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Justified: Dark As a Dungeon

Raylan: "There is only the one thing. You."
Boyd: "You wanna lean in for a kiss?"

The previous episode's visit from Winona and Willa has finally pushed Raylan into action. He's planning to leave Harlan alive.

Raylan finally cleaned out the house and burned all of Arlo's personal stuff. I get that. Toxic father, nothing around as a remembrance, but burning all those old family photos sort of made me cringe. Raylan is also having the bodies of his parents moved from the property, except that with all of the talk about nothing remaining of his mother, I was a bit confused about exactly what happened there.

The big thing was that Raylan had his own future tombstone bulldozed, too. No more constant reminder of his physical and emotional chains to Harlan County and to his nasty criminal of a father. I loved that final visit from the creepy ghost of Arlo in that shack, or hole in the mountain, or whatever it was. Raylan spent his entire childhood afraid of what Arlo had locked up in that hole, and it turned out to be nothing. Obvious symbolism, but beautifully done.

Despite evidence to the contrary, and I loved that delightful old West Raylan/Markham faceoff in the Pizza Portal, I find it hard to believe that Raylan has given up on taking out the snake (Markham) and is now only interested in the trash (Boyd). The scene where Markham opened the vault and gave Boyd and Raylan a good look at all of the money was sort of hilarious, because the two of them reacted in exactly the same way.

In fact, this episode gave us a lot of what has always made Justified a superior show, and that's the Raylan/Boyd "two sides of the same coin" relationship. Ava pointed out what we all know, that Raylan could very well have been a criminal instead of a lawman, and I'm now pretty sure Raylan feels badly about what he's been doing to Ava, after all. I've been expecting a bloodbath of a finale, but what if they don't go for the obvious here? You don't suppose Raylan is setting up a situation where Markham will be taken down, and Boyd and Ava will get away with the money?

No, they wouldn't make me that happy. Would they?

There was a lot more to love in this episode, too. Walker went down, as we knew he would, and his death at Raylan's hands was poignant. His last words were that it wasn't all about the money, although I doubt that somehow. Terrific performance by Garret Dillahunt.

We also got another fun scene with Art when he came to visit Katherine at her behest so that they could pump each other about who killed U.S. Attorney Simon Poole and who snitched out Grady Hale. The latest suspect is a dead guy named Gordon Keith, but I doubt that it will turn out to be someone that isn't hanging around in the guest cast right now. I love it when the producers and writers of a show take a couple of outstanding professional actors like Nick Searcy and Mary Steenburgen and give them a strong, nuanced scene like that one.

And there were many, many wonderful lines in this episode, mostly delivered by Timothy Olyphant. The dialogue on this show might be what I'll miss the most when it's gone.

Bits and pieces:

-- Raylan knows that Ava has been burned, but he didn't let Ava know that he knows. Is Ava really committed to Boyd now? It's hard to tell.

-- During the scene in the Pizza Portal, Raylan talked about how Markham always sits with his back against the wall (the Sicilian advantage). Ditto what I said above about Nick Searcy and Mary Steenburgen, but with Timothy Olyphant and Sam Elliott.

-- Carl may have just realized that a job as Boyd's minion might not be the key to a long life.

-- Wynn Duffy likes guacamole first thing in the morning, and Mikey once dated a tennis pro. Why do I find these two very scary guys endlessly amusing?

-- Zachariah is still blasting his way to the vault. He yelled "Fire in the hole," which is, of course, the title of the Elmore Leonard short story on which this series is based. Is Zachariah in Raylan's pocket now? I'm a little confused about how that conversation turned out. Maybe we're supposed to be confused.


Mortician: "And how about the manner in which they were buried?"
Raylan: "I wasn't around, but I guarantee you he put her in the cheapest piece of shit available."
Mortician: "Likely an unvaulted wooden casket. And him?"
Raylan: "I put him in the cheapest piece of shit available."

Tim: "What happened to your lawn? Did I interrupt a goat sacrifice?"

Raylan: "Zachariah Randolph."
Tim: "Let me guess. Local boy. How come no one down here's ever named Steve or Justin?"

Raylan: "It's always about money. Jesus Christ, the one thing every shit-apple redneck is guaranteed to take with both hands and a left foot is money."

Boyd: "You trying to manipulate me, Mr. Walker? 'Cause I'm long past the point of needing my ego stroked."
Walker: "Let's just say I don't see you pulling thrill seeker holdups with a 'born to lose' tattoo on your chest."
Getting Boyd to pull the robbery for him was a smart move on Walker's part. It just didn't work out.

Markham: "The past is a shadow, always there behind you."
Raylan: "In Harlan, shit, it ain't behind you. It's vertical. Dig down another layer, turn up some horror."

Raylan: "Every turd with a pair of nuts and a scatter gun is gonna be combing the countryside with dollar signs in his eyes."
See what I mean? It's like homespun poetry, isn't it?

Walker: "You shot me in the back."
Raylan: "If you wanted to get hit in the front, you should have run toward me."
This might be my favorite line in an episode full of great lines.

Raylan: (to Geist) "You're a good lawyer. All the good ones have ponytails."

Boyd: "I was born at night, Raylan. But I wasn't born last night."
I know we've heard that one before, but it's a great line.

Ava: "Your neck is just as red as mine. You just don't see it because you're always walking forward."

Only five more episodes to go. Four out of four shit-apple rednecks,

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


  1. Another great stroll down memory lane, surrounded by lots of wonderful scenes of two actors sparking off each other in duet. And a great exit for Garrett Dillahunt! I'm not totally convinced that the "Raylan envisions Arlo's ghost" thing worked for me, but it felt right that they should revisit that key relationship once more, and it was rather nice to see the two of them going at each other again. Let the nostalgia parade continue apace!

    I'm so glad that this show is going out on a strong note (thus far). Even though it makes you long for more stories that will never come, it is still so much better than watching something you once loved so much drag itself pathetically to the finish line. Leave 'em wanting more, right?

    For some reason, I'm starting to wonder if Wynn was the snitch. Maybe because it being Markham seems so obvious at this point. I guess I'm expecting a bit of a twist on things, and Katherine did point out that the conveniently dead Mr. Keith worked with Wynn in the past.

    If Carl just realized that key truth about being one of Boyd's henchman, he's either a little slow on the uptake or willfully blind. I'd think the whole damn county knows that the best way to end up dead is to be Boyd Crowder's enemy or his employee.

    I agree that "you should have run toward me" was one of the best lines this week. Man, I will miss the glorious rhythm and poetry of the dialogue on this show!


  2. Billie - Ever thought about rounding up all of your Justified Quotes: in one long doc, maybe broken down by episode or character duets. It would make excellent quote poetry as a last love letter to this wonderful show. Thanks again for a great recap. Especially the part about Raylan and Boyd being two sides of a coin.

    Jess - I can understand how you felt a bit uncomfortable with the Arlo "ghost" scene, as did I at first. A bit supernatural for such a gritty, real world show (if Eastern Kentucky can be considered as part of the real world). But it finally worked for me because of the way they shot it. They lit Arlo with a soft but bright white light to underscore that he wasn’t really there, and that Raylan was just talking to an "imaginary other". In some of the back and forth shots during their dialogue we see Raylan looking off camera with "Arlo" not in frame. And toward the last we see Raylan talking to an empty door frame where "Arlo was". Nicely done. That softened the "supernatural" shock for me. And of course it fit in well with the digging up the graves scenes. Raylan physically exorcising the ghosts of his past. And I too loved how there was nothing in the dang shed after all. A lesser show would have filled it with corpses, money, or some other thing. Wynn’s the snitch? Ahh. I’ll keep that in mind. For now I’ll probably go with Katherine just cause I want to see another strong female villain like Mags Bennett.

    Have to say, Raymond J. Barry as Arlo gets my vote for worst southern accent in the entire show. And Joelle Carter as Ava for best southern accent (she’s from Georgia).

    Finally got around to watching "The Bourne Identity", mostly because Franka Potente was in it. And dang it, there’s Boyd Crowder as Walt Goggins playing an nameless CIA analyst. He only had four or five perfunctory lines. Always weird when I see that. It’s like deja vu. Or maybe star-ja vu.


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