Justified – “Ghosts” – review

thumbs_Justified-Season-4-Promo-Poster-2You gotta love the Justified season finale subverting your expectations right after the first commercial break.  Raylan discovers that three of Nick Augustine’s boys have taken Winona hostage and will cut his baby girl right out of her stomach and to kill her separate if he doesn’t fetch Drew Thompson for them.  Raylan (with the surprisingly kick-ass help of Winona) puts holes in all three before the next commercial break, thus leaving no need for the big reenactment of the bank heist from The Friends of Eddie Coyle the one bearded Augustine dude was talking about and that we the audience were expecting to take up the bulk of “Ghosts.”

But as the bearded guy warned Raylan, they’re just three men – Augustine isn’t about to give up on killing Raylan and his family that easily.  Art warns Raylan that he better lay low as per the terms of his suspension and if he’s found anywhere near Augustine he’s fucking through.  When Raylan goes to get Boyd (who swears he has nothing to do with Augustine going after Winona) and has him set up a meet with Augustine, Boyd further underlines  the “we’re not so different you and I” shit that’s been running through this whole show by asking just what Raylan’s willing to do if Augustine “doesn’t draw first.”

But though Raylan seems to be dead set on a fair shootout at the beginning of his and Ausgustine’s meet at the airstrip, it turns out his plan is far craftier and darker than that.  After he leaves Augustine’s limo where he was assured that he’s a dead man once Augustine takes care of Sammy Tonin (who has been left in charge in the wake of Theo leaving the country, much to Augustine’s chagrin), he strides right over to Sammy Tonin’s plane and lets it be known that he’s suspended, walking towards the camera as Sammy’s boys light up Augustine’s limo.  I’m gonna miss that hilarious, wonderfully, pragmatically evil son of a bitch.

The end of the episode finds Raylan fixing up his childhood home when he gets a call from Art that Augustine’s been found dead just like they imagined, see you in a month, buddy.  Everything has worked out for Raylan, with his wife and child still alive and safe at her mother’s, his job in tact and his future taking over Art’s job kinda-sorta likely, but he’s definitely crossed a line in this episode.  It’s doubtful he feels *too* bad about it as he’s put down men far less evil than Augustine with his own gun, but they were always (say it with me) justified self-defense slayings.

But while Raylan may have walked away from season four fairly unscathed, Boyd is dealt a whole lot of punishment for his sins in this finale.  With Ellen May now officially safe and sound Boyd and Ava take it upon themselves to just go ahead and dredge Delroy up from the mine shaft.  But by the time they get there with the tools he’s already been found by the cops, forcing them to go with plan B.  Boyd uses his influence over Clover Hills’ own Lee Paxton, a local funeral home owner whose establishment is often used as a morgue for the local police, to switch out Delroy’s body for that of another decomposing dead guy.

As Raylan forced Boyd to take him to Augustine, it’s up to Ava to switch out the bodies as time is of the fucking essence.  But while she’s getting ridding of Delroy’s corpse in the woods the cops roll up on her, hoping to find Boyd but figuring Ava’ll be just as good.  Lee Paxton was not about to let some holler trash hold shit over him for long, and putting his fiancee behind bars will do for now.  As Boyd’s flipping out over losing the woman he loves, getting his ass kicked by the cops, he sees Cassie St. Cyr, who lost the man she loved (maybe in a biblical sense and maybe just platonic-wise – we can’t really be sure) because of Boyd earlier this season, get into her truck.  Payback’s a bitch.

Though Boyd may be reeling from the loss of Ava, he does come into some good fortune in the form of the Nerd’s favorite prodigal son returning.  Wynn Duffy’s back now that Sammy’s in charge and Augustine’s outta the picture and has even earned himself a mighty fine promotion.  Now that he’s a swinging dick again he offers Boyd their old deal about control of the heroin trade in Harlan, but Boyd seems too despondent to see the bright side.  Instead he busts into the house he and Ava were gonna live in up in Clover Hills and daydreams about what might have been.

What’d you all think of “Ghosts” and how do you figure next season’s gonna go?  Think Johnny’ll be back in some fashion or is he locked up somewhere waiting until Boyd gets off his ass and gets someone to shiv him to death?  Do you figure there’s some way to get Ava free of the charges or is she just fucked?  And is Raylan gonna be a daddy next season or do you think they’ll stall that development for the following year?  Let me know, dear readers, and I’ll see you all in 2014!

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Jack Getze

Spinetingler's Fiction Editor is a former newspaper reporter and author of five crime novels from Down and Out Books. His short fiction has been published on the web at BEAT TO A PULP, A TWIST OF NOIR and THE BIG ADIOS.

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About Jack Getze

Spinetingler's Fiction Editor is a former newspaper reporter and author of five crime novels from Down and Out Books. His short fiction has been published on the web at BEAT TO A PULP, A TWIST OF NOIR and THE BIG ADIOS.

5 Replies to “Justified – “Ghosts” – review”

  1. Loved it. Ava’s in deep, deep trouble. Played at something she wasn’t, and then her attempts to deal with it have gotten her in even deeper.

    Matches with Boyd and Raylan, who both spent the season aiming for the top spot, but both got burned.

    I think Raylan is the biggest loser in the long run. Boyd’s taken a kicking and been put in his place, but he already knew which side of the law he was on and I’m sure we’ll see some scheming to get Ava back at his side. But Raylan? He’s been running from a part of himself his whole life that he gave into by dealing with Tonin. There’s no going back on that, he has to face up to who he is.

    The scene in the truck between Boyd and Raylan? All of the awards. All of them. And the ending, with Boyd in the house he can’t have, and Raylan in the house he can’t escape from, great.

  2. No more predictions from me. Can’t believe Ava is in jail. I was thrilled to see Augustine mowed down, and I don’t think that scene pushed Raylan anywhere he hasn’t always been willing to go. That fat, bad-mouth prick had just promised to kill Raylan and his seed, so I thought our hero behaved quite the gentleman not shooting Augustine on the spot. Thanks for the weekly discussions, NON. You showed me a number of things I’d missed, thus improving my experience. Free tacos next time you’re in Jersey.

  3. A funny thing I realized: If Nicky Augustine hadn’t killed his friend and FBI mole at the beginning of the season, he would’ve had access to Shelby/Drew Thompson once he was in custody, and for cheaper. His friend wanted 200 thousand whereas Boyd charged 500 thousand, and though Nicky didn’t end up paying that, he still forked over 300 thousand for Ava to meet with Limehouse. Never burn all of your bridges, folks!

    And the season. Damn. The last 4 episodes were some of the finest hours on TV. It was slow going in the beginning, but all of the seasons are and I’m leaning toward saying that Season 4 has been the best Justified season thus far. Know that’s blasphemy considering Season 2, but the show is tighter and more focused than ever.

    Far as next season goes, I would love for Ava to get out somehow, but that wouldn’t be realistic—at all—and I think it would have a far more powerful effect if she does stay in. I think if she stays in, that will become the final push in Boyd becoming the ultimate bad guy he’s destined to become.

    One thing that Raylan has which Boyd lacks is that anger, that edge. But now Boyd has it—he has the heroin trade, the lost love and the anger, and really nothing to hold him back down from going down that path. There will be no Dairy Queen.

    But I do think he’s going to get revenge on all of those who had a hand in Ava’s incarceration, which will go hand in hand with him going completely dark. And Raylan having Sammy kill Augustine —agree both Boyd and Raylan are heading down that road to no return, and sooner or later, they’ll come face to face on that road. Great scene with those two in the truck on the way to the airport.

  4. I hope the Winona and baby thing is resolved in the off season. It was all over the park this year with the girlfriend that ripped him off half the time you don’t know what the deal is with Winona.