Through five seasons of Justified, there is one man who has somewhat serendipitously floated through a long trail of mayhem, avoiding his own catastrophes through everything from a deft hand with explosives to the right words to the right allegiances to the right place at the right time to a ruthless willingness to do what had to be done.
Even in Tuesday night’s season finale, Boyd Crowder managed to walk away from another scene of the crime, leaving an acrid trail behind him. Usually, with few exceptions, the law had its sights set on someone else — Mags Bennett, Robert Quarles, Nicky Augustine, or even Boyd’s own dad.
But when Justified returns next year for its final season, Boyd will be the target.
We’ve all sort of known that was where our favorite Kentucky-based shoot ’em up was heading, and this season finale confirmed that and gave us a few clues how Raylan Givens and his fellow U.S. Marshals are going to try get him. Emphasis on try. This is, after all, Boyd Crowder we’re taking about.
First, there was some business to take care of.
Darryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport) has been a fairly toothless bad guy all season, and his demise was appropriately pathetic. In the midst of a beautifully penned and acted monologue by Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) about killing, he affirms for Wendy (Alicia Witt) that her 14-year-old son Kendal (Jacob Lofland) didn’t shoot Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Art Mullen (Nick Searcy). She goes back to Daryl, with a recorder going, and gets him to confess he was the trigger man. When he attacks her, she fatally shoots him.
As Darryl lays dying, blood streaming out of his mouth, eyes looking around in terror, Raylan leans over him and says, “Didn’t I tell you, you were going to wish I killed you? Well, don’t you?”
It’s the latest in several icy Raylan moments that indicate he is steeling himself for something.
Boyd (Walton Goggins) has to dispense with the Mexican drug lords, who have come to exact revenge on him and Darryl for the botched heroin deal. He quite brilliantly lures Alberto (Justin Huen) and his goons into a shootout with Marshals Tim (Jacob Pitts) and Rachel (Erica Tazel).
They, of course, win, and Boyd starts to walk away from yet another crime scene. But Rachel, who is acting chief, stops him and tells him she is going to make it her life’s mission to punish him and then some for all he has done.
And that is the plan she and attorney David Vasquez (Rick Gomez) have hatched up.
Just as Raylan is getting ready to take a new assignment to Florida to be with Winona (Natalie Zea) and their daughter, Rachel and David tell him they are going after Boyd and they need his help. While at first Boyd is getting ready to law low, it appears Wyn (Jere Burns) and Katherine (Mary Steenburgen) are drawing him back in — so Michael Corleone.
“You are lousy at running heroin, Boyd Crowder,” Katherine says. “But from what I’m told, you are really good at robbing banks.”
It appears the Marshals will have something to work with.
That brings us to a last bit of unfinished business.
Ava (Joelle Carter) has found herself in a real pickle in prison, basically fight or get killed. But as the episode ends, the Marshals have her sprung to act as an informant on Boyd. In the final scene, Ava and Raylan, onetime lovers, have an all-too familiar bridge meeting to discuss the terms of her release. She says she’s scared. He says it will be alright. We know that’s not true.
This is Justified’s Harlan.