This episode is the finale for Season 5 of Justified. That means it’s time to pay the piper, folks, and there’s a lot of people holding overdue bills.
Let’s begin where we started the season – with the Florida Crowes. Dilly is dead, killed by Danny under Daryl’s order. Danny is dead, too, killed by his own stupid fucking self no matter what the rest of the Crowes believe. That leaves Kendall (in jail), Wendy (bruised and battered) and Daryl, who is still standing on top of that pile o’shit pretending he can’t smell the stink.
Last week Raylan dropped the bombshell that Kendall would be tried as an adult for the assault on Art, news which did not set well with Wendy and Daryl. Daryl is allowed to walk free, which he does after a lot of bluster and threats against Raylan’s future well-being, but Raylan has alternate plans for Wendy and holds her in custody for a bit longer. Tim Gutterson is given the thankless task of following Daryl around, which leads to an epic confrontation between the two men where Tim gets to tell a sweet bedtime story about his days as an army sniper and talk about his erection again – and frankly, anytime Tim wants to talk about hard-ons, I’m ready to listen. (Season 6 Wish List Item One: More Tim Gutterson.) Daryl is a sneaky, slippery, slimy bastard, though, and wins this battle by gunning his way through a red light, forcing Tim to do the same which leads to him crashing into another car.
Back at the marshal’s office, Raylan sets Wendy up outside an interrogation room and brings in Kendall to tell the boy that he’s being tried as an adult. Kendall is visibly shocked; his shaking hands can’t even lift a paper cup of hot chocolate. Raylan tries to draw Kendall into admitting that it was Daryl who actually shot Art by sharing a story from his childhood that matches up with one from Kendall’s: the first time they each shot and killed something. For Kendall, it was an alligator. For Raylan, it was a feral pig. Raylan compares the feelings he had killing the pig with how he felt when he first killed a person in the line of duty and asks Kendall if it was the same for him. Since Kendall didn’t actually shoot Art, he thinks Raylan is talking about the gator again and only remembers to play tough guy when Raylan ever-so-gently reminds him why he’s sitting in jail. Raylan’s strategy doesn’t work to get Kendall to tell the truth but it is successful in proving to Wendy that Kendall did not shoot Art. Raylan wants her to wear a wire and get Daryl to confess but Wendy’s love for her son does not mean she’s willing to risk her life for him and she refuses with the excuse that Daryl would know and would kill her.
Instead, Wendy comes up with her own plan. She calls Daryl with the news that Raylan, et. al. were bluffing about charging Kendall as an adult in a bid to have the boy turn on his family. Since neither the heroin business nor the whorehouse have really worked out for the Crowes, she plans to file suit against the marshal’s office and make the family some money that way. Brother and sister make plans to meet at Audry’s. Once there, Wendy first states that she knows Daryl killed Dilly but that she understands. Family comes first, even when that means having to kill one of them. She sympathizes with his efforts to support the family and blames all of their problems on the law and circumstances beyond Daryl’s control and lets him know that he has her unconditional support. Daryl swallows her story hook, line and sinker and finally – finally! – confesses to shooting Art himself. Wendy’s tears dry up and she reaches into her purse and pulls out her phone, which has been recording the entire conversation.
Daryl is about as happy as you’d expect him to be and threatens to stuff the phone down her throat. Instead, Wendy stuffs a gun into his balls and (pay attention, this is the fun part!) that’s when Raylan decides to make an appearance. (“What did I miss?” Epic Timothy Olyphant/Raylan Givens, right there.) Probably for the first time in his life, Daryl is happy to see the law and wants Raylan to disarm Wendy. When Raylan declines to get involved in their little family quarrel, Daryl attacks Wendy and she pulls the trigger. Daryl is shocked to be holding a bloody pair of testicles and goes at Wendy again, so she fires one more time, hitting him in the neck. While Daryl lies dying, choking on his own blood, Raylan leans down and whispers that he’d told Daryl that he was going to wish Raylan had killed him. “Well, don’ cha?” Somewhere in heaven, Elmore Leonard is smiling.
Thus ends the saga of the Florida Crowes. Kendall is released, based on Daryl’s confession, and Wendy and her son are headed back to Florida where, as it happens, Raylan is also going, a fact which he discovers during a hospital visit when Art tells him that his transfer was approved. Raylan, Winona and baby Willa have another Skype session and Winona is thrilled to tears to find out Raylan will be “coming home.”
She might be crying again, though, when she finds out Raylan is going to put those plans on hold. ASA Vasquez and Rachel let him in on their plans to go after Boyd Crowder and the chance to put the Kingpin of Harlan County away for 50 years is not an opportunity Raylan is going to turn down. (Season 6 Wish List Item Two: More Head-to-Head Raylan vs. Boyd. This season was mighty light on those interactions.)
At the moment, Boyd is more worried about staying alive and keeping his skin than he is a potential RICO charge. Unaware that Alberto and his men have Jimmy, he walks into their trap and sees Jimmy beaten and duct-taped to a chair. Boyd draws his gun immediately but Alberto has a third man hiding in the hallway and Boyd is neatly trapped. Alberto tells him that Jimmy tried to escape to warn Boyd, which earns a “He’s a good man” compliment from Boyd and a “He was” correction from Alberto, just before Jimmy is shot in the chest and dies screaming into his duct tape. Farewell, Snake in the Face Boy.
Mr. Yoon, if you’ll remember, wants someone to pay for those dead bodies left behind in Mexico. Boyd blames Daryl and Alberto tells him that they want Daryl, too, and he gives Boyd until noon to produce the other man or Boyd’s impending death will be slow and as painful as possible. With a quick bit of trickery, Boyd renames Raylan’s contact in his phone “Daryl C” and sends him a text message. During the wait for a response, Boyd attempts to turn Alberto’s men into his men. They two thugs play along but the joke is on Boyd when Alberto returns to the room. Boyd’s time is up and since he hasn’t been able to produce Daryl, Alberto promises him a slow and agonizing death by carefully describing how his father taught a young Alberto to carefully skin a kill, down to cutting off the genitals and snapping the tendons around joints. Boyd is no wilting flower and basically tells Alberto to shit or get off the pot, but either way, shut the fuck up. Before Alberto can slit his throat (and it was a near thing), Boyd’s phone vibrates. “Daryl” has responded to Boyd’s earlier text message with an offer to meet at Ava’s house.
Boyd knows that “Daryl” is really Raylan but no one knows that Raylan is really Tim (who escaped the car accident without major harm) and Rachel, and Alberto’s men are surprised and none-too-pleased when that big ol’ town car pulls up at Ava’s house and the two marshals get out with guns drawn. With Boyd taped up inside the house, Alberto steps out on the porch and asks Tim and Rachel to pretty please go away. Tim replies with a Raylan-esque, “You’ve got three seconds or we’ll kill all of you,” and sure enough, approximately that many seconds later, gunfire erupts. I’ll give you three guesses as to who’s left standing (hint: none of them speak with a Spanish accent). Boyd gets his revenge for Jimmy, too, by grabbing the gun of the thug that fell through Ava’s window and shooting the last man standing with a neat little twisted-at-the-waist, behind-the-back, using-his-duct-taped-hands shot. He’s so proud of himself, he gigs sniper Tim about it. Tim isn’t at all impressed since, as he points out, good guys don’t have to shoot with their hands cuffed. Oh, snap!
Rachel isn’t impressed either, and before Boyd practically skips away singing “Oh, Happy Day,” she stops him in his tracks with the promise that she is making it her personal mission to use that thick file of his misdeeds to put him away. (Season 6 Wish List Item Three: More Rachel. Especially more Rachel vs. Raylan. And a little bit of Rachel *AND* Raylan wouldn’t go amiss. The chemistry between those two is off the charts. Plus, Rachel. Make it happen, Justified!)
Boyd is due a piece of good news, though, and it comes in the form of a phone call from Ava telling him she’s been released from prison. How the hell did that happen? I’m glad you asked.
Ava’s hellish life in jail descended another level or two because now, everyone thinks she snitched out Penny’s killer and Judith’s old posse has deserted her. We all know Gretchen did the snitching herself and so does Ava. After a prison-yard chat with the female skinhead, Ava climbs up on a picnic table and yells out to the assembly that she’s no snitch and outright blames Gretchen. Ava thinks Gretchen only wants to kick her ass, that her life is protected because Gretchen fears for her own brother’s life at the hands of Boyd. Ava is wrong, as Nicki is quick to tell her, and Gretchen wants her dead. Seeing no other recourse, Ava starts a fight during dinner and ends up in solitary confinement with another dislocated shoulder. Drug-dealing nurse Rowena comes in to set the shoulder and tells Ava she’s got two choices: stay in solitary confinement or fight for her life every day. Ava is desperate and a desperate Ava is receptive to an offer from Raylan & Co to double-cross Boyd in exchange for a Get Out of Jail Free card.
Boyd knows none of this when he gets her call. He’s waiting at her house when she finally gets home that night but when he offers to postpone some business he’d already scheduled, she tells him to go. She wants to be alone and enjoy sleeping in safety for the first time in months and whatever conversation they need to have about where the two of them go from here (#TeamBava) will have to wait.
The business that Boyd needs to conduct is with Wynn Duffy and Katherine Hale. Boyd gives Wynn the last of the heroin and tells them he just wants to lie low for a while but they have other plans for him. As it turns out, Katherine was the gangster in that family, not her husband, and she and Duffy want to take Boyd back to his bank robbing roots. Oh, Happy Day indeed! (Season 6 Wish List Item Four: Boyd blowing shit up. Fire in the hole!)
While Boyd is mapping out his future, Ava is meeting with Raylan on a deserted bridge that I’m sure is still being watched by Limehouse’s men. (Season 6 Wish List Item Five: Limehouse! We need to see Limehouse and his cleaver.) Raylan lays down the rules for her again, although Vasquez and Rachel have already made them pretty clear. Ava is clearly reluctant and frankly, Raylan’s “Everything’s gonna be fine” answer should scare the hell out of her. I can show you fifty unmarked graves in Harlan carved with the same epitaph. Well, I can’t show you the graves, but you get my point. As the song says, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.”
(Season 6 Wish List Item Six: Boyd and Raylan both live. Or at least die gloriously.)
And that’s a wrap for Season 5! What did you think? Are you coming back for Season 6, the final season of the series?