Raylan: So, your conversion was sincere.
Boyd: Was it? Do you believe in God?
Raylan: Yes, I do.
Boyd: Raylan, tell me about your God.
Raylan: You know, white hair, long beard, sits on a heavenly throne.
The season finale of Justified aired this week and it was a bit of a shocker, at least to me. Spoilers after the jump.
Boyd Crowder may be the most compelling character in Justified, primarily because he’s so hard to pin down. He’s an uneducated redneck from Harlan County Kentucky who loves blowing shit up and who’s probably never been far outside the state lines. But he wraps his hillbilly drawl around some really articulate sounding phrases, and his schemes seem drawn up by either St. Paul or the Marquis de Sade. The problem is, it’s nearly impossible to tell which.
All this time, I have had my money firmly on the probability that Boyd was faking his whole come-to-Jesus attitude. I thought his woodsy Jim Jones-style Church of the Wayward Lambs was was just an attempt to recruit more devoted soldiers for his crimes. Like his white-supremacist organization before he got shot, Boyd has never struck me as a true believer, just an opportunist who knows how to play on the beliefs of others to his advantage.
But as the finale, “Bulletville” (yeah, the name of the episode is a real subtle use of foreshadowing) finally reveals, Boyd was, at least in his mind, 100% sincere in his efforts to bring about a sort of screwed up religious revival among the down and out three-time-losers of Harlan County.
Unfortunately, Boyd’s father Beau is not in a repentant mood, and Boyd’s not-so-irresistable force for good meets a real immovable object of evil when it runs headlong into Beau’s plans to expand his meth business.
There’s a really fascinating interaction here in the last couple episodes between the two sets of fathers and sons. A lot of Raylan’s pent-up hostility and anger comes from his upbringing (such as it was) by Arlo, while Beau’s regrets (such as they are) about his failings as a father come up in conversation repeatedly. These are fathers who are extremely disappointed in the lack of loyalty being exhibited by their sons. And these are sons who are, in turn, very disappointed in the manner of fathers they have found themselves saddled with. The unfulfilled expectations and familial tensions are as palpable as the back of a razorback hog. Makes you glad if your dad was just halfway normal.
Meanwhile, Raylan can’t swing a dead cat without hitting either Ava or Winona, even though he has put very little effort into staying involved with either one. It appears that Winona’s efforts to get Raylan back (while not actually making any commitiment at all) are going to carry the day, but something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Ava. That girl is nothing if not resourceful.
The season finale may answer a lot of questions, but it raises others about whether Boyd will see the inside of a prison again as a result of the fallout from all of the violence in which he participated. It’s also hard to see where the story goes from here. Is Boyd a man to be trusted, now that he has allied himself with Raylan, or was that just a temporary stop on the way to more extra-legal shenanigans? What is the day of reckoning going to be like when the kingpins in Miami find out what has happened (again!) in Kentucky? And what about the supposedly ongoing investigation into Raylan’s shootings?
Let me know your thoughts on this and any other season finales you watched. Was this the best one you saw? (BTW, Any mention of Lost will be summarily deleted. You can go back undisturbed to your very own room to talk about that.)