It’s time to circle the wagons, folks, because Justified is back this Tuesday, January 7th for its fifth season. Collider will once again be covering all of the action each week, with recaps and heated theories about who’s going to get plugged next. And after season four, it’s clear that no one is safe from taking a bullet (or having their femoral artery severed). Before we return to moral murk of eastern Kentucky, hit the jump for a primer on the previous season.
I just wanna mention first that it’s bittersweet going into a new season of Justified now that Elmore Leonard is gone. The author passed away back in August 2013 but his legacy lives on in his tremendous lineup of classic books and, or course, the mighty Justified.
Season four did a fantastic job of juggling the multiple plots and characters, even though it felt like our beloved anti-hero Raylan Givens had been put on the back burner for a few episodes. The season saw several characters begrudgingly having to accept who they truly are, which led to some painful reality checks. Raylan, in particular, had to decide what kind of lawman he is going to be and how far he would go to protect his loved ones. The choice he ultimately made was to set up Nicky Augustine to be executed by “rat-faced bitch boy” Sammy Tonin, who is now the head of the Detroit mob.
While he technically didn’t pull the trigger on Augustine, he’s only fooling himself if he thinks that there isn’t blood on his hands. He may try to be a good father to his upcoming daughter and an upstanding marshal, but he’s Arlo Givens’ kid – a petulant loner who grew up in a culture of violence. He can’t escape that past. “Ghosts,” the season four finale, closed with Raylan sipping a beer in the Givens’ home cemetery. Now that Arlo’s buried, only one family member remains to take his place in the plot, and that’s Raylan. It was a somber way to end a great season and a nice moment to meditate on what a tragic character he really is.
Boyd had to leave some hopeful illusions in the dust as well. Man, he had it rough last season. First those rich pricks of Clover Hills had it in for him. When it seemed like Boyd got the best of them (emphasized by his epic “I am the outlaw” speech), that slimy louse Lee Paxton set up Ava to be busted for the murder of Delroy. Now she’s behind bars and all of their dreams of starting a family in that nice home are destroyed. At least his beef with Detroit has been squashed and he should make a pretty penny running Wynn’s narcotics distribution for all of Kentucky. So professionally he may have gotten what he wanted, but it ain’t worth shit to him without Ava. Also, you can bet Boyd’s got a big ol’ target on Paxton’s forehead now. Same with Nick Mooney. Fire in the hole, assholes.
Where did season four leave everyone else? Well, Ava’s going to jail. I have a feeling Boyd won’t let her rot away for long though. Art’s plans for retirement have been cancelled and showrunner Graham Yost has stated in interviews that his character will be kept around most likely for the remainder of the series. It’s also been confirmed that Constable Bob will be returning and frosty as ever. Wynn is back from Canada and has been upgraded to a regular character, which is great news since I can’t get enough of Jere Burns deadpan delivery.
Some characters were left up in the air. Johnny’s fate is open-ended, but he sure was left in a bad spot. Even though she got her revenge on the Crowders, I’d love to see Cassie St. Cyr stick around to haunt Harlan some more.
And Colt is still dead, which pisses me off because I loved him so much.
Justified returns Tuesday, January 7 at 10pm (EST). Guest stars this season include Alicia Witt, Michael Rapaport, A.J. Buckley, and David Koechner. I’ve tried to avoid previews and such, so all I know going in is that this season Raylan tangles with Dewey Crowe’s extended family. Sounds like a blast. See you guys on Tuesday.