Justified Review: Not The Bad Guy

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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.

Raylan's Battle

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?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (189 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


I am from Canada so we have to catch it on the rebound on the internet. This is by far the best show on the tube. Tim Olyphant and Walton Goggins together are incredible. You know one represents the law the other a bad guy yet you want them to be friends. How is that for acting! The last episode was incredible, Givens walking away from the massacre was priceless! Boyd facing the inevitable was hard, Ava getting arrested was hard but there is an out here. The character was coming at her with a knife so self defense is a legitimate defense here. It just remains to be seen what will happen. Hell January is too far off!


I don't wish to be mean, but this is possibly the worst review I have ever read. I am scouting out some shows to watch. At the end of this review I have absolutely no idea what the hell it is about, anything about the characters, plot or genre even. All you have done is thrown in a few spoilers if I get around to watching it.


The review captured my feelings about this season and expressed the tension and edge of your seat, hit the fan moments. The comments about the little throw away line is dead on. Constable Bob got the tar kicked out of him by Yolow(sp) and Raylan prononce Yoolow's name wrong and Patton Oswald corrected him...you know, just for the record. So the mob knew Constable Bob had killed Yowlow. Cracked me up. Bob's Go bag. C'mon with a 30 round clip AK-47, Bob killed that house and no one else died. Tevo'd the entire season. Do you think they will sell those million dollar bills for souvenirs?


Justified has been a great season, wish Arlo was still with us though. The best episode for me was when they were holed up in the high school and got Shelby on the train, funny episode with great action and acting.

Beverly brooks

I love all of Justified. The writing is terrific, I consider one of the best on cable tv. So much better than any of those silly comedies that is currently on network tv. The way Raylan took care of the Nicky problem was great and so original. The way Raylan and Winona took out the bad guys was so slick. Raylan deserves her. Boyd and Ava just can't catch a break. The one comment Ava made about moving dead bodies came back to haunt her for sure.


Justified is right there with Breaking Bad as the best on TV, and this season in particular was just excellent. Writing, acting, directing, all of it is top notch.
The finale was fantastic, especially with Raylan taking care of his family and Boyd watching his fall apart. Those two characters are downright fascinating, Olyphant and Goggins are just the best. Joelle Carter has been really great too.
A perfect season, can't wait until January.


Most. Awesome. Show. EVER. Justified writers, please, PLEASE let things end happily for Boyd & Ava??


Justified is simply the best show on TV, and has been since the beginning.


I was hooked during the very first episode and haven't missed one since. Justified is the one show I look forward to each week. Last night was perhaps the best season finale I have ever watched. IMHO, the best line was when the thug said that Winona told them they had a chance to live if they left before Raylon arrived. There is not enough space or words to describe just how good Justified is and it is heads and shoulders above anything else on television. One thought occured to me last night. Raylon Givens reminds me of Will Cain in High Noon in many ways. He knows what needs to be done and he does it. And, Raylon is definitely not a metro-sexual male and that is one of the greatest aspects of the character. Justified really is a man's TV series.


So glad my death-predictions didn't come true: 1)Art - all that talk of retiring, riding off into the sunset; I really thought they were setting us up.
2)Ava - new house, dairy queen, engaged; I guess they were setting us up to dash those dreams, but at least they didn't kill her.
3)Shelby/Drew - Just thought he'd go down at some point.
4)Duffy - I thought he would come after Boyd for bypassing him to get Drew, and of course that Boyd would take him out. Glad that didn't happen. Duffy is a lot of fun.
5)Rachel - I didn't really predict that they'd kill her. I'm just always worried about it, because they don't spend enough time on her character IMO. Excellent season! Best show on TV, by far! One one complaint - no Dewey Crowe for Raylan to kick around. Maybe next season.

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