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Justified: The Hunt

"You gotta give an animal a fair shake."

Let us take a pause in our narrative while our hero and villain resolve very important issues with their girlfriends, why don't we?

The tension between Boyd and Ava throughout this entire episode was practically unbearable. I kept thinking he was going to turn around and kill her, and she was obviously thinking the same thing. It seemed impulsive, taking her up to the cabin in Bulletville, but it wasn't impulsive -- it was a calculated play. Everything Boyd said to Ava was a double entendre that he intended her to hear. He worked her up to a breaking point and even bruised her throat (shades of Bowman), and then he deliberately handed her a harmless gun to see what she would do.

It worked. Ava told him the truth about Raylan and even why she did it. (They had that whole final conversation while standing on either of side of a campfire with a dead pig in the background. Nope, no symbolism there.) What this episode told me was that Boyd won't die for Ava. He's going to use her to outwit Raylan, but he doesn't trust her any more. Hey, at least she lived through the episode.

By contrast, the Raylan, Winona and baby Willa makes three plot was adorable but a bit predictable. (Who knew that Raylan would get the baby to stop crying? Everybody?)

We've been pretty much waiting forever for Winona to accept Raylan as he is, and she finally did. I liked that she did all the proposing and all the talking, because it was what needed to happen. There's still fire there. And Raylan was just incredibly cute with that tiny baby girl in his arms, like it was meant to be. And now it's Raylan's turn. Winona has given him the freedom to be himself. Here's hoping he meets Winona halfway by wanting to make less dangerous choices on the job.

One thing that bothered me was that Raylan realized Ava was most likely in danger, and he ignored it and made love to Winona. It's not that I don't want Raylan to put his family first, but come on. I was also perturbed that they let that poor baby scream for so long. I wanted the real parents to take the baby and calm her down. A little suspension of the suspension of belief there.

Meanwhile back at the all important manhunt, I almost felt sorry for Walker during that grueling scene in the men's room with the pen knife. And then he killed those two EMTs in cold blood, and I hated him again. He's going to be hard to catch. Is he anywhere near Bulletville? Couldn't he walk into Boyd's camp and get immediately killed or something?

The hour was rounded out with other enjoyable bits. My favorite was Art and Markham verbally circling each other as Art rehashed the history of Grady Hale, resulting in a draw. My money is on Art, though, which probably won't surprise you.

Bits and pieces:

-- Bo Crowder's hunting cabin in Bulletville was featured in the season one finale, appropriately called "Bulletville," in which Boyd and Raylan teamed up against much badder bad guys. Couldn't they end the series that way?

-- Boyd had hidden a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 1995 in the cabin for his wedding night. I think that was a broad hint that Boyd and Ava will never marry. I'm just hoping she gets through the series alive.

-- Baby Willa has a heart murmur. Let's hope it's the type you grow out of.

-- Markham gave Seabass a whole lot of money and asked for loyalty, while writing off Walker as a loss. Caprice can identify Seabass, so he has to lay low. Does that mean that Markham has run out of usable recognizable minions?

-- Rachel got to be the big boss. She's good at it. Although she hasn't caught Walker yet.

-- There was a brief scene at the mine where Uncle Zachariah told Carl that The Pig had dropped three hundred feet. That's a long way down. Poor Pig. The human one.


Rachel: "I don't want this guy going all Eric Frein on us, holed up in some derelict airport for weeks while we're out here chasing our own dicks."
Tim: "Sounds really strange when you say that."
Rachel: "I'm running shit. I get to use the expression."
Tim: "Roger that."

Boyd: "I want to see you first thing in the morning in that green mountain light."
What poetry, Boyd.

Winona: "What is this sleep you speak of?"
I'm a mom. Been there.

Markham: "I'm confused. You calling me a murderer or are you calling me a rat?"
Art: "Neither as such. I'm just thinking."

Art: "You picked a helluva time for 'take your daughter to work day'."
Raylan: "Figured it'd be easier selling her here than someplace I didn't know anybody."
Art: "Oh my goodness, what a relief. She doesn't look like you. Good for her."

Raylan: "That ain't him."
Tim: "You mean Walker's not an alcoholic porn addict with a full tank of gas who compartmentalizes his vice spending from his staples?"

Winona: "So I guess what I'm saying is, you can be with me and still be you, if that's something you want."

Another excellent episode in what is turning out to be a great final season. Four out of four bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 1995,

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


  1. Hey, at least _____ lived through the episode.

    I think we might wind up saying that about most of the characters for all of the episodes to come. Until they die, of course.

    Having caught up on Justified, I'm now in a terrible bind: I want more Justified, and I want it now! Waiting sucks.

  2. Whew! Did anyone else remember to breathe while watching that scene between Boyd and Ava? Thanks to the autonomic nervous system, I can at least fill my name in Josie’s blank.

    How ironic that by coming clean with Boyd Ava is in even deeper now. I had been really unsure about Ava’s true feelings for Boyd, because I’ve always felt that they both really did love each other (or at least I wanted to). I had forgotten about the way Boyd left her in prison. So now I know. She’s driven only by fear and just wants to get out of the situation any away she can. And Boyd is always calculating. What would he have done if Ava had pulled the trigger with that blank cartridge in?

    I think you’re right Billie that Boyd is going to use Ava against Raylan, but she is also going to be working against Boyd. She does have the info about the mine to give Raylan. Wouldn’t it be fitting for the end game to be Boyd and Raylan back in the mine together?

    Folks, we’re just past the halfway point of this and the screws are tightening more every episode. This is just great television!

  3. I could have done with less of the Raylan and Winona bits, but the Boyd and Ava material was great. So damn tense and ugly. It was good to finally have the cards on the table on that front. Sort of. Boyd's still holding some cards close to the vest.

    I'm still bummed that Ava feels like little more than a pawn in all this, but at least she survived the episode, as you all say. I'm gonna keep holding out hope that she'll have more agency in all this before the end, but I'm growing less optimistic by the episode.

    Loved the scene with Art and Markham, and it's always nice to get good scenes with the various marshal's bantering. Tim and Rachel had some great lines this week.

  4. Mostly what I take from this episode is - my god, Winona is just awful. Any ground the writers might have clawed back on making her slightly more palatable in seasons four and five has just been totally undone for me. I was hoping the kinder gentler Winona would be a permanent change, but no. Raylan has some serious issues with being attracted to untrustworthy, abusive women. Much as I like seeing a kiss on Justified filmed properly for once (they’ve always seemed a bit shy about actually showing it), that reunion almost made my skin crawl after that horrifying scene outside the bathroom. It was deeply upsetting to watch. Winona just viciously verbally abused him for the apparent crime of – horrors! –asking what he can do to help. And I hate, I just hate the way he just stands there and takes it as if he deserves it and never calls her on her bullshit. Cause apparently it’s totally fine if a woman treats a man like shit. His attraction to her is almost masochistic, and I wish he would stand up to her and just say no for once, instead of letting her emotionally abuse him then diving back into bed with her. They both have very poor boundaries and almost no relationship skills, but at least Raylan would never, ever cuss out a woman like that for no goddamn reason. This relationship is toxic and it drives me insane how the writers of the show put it up on a pedestal as if it’s great and like she’s some kind of paragon of virtue. She has serious anger issues, just as much as Raylan does, only he doesn’t use her as his punching bag. And the way she says “you can be with me, and still be you”, as if being with her is some kind of massive privilege, and he’s what – the fricking booby prize? What an ego! Her attitude to him is so superior and condescending. It’s just awful to watch. And the way she can switch in a heartbeat from being sweet to being absolutely cruel and nasty – you could get whiplash from it. It’s very unsettling.

    And I have never much sympathized with her only stated reason for not wanting to be with them, ie. she hates his job. Firstly - was he not a marshal when they met? Did she not realize that that is a dangerous job with odd hours? She is an intelligent enough woman to know exactly what that entailed and she signed up for it, willingly. Not once, but TWICE! She calls it “unfair”. No, Winona, it’s not unfair. You chose this. He’s not doing “God knows what”, he’s doing his job, that he loves. Not everything is about you! And I find those people who marry someone (you would think because they actually like something about that person) then immediately reject who they are and become hellbent on changing them, just silly and immature. It’s emotional bait and switch. It’s rejecting the partner that you’ve committed to love and it’s so unhealthy.

    And then Graham Yost calls the “51-49” chances line “mature”. No, Graham. It’s the opposite. It’s dumb. It’s uncomfortable for the audience to see them inappropriately joking about how bad their relationship is without actually ever sitting down in a mature way to learn some relationship skills and work out their individual issues. It’s just avoiding everything. I was cringing. It was a bit like making a joke about a bad car crash – while you’re standing right next to it and there’s somebody still alive and bleeding to death in the car. Help the person in the car!

    For somebody who knows what emotional abuse looks like, because they’ve had to spend years learning to recognize the signs – a very frustrating episode.

    (Sorry about the long post. I don’t know anyone else who watches Justified to vent to.)

    Raylan with the baby was lovely though. :)

    1. Verbally abusive? If anything, she should have yelled at him some more. Raylan has done NOTHING for his daughter. He did not even show up for the birth. This is the first time he is meeting his daughter. Winona has every reason to be resentful and upset. She had to come to HIM so he could meet his daughter. Raylan is not doing an impossible job. He can and should leave to see his daughter. And he - as you say puts up with what Winona says - because 1) he probably understands that she is right and 2) he loves her. If you think she's emotionally abusive, then Raylan is the world conquering emperor of emotional abuse.

  5. Don't apologize, Ez. It's a good comment and you definitely have a point. When something hits your buttons, it hits your buttons.

  6. That's really nice of you to say, Billie. I usually get shouted down commenting about this, so thanks for understanding. Yeah, it definitely hits a button for me.

    Always enjoy your reviews. :)

  7. Lmao jesus @Ez's comment. I really don't like Winona so I feel nothing but joy reading a comment badmouthing her, but all I was gonna say before reading yours was something along the lines of "I'd rather not have her in the picture but I like that she seems to understand acceptance." But you're totally right lol, although I was fine with her getting snappy at him for asking what he can do to help. It felt like harmless annoyance, at least to me. It was her stuff about how she never can be sure what he wants that read to me as closer to something really volatile. It just felt personal again, also makes me wonder why with that fundamental uncertainty she still wants to give this another shot. I don't think anything Raylan said actually made it clear he wants to commit fully. She is up to no good. Anyway breakdowns like this tend to remind me what an asshole I am because I find myself just as annoyed with the victim as the abuser. Why couldn't he stick to becoming more involved with his daughter's upbringing without getting back with the mother? I think becoming a remote daddy is still (slightly) better than throwing yourself back into an unresolved reunion. But whatever, I like the fact that this might make him (a little) more aloof about the Crowder case since I don't love his fixation with bringing my dahling Boyd down. I wonder if Rachel will pick up on it.

    1. I love Winona as a character and I love Raylan and Winona together even if they are a bit toxic. They are about as real and complicated of a pairing as you'll find anywhere. And Raylan was quite clear he wanted to commit when he literally starting making out with her after she said, you can be with me and still be you. He wasn't concerned about Ava. He wasn't looking to speak with Rachel. He wanted to be there with Winona. He didn't want to just be involved in his daughter's life, he wanted to get back together with Winona. Each time they have broken up, it was always Winona who left him. He never broke up with her or initiated the break up. It's clear that if he could, he would have rather them just stay together. Even now, with the show over and Winona seemingly married to Richard, it's probably a smart assumption that it was yet again Winona who left Raylan. There just won't be a scenario I imagine where Raylan could walk away from her without her doing it first.

  8. I loved the Raylan and Winona reunion. These two have so much chemistry, wish it was more them in this episode. And I love how real the Willa crying scenes were. That's parenthood for you! It's scarier than anything else going on in the episode.


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