Justified Season 5 Review Episode 13: Restitution


Raylan talks with Kendall


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Justified Season Five Review: Restitution -Miss this episode? Watch it here

By Penny Clift

This season of Justified has been a hodge podge of meandering storylines and head scratching plots.  But here we are at the end and finally some of the storylines come together.  This episode lays the groundwork for the last season and it proves me right.  We have spent the last five seasons heading to a Raylan and Boyd showdown.  Rather ironic since we had that showdown in Season One.   Rather unfortunately, Boyd survived that encounter and made Justified a different show.

Compared to former season finales, Restitution falls short.  It does not deliver the tension nor the excitement of the past finales.  Its sole purpose is tying up all the endless stories the writers have tried to weave this season.

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Let’s see how it all plays out for our characters.

The Crowes

Thankfully the Crowes have flown the coop.  This bunch was never worthy of a whole season as antagonists for Raylan.  They are dumb, crude and inept.  A little bit of Crowe goes a long way.

Darryl dying by Wendy’s hand is supposed to shock us I would guess but given this clan’s penchant for killing each other it really doesn’t.  Raylan set this one up and got his restitution without firing a shot.  Cold but effective.  Art’s would be assassin paid the ultimate price.

I did have a few problems with the belief factor.  Given Darryl’s character, I find it hard to believe he confessed to Wendy.  He seemed suspicious of her as soon as she entered the room.  Confession didn’t strike me as one of Darryl’s weak points.

Justified Restitution Raylan Kendall

Raylan Talks with Kendall

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This episode did give us one of the best scenes of the season.  Raylan’s chat with Kendall was classic Justified.  Not only does Raylan show Wendy how wrong she is about Kendall, he gives us a glimpse into himself.  His story about Arlo forcing him to shoot the pig, is both poignant and heartbreaking.  Raylan is a man damaged from childhood.  His resentment and anger at his father made him the man he is today.  Even Raylan isn’t sure if he became a marshal because he didn’t want to be like his father or if he did it because he knew his father would hate it.

justified restitution raylan kendall 2

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Raylan looks across the table at Kendall and he sees himself.  Both trapped by their circumstances growing up and both hating the world in which they found themselves, surrounded by cruelty and killing and knowing it is not who they want to be.

I believe Raylan wants to give Kendall the same chance for a different life that his Aunt Helen gave him.  It was a wonderful scene and Timothy Olyphant played it beautifully.   Olyphant portrays more emotion with a look than Walton Goggins can portray in 3 pages of flowery dialogue.  He lets you see into Raylan’s soul with an expression.  If they only send one scene for Emmy consideration, this should be the one.

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Thank goodness the Orange is the New Black, portion of the show is over.  I hated this storyline.  It made no sense from Ava never having a trial to a murder a day in prison.  The story was out of place and did not flow with the rest of the show.

Ava is out thanks to Raylan.   She keeps him informed of Boyd’s activities and she remains free.  I hope Raylan doesn’t trust her too much.  Ava is disillusioned with Boyd after he seemingly abandoned her to her fate.  Time will see if that feeling lasts.

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Rachel and Tim

This episode saw more of Marshals Rachel and Tim than the entire season.  They get lured into an ambush by Boyd in an attempt to save his own life.  I found it a little too easy that all the cartel gunmen obliging stepped out onto the porch to be shot.

Boyd seems to have angered Rachel as she vows to him she will take him down.  There is the start of Season Six.

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Art is recovering in the hospital when Raylan pays him a visit.  Art expresses surprise that Raylan is still there since his transfer to Florida came through.  This seems to hit Raylan hard.  You can see that the fact Art actually put his transfer through hurts Raylan.  Raylan starts to say something but decides against it.  Art at least thanks Raylan for bringing Darryl to justice.


Boyd spends the episode spouting flowery dialogue and trying to save himself.  Of course, everyone around him dies including Jimmy.  But as usual Boyd manages to stay alive, ironically by texting Raylan.

For the life of me I can not understand why the show’s creators decided to throw their hero under the bus to create some kind of romantized folk gangster.  Boyd is a cold blooded murderer among other things.  He can spew his line of BS all day long and it doesn’t change his character.

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I have to wonder about people who root for Boyd.  Do we really want the murdering drug dealer to come out on top because he talks like he is in a Shakespeare play?  What does that say about us.  Especially in today’s climate of violence, I would hope the hero we root for is the one on the right side of the law.  Say what you want about Raylan, he doesn’t tolerate murderers.

Raylan threw up the first time he killed a man.  I dare say I doubt if Boyd had the same reaction.

Boyd is coming full circle it seems and is going back to robbing banks.  Damn seems like we are going back to Season One.

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Raylan took care of Darryl Crowe and seems to be done in Kentucky, but then gets drawn back in by Rachel’s drive to take Boyd down.  I just don’t see Boyd as that big of a prize.  Small time gangster at best, but then we knew this was where we were headed.

Raylan seemed to actually be looking forward to joining Winona and his baby daughter.  Much to our surprise Winona actually wants him there.  It was a sweet scene between them.

This season has mostly relegated Raylan to the sidelines.  Each season has seemed to focus a little more on Boyd and a little less on Raylan and that is a shame.  Graham Yost created a series introducing us to one of Elmore Leonard’s coolest characters, Raylan Givens.  A cowboy hat wearing gun slinging cowboy who drew a line in the sand and heaven help you if you crossed it.  He was charming, wry, funny and cool under pressure.  He would chat with the bad guy right up until the time he shot him.  I fell in love.  A hero with flaws.  The coolest lawman since Dirty Harry.

But instead of leaving us with the coolest lawman to ever stroll across our screen, they decided to elevate Boyd Crowder to star status.  Walton Goggins may very well be a great actor, but that does not justify the damage done to Justified by keeping him alive.  By keeping his character in the story, it compromised the show.  The show lost its focus and lost its way, each season becoming less and less about Raylan and more about hillbilly crime lords.   In trying to top each season’s bad guy, they sacrificed the hero we loved and the story that Justified should have told.

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Next season the showdown will begin.  Justified has actually ask who you are rooting for Boyd or Raylan.  I am on record to say if Boyd wins out over Raylan, what a sad day that will be.  Evil wins over good.  Boyd the serial killer rides off into the sunset and Raylan dies.  What is the moral of that story?

My advice to the writers don’t go there.  For one thing they have no right to kill Elmore Leonard’s character.  Only Elmore had that right and Raylan was alive and kicking when Elmore passed away.  And secondly if they kill Raylan, the fans might have to hunt them down for a little Raylan restitution. (wink wink)

The perfect last scene should be a mirror of the scene in Season One, Episode One.  Raylan walking through the airport, back in Florida.  Only this time Winona and his baby daughter are there to meet him.  Full circle.

Favorite Lines

Raylan to Darryl – Didn’t I tell you you were going to wish I would kill you.  Well don’t you?

Raylan to Winona – Gdam she is beautiful.

Tell us your thoughts on this season in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “Justified Season 5 Review Episode 13: Restitution

  1. I’m usually sad to see the current season of Justified end, but I found myself sighing a bit in relief instead. I love Timothy Olyphant and he plays Raylan Givens like no one else could, but the writing this year was whacky and confusing at best. I watch the show because of Tim, and I want to see a LOT of him in every episode, not every other crazy redneck they can dig up!

    I’m not a Boyd Crowder fan, but thought it interesting in Season One that they didn’t kill him as they did in the short story “Fire in the Hole,” and thought that he would be a good on-going adversary for Raylan. There are moments when he can be witty, clever and charming and I’ve often loved the banter between him and Raylan. But you’re right, this season they made him almost the sole focus of the show, with the weirdest, most confusing storyline in the history of television. He blows people away, literally, with no noticeable conscience and therefore must be brought down. Not sure why this became Rachel’s crusade, but I guess it had to be someone’s since Art is still in the hospital.

    All I can say is they better not kill Raylan in Season Six or I will start my own revolt! I like your final scene setting, and I would add one thing: before he heads to Florida, he goes to Aunt Helen’s house and kicks over his own tombstone. That damn thing has haunted me since the moment I saw it in the first episode!

    Thanks for the great reviews this year. I really enjoy your website and keeping us up-to-date on all of Timothy’s appearances, projects, etc. Here’s to a better season of Justified next year!

  2. I have to admit that I have not yet seen Season 5. However, after the promise of Season 4, where Raylan gets a round of applause from his workmates, and they were talking about him getting promotion, to Season 5 where Raylan’s life seems to have spiralled down out of control, I have some serious trepidation about Season 6.

    I am afraid I do agree with you that Boyd has assumed far too much of a role in what is supposed to be Raylan’s story. The very first thing we see Boyd do, after blowing up the church, is randomly shoot a man in the back of the head. When told he didn’t need to do that, his response is ooops. He’s a stone cold killer.

    Raylan is not a saint, he’s a complicated man, with flaws, and sometimes he does things that are dumb; but Raylan has compassion, he has feelings, he might have some social issues because of his upbringing, but Raylan is capable of great empathy and kindness. His response to his first time shooting a man is to throw up. His response to shooting Boyd at Ava’s house is actually a deep sorrow (Tim’s performance there was so beautifully subtle and well judged), you feel that however backed into a corner Raylan was, he did not want to pull the trigger on the man he dug coal with. You could see the pain and sorrow on his face as he broke that sacred bond. It hurt.

    Another wonderful example of the man that Raylan really is, is the pursuit of Rolly Pike in Season 1 Ep 4. The FBI and the cops go chasing off after a red herring, but Raylan sits down with the elderly grandfather and politely and respectfully coaxes the real story out of him. He allows the old man to keep his dignity. Like when he gives Loretta his card and a phone, he sees her lost in the wilderness, and maybe that isn’t what he was supposed to do legally, but he gave a young girl a lifeline (Another beautifully judged performance by Tim, who is at his best in the quiet moments. Seriously, there are few actors that have his gift for stillness. Trust me when I say that this affords him a depth and credibility that some of his peers lack.)

    Boyd kills casually, without any kind of feeling. The killing of Billy St. Cyr perfectly illustrates this. Boyd’s weapon is the rattlesnake, which he dug out of the rocks. As analogies go, the rattlesnake is a great one. Boyd is like the rattlesnake, you know the old joke about sharks and lawyers and professional courtesy. That is what we have here.

    I have absolutely no doubt that Walton Goggins is a great actor. His Shane Vendrell in The Shield was the main reason I tuned in week after week. It’s a powerhouse of a performance, and wrings every single amount of emotion from a terrible situation. But Shane was on the slippery slope to ruin as much through his partner as his own actions. Boyd is an entirely different kettle of fish.

    I want to see Raylan walk away from Kentucky with a future. I don’t think Art has been entirely fair to Raylan over the Augustine business. Whilst it’s true that Raylan could have turned to his colleagues, when did they really show him that he could? In the four seasons that I have seen, it is Wynn Duffy who actually expresses condolences over Arlo’s death, and it was Tim who dragged Raylan out of the office to have a different conversation with Duffy, when Raylan was struggling to come back after being shot. Art was actually pretty cold to Raylan there. Though that was the hangover from what Winona did in season 2.

    Unlike many I think that Raylan and Winona is a bad idea. She has left him four times. You know she is going to leave him again. She is unable, unwilling or just plain dis-interested in what is going on with Raylan.

    But the outcome of Season Six should be Raylan returning to Florida; getting away from Kentucky. Many of the things that happened were a direct result of Raylan’s presence. He didn’t even need to do anything, just his being there was a trigger. Him being blamed for that never sat right with me.

    So I am rooting for Raylan all the way.

    • I agree with you on all points. I believe that Timothy Olyphant can give a more powerful performance with a look than Walton Goggins can do with 3 pages of over the top dialogue.
      I agree that Raylan’s co-workers have been less than supportive. They range from jealousy to suspicion. I find it a flaw in the story that much was made of Raylan getting a promotion and no mention of the promotion in season five. What changed?

      I agree that Raylan he has compassion for everyone even the criminals that he is forced to bring down. One example I love is from Season Three when Tanner steps on a land mine and eventually blows up. Raylan returns to Tanner’s mother’s house and hooks up her TV that she is waiting for her son Tanner to install for her. Tanner’s mother was rude and unhelpful to Raylan and yet he still felt for her enough to help her. I felt that scene showed a lot of Raylan’s character.

      I also agree that Winona is not my choice for Raylan. She is not exactly a stand by your man woman. However, I still feel he should be back in Florida with his daughter. I truly hope that the writers of this show do not have the nerve to kill off the hero of the story, Raylan.

      If you read FX’s tweets on twitter they are 99% about Boyd. I believe it is FX’s drive for the writers to create interesting and unusual villains that have ruined the direction of the show. Interesting villains are fine but the hero should not be overshadowed by them. Unlike the Boyd and Ava followers I would not shed a tear for either if they should come to their demise in Season Six. Stone cold killers both.

      Keep visiting our site on Timothy Olyphant. We will keep you updated on what Tim is doing. We will be doing reviews of Season Six and Justified discussions. Thanks for visiting.

  3. I never really felt that Art wanted Raylan around. Right from the get go, he seemed to view Raylan as a disruptive nuisance who was going to cause Art paperwork. His description of Raylan to his colleague (in season 4) seems entirely dismissive of several fairly pertinent facts. Namely, no one bothered to find out if Raylan’s presence in Harlan was just going to set a match to a powder keg (it did) given the family history. Art had to have been aware that Givens was a name of interest if they were investigating Crowder’s activities. Raylan was often the catalyst for situations because he is Raylan Givens, not because he’s in anyway dishonest. Yet Art implied that Raylan was almost constantly under investigation for being a bad marshal. The overriding impression you take away with you from four seasons (yet to see season 5) is that Raylan is pretty much on his own. The only back up he can actually rely on is himself. No wonder he doesn’t ask for help, he doesn’t think he will get it. Witness that moment that he tells the rest of them that Arlo died. Art shoves him out the door, and there were all these cracks about taking the heavy lifting and letting his colleagues do the job. No wonder Raylan standing alone at the elevator sheds an inconvenient tear. He’s utterly alone.

    I do think that Raylan should be allowed to put the heartbreak of Kentucky behind him, because it has been a heartbreak; and the writers should give the audience a hope for the future. Raylan is a good man, he doesn’t always do the right thing, but he tries so hard to make things right, and a good man should not die because the writers are more interested in the charismatic villain. It sends a lousy message, and what’s the point of having a hero if you are going to destroy him.

    Tim is a wonderful actor. I could watch him all day and never be bored, or feel unconvinced. He has a quality of stillness and can do so much with looks and body language, which lesser actors cannot. If Clint Eastwood and Cary Grant had a love child, that love child is Timothy Olyphant. If they ever made a remake of North By Northwest, Tim would be completely perfect in the Cary Grant role, he has that charm and intelligence, and subtly deprecating wit, overlaying a stubborn resoluteness to get the job done… and he can convey all these qualities wordlessly. He is one of the few modern actors working today that I would pay good money to watch regardless of what he is in. He always gives good value.

  4. SJ – I love your Clint Eastwood/Cary Grant love child analogy. That is dead-on! I have never been so completely taken with an actor’s performance than I have with Tim, in almost everything he has done. I started watching Justified because I remembered him from Live Free or Die Hard, and wanted to see what he would be like as a hero instead of a villain. His drop-dead gorgeous looks were no small part of why I started watching, too, but his superb performances just make him even hotter and more appealing.

    From there I’ve tried to watch pretty much everything he’s been in, and my respect for his acting ability just continued to grow. You’re absolutely right – he is one of the very few actors that can convey any type of emotion with just a look, never needing to say a word.

    And the fact that he is personally so down-to-earth and seems to be a dedicated husband and father, just makes him even that much more lovable as a person. I like the fact that he views what he does as a job, and goes home to his family each night, instead of buying into all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. There are very few actors who seem to be able to do this, and I am glad he is one of them.

    I’m looking forward to his new movie coming out in the fall, “This Is Where I Leave You.” It sounds like that character is different from everything else he has ever done, and I can’t wait to see what he does with it. Perhaps an Oscar nomination is in order!

    And as for Justified, I will be sad when it is over. I will miss Raylan Givens, and I hope they give him a happy ending. That would be truly “justified.”

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