Generally there are two ways to handle the penultimate episode of a season or series. Behind Door Number 1 is having the big shattering event happen and use the finale as a chance for retrospection on it and everything that has happened. Behind Door Number 2 the show would use this final chance to move all the pieces to their final spots before having them all crash into one another. With all the musing on who are what decides your fate manages to make Door Number 2 interesting and engaging.
The mystery of Drew Thompson and the bag is over. Drew Thompson/Shelby is in U.S. Marshal custody. Raylan is being hailed as a hero with high probability of promotion. The only snag is Drew ain’t talking. Not until he can be assured that Ellen May is safe. None of the Marshal’s understand why he is doing this. Drew doesn't even know the real reason Boyd wants to kill her. Drew just wants a final chance to do the right thing before most likely disappearing into a federal hole or being flayed by Theo Tonin goons inside said federal hole. Which pushes everyone into a scramble to find Ellen May before the other side.
Justified’s fourth season has had a fair amount of possibly magical moments. Even if belief in the supernatural isn’t something Boyd, Ava, or Raylan have there have been plenty of moments that could be read as magical. After the all the talk about how they are the makers of their own fate and that all these people have just been making choices. From Ellen May getting picked up by Drew, to Limehouse just letting her go. It all turns out rather nice for Ellen May.
After the Marshal’s finally pick Ellen May up at the Last Chance Holiness Church, Raylan offhandedly remarks that “He’s still lookin’ out for ya,...Else none of us would be here.” Of course talking about Drew, but there is ample room for a spiritual interpretation. Something that Ellen May could easily find in this whole situation.
Ava has been at the heart of this season. Of the “villains” it is Ava Crowder getting the most work put on her. She isn’t an outlaw like Boyd or a junkie with a certain set of skill like Colt. Ava is relatively pure, her murder of Delroy wasn’t without good reason. Ava might not like having to kill Ellen May but she sees it as her only option to keep her freedom. Limehouse, gives her the, purely symbolic, chance of being the better person and accept responsibility for her action. Ellen May, at gunpoint offers her the chance for solace through confession. Both options would involve Ava asking for mercy from Ellen May, someone she has wronged multiple times. For her part Ellen May appears willing to forgive Ava for her transgression. Ava isn’t an outlaw but she won’t beg for mercy. So after everything goes down in the church she just quietly walks out the back. Giving up any attempt to control the situation.
With all this played out Boyd makes the highly logical final play. Move and properly dispose of Delroy’s body. This is the type of choice that seems so obvious when it is brought up it left me wondering “Why didn’t you do this in the first place?” There is of course an argument to be made that logic cannot truly exist in serialized drama but the previews do offer a reason why it has taken this long to do it. Moving a body is the best way to get caught.
All the characters of Justified had been damned or saved by their little choices, even if they don’t see the effects right away. Limehouse made poor decisions and forced him to sell off some of the land that had been within the Holler since the emancipation proclamation. Ava’s many decisions with Ellen May. Colt’s choices to rob a drug dealer and kill Marshal Tim’s friend and finally draw on Tim. Cousin Johnny’s attempts to finally be the leader of the pack, while at the same time continuing to be the follower. It’s the little choice Raylan makes that begging of this episode that really propels us into the season finale “Ghosts”.
He spends all day playing cops and robbers with Boyd. Forcin himself to be sidetracked in Nobels Holler with state police searching the joint, “I told the guy I was gonna toss the joint. Can’t be an idle threat or else I’ll look like a pussy. Plus he was rude to Rachel.” Raylan should of been in none of those places. Raylan was supposed to be at home signing papers and maybe spending a bit of time with Winona, figure out how exactly to be a family man. It’s a little thing, that in the moment doesn't seem like a big deal.
After reuniting Ellen May and Drew the show cuts to Winona. Having a sliding rocking chair assembled. From the get go it’s apparent something is off. Look at the camera angles and how things are all just off. Like Colt’s final scene it is apparent what is going to happen. The assemblyman is Picker, Nick’s right hand man. Someone Raylan would of recognized if he had gone home and been a family man.
From the start it wasn’t obvious Justified had gone with Door Number 2. It showed us pieces being moved around and story threads being tied up, so much so that it’d be easy to see this as a hybrid of the two choices. That was all smoke and mirrors as the real pieces were being moved around the sides entrapping everyone.
The Bits At The End
With how admittedly badass Drew Thompson is what’s to say he isn’t some sort of magical figure. Jim Beaver is Based God?
Cousin Johnny has been “shittin’ rainbows” sinc he talked to the Marshal’s. Really that’s the choice he made that put him on this path to doom. Not trying to kill your cousin with the help of Wynn Duffy?
- So it hit me about during Nick’s apology to Ava. Mike O'Malley was totally in Yes, Dear.
- Don't worry fans of Raylan's hair. He won't be getting a hair cut even if he gets to meet the director.
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