Too many scattered plots make for an uneven episode as Justified hits the mid-point of its final season.
Let’s bitch it out…
There are a lot of moving parts in Justified so it is inevitable that at some point we would get an episode like ‘Alive Day’, an episode that seemingly exists just to help wrap some of the loose ends. It isn’t necessarily bad a episode, but it definitely feels less cohesive than many of the others because we’re constantly cutting from one story line to touch base with one of the other half dozen.
The result is that nothing really gets covered to any satisfaction. We learn that Avery (Sam Elliott) is questioning Katherine (Mary Steenburgen) about her dead husband’s rat in order to throw her off. We see Art (Nick Searcy) offer advice to Rachel (Erica Tazel) about how to manage Raylan (Timothy Olyphant). We learn that Zachariah (Jeff Fahey) may have his own ulterior motives for helping Boyd (Walton Goggins), and they appear to involve killing the man whose family has caused his so much damage. And, in a nice moment of bait and switch, Boyd learns from Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) that Ava (Joelle Carter) was planning to run when it seemed that he would simply suspect she was hooking up with Earl (Ryan Dorsey). There’s a lot happening, but ‘Alive Day’ offers us a tasting platter of so many different pieces that it’s hard to know if any of it really works.
These various subplots are all circling the story line we spend the majority of our time with: the sad downfall of gentle simpleton ChooChoo (Duke Davis Roberts). After one-punching Calhoun last week, it doesn’t take long for Raylan and Tim (Jacob Pitts) to connect the dots back to Avery’s gang. The fact that ChooChoo would make a fatal mistake was inevitable and the moment Seabass (Scott Grimes) refuses to dispose of Calhoun’s body, it was obvious that poor ChooChoo would screw things up. Despite this, there’s a quiet dignity in the giant’s exit as he makes a genuine connection with Calhoun’s girl, refuses to turn on his former colleague Walker (Garret Dillahunt) despite the fact that Walker has, in all likelihood, come to kill him. It’s something of an ironic joke that even ChooChoo’s moniker inspired suicide attempt doesn’t work – he can’t even kill himself properly – but by that time he’s already gone.
RIP ChooChoo. You were a great addition to Justified‘s final season. And with your exit, it’s time to shift the focus back to the main event.
- There’s been a lot of callbacks this season to the pivotal dinner in the pilot when Boyd was nearly killed. It’s interesting to see Boyd and Raylan make such an explicit reference to it when Boyd nonchalantly invites his nemesis to stay for dinner.
- Lots of foreshadowing around Zachariah: his conversation about the dangers of the mines with Ava anticipates his attempt on Boyd’s life. The question is whether Ava knew what her uncle was planning when she warns Boyd about bringing Zachariah in?
- Is anyone else surprised that Limehouse simply volunteers the information about Ava? It’s not hard to rationalize that this payback is in response to the fact that she lied to him last week (and got Errol tased), but it still seems out of character for the Noble’s Holler overlord.
- With Walker and Seabass on the Marshals’ Wanted lists, do this mean we’ll see less of Dillahunt and Goines? Surely Avery is in a weakened position now that he has no henchmen…
- I personally don’t care whether or not Avery was behind Katherine’s husband’s murder. With seven episodes remaining, I’m concerned that this story line is becoming a distraction.
- Finally, I know that the events of this season are all happening over the course of a few days, but if there’s any chance Ava’s awful denim jacket could somehow end up in the dumpster, I would be eternally grateful. Fashions gods, get on it!
- Avery (to Raylan): “Just a social call, then. People will say we’re in love”
- Art (after Rachel asks if he’s working Katherine’s case): “Alright first of all, let’s watch it with the golden years shit.”
Your turn: are you sad ChooChoo is gone? Are Walker and Seabass on their way out? How much danger is Ava in now that Boyd knows about her run? Will Zachariah’s attempt on Boyd’s life be discovered? Do you care about Avery and Katherine’s feud? And where will we go in the second half of the final season? Sound off below.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX