The crackling neo-western pulp of Justified always wore its heft and depth as casually as Raylan Givens wore his Stetson. An image from this fine, final season, from the episode “Fugitive Number One,” summed up the stakes of the series and foreshadowed its end: Raylan on one side of the frame, his silhouette cast on the other, looking the other way. He’s trying to leave a room through a clearly visible door, yet he’s called back to indulge his coal-digging soul bro nemesis, Boyd Crowder, the foul, loquacious Loki to his tempestuous, righteous Thor.
Four of Justified’s five season finales (so far) ended with the song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” a reflexive statement about the show’s home county. But executive producer Graham Yost has always viewed it instead as a question: Who will leave Harlan alive?
FX’s Western Justified ended its six-season run on Tuesday. With all the violence and conflict between Ava (Joelle Carter), Boyd (Walton Goggins), and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), the show ended in a calmer place: It’s more about the story of a friendship. Goggins joined us to talk about his thoughts on the finale. Obviously spoilers ahead…
I’ve been mentioning throughout the season that Justified, despite boasting a world populated by a host of tertiary characters that are as thoughtfully constructed as the main players, has always been a show about Raylan, Boyd, and Ava. Since the very first episode this has been a story about how the Givens and Crowder families share a history together, for better or for worse.
Elmore Leonard’s influence is all over Justified, a show that boasts an expansive ensemble cast, sharp dialogue, and plenty of shootouts. But those aren’t the only signatures of a Leonard work: It also needs its women to kick ass. Karen Sisco spars Jack Foley to a draw in Out of Sight. Jackie Brown outsmarts the guys that tried to use her and comes out on top. And Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) and Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) more than deserve spots in the pantheon of Leonard heroines after six years on screen.
Scene Unseen: Justified's Graham Yost told us about a car shootout he never filmed, so we animated it
“Pop the trunk.”
These three simple words mean more than you could know for Justified showrunner Graham Yost, who spoke to EW about a Justified shootout he didn’t have the chance to actually film.
In completely relative terms, the penultimate episode of Justified, “Collateral,” is a bit of a cool-down episode, the kind of episode that spends a bit more time ruminating before heading into what’s sure to be a bloody finale. With that said though, this is still Justified, which means that even the cool-down episodes are packed to the brim with high-stakes chases and the establishing of brand new consequences.
Spoiler alert! Sam Elliott, who plays prospective weed mogul Avery Markham on FX’s Justified, joined us again to talk about “Collateral,” the penultimate episode of the final season, and how Avery Markham is losing control of everything in his life. If you haven’t watched the episode yet you might want to stop reading right about now…
Spoiler alert! Jere Burns, who plays the motor-home loving Wynn Duffy on FX’s Justified, joined us to talk about “Fugitive Number One,” the violent, intense 11th episode of the show’s final season. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, you might want to stop reading right about now…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, just to start off, how the hell does Wynn Duffy keep surviving?JERE BURNS: So you’ve seen the episode, right?
Somehow, some way, Justified has managed to up the ante with every passing episode of its final season. Just as it looks like the show has reached its peak and might settle into a more meditative episode, one that recalibrates where each character is before the final blowout of the series finale, an episode like “Fugitive Number One” airs and lets us know that there’s no time for contemplation in the world of Justified.
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