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Justified ended its six-year run on Tuesday night with a finale that was a damned near perfect microcosm of what the show was about.
Spoiler alert: Yes there are spoilers here so stop if you have not seen it yet.
The show itself is part of a golden age of TV. The last few years has brought us Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and a slew of other near-great shows. Non-network TV allows writers and actors to take chances and delve into subjects that the big boys will not.
|Raylan did get to kill one more character (FX photo)|
Some scenes truly stood out. In the end, it was Boyd who killed Avery and his minions, when it looked all along like it was headed for a showdown with Raylan. And of course, that led to the Boyd/Raylan showdown we waited for six years to happen.
And unpredictably, Boyd would not participate. It was a fitting and surprising moment.
The incredibly greasy and unlikeable Boon did draw on Raylan, however. And it was another moment that we didn't really see coming.
Moments before the showdown, the "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" music plays as Raylan and Ava are driving. Then Boon hits the car from behind and they face off in the street. Raylan kills Boon, but is also shot and appears dead.
For a moment, you actually thought that was the end for Raylan. It was perfectly set up. But he was merely grazed. Ava escapes, Raylan says his goodbyes (including an incredibly powerful scene with Art) and the timeframe ends.
It then jumps ahead four years to an epilogue, which rarely works with a show. But this one did. The presumed main characters are back where they started. Raylan is in Florida doting on his daughter. Boyd is in jail and back to preaching.
The characters who truly moved on are the females -- Ava and Winona. Ava has escaped and is in hiding in California, presumably with a chunk of the missing money. (The rest, we presume, is with the ultimate cockroach of the show, Wynn Duffy). Winona has a new man who seems to get along with Raylan and is living a normal life.
In the end, it might have been Ava and Winona who were driving the show all along, and Raylan and Boyd were the bit characters.
The scene with Raylan and Ava was charming and closed the door on their relationship, with the big reveal being Boyd's chunky son, which evokes yet another snarky line from Raylan.
And the final scene was pure gold. Raylan and Boyd one more time, with Raylan pretending to fall back on their old code to outsmart his nemesis once again to make Boyd think Ava is dead.
A few things are left to our imagination, notably whether or not Loretta becomes the queen of Harlan County. But those are good things to speculate on, and the shows final moments were simply perfect. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins brought the characters to life like few ever have.
It was filled with emotion. Snark. Great acting. Just like all six seasons. The show ended at a perfect time with a result that was neither forced nor unbelievable.
The characters we love most all left Harlan alive, and went right back where they started. The six years in between marked a wonderful ride for all of us, one that will eventually be remembered as one of the best shows in a golden age of television.