Justified airs its third season finale tonight and, when asked what fans can expect from "Slaughterhouse," Joelle Carter was initially taken aback.
"I had to ask the writers the same thing," she joked with me on the phone. "What's gonna happen now? Didn't we already have the finale in ["Coalition"]?"
They certainly could have, considering the episode featured a death, a surprising revelation about one season three character and the cliffhanger that Robert Quarles remains at large.
But, no, this is Justified. Those sort of events take place on a nearly weekly basis, leaving fans to wonder what could possibly be on the way this week.
"Some surprises go down for all characters," Carter said, adding specifically that Ava will be "left in a place of soul searching once again, having to prove herself in the position she's in."
And that position for all of season three has been as Boyd's right-hand woman, both personally and professionally. In many ways, the Ava/Boyd relationships is one of the healthiest on TV.
"Once she made the choice to go down that road with him, she had to realize she can't change him, so she had to change a bit herself," Carter explained. "They live and die now for each other."
Carter points to a scene from "Thick as Mud" as one of her favorites from the season, when Ava approaches Boyd at the bar and shows him her bullet wound.
"That's one of the few moments you really see Boyd in a weak place. And the only person he shows it to is Ava. It's an example of how strong they are as a couple… there's such a mutual respect there. He's never treated her as anything but a partner."
It sounds like the pair will be tested in some way on the finale, however. What else can Carter tease? Anything at all? Looking back at the season two finale, she laughed and at least offered the following:
"Ava won't get shot this time."