Justified is such a hard show to cover, because unlike a show like Mad Men or Better Call Saul, there’s not as much subtext. It is what it is, which is to say: It’s a fantastic series (more often than not), but there’s usually not that much to add beyond what you see in the episode.
However, in his post-mortem of the episode, Graham Yost did offer some interesting details to look out for that may help to inform the finale.
1. Let’s start with the scene in which Boyd shoots Hagan in the head. What does that accomplish? Essentially, that allows us in the audience to distance ourselves from Boyd, because the scene helps to turn Boyd from a likable anti-hero kind of character into a full-blown, cold-blooded villain. Boyd doesn’t “give a shit” what you think about him. He’s “an outlaw.”
Interestingly, Walton Goggins initially had some reluctance about this scene and his storyline, probably because he wasn’t thrilled with revealing the character to be completely irredeemable. As Yost noted, however, Goggins came around when they cast Shea Whigham:
Walton struggled mightily with this storyline and with that scene, but when we told him that we’d cast Shea Whigham, he kind of melted and said, “Okay. Now it’s going to work.” He just loves Shea, and they’ve known each other, I’m sure, for years.
Whether or not the audience will turn on Boyd is a question. I think that this has just been part of the reality of Boyd for a long, long time. You know, there is that circular intent for the season, to bring things back to the way Boyd and Ava and Raylan to a degree originally were and restate that question.
Plus, once we acknowledge that Boyd is a bad guy, it’ll be easier on us to see him die in the finale. Right? It’s what they did with Walter White in the final season.
2. On that shootout on the mountain between Raylan and Boyd, Yost revealed this:
Leonard Chang, one of the writers, came up with this idea from Aristotle — I believe it was in Poetics — which is a scene of anagnorisis. It’s also something that Shakespeare used in the tragedies where the hero, the villain, whoever — usually the tragic hero — has a moment of clarity, of realization of who they are and what’s going on and what their flaw is. The scene is kind of that.
That “tragic hero” line is ominous, if only because tragic heroes are forced to suffer death, destruction or some other kind of suffering (I’m glad that Winona and the baby aren’t around, because the most tragic end would be to see those two die and Raylan to have to live with himself).
And that “fatal flaw,” of course, is Raylan acknowledging that he can’t kill Boyd without becoming Boyd. Rescuing Constable Bob, however, may have revealed a weakness in that flaw, so maybe it’s not so “fatal” after all?
3. Interesting sidenote here: When you hear Constable Bob yelling “HELP!” after Boyd shot him, that wasn’t Patton Oswalt’s voice. It was the voice of Graham Yost, his “one big moment of performance on this series.”
4. Who did Ava call on her way down the mountain, anyway?
Yost: You’re not supposed to know who she’s calling.
Oh, OK. But we’ll find out in the finale, right?
Yost: Yes. To a degree. It will always remain somewhat of a mystery, but I think the audience will understand what happened.
Mystery? DON’T LEAVE US HANGING YOST, and don’t assume the audience will know anything.
Personally, I assumed it was Limehouse, in the desperate hope that he’d forgive her and help her get out of town in exchange for a huge bag of money. It would explain why she went out to the bridge to meet someone. I do secretly like to think that it’s Ellie May and that she and Shelby somehow figure into the finale, as unlikely as that seems.
5. I do not know why Ava dropped Dewey’s necklace, but according to Yost, that will come back into play.
6. Yost also said that the confrontation scene with Wynn is the last we’ve seen of Rick Gomez, who plays Vasquez, and more disconcertingly, while we will see a lot of Art in the finale, Tim and Rachel’s time will be limited, and in a “different context,” whatever that is supposed to mean.
7. We will definitely see more of Wynn Duffy in the finale, as Wynn’s request for a mobile dog grooming van will “have a payoff” in the finale, according to Yost.
8. Though Uncle Zachariah is dead, there will still be an “echo of him” in the finale. I assume that’s a reference to the use of more dynamite.
9. Yost says that the scene between Markham and Loretta was setting up where they needed Loretta to be in the finale, and the nod to Mags Bennett is important. Will we see some more apple pie, and therefore an echo of Mags in the finale?
10. Finally, we know that — in handing over the deed to his property to Cope, he of the hill people, means that, for Raylan, it’s Florida or die. He won’t be sticking around in Kentucky (and likely wouldn’t have a job to do so, if he did).
And if you ask me, a perfect end to the series would see Boyd and Raylan sitting over a table up in Grubes’ cabin, maybe with a couple of mason jars full of Apple pie sitting between them, jawing over their shared history. Then Raylan gives him two minutes to get up and turn himself in, because Raylan has decided to do this the honorable way, or at least make a superficial attempt to do so. Boyd, of course, refuses, they talk for exactly two minutes. Boyd then pulls out a gun and Raylan shoots him before Boyd can get off a shot.
It’d be the perfect bookend to the series. His last action in Kentucky before moving back to Florida would mirror his last action in Florida before moving to Kentucky in the pilot.