Stars: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Jacob Pitts, Erica Tazel, Walton Goggins, Patton Oswalt | Created by Elmore Leonard, Graham Yost
The main thrust of this season has been all about finding Drew Thompson before the Detroit mob does, and while it took up almost all of the screen time thus far, they’ve still left room for littler plots to flutter about in the background allowing the story to take on a richer tone, and liven Harlan County up. And now here in this penultimate episode, they’re taking this moment to tie up the little strands for a neat little package as everything winds on down.
Everything is all about Ellen May. All the points align there.
First, the Marshals get a much different target to track down. They need Ellen because Shelby’s using her to gum up his testimony about his Drew Thompson past. It’s a fun trip from start to finish, we get to see Raylan in a much happier time learning from Winona, he’s having a daughter, and Art having to put up with his BS and still trying to give him his overdue suspension. But, Raylan’s matter in this chase isn’t the biggest part even if it’s still hilarious to see him banter with Tim and Rachel (and not to mention to see how awesome Rachel is when confronted with Limehouse’s flunkies, or nagging Raylan to finally cut his hair) and take on Boyd’s minions with little effort. His little comment when he shows up at the shooting aftermath at the church and answers the officers’ question about whether he was involved with a simple, “nope,” it still lets him leave his mark on the episode. The ending with Winona getting her chair built, and the reveal that its Augustine’s henchman, Picker gives it a nasty jolt as the episode ends.
Ellen’s been that one naggy strand hanging out there for Boyd and Ava because she’s got the prviledged information of seeing Ava kill Delroy, and they’re reaching out to prevent her from talking to anyone about that particularly incident. But, she’s still stranded with Limehouse up at Noble’s Holler, and Boyd’s ready to go to war to get her back to protect Ava. But everything becomes messy like it’s always supposed to. The mob wants to take Ellen because Shelby could use her for leverage, and they’d get easier access to him. Ava tries to take the mob’s money to Limehouse but he lets Ellen go earlier on the episode. But at least this lets us deal with Limehouse for a little while, he’s such a fun skeevy character to hang around with, but still has that menace and even more a little tenderness with letting Ellen go. And Tim getting barbeque while waiting for the police to come every inch of the Holler, well that’s funny.
But, we know it’s going to go good for Ellen and the Marshals because it has to a) put Boyd in bad sorts with the Mob (and all scenes between Goggins and O’Malley are hilarious. “I’m going to need Google translate to talk to you.” Boyd has his way with his words). and b) It has to give the element of danger to Ava and Boyd. The love they do have is rather sweet, you know for a criminal empire. Nothing that goes down about how they find her is predictable, fortunately. And the reaction of Goggins when Raylan starts to speak up on the phone when he thinks he’s talking to his henchman is priceless.
And that leads to the intense showdown at the church. It could’ve gone anywhere, but Ava not killing Ellen was no surprise. But, Colt could’ve killed her and everyone else there. But, Tim intervenes and the payoff to how they’ve given his character weight this season is in that standoff. Eldard smoking his last cigarette, and Tim blowing him away when the time comes. A particularly nice touch with the cigarette smoke puffing out between Eldard’s lips as he dies. And giving Tim that seen with Cassie allows for a nice warm coda on some dark moments for the players this season. Which is the complete converse for everything involving Boyd and Ava. They’re always ahead of the curve, and now they’re scrambling to figure out their next move. It leaves them uncertain in their lives and makes everything richer nonetheless because watching the bad guys dig their ways out is always so compelling.
Check out the rest of our Justified: Season Four reviews in our Justified Review Archive.