In the latest Justified recap, Raylan goes on daddy duty as Boyd tests Ava’s loyalty after finding out she lied to him and tried to run…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The more I watch the final season of ‘Justified’, the more I’m convinced Raylan Givens is never going to see the beaches of Miami again.
As the episodes melt away and we move closer to the finale in the coming months, the showdown between Raylan and Boyd Crowder is eventually going to happen. Maybe it’s a shootout or maybe it’s just a good old fashioned fist fight that ends bloody, but these two forces on the opposite sides of the law are going to collide and chances are only one of them makes it out alive.
The assumption has been since the very beginning that Raylan would get his man, but as his life starts to truly come together for the first time since he sent Winona packing for Florida where she’s been raising their daughter alone, the stronger it feels like the U.S. Marshal with a knack for a fast trigger and a quick draw will finally get put down.
The case in point that leads me to this conclusion comes in large part from the latest episode of ‘Justified’ titled ‘The Hunt’.
Just moments after Raylan and Tim get into a shootout with Walker and Choo-Choo, the cops are all working together to organize a manhunt to find the leader of Avery Markham’s hit crew before he makes it far enough to where they can’t catch him. But Raylan has other things on his mind — namely a visit from his ex-wife Winona and their baby Willa.
Raylan would never allow Rachel, Art or God Almighty to tell him to take 24-hours off with a fugitive that took a shot at him on the run, but for once, he’s letting family trump duty.
When he arrives to see Winona and hold his baby in his arms for the first time, Raylan melts like ice cream on a 100-degree day. He puts up with hearing about Winona getting fixed up with dates in Florida and how her trip to Kentucky was predicated on a visit to a doctor because baby Willa might have a heart murmur, which is scary enough to keep Raylan right where he is for the time being. But what really seals the deal in regards to Raylan’s future was the reconciliation with Winona late in the episode.
She confesses that when they were together she would lie awake at night just wondering if Raylan was going to make it home. Now since they’ve been separated she goes to sleep at night and knows he’s not going to come home. As much as his job interfered with their relationship in the past, Winona has finally realized that she prefers the former to the latter.
So she makes a final plea — whether it’s Florida or Kentucky, Miami or Harlan, Winona wants to be with Raylan if he wants to be with her so they can raise their daughter together. A call from Rachel telling Raylan that his star informant is currently somewhere in the woods near Bulletown doesn’t concern him. For the first time in years, Raylan once again chooses family over duty before taking his wife to bed and sealing the deal on their reunion.
But these happy days seem like such a tease for Raylan’s ultimate end. While Boyd is dealing with deceit and betrayal in his own house with an axe constantly swinging over his head, Raylan’s newfound happiness seems like dandelion spores just waiting to blow away in the wind.
It’s Been Such a Day
The manhunt for Walker is slow going for the Marshals right now and considering the target is ex-special ops it’s not like he’s going to hang a sign on his head that says ‘here I am, come get me’.
Walker calls Markham and his former compatriot Seabass for an extraction, but after a brief conversation with them, he knows they are no longer on his side. Seabass is actually ready to go save his former commanding officer until Markham lays out $40,000 in cash and assures him, loyalty is rewarded. He advises Seabass to go underground for a little while, but the money will keep Seabass from wandering off and helping a known fugitive, leaving Markham’s empire unguarded.
Walker is able to patch himself up in a rest stop bathroom before “befriending” a pair of college douche bags, who at first try to punk him until they realize they aren’t dealing with some homeless bum looking for a fix. Walker does a good enough job scaring them before handing over $300 in cash and a pair of credit cards and tells the boys that their trip to Orlando to see Disney World and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is on him.
Of course, the credit cards will just lead the cops on a wild goose chase, which Tim and the Marshals realize in a hurry.
With his car broken down and a fresh wound in his shoulder, Walker finally decides to call in the paramedics so he can steal their kit and fix himself up so at least one thing will go right today. Except when the paramedics show up, they know exactly who Walker is when they meet him and the one EMT tries to dose him with a powerful tranquilizer while posing it as an anti-biotic.
Walker sees through it and kills him and while his EMT pal tries to claim he’s no hero, the former military operative knows the best way to escape is with no possible witnesses.
“They send me a pair of heroes. It’s been such a day.”
Walker puts two bullets in him, grabs the kit and he’s back on the run. While I’m not overly happy that ‘Justified’ burned such a compelling character only halfway through the season, my hope is Walker is able to stay in the show for most of the remainder of the episodes. He’s been a great addition this year and for all the bad things he continues to do, there’s just something wholly likeable about him.
Art of Interrogation
In one side scene this week, Art finally has a chance to sit down with Avery Markham and size him up for the first time. As compelling as Markham’s first meetings with Raylan and Boyd were, this one really caught my eye. Art appeared to see right through Markham and didn’t show an ounce of fear while doing it.
He questioned Markham about his timeline of events from 14-years ago when Grady Hale was arrested, put in prison and murdered. He also knows all about Markham’s long standing affair with Katherine. Art even intimates that Grady’s case went the way it did because of a rat — which Markham wonders if he’s insinuating that he’s the one at fault or if maybe he’s pointing the finger at Katherine?
Either way, Art sews a few seeds of doubt and sends Markham back to his den of assholes to see if things unravel.
The Long Hard Truth
Following a very telling conversation with Ellstin Limehouse a week ago, Boyd decides that it’s time for him and Ava to take a trip to his daddy’s hunting cabin in the woods where they can just spend a day away together and leave all their troubles behind.
Ava resists at first, but Boyd insists and says it’s not a request.
Once they reach the cabin, Boyd’s behavior continues to shift back and forth between loving and suspicious as he pulls out a bottle of fine Pappy Van Winkle bourbon that was originally saved for his wedding day. Once again he insists that Ava share a drink with him before the two engage in a long conversation about the abuse his brother Bowman use to lay upon her when they were married.
The tension ratchets up to a boiling point and Boyd finally pushes Ava to strike him because he knows it’s going to make her feel better. She does it twice before he grabs her by the throat, but for this highly combustible relationship, that’s just foreplay. Boyd and Ava end up in bed together before she’s woken from her slumber the next morning with an invite to go hunting.
Invite once again is the wrong word. It’s not a request.
Boyd double talks and puts fear into Ava with every $5 word that drips from his Kentucky lips before going to shoot a hog for their supper. After dinner the volatile trip to Bulletown finally comes to a head.
“You’ve been lying to me, Ava. I know you ran. I know you went to see Limehouse. I know someone helped you escaped Errol and it wasn’t just that constable and not 24-hours later, I come home to find Raylan Givens sitting in your goddamn kitchen. So how bout you come out and say what you’ve got to say?”
Ava knows she’s busted and there’s a good chance the wrong word will get her killed so she just comes clean. She admits that she’s been working as Raylan’s informant and has been ever since she got out of jail. Ava finally blasts Boyd for not getting her out of prison when he had the chance and instead took his free pass from the government to wipe his own slate clean.
Boyd pulls his gun but he’s more concerned if Ava is sleeping with Raylan, which she denies of course. But instead of putting Ava down like a rat, he instead hands her the gun and says if she doesn’t love him then just put a bullet in his head and end it all right now. She drops the gun and proclaims her love and Boyd offers her a way out. They will string Raylan along with just the right amount of information to keep him guessing while they carry out the real plan to steal Markham’s money and finally escape Harlan once and for all.
Ava agrees and it seems everything is (sort of) right with their world.
Except one problem — Boyd’s gun was never loaded. He clearly didn’t trust Ava not to actually pull the trigger and as he gathers more fire wood and looks back at the woman he loves while putting the real clip in, one has to wonder if he’s staring at her with love or betrayal in his eyes? Killing Ava causes more problems than it solves. But making Ava believe she’s on his side while feeding Raylan a load of bullshit to keep him off Boyd’s trail might be the best way to use her in this situation.
When it’s all said and done, it’s hard to believe Boyd will ever put his full trust and faith in Ava again, but she still serves a purpose that puts her out of harm’s way.
Songs of the Week
“The Preacher” by Jamie N Commons — featured while Walker is cleaning out his bullet wound in the bathroom
Best Lines of the Week
Can we please try some Pappy Van Winkle?
“Goddamn, that’s like drinking silk”
Boyd’s stance on domestic violence
“Me myself, I don’t believe a man should ever hit a woman or at least I ain’t found a reason yet.”
Is Raylan the father?
“Oh my goodness what a relief she doesn’t look like you. Good for her”
The buying habits of your average college asshole
“You mean Walker’s not an alcoholic porn addict with a full tank of gas who compartmentalizes his vice spendings from his staples?”
Silence. It’s golden
“Is that silence I hear? Baby girl, I never love you more than I love you when you’re quiet”
Justified returns next Tuesday night at 10pm ET for a new episode on FX.