotionally, and the prospect of how that plays out between them and Raylan has me looking forward to next season.

Poor Jimmy. I was so sad to see him get killed. At least he didn't get skinned. I read in one of the Graham Yost interviews today that they put a screen grab of the snake attacking him on the actor's goodbye cake, and I immediately thought of you, Billie. Poor snake-in-the-face Jimmy. :(

Freeman said...

Next season is gonna be nuts. Raylan and Boyd have been criss-crossing each other for a long time, and now things are truly coming to a head. I can't wait. I notice Quarles got a shout-out, I wonder if he's gonna make a comeback of sorts next season. And I'm sure Mr. Yoon will pop up again.

It'll be interesting to see the dynamic between Boyd and Ava now that she's flipped on him. I don't think Boyd really believes the situation could've been resolved so cleanly. His reaction to the news was very subdued. Though I guess it could've also been guilt because he all but abandoned Ava at one point.

I'm glad Darryl went out in such a brutal way. The man was scum. The way Raylan was looking at him as he said his "goodbye" at the end was so intense. I loved him and Tim's exchange at the cars.

ChrisB said...

I agree with the general feeling that this was not the strongest season; yet, what a set-up for the final one. The Raylan/Ava/Boyd triangle was how this all began. It feels right that it is how it should all end.

The Raylan/Kendal scene was incredibly moving. Raylan is genius at telling a story, even when it is less than the truth. I got the impression that the story he told Kendal was the unvarnished truth, which only made it that much more compelling.

Another great season of reviews, Billie. As always, thanks.

Katerina said...

It was just missing it's old spirit.

I *do* know the difference between "its" and "it's." After noticing that typo in my previous post, I tried to just shrug it off. I failed. :)