The showdown between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder is coming. But who will be left standing by the time Justified ends…
These are the two characters I’ve been looking forward to facing off as the series winds down to its conclusion. Sure, their paths have crossed and they’ve had some mini head-to-heads, but Justified Season 5 put their inevitable confrontation on hold what with the Florida Crowes coming to Kentucky.
But Justified Season 6 Episode 1 makes it very clear the main focus will be on Raylan and Boyd and that everything is coming to an end.
It’s interesting to see just how self-aware the premiere episode is with all the talk of Harlan practically a remnant of what it used to be, of moments in the past (like Ava and Raylan’s discussion about his return in Justified Season 1) and the recognition of things all wrapping up.
Whether that’s neatly done or in bloody fashion (probably) will soon be told.
Of course, with it being the final season, all bets are off when it comes to the fate of the characters.
We all would like to assume Raylan would probably draw down Boyd in an epic gunfight and come out victorious, because the cool badass cowboy hat-wearing hero can’t lose. So to get a conversation between Raylan and Art (glad to see that even with Rachel’s new position, he’s not completely gone) on the possible outcomes – one being Raylan not winning – added to that self-aware aspect that the show is ending says something.
Could Raylan wind up dead? In prison? Not defeating Boyd?
I’d like to think he would succeed (his determination to get Boyd was definitely felt throughout the hour… after all, he put his family on hold for this one last job) but it’s that uncertainty that adds a bit of excitement and tension to what’s coming.
That’s even with respect to Ava in what move she might make. She’s caught between these two men, but which direction she might go seems up in the air. Will she help Raylan? Boyd? She’s definitely stuck in a difficult position, but I’m just glad that she’s not playing Orange is the New Black anymore.
At the same time, I love the addition of actor Garret Dillahunt to the series. It’s such a small moment in the premiere – trying to buy Raylan’s land – but it’s intriguing and mysterious and makes me want to know more about his character and how it will all tie in with the larger Raylan and Boyd battle.
Of course, the hour continued Justified’s top notch writing and acting, providing a bit of comedy (Raylan smacking the one guy in the face and then saying it was the U.S. Marshals or Dewey Crowe just being Dewey Crowe), action (the bank job) and engrossing conversations between the characters.
While the episode definitely felt like it was setting things up, putting all the key pieces into place before really kicking into the final game, it was that quieter pacing that really made Dewey’s death such a shock. And maybe with all the self-aware conversations I should have seen it coming, what with Dewey talking about wanting the past and Boyd telling him times have changed, but that gunshot bang surprised me.
But I’m not surprised Boyd made the move. He’s in the final stretch and needs to be able to have that group he can trust. Dewey just isn’t on that list.
This was such a positive way to start things off for Justified Season 6, and I can only see things ramping up for what should be a fantastic ending that's sure to close out with a bang.
What did you think of the premiere? Who will win the Raylan/Boyd battle? Sound off below, and be sure to catch the final season premiere again when you watch Justified online now.
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.