Justified Season Finale: Guns and Handshakes

The Justified season finale was indeed bloody. Let’s see who caught a bullet as the war between Boyd’s rag-tag group and the Bennett clan came to a violent end.

– Raylan – clipped by a Bennett automatic rifle. Our hero will obviously survive.
– Ava – caught a Dickie Bennett bullet to the upper chest. She’ll likely live.
– Doyle – dropped dead by a federal sniper likely the work of marksmen Tim Gutterson.
– Mags – Loretta popped her in the leg, but it was her own apple pie that did her in.
– About a dozen Bennett guys who tried to raid Ava’s home – most hightailed it back to the Bennetts, but a few were left face-down in the dirt to serve as road bumps.

The beauty of this show, however, is that the best scenes were those when the guns remained holstered (or were at least kept at their sides). Although this entire episode was filled with examples of perfectly written storytelling, I had to point out the following examples:

1) The church parlay between Boyd/Arlo and Mags/Doyle. Both parties knew the war was already being waged as they supposedly met to avoid it.

2) Boyd’s arrival to save Raylan from Dickie’s baseball bat. After Raylan is cut from the tree, Boyd hesitantly allows the marshal to recover his weapon. After Dickie pleads with Raylan to take him with him rather than die at the hands of Boyd, Raylan realizes he needs Dickie to save Loretta. With gun now in hand, Raylan states how Dickie will be coming with him rather than allowing the equally-armed Boyd to kill him, leading to this telling exchange:

Boyd: ‘Are you telling me or asking me?’

Raylan: ‘If it makes it easier, you can tell everyone I asked.’

3) The final scene as Mags and Raylan share some ‘apple pie’as both bleed from gunshot wounds. Mags suffers the same fate as Loretta’s father, but only after offering peace between the Bennett and Givens clans, shaking Raylan’s hand to seal the deal before taking her own life.

So how are things left as we leave Harlan at the end of this second season?

Dickie is the only remaining member of the Bennett family, but will be limping around a prison yard for the rest of his life. Ava was wounded, but will presumably recover. Boyd remains standing as the heir apparent to Harlan’s criminal enterprises, and will likely re-assert himself as Raylan’s primary antagonist in Season 3. Raylan was bailed out by Art, who showed he actually does care what happens to Raylan. Winona has a bun in the oven, yet her relationship with Raylan remains complicated considering it’s contingent upon Raylan leaving Harlan behind. As if we didn’t already know, Raylan is as much a part of Harlan as Harlan is a part of him, meaning Season 3 will be as enjoyable as the previous two.

One thing this season finale taught us: a show this good doesn’t need a cliffhanger.

  • lizouttavegas

    Love love love this show!!!!!!!! I hear that theme song, and I feel the banjos calling me home! (and Im a canadian) there's something about those kentucky mnts that fascinate! and Raylan is the best thing on tv….yeow

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