Sunday, April 19, 2015

What I’m Watching: Justified (Series Finale)

Justified: Season 6, Episode 13 “The Promise”

For most of this episode, you wouldn’t have even known that it was a series finale. Most shows go out with a two-hour finish or at least a super-sized final installment, but all this one needed was a standard hour to wrap up six seasons and nearly eighty episodes of Kentucky crime. That’s always been this show’s strength, understated to incredible effect. This episode started out with Raylan having considerable trouble talking his way out of his situation, with a humorless deputy ready to throw him in the trunk of his car. Art deciding to let Raylan go when he realized the absurdity of what was going on was a fortuitous but still risky development, and though it would have been entertaining to see Vasquez blow a gasket one last time, it’s probably for the best that he wasn’t featured at all. Instead, Boyd gave chase and started throwing handmade explosives at Tim, Rachel, and everyone else pursuing him, making it clear that he was the true villain. It didn’t take Boyd long to storm in and take out Avery, who was a formidable addition to this show’s final season. Raylan showing up at a moment where he had the perfect opportunity to shoot Boyd and feel like it was justified was tense, and fortunately he decided it wasn’t the right thing to do. He did still get his chance to have a good old-fashioned shootout with Boone, and though both men went down, they stayed that way as Loretta showed up to prevent Boon from getting his kill shot in and Raylan sat up just as Ava was driving away. Seeing a tranquil and casual Raylan spending time with his daughter four years later was very sweet, and it seems like he’s sufficiently out of harm’s way. Tracking down Ava even went well, and the revelation that she gave birth to Boyd’s child, aptly named Zachariah, exonerated her at least somewhat. The final scene was simple but great, as Raylan and Boyd had a friendly chat that all went back to the fact that, before it all, they dug coal together. As I said, this wasn’t a traditional finale, with barely any big deaths or farewells. That we saw a few ideas of who might have helped Ava get out but never got the real story is great. Thanking the people of Kentucky and the late Elmore Leonard was particularly appropriate and touching. This show definitely deserves a retrospective feature, one I hope to offer in advance of what I’d love to see be a generous and long overdue Emmy show of affection.

Series finale: B+
Series grade: A
Season MVP: Timothy Olyphant
Season grade: A-
Series MVP: Timothy Olyphant
Best Season: TBD
Best Episode: TBD

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