Justified: Fugitive Number One

"It's beyond bad, chief. It's career-ending."

Another exceptional episode. Practically every scene was loaded with tension and edge-of-your-seat goodness. I kept thinking that violence would erupt at any moment. And it did.

The standout was that amazing shoot-out in Wynn Duffy's RV. I didn't expect Mikey to have second thoughts, and I didn't think that Wynn and Mikey truly cared about each other, but their family-like squabbling about the music and who got to drive should have clued me in. Mikey's realization that his code of honor also applied to his relationship with Wynn and his dying plea to Wynn to hold him in his arms made me cry. Mikey the hit man and Wynn Duffy the rat actually made me cry.

And the way the scene was shot -- Katherine and the gun in her purse, the bright sunshine, all of those bullets in that small, pristine space, Mikey's blood dripping through the table, the classical music that Wynn never knew that Mikey preferred -- it was just excellent.

There was some foreshadowing: Markham caressing Katherine's throat, her bright red blouse. Maybe if she hadn't talked about her obligation to Grady ("You protect your partner"), or if Wynn hadn't faced his own death so courageously, it might have ended differently. I'm starting to think that maybe Wynn Duffy will make it out of the series alive. If Justified could be considered comparable to Breaking Bad, and I think it can, maybe they'll center a Better Call Saul-like spinoff around Jere Burns. I'm only partly kidding.

Another big character surprise for me was Avery Markham and his relationship with Katherine Hale. I was shocked that she made it back to the hotel room alive, and their discussion about her need to avenge Grady's death and Markham's hope that she might feel the same need to avenge him was surprisingly touching. Markham's obvious shock and grief when Raylan broke the news of Katherine's death finally convinced me that Markham truly and sincerely loved Katherine. I wonder how Markham will react in the next episode? Complete fury and a need to avenge himself on Wynn Duffy, or will Markham refocus on killing Boyd and recovering the money?

Both Boyd and Wynn lost their closest minion in this episode. Wynn cried at Mikey's death, but Boyd actually executed Carl himself. (That really shocked me. I liked Carl.) If this episode was about evil bad guys feeling and acting upon genuine love, Boyd is the exception now because it feels as if he's ready, willing and able to kill Ava. I'm sure we'll find out, now that Boyd has done his eternal Boyd thing, even while "infirm": talking Carl out of killing him, stealing the sheriff's uniform and even his official vehicle.

It surprised me that Ava thought she'd killed Boyd. I was under the impression that she just wanted him incapacitated. But I'm still rooting for Ava and her crafty Uncle Zachariah to get away with the money. Grubes and the pig shit truck are clearly no longer an option, though. The supply station they initially hid in was built after the collapse that killed Ava's father, and Zachariah said that if it had been built before the collapse, it wouldn't have saved him. I hope that wasn't foreshadowing death for Ava, too.

Even with all of this good stuff, much of the episode still centered on Raylan, who just left his badge behind and might be throwing away what's left of his career in order to get Boyd. Raylan did (almost) try to follow Art's orders and go back to Lexington, but you know, he's always been inner directed. It also made me happy that Art refused to believe Raylan was planning to abscond with Ava and the money, and gave him forty-eight hours to wrap it all up. And I was glad they brought Art back and put him in charge, and that Rachel deliberately took the blame in order to protect Art. I've always liked the Art/Rachel relationship, and I doubt that her upward mobility will be stalled for very long.

Finally, how about Boon and his new black hat? I laughed out loud at that first glimpse of him in the jail cell. They are so clearly setting him up as Raylan's final gunfighting opponent. Boon even acquired some subtlety in this episode; it sounded like Boon wants to marry Loretta in order to gain control of her property, which I assume would still end with him killing her. On the imaginary list I have of the characters I want to survive the series, Loretta is probably at the top. Followed by Raylan, Ava and Tim. I love Tim. If we're talking spinoffs, I'd watch a show with Tim in it.

Bits and pieces:

-- Vasquez crossed the line again, intimating that Art was in on Raylan getting a piece of the ten million bucks. Actually, I think they just needed a character in authority for Raylan to rebel against that wasn't Art.

-- I loved the scene in the jail with Earl and the crooked cop. It was classic Raylan. I also loved that it took, like, three full minutes for Earl to pick up on Raylan saying his brother was dead. It was actually funny. Poor Earl. Maybe he'll make it out of the series in one piece, too.

-- Carl died, and Markham was going to kill Earl anyway when it wouldn't have mattered. That just seems even more wrong than wrong.

-- Boon talked to Loretta about historical marriages for money and property and referenced the History Channel. I thought he never watched television or movies?

-- The last shot of Katherine was of her huge engagement ring and the stolen tennis bracelet.


Rachel: "How bad is it?"
Art: "Well, I shaved."
No kidding. I think he even shaved his head.

Boyd: "Come on, Raylan. Me and you, one more ride together."
Not this time. Maybe in the final two episodes?

Raylan: "You ever been down in a mine?"
Tim: "I've been to Mordor, but not through the mines."
Raylan: "Is that a yes or a no?"
Raylan is obviously not a Tolkein fan.

Markham: (to Katherine) "You know, I can usually smell a rotten bud before it blooms, but your scent has always been presidential kush."

Boon: "I come to rely solely on my own wherewithal at a tender age, not unlike yourself."
What a very Justified line.

Carl: "It's like that old saying, you know."
Earl: "Crime doesn't pay?"
Carl: "Goddam it, Earl, no. Ain't no honor among thieves. Crime does pay. As long as the criminals you're working for don't screw you over all the time."
Famous last words, Carl. A little foreshadowing there, too.

Raylan: "I was headed back to Lexington. Then I got word that Crowder escaped marshals' custody, reframed my priorities somewhat."
Tim: "Creepy how excited you seem right now."

Raylan: "Nice hat. You take that off that dude at the diner?"
Boon: "That one didn't appeal to me. Smelled like patchouli and scared hipster."

Phone: "Nine one one. What is your emergency?"
Wynn: "I'm not sure where to start."

A powerful and emotional end to three continuing characters. Way to go, Justified guys. Four out of four purses,

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


Josie Kafka said...

I'm enjoying this season so much, but I'm also happy it's ending: having a finish line in sight gives the showrunners so much leeway. By which I mean that I'm still loving the huge amounts of death each week.

If Justified could be considered comparable to Breaking Bad, and I think it can, maybe they'll center a Better Call Saul-like spinoff around Jere Burns. I'm only partly kidding.

I'd watch that show. Can Patton Oswalt guest-star?

Jess Lynde said...

"Even with all of this good stuff, much of the episode still centered on Raylan ... " Seriously, there was so much good stuff in this episode! When I got to this part of your review, I was like, "Right! And there was still all the stuff with Raylan!" Whew. They are having a stellar final run, and it has been so great to watch. Even when I worry about where it might all be headed for assorted characters.

Art, Rachel, Tim, Loretta, and Wynn are the characters that I really want to make it. I love Tim, too, and if he dies, I'm going to be devastated. Raylan surviving would be fine, but him dying in the final showdown --- whatever that is --- might also feel fitting, so I can go either way with him. I think I prefer that he live, but it will all depend on how the story plays out. We'll know soon enough!