Justified settled two of its biggest season-long storylines last night, and how you feel about the season’s penultimate episode depends mostly on how you feel about the way they were resolved. Personally, I liked the little bows the show placed on each of them, especially after sleeping on it. But we will get to that.
First and foremost, we have our answer to the Ellen May situation: She lives, thanks almost exclusively to the efforts of one Sheriff Shelby/Drew Thompson. Sure, Tim showed up and did the day-saving proper at the moment of truth, but as Raylan made clear, Ellen May only became a priority for the marshals because Drew tied his testimony to her safety. Without that, even if Limehouse still has his change of heart and lets her go, she meets the maker she was looking for right there in the middle of the church, and Boyd and Ava have one less thing hanging over their heads as they plan their wedding. (I’ve never planned a wedding, but I imagine it’s tough to pick out flowers and settle on a guest list knowing there’s a hooker running around town with a head full of information that could bring your criminal enterprise to its knees and result in your beau spending life in prison.)
And speaking of Tim busting into the church at just the right moment, we finally got our big showdown between him and Colton. Everyone knew it was coming, and everyone knew Tim was going to have to put him down, the only questions were how and when. When I first watched the episode I thought the way it played out was a little … I don’t want to say “cheesy,” because it definitely wasn’t that, but it felt like the whole “let me take one more drag of this smoke and make you end it” thing has been done. The more I thought about it though, the more on board I became with it. Of course that’s how it had to end. (There’s a good discussion about the scene in Graham Yost’s weekly Q&A with EW.) Two guys with plenty in common, who took very different paths, looking each other in the eye, and settling things the only way they could ever be settled. I still wish Tim had popped him in the apricot, though.
And now, the highlights:
- Raylan is having a girl, and he doesn’t know sh-t about them. If Justified somehow lasts 12 or 13 more seasons, I desperately want to see a scene where Raylan and young Rayleen (this is what I have named his unborn daughter) go bra shopping.
- Art doesn’t like Julia Roberts because she “looks too much like Eric.” Ron Swanson only knows her as “the toothy girl from Mystic Pizza.” GET THESE TWO MEN A PODCAST IMMEDIATELY.
- Three great moments in Boydisms: 1) Boyd quoting himself moments after quoting Emerson. (“A man who speaks out of both sides of his mouth deserves to have it permanently shut.”) 2) Nicky Augustine saying he’ll need Google translate if he wants to keep up in their conversations. 3) “Well, what are we drinkin’?”
- There we so many other good lines in last nights episode, too: Nicky Augustine calling Limehouse “Lemonhead,” Raylan pontificating about how fun it is to “mess up some bad guy’s day” and explaining that he was searching Noble’s Holler to avoid looking like a pussy, Boyd’s “And why would you wanna legislate control?,” Johnny sh-ttin’ rainbows, etc. The writing has been terrific this season. Let’s never forget that.
- It wasn’t quite an homage to Tarantino via bloody ass-whupping, but Tim’s little shoutout to The Fugitive cracked me up.
- One more tidbit from Graham Yost’s Q&A: The scene with Nicky Cush getting shot in the foot was a reference to the North Hollywood shootout, which you can read up on here. Justified and Archer are responsible for like 80% of the time I spend on Wikipedia.
- The scene with Limehouse and Ava was a nice little reminder of how far down this path Ava has gone. She couldn’t pull the trigger on Ellen May herself, but she signed off on the original hit, and has been complicit in just about everything Boyd’s done all season long. That’s a long way from cracking someone with a frying pan for getting lippy.
- Drew Thompson: Doesn’t care about the fortune-telling wife he left behind, will risk life and limb to protect a hooker he met weeks earlier. I see his priorities are in order.
- That scene at the end. You guys. Baby Rayleen. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
As always, GIFs from Chet Manley on the following pages. Please do not shoot me and steal my sunglasses.