Justified Spoilers: Joelle Carter on Ava's Power, Surprises to Come on Final Season

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Want to know what it’s like to be truly stuck between a rock and a hard place?

Ask Ava Crowder on FX’s Justified.

Even though she’s out of prison, Ava has earned her freedom at a price: she is now playing informant for Raylan while also having to pretend to still be close to Boyd, who abandoned her when she was behind bars. What’s a girl to do?

Joelle Carter talked to me about Ava’s journey throughout Justified Season 6... whether she’ll get some of her own power back... and whether the will find someone new to lean on.

Also, how has it been wrapping up the series after six seasons? Let’s see what the actress had to say...

Ava on Season 6 - Justified

TV Fanatic: I feel like Ava has so many emotions at the start of the season towards Raylan, towards Boyd. That’s a lot to work with!

Joelle Carter: Yeah, and just coming out of prison, she kind of has to make a deal with Raylan that I don’t think she normally would have made if they hadn’t had season five. It puts her in a rock and a hard place. It’s funny, because everyone’s always like Team Boyd [or] Team Raylan when it comes to Ava and I always thought when Ava kind of released herself from her predicament in the pilot, she in some way thought love was going to save her and I don’t think Raylan was really open to that.

I think when she met up with Boyd, he was open to it as she had her relationship. And then, after being in prison and basically being abandoned there, she comes out hopefully ready to stay true to Ava and look out for Ava. It just gets complicated along the way.

TVF: Will we see Ava start to reclaim some power?

JC: I think she does. I think she doesn’t really take responsibility for her actions up to this point. She kind of just acts. I feel like season six gives her and me the opportunity to be in survival mode, but also be a little more manipulative and to take this new position she’s in, this new job that she has and try to figure out how both to make it work for her best benefit. She definitely has to do it moment by moment and figure out how to juggle both men.

She thinks, I think, that if she can avoid Boyd enough that she won’t have any information to give Raylan. And she’ll be able to get away with it that way, but I mean, as we see, she gets brutally awakened there by Raylan at the end.

TVF: Do you think we’ll see that she’s probably learned a few things from Boyd and Raylan, that she’ll be able to use at her benefit?

JC: Yeah. I think the knowledge of both men helped her work with both of them, in a way. Even if she’s not trying to deceive them, she has to stay alive on one side and the other side keep Raylan happy by giving him enough and so she decides or doesn’t decide which side she actually wants to be loyal to.

TVF: Does she end up seeking anybody out to just kind of lean on a little bit or is she really just on her own?

JC: She’s pretty much on her own. I think it’s what draws her to Raylan and to Boyd, is that they’re these loners in the world, these little orphans that want to play at living life in some way that they can that’s not in the moral universe that you and I would live in. I think potentially along the way, she has to seek out people. Down the road, she may have no other choice than to seek help.

TVF: I recently talked with Garret Dilahunt, who plays Ty Walker, and he said he does have some scenes with you coming up…

JC: What a wonderful character on and off the screen. I had a lot of fun with him. Whether he is an enemy or an ally, I will not release that information. [laughs]

TVF: I respect that a hundred percent. I’m sure going into this season, it might have felt a little different, knowing it’s the last season. How has that been especially with Tim and Walton?

JC: You know what, I came into this season so sad that it was going to be the last season but so determined to enjoy every last second. And I have, and you work with a director [and] it’s their last episode, and so every day someone’s leaving and parts of the crew have to move on to the next job before we’re done even if they don’t want to go yet. It feels like it’s slowly peeling itself away, which may be good.

As far as the work, we’ve been even more connected this season. I’ve had more time with both guys. It’s making it even harder to slowly crawl to the end. I like every season. I feel like it just, it gets complicated, and I think Walton, Tim, and this year myself have done a really good job of working with our brilliant writers…these guys have been so generous to me, and Ava. They’re not just looking out for themselves.

TVF: Moving forward, do you think viewers will be surprised at what’s Ava capable of as she goes through these episodes?

JC: I hope so. Maybe not. I mean, we’ve been introduced to almost a female version of Boyd and Raylan. She’s also killed people, not grotesquely, and I think that’s what complicates the audience’s relationship with her, and with Boyd and Raylan, is that they somehow can relate and make these characters their heroes, but they’re not doing morally actions all the time. Maybe in some ways they’re living out the fantasy, what we would do in an altered world. They keep surprising me, so hopefully they’ll surprise audiences.

Justified airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX. 

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Justified Quotes

I'll kill four of you before you even clear your weapons, and I'll take my chances with the other two. And you see this star? That's gonna make it legal.


Raylan: If you're going to talk, I'll put you in the trunk and drive myself.
Dewey: I can't drive handcuffed to the damned steering wheel!
Raylan: You'll get the hang of it.