Synopsis of Justified 6.01 “Fate’s Right Hand” from the FX network’s Website: Raylan guides Ava through the process of informing on Boyd and tries to turn Boyd’s old ally Dewey Crowe against him as well. Boyd works to pull off a daring heist right under Raylan’s nose. Synopsis of Justified 6.01 “Fate’s Right Hand” from my cable provider’s Website: Raylan turns to Dewey Crowe to help make a new federal case against Boyd Crowder, but he is not interested. Meanwhile, Boyd begins launching new plans that will take him beyond Harlan. Okay, so that essentially tells you what you need to know regarding what the first episode of the final season of the FX network’s Justified was about (“Fate’s Right Hand,” which aired on Tuesday, January 20), so now I’ll give you my review . . . no, first, I’ll give you a quick overview (if you read it quickly) of the entire series along with my tangential comments. תומס כותב יותר מדי וחושב יותר מדי קשה. I suddenly realized something four or five years ago about my television viewing habits. I’ve been DVR-ing shows since the mid-1990s—and before 2010 I would simply watch the shows whenever I had time (and usually in the chronological order of when I DVR-ed them). However, two series debuted in 2010 that caused me to slightly change my DVR-ing habits. (Isn’t DVR, along with its various conjugations, a very odd verb?) Without consciously planning it, I soon began watching these two new series immediately after they finished recording. At times, I would even begin watching an episode while it was recording — which means I would catch up to the “live” presentation at some point as I fast-forwarded through commercials. One of those two series was The Walking Dead, which debuted in October 2010. The other was Justified, which debuted a bit earlier (March 2010) — which means Justified is the first series I loved to the extent of almost wanting to watch it while it was airing rather than wait an hour. In April 2011, I added Game of Thrones to the list of must-watch immediately shows; I have now re-watched each episode of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and I am looking forward to eventually re-watching all of Justified. Thus, these three series are not only my current favorites, they are three of my all-time favorite TV series — and Justified is the series that initiated this alteration in my DVR viewing habits. Due to my virtual love of the series, I’ve been both eager and anxious for the current season of Justified to begin. Eager because the protagonist, Raylan Givens, is like a long-lost friend who hasn’t stopped by to visit for a while. He hasn’t told me his tall-tale adventures of being a federal marshal in the poor, rural coal-mining towns in Eastern Kentucky. Anxious because I’ve known for nearly a year that this sixth season of Justified would be its last, and that I would be saying goodbye to a series that entertained me considerably over the course of five years. If you haven’t been watching Justified from the beginning, you can either “catch up” by quickly watching the first five seasons (65 episodes) or you can simply start watching it now. While character threads and subplots weave through the series, each season is mostly self-contained and can be enjoyed on its own. It’s like eavesdropping on an interesting conversation while you wait for your plane at the airport; you may not have heard the beginning of the conversation, but you can fill in the gaps and be entertained by the current antics of your fellow airport dwellers. If you choose to start watching now, here’s what you need to know: The series originated as an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard short story “Fire in the Hole.” Several of the characters, including Raylan Givens, also appeared in two of Leonard’s novels—Pronto and Riding the Rap. With such a fine pedigree, you would think the show would be worth watching — and you’d be right! Apparently, though, Leonard himself had some concerns as the series was in the planning stages. However, he, too, became a fan of the show before he died in 2013. Commenting on Timothy Olyphant’s portrayal of the show’s protagonist, Leonard said in an interview, “Raylan’s perfect, because there are not many actors who have delivered the lines the way I heard them [in my head] when I was writing them.” Such high praise from the character’s creator is worth a great deal, but I’ve always felt that Olyphant’s Raylan Givens was nearly the same character that Olyphant played in Deadwood (the best television western ever) — historical U.S. Marshal Seth Bullock. Essentially, Justified is an extraordinary “cop show” in which U.S. Marshal Givens dispenses justice in Harlan County, Kentucky in an idiosyncratic fashion — and the title refers to the favorable ruling in an officer-involved shooting that resulted in a perpetrator’s death (i.e., that the fatal shooting by the law-enforcement officer was “justified”). As you might expect from the title, Raylan has been involved in an extraordinary number of officer-involved shootings — and all of them have been ruled “Justified” (though not all of Raylan’s actions have been moral, ethical, or even legal). The mostly self-contained arc for this season centers around the final confrontation between Olyphant’s Raylan Givens and his sometimes-“friend”-but-oftentimes-enemy Boyd Crowder. This final confrontation has been the inevitable conclusion of the series since the second season. After the first season seemed to resolve the conflict between Raylan and Boyd, many fans of the show (myself amongst them) worried whether Boyd would return in the second season—but our fears were unfounded. After all, Boyd is Lex Luthor to Raylan’s Superman (a Batman analogy would be better for Raylan, but the Joker was never Batman’s “friend”). It’s been a necessary aspect of the series that Boyd’s life has kept intertwining with Raylan’s — even when Boyd’s schemes have not been part of the main story each season. Going mostly off my memory of the first five seasons, here is a quick overview of what has transpired thus far — particularly with regard to the connections between Raylan and Boyd: Season One: The first season concentrated on the entire Crowder family and their various criminal activities. Upon his return to Kentucky after being transferred from Florida by the U.S. Marshals Service, Raylan hooked up with former his former high school girlfriend, Ava Crowder, and then had to protect her from the Crowder family after she killed her husband, Bowman Crowder, in retaliation for years of physical abuse. Initially, the biggest threat to Ava’s safety came from Boyd — a white supremacist bank robber and explosives expert — and the brother of Ava’s deceased husband. However, as the season progressed, Boyd’s father, Bo Crowder, was released from prison and was determined to go after Ava. Bo was also looking to resurrect his family’s drug trafficking business. At the end of the season, Boyd helped Raylan take down Bo and save Ava — which began a tenuous friendship between the two that has continued off-and-on from season to season. Season Two: The second season concentrated on the criminal activity of the Bennett family led by family matriarch Mags Bennett. Following the death of Bo Crowder in the first season, Mags planned to expand her marijuana business into Boyd’s territory. Raylan then got involved in the struggle between Mags and Boyd, and the situation became complicated due to a long-standing feud between the Givens and Bennett families. In the end, Raylan had to work (albeit grudgingly) with Boyd to bring down the Bennett crime family, and Boyd’s position as the crime boss of Harlan County became more entrenched. Season Three: The third season introduced Robert Quarles, a mobster from Detroit, who began to muscle in on the local criminals in Harlan County. Of course, Quarles’ plans brought him into conflict with Boyd. Eventually, Quarles and Boyd confronted each other in the African American crime community at Noble’s Holler — and the confrontation led to Quarles’ death and Boyd’s further entrenchment as the main crime boss of Harlan County — albeit now with some problems with the African American crime community (which one would expect given Boyd’s White Supremacist past). Oh, a further complication for Raylan is that his father, Arlo Givens, was employed as one of Boyd’s henchmen. At the end of the season, Arlo ends up in prison. Season 4: The fourth season’s main story plays off the 1971 D.B. Cooper mystery. In this fictionalized version, the unsolved mystery dates back to January 21, 1983 when a man wearing a defective parachute fell to his death in Corbin, Kentucky with several bags of cocaine and an ID tag that read “Waldo Truth.” Raylan learned of the 30-year mystery when a garment bag was found hidden inside the kitchen wall at his father’s house; inside the bag was the “Waldo Truth” ID. Further investigation indicated that Raylan’s father, Arlo, hid the bag 30 years earlier. Meanwhile, Boyd attempted to expand his criminal empire by bringing in one of his old army buddies, Colt Rhodes, to become his local enforcer. Additionally, Boyd’s cousin, Johnny Crowder, has always resented Boyd’s success and has been scheming to remove Boyd with the help of Frankfort, Kentucky mobster Wynn Duffy. Eventually, these separate plot threads weave together as Boyd allied himself with Wynn Duffy by solving the 30-year-old parachutist mystery for Wynn (because the cocaine bags were the property of the Frankfort mafia). This alliance between Boyd and Wynn ended Cousin Johnny’s plan, and it solved the 30-year-old mystery for the U.S. Marshals Service — once again leaving Raylan slightly in Boyd’s debt. Season 5: The fifth season featured the Crowe crime family from Florida, led by Darryl Crowe, Jr. — most of whom Raylan was already familiar with due to his time as a U.S. Marshal in Florida before he was transferred to Kentucky. Upon hearing that their cousin, Dewey Crowe (one of Boyd’s dimwitted henchmen), has come into some money and is also the owner of his own whorehouse, the Florida Crowes relocated to Kentucky. The story eventually involved Boyd employing Darryl Crowe, Jr. as an enforcer and drug runner — but Darryl double-crossed Boyd on a Mexican drug deal that ended with several people being killed in the Mexican desert and the drugs being confiscated by Mexican Federales. In the end, the Florida Crowes were either imprisoned or killed — and Raylan once again owed a small debt to Boyd in getting the Crowes to justice. Okay, so that brings us up to date. After several seasons in which he has managed to evade convictions for his various crimes, the Marshals Service and the Department of Justice are finally targeting Boyd Crowder. They have decided to go after him under the RICO statutes — a decision that has caused Raylan to postpone his transfer back to Florida where a desk job and a reunion with ex-wife Winona and their infant daughter awaits him. In other words, awaiting Raylan in Florida is the promise of mundane work and domestic duties — aspects of a prosaic life that don’t match the Raylan we have come to know over the previous five seasons. Nevertheless, such a life is Raylan’s supposed plan — which means there are three obvious ways for the series to conclude at the end of this season: 1. Raylan gets his wish of having a final showdown with Boyd in a High Noon-styled standoff in the streets of Harlan — with Raylan as Marshal Will Kane (obviously) and Boyd as nemesis Frank Miller. At the end of High Noon, Kane kills Miller and then throws his badge in the dust as he leaves town to spend the rest of his days living the peaceful life of a pacifist shopkeeper with his Quaker bride. Indeed, the writers of Justified appear to have been thinking of High Noon as they plotted out this final season. 2. The likely twist on the High Noon story would be to see Boyd end up killing Raylan (a reversal in which essentially Abel kills Cain/Kane) and then leaves town with Ava to spend the rest of his days living the peaceful life of a farmer, preacher, or shopkeeper; it’s a life that Boyd offers Ava in the episode — and he seems to legitimately yearn for such a complacent life with his own estranged “bride.” By the way, Ava was released from prison after agreeing to be a Confidential Informant for Raylan regarding Boyd’s criminal schemes and activities — and the final scene of “Fate’s Right Hand” has Boyd entering Ava’s bedroom and staring at her as she slept (a scene that was preceded by a scene in which Boyd shot a faithful accomplice in the back of the head because he was merely uncertain of the man’s allegiance). 3. Finally, the series could end with Raylan and Boyd killing each other during their final showdown — as their respective women-folk watch in agonized horror, of course. One of those three scenarios is the likely ending for the series; arriving at it is going to be the fun part of this final season. Obviously, the duplicitous maneuverings and poignant character interactions are also going to be fun. In fact, this season began with a bit of duplicitous maneuvering and poignant character interaction. After an opening scene of Winona in Florida at two o’clock in the morning with her and Raylan’s wide-awake infant (and Winona wondering “Oh, Raylan, what in the world is worth missing this for?”), the episode moves into one of the expected “badass” scenes that the show excels in: * Raylan enters a cantina in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to find the Federale officer who oversaw the investigation of the fucked-up drug run and mass murder in the Mexican desert that involved Boyd and his crew near the end of last season. * Raylan’s Marshals badge doesn’t impress the Federale, and he tells Raylan it’s a good thing he doesn’t have a gun or he’d stick his Yankee ass in a Mexican prison. He then says to Raylan, “Take that worthless star and get out of my city.” * After staring each other down for a few seconds, Raylan tips his hat and responds with, “Thank you for the drink; I’ll be in touch.” Of course, Raylan didn’t mean “I’ll be in touch” as a figure of speech for “I will be contacting you through official communication channels.” No, he meant it much more literally. Thus, hours later, when the Federale leaves the cantina a bit drunk, Raylan was waiting. I won’t spoil the rest of the scene other than to say what should be obvious: It was a typical Raylan event. Raylan isn’t a badass by being the strongest, toughest, or orneriest guy around. He is strong, tough, and ornery — but there is always someone else who is stronger, tougher, or ornerier. Instead, Raylan’s edge over his competition comes from wits and cleverness — and it’s one of the main things I’m going to miss about seeing this character ten times a season. Obviously, Raylan is a contemporary version of what Kingsley Widmer refers to as “the Literary Tough Guy” that has been a staple of American literature dating back to the colonial period. However, through his wits and cleverness, Raylan is also a version of the mythological trickster figure that has appeared throughout human history and across human cultures — from Hermes to Loki to Reynard the Fox to Br’er Rabbit to Coyote (et cetera). Like the various mythological trickster figures, Raylan isn’t always operating within the law—but he lives by his own moral code that is both unwavering and entertaining. It’s part of what makes this series so great. Justified 6.01 “Fate’s Right Hand”4.2Overall ScoreReader Rating: (3 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related 3 Responses Justified 6.03 “Noblesse Oblige” - Psycho Drive-In February 10, 2015 […] one thing I did get right in my review of “Fate’s Right Hand” was my assumption that this season is partly based on the 1952 film High Noon that starred Gary […] Log in to Reply Justified 6.07 “The Hunt” - Psycho Drive-In March 9, 2015 […] Wow! That was a bit of a bombshell Winona dropped. It means Raylan won’t have to move to Miami after he guns down Boyd in the series finale in six more episodes—or it means we now have a reason for Winona to be in Kentucky for the finale scenarios I predicted in my review of “Fate’s Right Hand” (6.01): […] Log in to Reply SERIES FINALE: Justified 6.13 “The Promise” - Psycho Drive-In April 22, 2015 […] my review of the first episode of this final season of Justified, I predicted how the series would end. Here is what I […] Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.