By Penny Clift
In the six years that Justified has graced our television screens
it has given us humor, murder,mayhem, explosions, gunfights and
tons of physical violence. The violence could be brutal,cruel and sometimes even humorous. But never has it given us
sentimental, until “The Promise”.
I feared that the finale would end in one or more of the main
characters death. That would have been wrong on so many levels.
These characters that Elmore Leonard created and Timothy
Olyphant and crew brought to life, have become like old friends.
We welcomed them into our homes every Tuesday night. We have
felt their pain and their joy. We care about them. Death
is not the way we wanted it to end. Thank you Mr. Yost and
company for giving us this wonderful episode.
The Promise wraps up the season long story line pretty quickly.
It then jumps ahead four years to show us what has become of
Raylan, Ava and Boyd. We get closure that a lot of show
finales never give the fans.
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Raylan is a changed man. No longer is he the angry man who
harbors so much hatred towards his father. Raylan has finally
found the love of his life, a beautiful little girl named Willa.
They share ice cream and conversation in the park. Winona,
as I suspected all along, could not accept Raylan as he is
and they are no longer together. Jason Gedrick makes a brief
appearance as the new man in her life.
Winona gives us a glimpse into the new Raylan when she asks
if he can pick Willa up after school on Wednesday. He says
he can and he will and she does not doubt him. Gone is the
quick draw, angry marshal. It seems Raylan is now content
to do his duty as a marshal and come home to his daugher
safely at the end of the day. I loved seeing this Raylan.
After spotting Ava’s picture in a California newspaper,
Raylan tracks his fugitive ex-girlfriend down. He has every
intention of taking her in until he meets her son, Zachariah.
She begs him not to tell Boyd about his son because she
knows Boyd would mess up his life. In the end Raylan walks
away without her.
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Boyd has took up preaching again as he serves his time
in prison. He is surprised when Raylan shows up to visit him.
Raylan tells him Ava died in a car crash 3 years earlier
under an assumed name.
The exchange between Raylan and Boyd is touching. “We dug coal
together.” “That’s Right.” I don’t believe Raylan has a friendship
with Boyd. Boyd will always be the bad guy to Raylan. I
believe the kinship he feels with Boyd is their shared beginnings.
It could easily be Raylan on the other side of the glass. Raylan was
lucky enough to have Aunt Helen, who made sure he got out of Harlan.
He rejected his father’s life where Boyd embraced the life his
father lived.They are two sides of the same coin. But for
a stroke of luck, they could exchange places.
The earlier action sees Art rescuing Raylan from arrest.
They join forces to find Ava. When Raylan finally tracks
Ava to the Bennett barn, he finds Boyd has killed Markham.
Boyd attempts to shoot Ava but finds he has no bullets left.
Raylan tries to force him into a shootout but Boyd refuses.
Raylan will have to kill him unprovoked. Instead Raylan
takes Boyd and Ava into custody.
As Raylan is driving Ava to Lexington, he is run down by
Markham’s sidekick, Boon. They both step out of their vehicles
straight into an old West style gunfight. Raylan shoots Boon in the
heart while Boon grazes Raylan’s scalp as he shoots a hole in his hat.
Loretta steps on Boon’s hand as he attempts to shoot Raylan again.
Raylan sits up dazed. This is the moment he realizes he has just
dodged the bullet with his name on it. This is the moment that changes him.
He is the gunslinger who knows someone younger and faster is coming his way.
In this moment of clarity, he realizes his quick draw days
are behind him.
Justified, even with all its flaws, was the best show on television.
The dialogue alone was enough to keep you entertained. The characters
were real. Some smart, some not so smart, but all human. There was
greed, anger, love, dreams, violence and duty. Even the bad guys
weren’t always all bad. They were all just playing the cards
life dealt them. We were privileged
to be able to watch the game.
I believe the story was left open to the possibility of a new
show or movie. These characters journeys are far from over.
Boyd is an escape artist. He may find out about his son yet.
Raylan might have to track his old coal mining buddy down one
more time. We can hope for it.
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Tell us what you thought of the finale in the comments below.