The fourth season of Justified was an experiment in trying to replace the seasonal “big bad”, while still telling an interconnected Harlan County story. The mystery of the bag and Drew Thompson was trying and not exactly riding momentum provided by a Robert Quarles or Mags Benneyt. The lack of momentum found in the bag is made up in several scenes tonight between Raylan and Boyd. It is more than fitting that Justified end season 4 with "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" (Brad Paisley’s cover) playing viewers at as Raylan gazes on his families cemetery.
Back in “Get Drew” under a beautiful tree Drew Thompson explained how with his stolen coke and money the Crowder, Givens, and other clans of Harlan County were pulled up from trailers and into houses. This tale of social mobility falls on Boyd’s deaf ears, he was hoping to use Drew Thompson once again to give a new generation of Crowders social mobility. Boyd wants the American Dream, nuclear family, white picket fence, middle class stability. Lording his outlaw status over the Clover Hill Gang as he extorted them to achieve it.
Boyd was ready to crown himself the new King of Harlan County. By the end of “Ghosts” Boyd Crowder is an emperor with new clothes. Spending all season making all types of plays, with increasingly dangerous stakes, in the name of strengthening the Crowder name. His one final play fails and splatters against the glass ceiling that previously looked near shattered a couple of episodes ago.
There comes a time when Ava is caught in the middle of disposing a body that I’d thought that was it for her. What better way for the Clover Hill Gang to gain vengeance on Boyd then buy taking away the one thing he really does love, permanently. There can be no true despair without hope. It’s that kind of bittersweet affection that drives Boyd to Ava’s window claiming to get her the best lawyer possible and that she will be out in mere hours. She know’s it isn’t true though. Hope springs eternal.
Boyd Crowder tried to live the American Dream, forgetting he was an outlaw in the process. Outlaw’s and criminals don’t get to have the dream and if they do it isn’t for long. It’s karma’s way of kicking them in the ass. The lack of Ava, presumably, in season 4 pushes Boyd into an interesting corner. Wynn Duffy returns from his Canadian vacation (sadly still without the sweet stache) wanting him to be his heroin man in Kentucky. They are survivors and after all this bloodshed it is Wynn Duffy and Boyd Crowder that will be the financially secure very richmen. What’s money worth without her?
The scene in “Ghosts” is the one where Raylan and Boyd share a car ride together on the way to see Nicky Augustine. Raylan questioning Boyd’s love for Ava, wondering if it is eaual to his love for the Lord and white supremacist beliefs. If Ava is just the latest thing to allow Boyd peace of mind and make him believe he isn’t a bad guy. This prodding is artfully reflected back to Raylan about how his badge allows him to sleep easy at night not thinking himself the bad guy. Raylan Givens has a funny sense of what being a good lawman is. The Marshal has no problem gunning a man down if he draws, the show fetishes these death dealings. Openly mocking and wishing to make life hard for whomever he sees to be the criminal. Raylan Givens is an asswhole. One with a badge allowing him to do all these things and be applauded for it. He takes Boyd along with him “Because you’re my buddy,” (well, they did mine coal together) but really it’s an excuse to have some fun in a grey area where outlaw and lawman is a matter of whether or not someone is on suspension.
If you had only been going off previews you’d have guessed the standoff involving Winona would have played a much larger role in “Ghosts”. It plays a large role now doubt but there was never any real threat. There was tension in the moment, with things like a thug threatening to kill her and cut the baby out and do it separately (probably the most frightening thing I’ve heard on TV). Winona knew she wasn’t in any danger, telling the thugs that they might live if they had left before Raylan got there. After that revelation you’d know everything is going to be fine. They didn’t leave before Raylan got there, giving “Ghosts” three bodies before the third commercial break. Raylan just can’t go home and be a family man.
The show down with Nicky Augustine was a bit anticlimactic. You set him up as the true heir to the Tonin throne over these last couple episode. Have him threaten Winona and putting them on the list. Turning Mike O'Malley, former host of Nickelodeon game shows Get the Picture, Nickelodeon GUTS and star of Yes, Dear into scary villain. Justifiedcouldn’t have Raylan appear to kill him, lest it become a bounty hunting show which just wouldn’t fit. Having Nicky go out like Sonny and by extension Bonnie and Clyde is fitting. Just show it to me, what made those deaths great was the gratuitous nature. Nicky is killed in the background as Raylan walks away looking all cool.
With the mystery of the bag, Drew Thompson, Waldo Truth, and probably some other guy solved maybe Rayaln can finally go home and be a family man. Using a cold case as the seasonal arc was more interesting in it’s exploration of Harlan County lore than weekly battles of wit. Jim Beaver certainly couldn’t compete with the gravitas found in Neal Mcdonough and Margo Martindale. Four seasons in and it’s good to see Justified continue to try and stay relatively fresh with new angles to attack the same problem.
The Bits At The End
- Now I'm not a lawyer, but wouldn't Ava have a good case to get off this murder charge for Delroy? She could easily spin it as self defense, just ya know get Ellen May to not talk about the whole selling Ellen May part.
- I would LOVE it if Robert Quarles showed up again somehow. Just imagine him showing up naked and coked out of his mind in the woods.
- Season 4 Wish List: Wynn Duffy get's his sweet stache back.
- Go watch The Godfather and Bonnie&Clyde if you haven't already. They are fantastic.
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