While last week’s “Peace of Mind” felt like a finale, “Ghosts” was like an extended epilogue tying up some loose ends in what was another terrific season of Justified. And although the season’s Drew Thompson mystery arc was solved four episodes ago, the series continued its greatness until the end as it examined the various burdens a life of crime brings for both sides of the law. From its tense nursery shootout to Raylan’s sly way of handling Nicky Augustine, up until its haunting final shots, “Ghosts” was a fun and somber send off – with its own fair share of dark humor, of course. More on the season finale of Justified after the jump.
Graham Yost and his crew tried something different this season with the extended mystery arc. Although it wasn’t compelling all the way through – and no viable options were presented but Shelby – it was still a top-notch run. If I have any complaints it’s that maybe more could have been done with the Billy and Cassie St. Cyr storyline that was so prominent in the first few episodes. It’s like they were just introduced to be thorns in Boyd’s side. So Ellen May could be saved, which of course set off a chain reaction that turned out to be devastating for the Crowder camp. I guess I was just hoping Billy would become a great villain to the villains. Cassie tipped the cops off to the corpse’s location and her appearance while Ava is being arrested was sorta creepy – she was like some kind of divine angel of revenge. It will be interesting to see how she’s used in the next season, if she doesn’t skip town satisfied that the Crowders are in the shit.
For a lot of this season, it felt like Raylan was a supporting character. After his fling with Lindsay came to an end, the show started giving the spotlight more to the secondary characters. Not that it’s a bad thing – one of Justified‘s many strengths is its incredible stable of colorful actors. The audience wants to spend just as much time with people like Tim and Wynn Dufffy as they do the man in the big hat. And Raylan’s at his best when he’s sharing a scene with them – especially Boyd.
Raylan definitely wasn’t playing second fiddle during the finale though. He owned this shit. “Ghosts” showed off the whole Givens package: the impressive quick-draw skills, the insubordination, the cleverness, and, of course, the melancholy behind those dreamy brown eyes. He shared some nice moments with Winona, including a fast and bloody shootout in which she displayed her own talents with a trigger. Afterwards, I don’t know who Art thought he was kidding. Of course Raylan’s suspension isn’t going to stop him from going after Nicky.
And just like Nicky needed Boyd to get to Raylan, Raylan needs Boyd to get to Nicky. Which is lucky for us, because we got to enjoy another scene between the two old friends. Although they’re always taking verbal jabs at one another, there was a sense of stubborn camaraderie on their way to the airport. Raylan’s comment about the things Boyd has claimed to “love” – the Lord, white supremacy, Arlo – in order to convince himself he’s not the bad guy missed the mark. Boyd clearly, sincerely loves Ava. As we evidenced later on, he’s absolutely consumed with anguish when he sees Ava cuffed in the back of a squad car. That scene was completely gut-wrenching and Walton Goggins has never been better.
Raylan knows he’s got a bit of “bad” guy in him as well. This manifests in the badass moments of the show we love so much, like having the “rat-faced bitch boy” Sammy Tonin wipe Nicky off the face of the earth. He gave Nicky the chance to turn himself in (man, that exchange was great), knowing full well there wasn’t a chance in hell he’d go quietly. I loved Nicky’s frankness during this scene. All he has is his word and if he says he’s going to kill your family, their card is written. Unless, of course, the boss’ kid has bigger guns than you.
And just as we suspected, the season did not end well for the Crowders. Paxton set up Boyd but it’s Ava who takes the pinch – caught red-handed with the stolen corpse of Delroy. Like I mentioned earlier, this scene was a helluva bummer. Boyd’s the bad guy we almost always root for (I do at least) and seeing him completely broken down in the dirt like this was rough. Equally chilling was his slow, affirmative nod when Wynn offered him the heroin gig. Looks like it’s time to say hi to the bad guy again – Boyd’s back in the drug game.
“Ghosts” ended on two mournful, powerful shots: Raylan lounging in a lawn chair, sipping a beer as he looks over the Givens’ family cemetery in the yard and Boyd standing in the house that symbolizes the life he’ll probably never get to live. “The past” was a major theme this season, and these are two men haunted by theirs, who did what they thought was best to change their future. These final shots were pretty fatalistic though – driving home that Raylan and Boyd need to stop lying to themselves and accept who they are. One’s a Givens. One’s a Crowder. And that makes them both bad guys in one way or another.
- BEST KILL: Raylan and Winona shoot everyone.
- BEST ONE-LINER: “If I were him, I’d just work on reading that little book without moving my lips.” – Raylan insults a Detroit goon’s ability to understand the benefits of a baby monitor.
- It wasn’t all melancholy and the infinite sadness, there were some seriously funny moments in “Ghosts” as well. Jimmy’s terror during the grave robbing scene was pure slapstick and showed off some of Jesse Luken‘s comedic chops. The corpse in the Crowder bar had some Arsenic and Old Lace flavor to it. Tim’s comment about the pink nursery was great too.
- This was the best season for Tim, who finally became an integral part of the show. The moments with Colt and their inevitable showdown made for some of the season’s most memorable moments. Although I wanted him to put on Colt’s sunglasses so bad!
- It feels like they’re still searching for a compelling way to bring Rachel into the mix.
- Great Friends of Eddie Coyle reference from the Detroit goon. It’s one of the bleakest, most unsentimental crime films of all time. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.
- After scaring us with hints of retirement early on in the season, Art’s still around. Here’s to another season of putting up with Raylan’s bullshit.
- When Wynn visited Boyd, you could tell he held back on his usual sarcasms. He recognized that Boyd wasn’t in the mood and acted thusly.
- Boyd probably isn’t going to let Ava sit in jail for long. The question is whether she’ll get out legally or illegally.
- Anyone else hoping Jackie Nevada makes a return?
Thanks for having me, folks. Stay frosty.