Justified, Season 6 Episode 1: “Fate’s Right Hand”

That was not what I expected of the final season premiere of Justified. I understand that there was a lot of setting up to do, even if we had a “Previously On…” segment that told us everything we need to know about the fifth season. Seriously, you can just watch the fifth season finale, you don’t need to watch the rest of it. Even though this premiere needed to set up the season, it was pretty good and there were some killer lines, because it’s Justified.

As Justified reaches its end, we are coming closer to the inevitable showdown between Boyd and Raylan. Boyd and Raylan are so similar and yet so different, which is what makes their past and present relationship so fascinating. But they don’t meet in this episode, so here’s where everyone’s at. Raylan went down to Mexico to talk to one of the Federales from last season so that he can find a witness who will testify to Boyd murdering someone. He found a witness, but it’s Dewey Crowe, who has just been released from prison and has filed a restraining order against Raylan personally. Ava and Boyd are living together, but their relationship is strained, which Boyd assumes to be because of Ava’s time in prison, but is actually due to her uncertainty about becoming an informant for Raylan. Ava is also drinking spirits out of coffee mugs and avoiding Raylan’s coded texts. Also Boyd is back to robbing banks because Mary Steenburgen paid him to, or something.

The bank robbing is the focus of the episode, as Boyd masterminds a plan while knowing that the Marshals are watching him by using Dewey as a distraction. In my notes, I wrote that this episode could have easily been called “Decoy”, the name of one of the greatest episodes this show has ever done. Dewey is the decoy to draw Raylan and Tim away from the bank, and when Raylan and Tim open the duffel bag full of clothes, they know that Boyd is robbing that bank. It’s a game of cat and mouse, and every player knows it, except for Dewey Crowe, which is why Dewey had to die. I was shocked by that, when I’m rarely shocked by television any more; Dewey has been one of the Harlan regulars since the beginning of the series, and I didn’t expect him to go in the season premiere. I also recognise that it’s a convenient plot development in Boyd’s favour, since Raylan was trying to induce Dewey into testifying against Boyd, which was half of the episode’s story. Even though it was a convenient death, it was a surprising one, so I can forgive the writers for that. Especially since they write such great dialogue.

There’s not much more to say about this episode, except the character I’m most intrigued by is Ava. The drinking makes sense, she didn’t exactly enjoy her time in prison, and she’s under a lot of stress for being an informant. She’s also avoiding Raylan, and when she tells Raylan she didn’t know about the bank job (true), Raylan reminds her that if she isn’t doing her job as an informant she’ll go back to prison. Ava’s worried that she can’t act for Boyd, but Raylan reminds her about how she made Bowman believe that everything was fine just before she killed him, which was discussed in the pilot. There are a few callbacks to the pilot, with Dewey telling Boyd he wanted things to be the way they used to be, just before they died.

Other thoughts:

  • There were two scenes that are designed to remind Raylan of what he’s got to lose: the first with Winona and their daughter (I don’t know her name, sorry), and then one with Art, where he expresses his frustration with having to go through the proper channels to get Boyd. Art reminds him that if it’s a quick draw, Raylan will either be dead or in prison for the rest of his life, and neither of those things will be good for his daughter.
  • Oh, an actor from Deadwood (I’ll learn his name next week) turned up to buy Arlo’s house with cash, but Raylan wouldn’t sell. I don’t know where that particular storyline is going.
  • There was, as always, some snappy dialogue, but the highlight was the exchange between Ava and Boyd, when Boyd tells Ava he wants to go away. Ava responds: “This is our home, Boyd. The home that you’re fixin’ up, and you say you want to leave?… You’re talkin’ like we’re dead already.” I love this show, but “You Never Leave Harlan Alive” is no longer subtext. It’s jumping out of the screen, especially with the Dewey death.
  • Raylan and Ava are using the Harlan Standoff Bridge for their meetings, which seems strange given the number of standoffs that have occurred on that bridge.
  • Boyd’s crew were expecting to find money in the safe deposit box they stole but instead there were documents that are probably significant, especially since they were paid to rob the bank in the first place.
  • Raylan: “Good things happen to those who wait for stupid”
    Tim: “I believe that was in the Sermon on the Mount”
  • Boyd: “I’m so hungry I could eat the ass out of a low-flying duck” My mum heard this one and laughed
  • Tim (or Dewey): “1000 feet!”
    Raylan: “I’m fairly sure that’s just a figure of speech”
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