Left to Right: Interesting character pointlessly killed, interesting character pointlessly killed, Boyd Crowder.
About halfway through this season of Justified I was thinking it was going to go down with season two as one of the best ever.
My prediction was as premature as it was incorrect.
In my defense, there was a lot to like. The running theme was that the stuff that had worked for the main characters up until this point was no longer working. Raylan was in a situation he couldn’t smirk or shoot his way out of, Boyd was dealing with people who had no time for his smooth talk, Ava found the limits of her toughness and her relationship with Boyd. The arrival of the Crowe clan stirred up the pot, adding some unpredictable and unimpressed elements that were far more dangerous and cunning than the usual shitkickers lurking in Harlan. They quickly got into everyone’s face and disrupted what little peace there was. More importantly, all the chicken were finally coming home to roost, as everyone’s past misdeeds were catching up to them. It really looked like an apocalyptic storm was going to descend.
The other running theme was that as central as Raylan and Boyd were to the show, they were essentially big fish in a generally small and stupid pond, and when operating outside of that pond they were far less capable. The Crowes, Picker, and the Cartel had potential to raise the stakes the way that the Detroit outfit never really seemed able to.
But then nothing of it stuck. The Crowes were whittled down by their own hands, in a way that wasn’t particularly interesting. Picker and the Cartel were quickly disposed of. Ava just gets out of prison. Even Art getting shot ended up being not that big of a deal. I don’t even remember where we left Dewey. None of it ended up making much of any difference, and none of it really paid off.
And I have yet to talk to anyone who enjoyed the momentum-sucking vacuum of the Ava storyline. I love Ava but man that was some boring, by-the-numbers prison junk that I don’t care about. And all for what? To set up a deal that Boyd should see through in two minutes?
This was a season in which Boyd pretends to be dead twice, as though that was ever going to work even once. Mary Steenburgen came in an shows a lot of potential, but mainly underlines the problem of why is Wynn Duffy wasting his time in Harlan, or others wasting their time with Wynn Duffy? Picker brought this up, but it doesn’t go anywhere, and then Steenburgen is interested in someone she barely knows orchestrating a bank robbery for her? Huh? After the absolute clusterfuck of the heroin deal that can be pinned straight on Boyd and the baggage he brings with him? Don’t these people know better people? Either Boyd is in over his head when not dealing with Harlan rubes or he’s not, but it can’t be both ways.
There too with Raylan. If his arrangement with Sammy Tonin was enough to make Art take a swing at him and want no more to do with him, how could Art in good conscience transfer him elsewhere? Why wouldn’t he want Raylan out of the service completely? Again, either Raylan is a troublemaker that poisons the cases he works on or he’s not, and Art wouldn’t just send a live grenade to another department.
And then, finally, NOW the Dept. of Justice wants to go after Boyd? How hard can that POSSIBLY be, considering all the loudmouths in Harlan he’s wronged? How can building a case against Boyd Crowder take thirteen episodes? The first five minutes of Season Six should be a cell door closing on Boyd and Vasquez shaking Raylan’s hand saying, “Whew! Just in time for lunch, my treat!”
On the one hand I’m glad that next season is Justified’s last, as I don’t want to see any show I like die before it ends. On the other, six may turn out to be one too many.