By Penny Clift
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After watching the first episode of the final season of Justified, I surfed around the web to see what other Justified fans thought of the show. I have read several comments on different sites. Frankly, it leaves me mystified. I just don’t get it.
Comment after comment on Boyd and how they hope he survives, how charismatic he is and even calling him the anti-hero. Still others state that Raylan is due his come-uppance. They seem to hope that Raylan will be the loser in the Boyd – Raylan showdown. The romanticized outlaw, who in reality is a stone cold killer.
People think Raylan should pay for Nicky Augustine’s death. I admit that while Raylan didn’t actually kill Augustine, he stepped across a line to rid himself of Augustine. That being said, I wonder what any person would do to protect their family. Just cross their fingers and hope for the best from a ruthless killer? That isn’t Raylan. Raylan did what he thought he had to do to protect his family. Wouldn’t you? Agree or disagree with what he did, you can’t fault his motive for doing it.
Raylan is a tortured man. He is haunted by his childhood. He grew up with an uncaring, violent father. He lost his mother. He did the one thing in life he thought would make him different from a criminal father – he became a lawman. Raylan sees justice in black and white. You are a good guy or a bad guy. That is not to say he doesn’t have empathy for the bad guy. He understands them more than most, growing up as the son of a career criminal.
Justified I Come Alone Glicee Print [18×24] Raylan had the misfortune of falling in love with a woman, who is not exactly a stand by your man type. Winona seems to bail at the first sign of trouble. She thinks she wants a nine to five guy and Raylan will never be that guy. Winona can’t accept Raylan for who he is and yet she can’t stay away from him. Raylan is left with no real support or comfort in his life. So he does the only thing he knows, he pursues the bad guys.
Boyd on the other hand chose to follow his family into a life of crime. He craves power. He is a chameleon. He has the gift of speech. He thinks he can charm the birds out of the trees. Boyd is gifted at gathering a following of less than intelligent miscreants. They feed his narcissistic personality. It doesn’t matter if it is a band of neo Nazis or a gang of drug dealers as long as they follow his lead.
Boyd is a sociopath. He has no conscience. There is no right or wrong, just what is best for
Boyd at the time. He has ruthlessly committed cold blooded murder multiple times. In the first episode he shoots his accomplice in the back of the head while having a conversation with him. He becomes obsessed with the idea that he can outdraw Raylan while sitting at the table. That didn’t turn out well for him.
Prison brought an epiphany to Boyd. He turned to God. He recruited a new group of misguided followers. This effort ended in disaster and the death of all his followers. After that he resumed his criminal activities leaving a trail of murder and destruction behind him.
Boyd’s body count is much higher than Raylan’s. He killed a defenseless old man on his sick bed. He shot and killed Devil, his accomplice in the drug trade. He murdered unarmed cousin, Johnny Crowder, as well as several Mexican drug smugglers. He arranged the murder of an old man in a nursing home. He attempted to have simple minded Ellen Mae murdered at Ava’s urging. He murdered the tent preacher with a rattlesnake. The list goes on and on.
In between killing people Boyd managed to fit in bank robbery, blowing up churches, running a brothel and selling drugs. Charismatic indeed.
As for the Romeo and Juliet story of Boyd and Ava, I don’t recall Romeo and Juliet being partners in drug dealing, prostitution and murder. Producer Graham Yost stated that Boyd is a sociopath so we don’t know if he is really in love with Ava or if it is just something he has created in his head. I for one have no doubt that Boyd is capable of killing his lady love. He has no mercy for those he perceives as betraying him.
To sum it all up when you compare and Boyd and Raylan’s characters, Raylan is by far the more virtuous person. He may not be perfect. He is definitely a flawed human being who is carrying around a lot of emotional baggage but he still lives by a code of right and wrong. Boyd lives by his own code. He does what is in Boyd’s best interests and God help anyone who crosses him.
I am sure all the people rooting for him would not wish to have him for a neighbor. It would make for some tense neighborhood barbeques.
Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. Myself I will root for the good guy in the cowboy hat.