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'Justified' season finale recap: Five don't leave Harlan alive

The final season of "Justified" will come down to three characters: Boyd (Walton Goggins), Ava (Joelle Carter) and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant.)
The final season of "Justified" will come down to three characters: Boyd (Walton Goggins), Ava (Joelle Carter) and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant.)
Kurt Iswarienko/FX Networks

On Tuesday night's season finale of "Justified," we said goodbye to five characters on the show. But more importantly, the lines have been drawn in the sand between Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd (Walton Goggins) for the final season showdown. And for those sitting on the edge of their seat about Ava's fate in prison, it was decided tonight, as well.

This last episode was epic, and set up a final season that promises the same. (Spoilers follow.)

First, let’s wrap up the Crowe story. We picked up from last week at the marshal’s office with Darryl Crowe (Michael Rapaport) being released and Raylan requesting to hold Wendy (Alicia Witt) for a few hours. Raylan has her observe his interrogation of her son Kendal (Jacob Lofland) so she is finally convinced he is covering for Darryl in the shooting of Art (Nick Searcy) and isn’t guilty.

So then it comes down to choosing brother or son. Any mother on the planet can pretty much tell you how that is gonna go. But Wendy refuses to wear a wire out of fear of her brother, who has already dispatched another brother to save the family.

In one of the most intense scenes of the finale, Wendy meets Darryl and it’s apparent she’s trying to get a confession, which means she is at a huge risk of Darryl knowing the same. But she gets what she needs from him, and reveals the cell phone she was recording it on to him, making every viewer ask, “What are you thinking, girl?”

Apparently she was thinking that despite having Raylan as her backup, mother’s blood runs thicker than brother’s blood, and Darryl needed to pay — she had already pulled a gun and had it pointed squarely at Darryl’s family jewels when Raylan strolled in. And after Darryl’s threats, she had given herself a self-defense defense right out of the Raylan Givens playbook of how to get away with killing someone.

Like Darryl, you’re probably saying, “Oh, no way. No way! She won’t do that!”

Yes, way. Wendy shot Darryl in the jewels and then in the neck. And as he lay there dying by the hand of his own sister, Raylan leaned over him and in a quiet but epic display of cold-hearted revenge, said, “Didn’t I tell you you were gonna wish I killed ya? Well … dontcha?”

Clint Eastwood could not have done that better. Epic moment number one.

So that was one casualty. Three others came courtesy of Boyd’s Mexican buddies, who were dispatched by Rachel (Erica Tazel) and Tim (Jacob Pitts.) Although they probably wish differently, they also happened to save Boyd in the process. But not without letting him know his day would come.

Fans finally got to see Rachel and Boyd have their first of what promises to be many confrontations. And it was clear who came out on top. Rachel ain’t playin’. Ironic that it took so few words to thoroughly put him in his place, as wordy as Boyd can be. Not many can leave that man speechless.

Epic moment number two.

Boyd gets his drugs back, and delivers them to Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) and Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen.) Boyd seems weary of it all near the end of the episode, but Duffy and Hale finally seem to be convinced that Boyd is their man, and make a proposition to keep him in his criminal ways.

How else can we have that face off between Raylan and Boyd in the final season?

But let’s talk about Ava. Executive producers and Olyphant had already made it clear Ava would get out of prison, but how? Well, let’s just say someone called it correctly. Yeah, the proof is right here.

Ava cut a deal with Raylan to help put away Boyd for good, as he is now enemy #1 in the marshal office with Darryl dead. Yes, Ava is free. But still in a whole world of danger, as she’s now in a twisted triangle between her, Boyd and Raylan. She will have to betray the man she was engaged to in order to save herself — one could say that Raylan intends to use the one woman he cares about to do in Boyd just like he did with Darryl.

That is cold-hearted, y’all.

And the last scene of the episode was her meeting Raylan on the bridge to discuss how she was going to help him take Boyd down. Showrunner Graham Yost had revealed in a media call last week that the last scene of the episode would feature Ava and a new version of the song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” causing a few doubts about her survival, but this twist on the recurring theme of the song gave their meeting a hint of the menace to come.

Epic moment number three.

A few other epic moments included Tim showing a whole new side with his extra screen time this week, tailing Darryl before his demise and showing he is every bit as badass as his cowboy-hat-wearing peer. And, as Twitter lit up again, catching a lot of attention from the female fans. All that tough talk? It made us ladies kinda tingly, if you know what I mean. Which is a hard thing to do in the shadow of Olyphant. But Pitts is finding his stride now that he got a little extra screen time.

More of that please. That standoff between him and Darryl? Epic moment number four.

And oh, yes, that fifth casualty? Poor Jimmy (Jesse Luken), Boyd’s right hand man, was shot in cold blood by those bad Mexican drug dealers. Fans lamented his demise on Twitter, and even Boyd seemed pretty broken up. You are a good man, Jimmy… were a good man.

And one last epic moment: Winona (Natalie Zea) made an appearance via Skype with their daughter when Raylan broke the news to her that he was being transferred to Florida and they’d all be together again soon. Winona is crying and Raylan says “I hope those are tears of joy.”

Well, yeah, silly. Then he comments how beautiful their daughter is. Epic moment number five.

At the end of the episode, Rachel tells Raylan he can leave and go to Florida as soon as he takes care of this “one thing before he goes” — helping them take down Boyd Crowder for good.

Yost told us last week that was going to be the overriding theme of Season 6 — “one last thing before I go” — and there it is for Raylan. But what will that one thing be for Boyd? Getting out of crime? Getting back with Ava? Getting a clean start?

What will it be for Ava? Getting back with Boyd? Getting back at him for not getting her out of jail? Getting away from Harlan for good?

You’ll have a long wait to find out, till Season 6 of “Justified” returns.