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Justified: Ghosts

"What do you tell yourself at night when you lay your head down that allows you to wake up in the morning pretending you're not the bad guy?"

This is such a guy show. It's a great guy show. But the focus of this finale wasn't just our two-sides-of-the-same-coin male leads: it was the two women that are the focus of their lives. Raylan was desperate to fix the deadly situation he'd gotten Winona into, and Boyd, ditto with Ava. Raylan managed to save Winona. Boyd wasn't as successful.

The season hasn't focused enough on Raylan, but this finale certainly did. If he hadn't been able to make that oh so clever deal with Sammy Tonin, would Raylan have killed Nicky Augustine in cold blood, stepped over the line and become an outlaw? I think he would have, if it was the only way to save Winona's life. And I wonder if that's where the series will eventually go? The darkness in Raylan the lawman, and the goodness in Boyd the outlaw — it's a big part of what makes this show so compelling. (Along with the great characters and the sharp, witty dialogue. And the hat.)

Boyd had a great idea: getting Delroy out of the mineshaft. And then he had another one: replacing Delroy's body with another before the coroner got there. It probably would have worked if Cassie hadn't wanted revenge for what Boyd did to her brother. (Nice seasonal bookending there.) Boyd's anguish as they took Ava away was epic. He might be ready to take over the Harlan heroin trade with his new partner (and I'm so, so happy we got Wynn Duffy back) but Boyd is now a broken man. He has no one, as he said, that makes him feel like he's not the bad guy when he lies down at night.

I loved the Raylan/Boyd scene in the car. They talked about the meaning of love, about death, about being the bad guys. It was easy to believe that Boyd would have indeed backed Raylan up, if necessary. He's certainly done it before. I'm sort of sorry we didn't have a Raylan and Boyd versus the bad guys shoot out, but Raylan's deal with Sammy Tonin was unexpected and cool.

And the final scenes were poignant. As Boyd broke into Ava's dream house and looked at what he wasn't going to have, Raylan, on suspension from his job, sat alone on his lawn in front of Arlo's trailer looking at the gravestone with his own name on it. Raylan knows he will never leave Harlan alive. How long until he doesn't win a confrontation like the very cool one that opened the episode?

Bits and pieces:

-- The gun battle in the nursery was terrific, mostly because Winona grabbed a gun and joined in. Loved the rocking chair bumping against the killer's dead body. I thought nearly dying because of Raylan would be enough for Winona to say goodbye to him forever. Maybe not. But we still don't know what the papers were for.

-- At least Ava didn't die. Hey, Boyd managed to get himself out of prison. He can figure out something.

-- Hey, Drew Thompson didn't die, either, and neither did Ellen May. Nice.

-- I liked the Supernatural-like graveyard dig in the middle of the night. Poor Jimmy Snake-in-the-Face is not a lucky man.

-- I thought that Adam Arkin was going to show up in the finale, but no; Theo Tonin has flown the coop. Not that Nicky Augustine wasn't awesome, because he was. Interesting that after four seasons, Detroit is no longer a problem.

-- What happened to Cousin Johnny?


Art: "That was supposed to be withering sarcasm."

Boyd: "Looks like I picked the wrong day for a picnic."
I immediately thought of Airplane. Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue.

Raylan: "Sammy's a punk. Sammy's scared of his own shadow 'cause his shadow can kick his ass."

Raylan: "You know the best way to survive a plane crash?"
Picker: "How's that?"
Raylan: "Don't be in it."

Maybe not as strong a season as it could have been, but a lot of it was great and these last three episodes were excellent. Four out of four rocking chairs, and I'll be back for season five,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. It's episodes like that make me say, without any hesitation on my part, when people ask me what my favorite show is, Justified. This show is just so friggin' good. I love me some Mad Men, I enjoy my Person of Interest, but this show is something everyone should watch. I dunno if I'm extra charmed by it more since I am indeed a guy; not to mention one with a love of the cowboy western.

    This episode had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Angry Raylan is unpredictable. He could've done anything in that limo. I expected every word given by Nicky to be met with a bullet. But even if Raylan didn't have his finger on the trigger, he certainly loaded the gun. And that just goes to show, Raylan is always a hair trigger away from fully crossing the line.

    This show is so delightfully understated. Timothy Olyphant can convey so much without saying a word. Which is something many movie/TV protagonists are often incapable of doing. They're often either too cool or too angry. Raylan simmers, and it's beautiful. That last scene where he was just sitting there, glaring was perfect. He won, he saved the girl, saved his child, got the bad guys. And yet there he was alone, sitting in front of his gravestone, unhappy.

    Boyd's scene with Wynn Duffy looked like such a "deal with the devil" scene i couldn't help but grin. Wynn came into the bar with his sleek black suit, dark tie, his endlessly sinister facial structure and basically offered the broken man a dark deal he probably ain't coming back from.

    And of course I always love how the action is done in this show. It's quick, sudden, and cold. People die, guns are holstered.

    Hands down my favorite episode in the show.

  2. A very good finale. Different but good.

    I loved the parallels between the Raylan and Boyd storyline. The different outcome is even more interesting since one helping the other meant Raylan saving his girl (I want them together)and Boyd losing his. Boyd will probably blame Raylan for it. And Paxton will for sure regret to have kept Boyd alive.

    The acting of Tim O. and Walton Goggins was incredible in this episode. Boyd´s breakdown and his numbness really made me feel for him. And Raylan´s simmering anger and desperation to keep his cool really became visible. And the scenes of these two together are always the best.

    The actor playing Nicky Augustin was also really great in this car scene with Raylan.

    The end was sad but powerful. But was the emphasis really on Raylan´s tombstone? My focus was more on Arlo´s.

    With that ending I am looking forward to the next season.

    My favorite line: Go, get a pencil or whatever lawyers do.

    Thank you for the excellent and quick reviews!

  3. This season didn't always work for me, but this last run of episodes, from 'The Hatchet Tour' to this one have been great. 'Decoy' was probably my favorite, from a pure fun and enjoyment perspective, but these last two have really brought the dark poignancy and the moral struggles back to the fore, and I've loved it.

    Raylan Givens is such a fantastic leading man. I love that he's a primarily a good guy/hero archetype, but still struggles with his upbringing and his darker impulses. What he did to Nicky Augustine felt, well, justified, but it skimmed awfully close the to line. If Art knew, I doubt he'd approve.

    I'm glad that Ava got caught. Okay, "glad" probably isn't the right word, but I've really hated watching her slide down the dark path, and it almost felt like a relief that she was finally going to have to stop trying to cover her tracks and to pay for her choices. She needed this, and maybe it will take her in some interesting new directions. Or not. Either way, I think I'm just glad the "great Delroy murder coverup" is at an end (hopefully).

  4. EXCELLENT episode! One of the best of the season and what a way to end it! When it started out I was pretty sure Winona was a goner, what a relief!

    And part of me wanted to see Boyd backing Raylan up in a gunfight with Nicky Augustine!

    And I'm definitely relieved Ava got caught and not killed!!! Will be real interesting to see where they take her and Boyd's storyline next year! Ditto Winona and Raylan, who both clearly love each other very much!

  5. I agree that this season got off to a slow start, but what a bang up finish. This episode is one of my favorites that this show has ever done. The juxtaposition of the two men, the two women and the two houses was sheer brilliance.

    I sat in fear during the limo scene that Raylan was going to murder Nicky. I do believe that eventually he will go over to the dark side, but I am not ready for him to go there yet. I began to breathe again when he got out of the limo, but I grinned when I saw Sammy. What a great way to solve that problem. Does anyone else think that Art suspects what really happened? His tone when he was talking to Raylan was interesting to me.

    The car scene between Raylan and Boyd was one of the best this show has ever done. Two beautifully drawn characters played to perfection by the actors who portray them. This scene could easily have slipped into melodrama or unintentional comedy. Instead, here these two men, who have known each other all their lives, confide more in each other than we have ever seen them confide in anyone else. These two should win every award out there for that scene alone.

    Another great season of reviews, Billie. Thanks.

  6. Raylan: "Sammy's a punk. Sammy's scared of his own shadow 'cause his shadow can kick his ass."
    Glad you already quoted it, his disdain for Sammy made me laugh. It's just such a funny thing to say. Though I love Sammy and glad that little pussy came out on top.

    And I guess Cassie in the end got hers... damn.

  7. Loved the ending with Raylan and Winona. So much love between these two, but it's such a fragile and delicate situation. I wondered why Raylan didn't just go with Winona to Florida for those 30 days since he was suspended. Kind of weird he just stayed in Harlan. It's moments like this that make me question Raylan a lot. He clearly is so in love with Winona and would do anything for her. But why not just leave, even if it's temporary? He literally is suspended!


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