The series finale of ‘Justified‘ started with our hero Raylan Givens in cuffs riding in the back of a police car, but ended with him on the right side of the law. Givens ended up doing what was lawful with Boyd, then he did what was moral with Ava. Even though I would have been fine with Raylan putting Boyd Crowder down in that barn, whether the outlaw drew or not, he showed proper restraint and even made Art proud for once.
Of course Ava had been taken to Markham by his dirty cops so she had to do something to save her neck. Calling the cabin phone (maybe Grubes had color TV and internet too up on that mountain) she got Boyd on the line, but cooly acted like it was her uncle Zachariah. She let Boyd know where she was in hopes his greed for the hidden money would make him rescue her. Best plan the blond ever had.
Raylan was put back into play when Art got him released to his custody from the local police. The two were gonna hunt down Ava until Art split off to help his team of Marshals get Boyd, who was using a bag full of Zachariah’s dynamite to keep space between him and those Marshals. Boyd armed with TNT is pretty deadly and it was good to see him use his explosive expertise one last go around. Raylan headed out to Markham’s place after he and Art got some info from the dirty deputy that had let Carl into Boyd’s hospital room.
Avery Markham finally lost it this week. Dude had had enough of Harlan, judging by his anger directed at Ava once Zachariah never showed up with his money at the meeting spot. He was ready to kill Ava and who could blame him. Markham had lost his lover and 10 million dollars because of these “hillbillies” of Harlan. He was about to lose more than that as Boyd Crowder entered the gangster’s hideout with chaos on his mind. Boyd showed just how dangerous he was as he dispatched two dirty cops along with Avery Markham in a nice gunfight. Three on one and the one lived, showing no mercy whatsoever to Markham, whom Crowder had shown so much respect for when he arrived in Harlan earlier this season.
Boyd still had one threat left alive in that barn and that was his former lover. She went for a gun as she knew what would be coming. Boyd aimed his pistol at Ava and pulled the trigger….only to hear it click. Ava lived only because he was out of ammo. Then, in walked Raylan with his impeccable timing, which according to Boyd “sucked.” This was Raylan’s chance to do away with the outlaw that had plagued Harlan for years. One problem, Boyd was out of bullets. Raylan solved that by giving him another weapon. Raylan is not exactly the most cautious law officer ever. He tells Boyd to make a move, but the wily crook knows better and refuses. Raylan would have been justified had he just killed him anyway. After all, the barn was a bloodbath and it would have looked like self defense. Boyd ended up in cuffs instead of a grave even though he threatened to kill both Raylan and Ava once he escaped prison eventually.
Before he was taken into custody Boyd did ask Ava why she shot him and stole the money when they were close to having it all. She said, “I just did what I thought you would do in my situation.”
Art ends up letting Raylan take Ava in, which set up the confrontation with Boon I’d been waiting for. The quick draw deranged thug had Loretta with him as he rammed Raylan’s car to force him to stop. Raylan and Boon would face off in the middle of a Kentucky highway. It was a very cool looking scene and perfect for a finale. Both men were hit and just as I predicted, Boon was not the marksman that Raylan is. The criminal went for the head shot, which put a nice hole in Raylan’s hat, but ended up just grazing the Marshal’s scalp. Boon’s wound was more serious and he faded away fairly quickly. He did come close to putting a second shot in Givens from the ground, but Loretta put a stop to that. Boon was good, but not good enough to end the legend that is Raylan Givens.
Ava ran to check on the injured Raylan since she still had deep affection for the man….actually that’s not the case. She sped off in his car with cuffs still on her! Every man for himself or herself in Harlan. She made a clean getaway for the moment, but the Marshals would be on her trail of course. Raylan would not be a part of that manhunt. He was finally headed back to Miami. There were no long goodbyes or hugs with Tim, Rachel, and Art. The farewell was short and sweet though Tim was given a book by Raylan on his way out, ‘The friends of Eddie Coyle.’ This book was one of the favorites of Elmore Leonard so it was a nice touch and tip of the hat to the man whose short story began the entire ‘Justified’ series.
The finale took an unexpected jump four years into the future with Raylan spending time with his daughter on a playground. He and Winona didn’t make things work after all as she was married to another at this point. But the two seemed good with the situation. Raylan got info on Ava, who had made it out of Harlan alive somehow after the Boon shootout, so he headed to California to check it out. I thought we might get to see Raylan and Ava end up together, but it was not to be. She was not too shocked to see Raylan and tried to convince him of her good deeds of late. He wasn’t overly impressed until she went to the Jenny Gump card and showed him her son. The kid was dressed just like his daddy, Boyd Crowder. Ava made sure Raylan would never tell Boyd and he of course agreed. He kept his promise to Ava and she was safe, although she had taken matters in her own hands in order to help her own cause. Raylan did the right thing letting Ava stay put with her kid in her new life.
Boyd is back to using his best gift, that being gab. Preaching in prison is a perfect gig for the silver tongued outlaw. There was even a nod to “The Apostle” movie that Goggins co-starred in with Robert Duvall back in the day (great film if you have yet to see). Boyd is a survivor no matter the environment. Raylan pays the man a visit for the last scene of the series. The two frenemies face off once again with prison glass between them on the phone lines. Raylan makes it look like Ava is dead from a car accident and shows Boyd the fake proof. The old Ava really is dead, and the new one will be a lot safer if Boyd never knows about it. The vicious outlaw tears up a bit as he really did love her in his own way. Boyd asks Raylan why he came all that way personally when he could have just made a phone call. The Marshal tells him, “If I were to allow myself to be sentimental, there is something that I wander back to….” Boyd finishes his buddy’s sentence for him, “we dug coal together.” Raylan agrees as the scene faded to black.
I loved the last scene. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins had me glued to the screen noticing even the looks in their eyes as they spoke as old friends for just a few honest seconds. Under different circumstances these two would have made a hell of a duo as fellow lawmen. Paired as two outlaws, they may have been even more formidable. Fate had them set up to oppose one another though and it was quite a treat to watch it unfold over the past six years. All the hours I spent watching this series were truly Justified.