Skip to main content

Bulletville: An Advance Review of the Season Finale of FX's Justified

It's only fitting that FX's lawman drama Justified should go out with a bang.

The first season of Justified, based on characters created by the incomparable Elmore Leonard, wraps up its run tonight with a fantastic installment ("Bulletville") that is more than aptly titled.

Over the course of the thirteen-episode run, Justified has succeeded in creating a vividly drawn world of crime and punishment, a Southern Gothic landscape set in the hills of Kentucky (and the offices of Lexington) where violence runs amok, fugitives are caught, and the good guy dons a cowboy hat and slings a gun with the best of them.

In the capable hands of Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins, Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder have become some of the most deftly drawn adversaries on television, former friends turned enemies whose relationship is a constantly shifting morass of blame, confession, and enmity. Like Raylan, the audience has never been sure of whether to fully believe Boyd's alleged conversion and newfound religious belief. Can a leopard change its spots? Can a bad man turn good?

Those questions about human nature seem to be at the forefront of tonight's season finale, which wraps up the season-long Crowder family storyline in a hail of bullets and offers some intriguing twists along the way. With the emphasis placed squarely on Raylan/Ava/Boyd, it sadly means very little screen time for the other U.S. marshalls this week but it also means that the pacing is killer, allowing the tension to seep into every scene.

While Raylan and Boyd are the focal points for the episode, it's also about the twisted relationships between fathers and sons and how that formative relationship can shape a man. Can we ever live up to our father's expectations? Do we want to become him or kill him? What happens when we turn our backs on where we came from? Important and weighty questions that both Raylan and Boyd are forced to contend with as the first season comes to a dramatic close tonight.

Additionally, the season finale examines issues of causality. Can one crucial action define a man's life... and possibly his death? Justified began with Raylan's transfer to Harlan because of his "justified" shooting in Miami, an moment in time from which everything else spins out as a result. Returning to Harlan, Raylan finds himself falling into a relationship with Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter)--and reigniting something with his ex-wife Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea)--and becomes enmeshed in yet another war with the Crowders.

Throughout the season, the threat of the Miami drug cartel--whose lieutenant Raylan shot in a posh Miami restaurant overlooking the ocean--has loomed large and that shooting, justified though it may have been, comes back to haunt to Raylan Givens in no uncertain terms, even as it connects with the meth trade in Harlan and the insidious involvement of Bo Crowder (M.C. Gainey).

We will find out just how far Boyd's supposed religious conviction will take him, what lengths he'll go to for retribution, and the sacrifices he's prepared to make for his cause... whatever that might be. Suffice it to say, there are some surprises remaining in Goggins' wiry self-appointed preacher and some nicely rendered epiphanies to boot.

It all comes down to a final shootout in Bulletville, as these things should, and the body count for tonight's episode is mighty high. Who will walk away and who will be six feet under? Find out tonight in the riveting season finale of a series that's at once smart, provocative, and action-packed. Fire in the hole, indeed.

Justified's season finale airs tonight at 10 pm ET/PT on FX.


Hadley said…
This show has been surprisingly enjoyable. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins are pitch perfect and the writing keeps you interested even if you're not typically a fan of the western genre. I'm very happy that it's been renewed for a second season!
abbytaz said…
As much as I love Timothy Olyphant and his success in "Justified" for some reason I started to forget about this show. I guess because of it's procedural nature and lack of taught writing and subject matter that I lost interest. I will watch the finale tonight to cap off a good season and will probably try harder next season to follow it.

Also I guess because the way FX has treated "Damages" this post season with the attitude of "let's allow this Emmy-winning series quietly drift away into the sunset", leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Summer said…
Justified has been a nice addition to our TV watching lineup. The writing and dialogue most weeks is snappy and quick paced, with Raylan, Boyd, Winona, and the Chief my favorites by far...

Can't wait to see what they do with S2! S1 really went out with a bang (make that several), and it gave a great reset for the friendship between Raylan and Boyd, and possibly Raylan and Winona. Looking forward to more...

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.