Yes, I’m going out of order this week. Better Call Saul‘s season finale can wait.
There’s no way the Justified writers can possibly wrap up the series in a coherent manner next week, unless the show is at least two hours long. In a way, that’s fitting. But I feel cheated in advance. Even with time at a premium, the show still devotes time to stray characters we’ve never met before, like the doomed guy carjacked and then killed by Boyd.
It is a pivotal scene, even though I don’t know what Doomed Guy was hoping to achieve with all the flattery, if he really believed he was doomed. There may be some significance to the guy he mentioned, but I doubt it, as the mention seemed more an excuse for Boyd to give his “outlaw” speech. And then he badly wounds but apparently doesn’t kill Constable Bob, which sets up the main scene of the episode, the nighttime showdown between Raylan and Boyd.
That scene is literally and symbolically dark. Raylan gets off a meta joke about Boyd (and Walton Goggins’) very white teeth, but mostly it’s a talking and shooting match between the men, with Boyd taunting Raylan for his obsessive quest to kill him. He name drops the past and the possible future, his baby daughter, to no real effect. In fact, Raylan’s responses are more chilling in their way than Boyd’s outlaw speech, because Raylan genuinely doesn’t seem to care about anything, or anyone, except killing Boyd. His daughter, he says, will grow up like everyone else, alone.
Now some of this chatter is tactical maneuvering, as Boyd talks to try to figure out Raylan’s location, and Raylan is determined to avoid distractions. By this time, the writers have pretty much killed off any sympathy we might have for Boyd. He kills or betrays anyone, ally or bystander, and it’s gotten worse this season as he keeps pressing to get his hands on the money. Raylan is a more ambiguous figure, but his pent-up anger is as much a part of his character as his wisecracks and cowboy hat. He’s not going to run off with a share of the $10 million, I remain confident, but he also is acting like a man who has nothing to lose – when it sure seems like he has a lot to lose. Only the calls of injured Constable Bob finally lure him away from the gunfight, and he takes Bob to the hospital – where he is promptly surrounded by deputies.
Meanwhile, Avery Markham is finally living up to his billing as a fearsome villain. He’s got corrupt cops working for him and capturing the hapless Ava (who does drop Dewey’s necklace in the grass, where it presumably will be found by someone who will recognize it in the finale), who plan to bring her to him. Markham shoots Loretta’s boyfriend/bodyguard to death after Boon just winged him and found the whole thing amusing. He forces Loretta to talk her way out of death, and then is impressed when she makes a good case for herself. (I never really worry about Loretta. I have always been convinced she will survive.) And, of course, he wants the $10 million.
But so does Wynn Duffy. He wants one big score too, and is making arrangements to acquire a dog grooming van – paying for it with Katherine’s tennis bracelet and engagement ring that was inside the toothpaste tube he showed the federal prosecutor – after lying to his face about who killed his boss (him). Wynn is as detestable as the other criminals, but it’s almost impossible to dislike him.
Zachariah meets his demise, failing to shoot Boyd when he arrives, then blowing himself up in a bid to kill him. While Boyd looks to be injured, it’s safe to say he will be up and around for the finale, but almost certainly not at the end.
There are a few stray details, some of which might matter. Who was Ava calling? And where is the money? Ava has a little of it in that backpack, but most of rest of it must still be up at that cabin where Zachariah blew himself up. Perhaps he and Ava buried it. The money didn’t leave by itself.