What do you tell yourself at night, when you lay your head down, that allows you to wake up in the morning pretending that you're not the bad guy?
Not only was Walton Goggins' delivery of the quote above utterly perfect as always, but the content of it was also such a great example of why Raylan Givens is such an interesting hero to follow that it had to lead off this review of the Justified Season 4 finale.
It hasn't just been Raylan; Tony Soprano and Walter White, among others, are also fascinating television protagonists of the last decade who fall somewhere different along the sliding scale of good and bad. Yet Raylan is one that always finds himself on the right side of the law no matter which of his actions make you question his motives.
In "Ghosts" Boyd asked him this question in reference to his assumption that Raylan was prepared to kill Nicky Augustine no matter what else happened in that limo.
That's what makes Justified one of the best shows on television. Not only do producer Graham Yost and company make the audience ponder how bad Raylan is willing to go and still call himself a good guy, but the characters within the show are also speaking up on the subject.
The conversation between Boyd and Raylan on the way over, as well as the subsequent one in the limo between Raylan and Nicky, was pulse-pounding dialogue. Realizing that Nicky wasn't going to pull on Raylan, and that the cowboy's "what ain't broke" strategy wasn't going to come into play, I was on the edge of my seat wondering what on earth would happen next.
Hitching his wagon to the murderous gangster who wasn't set on killing his wife and unborn child was one of the smartest things Raylan Givens has ever done. Walking away slowly, allowing Sammy Tonin and his goons to execute Nicky Augustine, and presumably not saying anything to anyone about it ever, was some of the closest the Marshal has ever been to being what Boyd referred to as "the bad guy."
At the end of the hour, Raylan had saved his wife and kid not once but twice, and the man was staring at a nice long suspension to settle himself down. Watching him sit there with his dead relatives was oddly one of the most peaceful moments to watch to date on Justified.
Not so peaceful was all that happened to the Crowders. In between giving his "buddy" Raylan a ride to Nicky, Boyd had to deal with his Delroy problem before Ellen May could pin that on him and Ava.
Scene after scene, issues came up for them. If it wasn't the cops finding the body in the mine shaft just hours before the Crowders got there, it was Mooney and Paxon double crossing them to catch them ditching the body in later on.
Regardless of how terrible of a human being Boyd Crowder is, it is impossible not to get invested in the man. Goggins is just THAT passionate of an actor. He forces you to root for his characters.
So when Mooney pulled up to bust Ava, my stomach jumped up into my chest. When Boyd screamed with all that pain in his heart when he saw Ava in the back of that cop car, my heart sank into my stomach. When Ava tearfully told Boyd that they both knew she wasn't getting out of jail in 24 hours, I gasped. And when Boyd broke into that house to stare out at the backyard, undoubtedly thinking of a life he could have had if things gone a bit differently... well, my allergies REALLY started to act up.
Knowing now that he is ready to take over the heroin business in Kentucky for Wynn Duffy, and that Ava is probably going away for a while, I don't know what to feel.
Between Raylan's and Boyd's arcs, "Ghosts" gave us multiple climactic moments, satisfying endings to the stories we've watch unfold this season, while setting things up for next year's stretch of episodes.
Unsurprisingly, the show's innate ability to create fabulous characters, and tell great stories, once again made Justified one of if not THE best dramas on television this year.
What did you all think of the season four finale? What did you think of the season as a whole? What were your favorite moments? What were your least favorite parts? And what do you think is next for Raylan, Boyd, and the gang?
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.