All good things must come to an end… and Justified is no exception. We’ll be seeing our familiar favorite faces for the last time: Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder, Art Mullen, Rachel Brooks… Tim Gutterson will get a few more snarky lines in, I hope. It’s always sad to see a favorite show end, even if Graham Yost, the showrunner, is making the correct decision to go out on top, with plenty of creative juices left in the tank.
It’s Raylan that I’m going to miss the most – Timothy Olyphant has done a fantastic job of showing the lawman trying to maintain his cool personality while getting closer and closer to staying permanently on the dark side. Winona Hawkins called him “the angriest man I’ve known”.. and that was the first episode. He’s gone well beyond that, basically using his shield as a shield to do some pretty bad things, including walking away while the Detroit Mob riddled one of its own with enough bullets to melt them down and build a house – OK, maybe just a storage container to hide the body.
The thing is, as shady as Raylan has been, he’s never totally veered into, say, Vic Mackey territory. He’s preferred to stay on the side of the law, even if he does go well outside the lines. Art, Rachel and even Tim hold him in some esteem, even if this season is going to be tricky for Brooks, since she’s now his boss, what with Mullen retiring – I’m sure Nick Searcy’s character will make an appearance or two.. Art’s too awesome to just fade away.
So, this season is going to see Raylan bring Boyd into his web… forget about their times in the mine way back when. Ava’s going to be square in the middle of it, though from the promos, it looks like she’s going to be doing some fighting back against the two of them for having her in this situation — she surely still harbors a grudge against Boyd for not moving fast enough to get her out of prison last season.
The question is — what will Raylan do and how far will he go in his war against Boyd? It’s fitting that this season is going to hone in on that trio — it always felt like it should be about them. Even Winona seemed like an outside presence despite her having been married to Raylan before. It’s going to be the Raylan-Boyd-Ava show.. with a few villains in it, of course. It’s a crying shame that Sam Elliott wasn’t on the show before, but that’s been rectified.
I’ve already begun to wonder about how Justified will reach its end. Will it find Raylan buried in the cemetery plot that he saw when Helen was being laid to rest? Since he had less than stellar feelings about his Dad, Arlo, I’m guessing that that’s not the best scenario.
Perhaps the show will end like it began… but this time it’s Raylan who is sitting at a cafe table when someone strides up and coolly shoots him while he sits there. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. Omar from The Wire met an ignominious end like that. It’d be kind of depressing to end the show on a note like that, but it would be a bookend of sorts. I’ve long given up trying to think like Yost does and I’m sure that he’ll come up with a great ending.
All I know is that I have a feeling that the “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” premonition will come true… even if it’s Raylan passing at the ripe old age of 100 in a nursing home, his gun in hand and a glass of bourbon nearby.