You 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!