Justified is such a fantastic show it gives me faith, not only in networks to produce quality programming, but writers to create smart, funny, unique and flawed characters. Justified premiered in 2010 and this week aired the first of its last season. I am beyond devastated. Before I give you the recap, let me introduce you to the key players so you have an idea of who and why I care.
Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens is the show’s “Hero”. When we meet him, he has just been banished to his home town of Harlan, Kentucky, the consequence of a “bad shoot” that he deems was Justified. He hates the coal mining town of Harlan, but soon finds his old girlfriend Ava, who is married to Bowman Crowder, a Bad Man. She has decided that Bowman must die and after cooking him dinner, shoots him. His brother, Boyd Crowder, the show’s Bad Guy, does not like this and confronts Ava. Raylan and Boyd have grown up together and do not care for each other at all. They draw on each other and Raylan shoots Boyd in the chest but does not kill him, even though we all know he could have.
Raylan, Boyd and Ava are the main three characters and as the seasons have gone on, we have seen Boyd go from being a white supremacist to a devout Christian to a bad ass drug smuggler. He and Ava have fallen in love and Raylan has fathered a child with his ex-wife Winonna, who had the sense to get the hell out of Harlan and move to Florida.
Raylan is smart, funny, calm, cool and deeply flawed. We love Raylan. Boyd is almost as smart, equally funny and deeply flawed. He is my favorite character on the show and the relationship between he and Raylan is filled with love and hate and respect and hate.
Onto this season’s premiere:
Ava has gotten out of prison where she was serving time for a crime that Boyd committed. Prison was very rough on Ava and when Raylan came to her with a deal at the end of last season, she had to take it; get out now but become an informant and help bring down Boyd. She has agreed but is afraid that Boyd is onto her….or WILL be. Raylan has decided he is going to Florida to be with Winonna and the baby but needs to arrest Boyd first so that is his mission this season. Boyd is running a drug smuggling business, not very successfully, and has started robbing banks for people. His first robbery is of safety deposit boxes containing land deeds, but we don’t yet know what or where or why. Raylan is trying to sell his family’s house and a strange man (Garrett Dillahunt) makes an offer but Raylan turns him down. The man drives away but that will not be the last time we see him this season for sure.
Ava meets Raylan where he reiterates that she must provide information about Boyd or she will go back to prison. She tells him she doesn’t think she can do it, she is afraid he will find out. He reminds her of the first time he encounters her after coming back to Harlan, when she cooked dinner for Bowman, right before killing him and he had no idea. Raylan knows she can do it.
Boyd tells Ava that Harlan is dying. The mines are dead and there is no future in the town. He wants to leave, “before we both become ghosts”. He knows the end is near and is trying to give them a chance to be a couple, to have a life. Meanwhile, Dewey, the most loveable idiot ever, gets out of prison. Dewey has been comic relief since the first season and his idiocy knows no bounds. He is constantly searching for Boyd’s approval but is not smart enough to be one of Boyd’s boys and has intentionally and unintentionally betrayed Boyd several times. After Boyd uses him as a pansy to draw attention away from him while he robbed the bank, Dewey confronts Boyd. Dewey has had a rough road and is tired and sad and missing the good old days when he rode with Boyd and they just “blew stuff up.” He wants so badly to be loved, to be accepted. Boyd tells Dewey there is no future in Harlan and tells Dewey to look at the picture of the Crowder ancestors who had so much promise you could see the future in their eyes. Dewey leans into look at the picture and Boyd shoots him. He can no longer trust Dewey and he had to go.
Ahh Dewey. Such a sad ending, but I like to think Boyd put him out of his misery. There was no going back for Dewey and he could not keep up with everything that is going to happen. Sure Boyd doesn’t trust him, but he also just didn’t fit in Harlan anymore.
The last scene is Ava sleeping while Boyd stares her down. You can tell he is trying to decide if he can trust her.
We know this is the last season and the feeling of racing towards an ending is already palpable. This is going to be a very dark, very intense season. I am so excited to see how they wrap it up and am incredibly sad such a fine show is almost over. I want Boyd to survive the show, but I don’t see how he can. A friend has the idea that there is going to be a showdown between Boyd and Raylan and Ava will kill Boyd, coming full circle to that first time we saw the three of them together . Based on how prevalent that scene was in this first episode, it seems like a great theory.
Haven’t seen any Justified? Start here at season 1.