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'Justified' Final Season Premiere: You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 21, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 21, 2015 |

In the final season premiere of Justified, “Fate’s Right Hand,” it is reiterated that Raylan Givens has designs on leaving Kentucky and heading to Florida as soon as he apprehends and/or kills Boyd Crowder. Meanwhile Boyd is looking toward a future outside of Harlan in order to avoid becoming another spirit that haunts the dying town. “If we stay in this ghost town, Ava, together or otherwise, how long you think it’s gonna be before we turn into ghosts ourselves?” he says.

“What makes you think we’re not dead already,” Ava responds, and there’s a feeling that, though there’s still a flicker in Boyd’s eyes and a wry, arrogant grin on Raylan’s face, that maybe they’re already corpses, shells of men in a creaky, dying home who are being animated by their rivalry, a desire for revenge, by a longing to escape a once booming town that ran out of coal.

Yet, every time Boyd and Raylan speak of leaving Harlan, it’s hard not to hear the show’s other theme song playing in the back of our minds.

There were ghosts in every corner of “Fate’s Right Hand,” from Raylan worrying about “spooking” Boyd to the eyes of the dead men with whom the Crowders can trace their bloodline, the very eyes that poor, sad, desperate Dewey Crowe was staring into when Boyd made a ghost out of him. It’s hard to say that Dewey deserved better, but his final episode really brought home the fact that Dewey was never an evil person. He just wanted to belong. He wanted to rouse the ghosts and bring the old Harlan back from the dead, but in the end, he got the second best thing: Boyd put him out of his misery and let him join his cousins and other ancestors in the deep dark hills of the Eastern Kentucky beyond.

Meanwhile, the events of the episode itself continued to pull the rope between Boyd and Raylan closer together, as the noose tightened around Ava’s neck. She’s done. She’s cutting hair, lopping off dead ends in a dead-end town, but if there’s any justice, the crossfire will miss Ava and leave her to grow old in that big, beautiful home so she can tell the tale of Harlan to passersby who get lost on their way to better destinations.

Justified returned with its same, laconic sense of humor, but there’s a heavy sense of what’s to come permeating through every scene, and no one brought that home more than convalescing Art Mullen, who warned Raylan that if he tried to kill Boyd, he might fail “and that bullet will find you.”

“Sometimes, it just don’t go your way,” Art says, and there was an uneasiness to the way he delivered that line that suggested things may not turn out well for Raylan or for Boyd. In a show where the hero and villain are separated by a very thin line, and where the audiences’ alliances are with both men, it’s hard not to envision a closing shot to the series of two freshly dug plots sitting next to each other on a hillside graveyard basking under a 10 a.m. sunrise. There’s no new song left for Boyd Crowder and Raylan Givens. Only death. Get out your bitter brew and get to drinking. No one leaves Harlan alive.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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