Justified has been a mix of good and not so good in season 5. In the end, it all came together to set up the showdown that's been five seasons in the making.
On Justified Season 5 Episode 13, there were two major deaths. Both were criminals, but the men were very different from each other.
One death may have brought tears to your eyes, while the other likely had you leaping off your couch rejoicing.
Boyd has not had a good run as of late. The man is brilliant and charismatic, but neither was enough to protect him from the idiots he trusted. The Crowes were his bad luck charm. The Mexican drug deal went horribly wrong every step of the way. Boyd wasn't even lucky enough to have Wynn Duffy's lie of his demise protect him.
Jimmy tried to warn Boyd, but it wasn't enough. Through all of Boyd's ups and downs, Jimmy was there by his side. He was loyal, never lost his cool, and didn't get greedy. It was his dedication that got him killed. Boyd's been lost without Ava and now the only other person he truly trusted is gone.
It was telling that when Boyd's life was on the line, the person he reached out to was Raylan. He had no one else to contact. In this case, Raylan's law enforcement background was advantageous, but he was risking his own imprisonment to save his life. At least Raylan took the message seriously. Tim and Rachel saved Boyd's life that day, but that's all going to change going forward. It's gonna be a wild ride!
I haven't been a fan of Ava's prison storyline at all this season. There's not a single moment that jumps out at me as one I enjoyed. If it wasn't for my love of her relationship with Boyd, I would have easily accepted her being murdered there. Her situation was dire at the end, but she found a way out.
I believed the story that her former cell mate and the guard recanted their story given all that had transpired. Only that's not what happened, instead Ava agreed to help Raylan and the Marshals by turning on Boyd. What?!?! I guess I can't blame her, since she was a dead woman if she stayed in prison.
Now that she's out, perhaps she can find a way to help without totally betraying Boyd. It wasn't clear if she was entirely committed to helping Raylan against him or not. Her relationship with Boyd was definitely fragile despite her deal on the table. It's an intriguing set up going into Justified's final season.
With Boyd out of the drug business, it may throw the Marshals for a loop. Though, if bank robberies start popping up, it won't take much to look towards him. One bank robbery and his dream of opening a Dairy Queen with Ava could be a reality! Of course, that wouldn't make for a thrilling ride to the series finale.
The only other obstacle to the final season being the Raylan-Boyd tale was taken out of the picture. The Crowes are finished. Raylan's decision to get Kendal charged as an adult was a risky one that almost backfired on him. Despite the connection between Raylan and Kendal, the kid didn't budge from his story. The young Crowe likely feared his uncle more than he did the 40 years in prison.
After denying Raylan's request to be wired, Wendy used a phone to record Darryl's confession of shooting Art. That's all she needed to clear her son's name, but that didn't solve the long term threat of her brother. Wendy revealed the recording to Darryl, which sent him into a rage.
Was that a stupid move by Wendy? Or was it a calculated one that set up a plausible defense for her to shoot him dead? I'm not sure, but I definitely lean towards the latter. Raylan walked into the situation with enough time to stop her, but he didn't. It was almost as if they had an unspoken understanding about how it would all go down.
Darryl's decision to leave Florida and head to Kentucky devastated his clan. The only ones left standing are Wendy and her son, Kendal. At least, they have both have a real chance of making a good life for themselves now that her brothers are all dead. Of course, the Kentucky native, Dewey is still around, but he's probably joining Dickie in prison.
At the core, Justified has been the story of two childhood friends who went in opposite directions. Before Raylan heads off to Florida to be with Winona and his daughter, he has one final case in Kentucky. It's going to be a Raylan vs. Boyd showdown. To be honest, I'm not sure how I want it to end.
All I do know is that Justified has always been at its best when these two men are either fighting each other or working together. Which will they do in Justified's final season?
Will Ava turn against Boyd?