Justified Review by John Keegan

Justified 5.13: Restitution

Justified 5.13: Restitution

Written By:
Fred Golan and Dave Andron
Directed By:
Adam Arkin

Every season of Justified has been identified by its main villain for simplicity's sake. That's why I find it interesting that this season winds up with the death of Darryl Crowe and he's immediately forgotten. It's as if the writers wanted to get him out of the way so that they can move on to bigger fish. And really, that involves the Marshals Service in Kentucky finally targeting Boyd Crowder.

Heading into the final season of the show, that was the only course the show had to take. Ava's prison arc -- even for how tough and resilient it made her seem -- ceased to be relevant the moment she stepped out of there. No, her new purpose is to be Raylan's criminal informant to get dirt on Boyd's various activities. It's most definitely a gamble the Marshal is willing to play (if not to expedite the case so that he can come home to Winona and their child), but one that is probably going to pay off. Even if Boyd and Ava's relationship is much more complicated. Every character in this season finale episode played a gamble that did or didn't work out in the end. Now there's only one villain left to take down.

Raylan's gamble is probably the most effective, though that was aided by setup done in the most recent episode. The Marshals make sure to follow through on the contention that Kendal will be tried as an adult for shooting Art, and that the punishment will be so severe that it forces Darryl to admit that he actually pulled the trigger. Darryl, being as stone-headed as he has been the entire season, refuses to budge on the matter. There is collateral damage in this, though it's light with Tim's minor injuries in chasing Darryl. I'll admit that Darryl was enough of a wild card that he might do something terrible to Tim in their first faceoff (the show is masterful in mining tension from two characters just talking with one hand on a holstered gun or other weapon), but that turned out to be nothing.

Raylan plays all the cards he can muster. I was indifferent to his try at bonding with Kendal earlier in the season, but it pays off in the interrogation scene between them. Here, he shows genuine regret at his past, from killing the pig at Arlo's behest and transferring that same feeling to the first man he killed in the line of duty. We know of his myriad daddy issues so it's much more impactful to us rather than Kendal. So the kid's indifferent response to the act of shooting Art definitively tipped Wendy off that her brother did the deed. That was what Raylan was counting on. Wendy's final scene with Darryl was a master class in acting. There was some regret in her statements about family, even though it's obvious to the audience that she's playing him to get the confession. There's a sense of relief when he finally does admit to shooting Art. Once the betrayal comes out, Darryl retreats to scolding Wendy so it's not a real suprise when Wendy blows him away (in self defense).

Darryl was tied to Boyd's story only because the Mexican cartel wanted someone to answer for all of the dead bodies that piled up in Mexico. It really looked for a while there like Boyd was a dead duck. He was in one dicey situation (with Wynn and Mr. Picker) only to find himself in another one with no rest in between. He lives now by the seat of his pants. It's funny to me that he mentions Las Vegas as a bribe to Alberto's two thugs because it keeps with the gambling theme. He tries to talk his way out of the situation, but it was never going to pass with the cartel hitmen. His other gamble pays off and saves his skin, though. He manages to lure the hitmen to the country house to meet Darryl, only for the Marshals to show up and eliminate Boyd's problem in one fell swoop.

He's so cocky about his invulnerability afterwards that he's miffed when Rachel and Tim don't thank him. What he doesn't know is that all of this, and really everything he's done throughout the series, clears the path for the Marshals to paint a large target on his back. They're coming for him, and Raylan's leading the charge. The question is whether Ava could fall back in love with him enough to go back to his side or betray him to Raylan and the Marshals after all. The final season is sure to twist the knife many different ways on this front.

And that's where we come back to the final gamble made in the episode: Ava, with absolutely no options left and all of her "friends" in prison dead or out for themselves, decides to call out Gretchen and her gang. She really doesn't have anything to lose at this point so there is no point in a long, slow, agonizing death. That's what awaits her either way: If she goes into the general prison population, she'll be under threat daily. If she goes into solitary confinement, well, that's a death of another kind.

I'd say that the ease with which Ava escapes her fate (the guard and cellmate recant their stories) undercuts the entire prison arc to the point of irrelevance, but it nicely sets up her future storyline with Raylan and Boyd. It will be unlikely that she'll survive to the very end, though. Her relationship with Boyd has cooled. It won't help that Boyd has a new job in robbing banks for Wynn and Hale. The threat of Mr. Yoon is also out there, unresolved. The story of the show has always been about Raylan taking down Boyd, though. That will be done damn all the consequences or dead bodies left in their collective wakes. Bring it on!

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • Raylan's gamble is fairly effective
  • The interrogation scene with Kendal is worthy
  • Surprisingly topical in current political climate
The Bad:
  • Ava's entire prison arc is undercut

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Justified by - 4/11/2014 5:03 AM307 views

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