Justified recap: Who Will Save Your Soul?

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March 27, 2013 by Susan Miller

Oh Colt.  Why couldn't you be stupid and cowardly like Johnny?  I'll miss you the most.

Oh Colt. Why couldn’t you be stupid and cowardly like Johnny? I’ll miss you the most.

“Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”- Emerson, via Boyd.

Susan: So what did you think of this surprisingly somber episode of Justified?  After all the thrills of the last couple of weeks, I thought this one was very quiet.  Still great, but much different.  Had I been watching this season on DVD, binge style, I probably wouldn’t have liked it.  This is one show that seems to work better on a week to week basis.  Thoughts?

Steven: There were a lot of one on one shots.  That’s something I noticed.  Cassie and Ellen-Mae, Boyd and Ava, Ava and Lemonhead, Winona and Creepy-Guy.  Compared to last week where there were at least three people pointing guns at each other in every scene, this was much more quiet.  I liked seeing people reflect on all of the craziness.  There an especially poignant moment when Limehouse asks Ava if she’s even thinking about any of the consequences.  This show is very realistic in this way.  Characters grow and contract, act with their guts and their hearts and then do a 180 and start acting with their heads for awhile.  I find that very realistic.  In some shows, for the sake of mounting conflict that builds toward a preset climax, characters seem to drive blindly forward in a monomaniac, plot-driven sort of way.  This character’s motivation is greed, therefore he will greed himself into situation A, then situation B, and then climax C.  It discounts their humanity.  Justified, thank goodness, does not fall into this trap.  At least not as far as I can tell.

Susan: I thought that scene with Limehouse (or as Nicky says, Lemonhead) and Ava was really interesting.  I’ve seen a lot of talk around the interwebs about Ava killing Delroy and how this life of crime with Boyd is inconsistent with her character and happening way too quickly.  It was nice to see Limehouse take a beat and ask her to question her own motives while she’s busy questioning his.  I also liked that when it came right down to it, she couldn’t kill Ellen Mae and Cassie.  It’s just not who she is.  Boyd accepts and appreciates her for that, just like she respects and appreciates Boyd for what he can do.  They may not be a great criminal team, but they do have a surprisingly strong and mature relationship.  Much more mature than whatever it is Raylan and Winona are doing.

Poor Winona.  You called it last week and I should have known she was in trouble when she popped up in the opening scene this week.  How on Earth is Raylan going to get out of this one?  I doubt he can take down all of Augustine’s goons while keeping Winona and baby safe, but I also don’t know how he can get out of it without giving up Drew and ending his career as a Marshal.  When given the impossible choice between a rich, long future and a penniless, short one, Boyd chose Ava.  Will Raylan choose Winona?  He’s never chosen her over work before.  The writers have their work cut out for them with this one.

Steven: I DID call it, didn’t I?  So this is what it feels like to be right!  Surprisingly unsettling…

I may have had a premonition about this week’s episode, but I have no idea what’s supposed to happen next week.  I do hope that Winona is saved by Boyd’s plotting against the Detroit boys though.  This week we saw the Marshal’s involvement with Shelby-Drew saved Ellen-Mae from Colt/Boyd.  There’s a certain Mexican standoff quality to how resolutions come about in Harlan.  There’s always the two groups of bad dudes and then the Marshals.  It’s very un-Walker Texas Ranger in that the conflict is complex and therefore the resolutions must be complex.  Instead of two sides fighting against one another there’s mutual cooperation and hostility between all three groups.  Again, I have to point out the realism here, which demonstrates again and again that while there is occasionally a dirty cop, there is never loyalty among thieves, and that  disloyalty is frequently the reason that bad dudes’ plans don’t succeed.

Susan: Speaking of bad dudes, we lost Colt this week.  I was very unsettled by that.  Johnny is still tied to a chair in his beloved bar, alive and talking out of turn, acting like the first class idiot he has always been.  Why do we lose tough, enigmatic, brutal Colt and let Johnny the cockroach scuttle along?  I guess it’s interesting that Tim shot him.  I guess it’s interesting that Colt went out cool, smoking a cigarette and owning his expiration date.  I guess it’s interesting that Tim and Cassie continue to have a connection.  I guess.  I just miss Colt.

Also, did you find it weird that Tim took Colt’s sunglasses after he shot him?  I got an instant – he’s a serial killer!  He’s taking a trophy! – vibe from it, but that’s probably just because I watch Dexter.  Is it an army thing?

Steven: To take a man’s sunglasses?  It’s been a while since I read Hemingway… but I don’t think so.  It is very utilitarian though.  Maybe Tim just likes to use every part of the dead criminal like the Native Americans used the buffalo.

I am also sad that Colt is gone, but I think it’s difficult to keep characters like him around.  On Revenge, he would turn out to be an impossible to kill plot-driver, but here in the realistic realm of Harlan, characters who have no limits end up losing to their own rashness.  If you want to survive in this show, you have to be calculating and careful, or incredibly lucky in the mode of Johnny.  (That guy should be triple-dead by now.)

Susan: This is what Graham Yost had to say about the sunglasses:

“It was something that they came up with, and we left in. I was unsure about it, but if they’ve got a passion for it, let’s do it. Those sunglasses were something that Colt always wore outside. We needed him not to wear them in the church, because we needed to see his eyes in the final scene, but they were kind of identified with him. It’s something that both these veterans would understand and that goes back to WWII and long before that, which is the taking of a souvenir, a memento.”

Aha!  I knew it was a military thing.  Suck it, Miller!

Steven: Oh no, you were right!  I did know that they took the pistols of Nazis when they killed them, but I guess I thought that was because Lugers were just good guns.  It does add a certain amount of poetry to it, not that it wasn’t already poetic enough–that last smoke, the line about quitting today as if death were the only way to flee his addictions, and how he identified Mark’s death as having happened back in the sandpit, foreshadowing his own.

I too wanted to keep Colt around for another season, but I think he went out well.

Susan: Next week’s episode is being billed as a “special event.”  That’s got to be code for someone dies, right?  I’m so worried about Winona and the resulting effect on Raylan.  It would make sense for them to kill Winona, since she’s busy with The Following and Raylan doesn’t really have room in his show to be a Daddy.  Still, the sting from it would be monumental, because Raylan has pretty much made every single choice to seal Winona’s fate.  He didn’t fill out the mysterious paperwork that protects the little one in case something happens to one of them.  He didn’t take his mandatory suspension to go spend time with Winona. Instead, he negotiated his suspension with his boss to get one more day in Harlan, doing something that Tim and Rachel could easily have handled.  What is it that Raylan said earlier this season? “If you meet an asshole in the morning, you met an asshole.  If you meet assholes all day, maybe you’re the asshole.”  Raylan has been a real jerk all season long to pretty much everyone he runs into, and they keep calling him on it.  The writers are doing a lot of work to point out that our fates are determined by our choices.  Raylan keeps choosing work over family, and by the end of next week, it could be that work is the only choice he has left.

As for Boyd and Ava, they’ve got their own problems next week with the whole matter of moving Delroy’s body before Cassie and Ellen May tell the authorities what they know.  I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s not going to go well either.  Could both of our leading men be without leading ladies next season?  That certainly would qualify as a “special event.”

Steven: I hope they don’t kill off Winona or Ava, but especially Winona.  There’s just something terribly unsettling about killing a pregnant woman.  It always reminds me of Seven, and that final scene–“What’s in the box??”

I agree that the writers have been setting up this inevitability all season, and it really would be the greatest consequence that Raylan’s poor attitude and priorities could finally cause.  Would it be enough to make him reform, or would he spend the next season being constantly drunk and in real risk of losing his badge?

My hope is that Ava will get off with a slap on the wrist–lose all their money or position in Harlan, but not her life–and that Winona will survive but be so fed up with Raylan that she moves to France or somewhere.  That way the actress can move along and next season can be sans a lil’ Marshal, but nothing permanent or character destroying happens.

Next week – the season 4 finale of Justified.  Make sure to tune in live so that the networks know we’re watching and want more time in Harlan.  I’m not ready to leave this wacky world yet.  Stay frosty, y’all.


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