Justified Season 5, Episode 13 recap.


We’ve come to the end of another season of Justified and the body count is high in Harlan County, even if, by some miracle, Raylan doesn’t actually add to his own tally. Not directly, anyway. Instead, he sets things in motion that end with Ava free from jail but living under his thumb and Wendy Crowe finally stepping up to the plate for Kendall. And the final five minutes left me deathly afraid for Raylan.

But first, the Crowes. Raylan finally manages to get through to Wendy, who agrees to turn on Daryl in order to get the charges against Kendall dropped. Raylan promised to take away everything Daryl held dear and to make him wish Raylan had just killed him, and in the end, he does manage to turn the last of Daryl’s family against him. And it is Wendy who kills him—she shoots his balls off!—and Daryl dies, ignominiously and nutless, on the floor of Audrey’s. He’s just another scumbag outsider chewed up and spit out in the deep dark hills of eastern Kentucky.

Boyd’s had a “busy couple of months” but it all finally comes to head as Alberto and the cartel goons attempt to get retribution for the cockup in the Mexican desert. Snakebite Jimmy meets his inevitable bloody end—poor Boyd, that was the best and most loyal gun thug he’s ever had—and Boyd attempts to turn Alberto’s men but in the end he has to outwit the cartel. It’s always fun to watch Boyd out-think and out-maneuver everyone around him, and the way he makes the cartel think he’s setting up a meet with Daryl Crowe, when in fact he tipped off Raylan, is pretty slick. Raylan doesn’t go to Boyd’s rescue, but Brooks and Gutterson show up (my top choice for #TrueDetectiveseason2) and dispose of the cartel goons with an assist from Boyd.

This season has been about consequences and though Boyd was cleverer than everyone else in this instance, he’s also personally roused Rachel’s ire. To date she’s been mostly content to sit back and watch Raylan and Boyd do their sh*tkicker dance, but she’s hit her limit with Boyd yanking the US Marshals’ chain. And maybe she also took it personally when Boyd stood in her office and implicated Raylan in a mob hit, but either way the end result is the same: Rachel is determined to shut Boyd down for good.

Ava, meanwhile, desperately needs to get out of prison. Neo-Nazi Gretchen is making her life hell and while Ava attempts to tackle the problem head-on, it’s clear she isn’t going to make it much longer in jail. She has no protection, no friends, and no one to pull strings for her on the outside. And yet, she ends up a free woman. Because with Rachel going after Boyd, Ava is the Marshals’ best bet for getting an informant against him. So Raylan arranges for her to be released—presumably he had something to do with that weedy guard recanting his story about Ava attacking him—and the episode ends with she and Raylan meeting to cement their new arrangement: Ava is Raylan’s CI in the case they’re building against Boyd.

This, then, is the price of Boyd’s clean slate. He essentially abandoned Ava in jail in favor of trying to get clear of his own problems and now she’s abandoning him. I won’t be surprised to learn that her price for turning against him is a clean slate of her own. But Boyd is not helpless. He, too, has new allies. He and Wynn Duffy are going into business with the mysterious Catherine, who has some scheme involving bank robbery. We’re coming full circle—we started with Raylan and Ava teamed up against Boyd, who was robbing banks.

The first time, that scenario ended with Raylan unquestionably getting the best of Boyd—he shot Boyd in the chest—but this time… I was afraid for Art because all season everyone talked about his pending retirement, which is a sure sign sh*t’s about to go south, and Art was badly injured, though he has woken up and looks to be on the mend. But now it’s Raylan whose own escape from Harlan is within reach. All he’s wanted through five seasons is to get out of Kentucky and now his transfer to Florida is approved and just weeks away. He just has to put Boyd Crowder away first. I have a terrible sinking feeling that this time next year, when “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” plays us out for the final time, it won’t be some two bit criminal with delusions of grandeur whom we mourn. It’ll be Raylan Givens.

Raylan’s final body count: 2/19