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[personal profile] chani
This is my review of Justified season 4 's finale at last!

Well, sort of. Noel Murray wrote a great review on the TV Club so I'm mostly recommending it.

I especially loved how he drew a parallel between Raylan's decision in regards to Nicky Augustine, and the choice that Boyd gave to Billy the Snake Preacher. That parallel is perfect given the conversation Boyd and Raylan had in the car. Both made a point about one another – by the way I was "glad" to hear Raylan bring on the Arlo issue because he's so right, Boyd said that Arlo was family in last season's finale, and yet he didn't hesitate to screw Arlo's deal about Drew Thompson! Boyd's actions don't always live up to his speech.

For all his "I'm an outlaw" talk, Boyd would like to believe that he isn't that bad a guy (and his love for Ava, although genuine, is a way for him to keep a certain image of himself) and deserves some kind of salvation (a way out), and for all his "you're on the wrong side, we are the good guys" speech to Shelby, Raylan isn't that sure that he isn't his father's son, with bad blood running through his veins. Raylan's fear is rooted in Harlan, in family history, and that fear fuels his anger.

Of course, as outside viewers we know that Boyd is a cold blooded killer and a drug-dealing villain, while Raylan is a white hat who basically does the right thing – even though they both presented their antagonist with a choice that might have saved their life, it's still a bad man whose death Raylan arranged by way of Sammy Tonin, while Boyd caused the death of a good man by snakes–, but the show has layers and acknowledges how those characters see themselves and each other, which makes it more interesting and less white & black.

The counterpoint is, of course, obvious in the last scenes as Boyd breaks into the house Ava liked so much, and contemplates what "might have been", a dream (respectability and a normal life on Clover Hill with the woman he loves)that will never come true, while Raylan is alone too, in his father's house – the place where he spent his childhood his nose buried in the book to the point he never noticed the view! –, filling the hole in the wall, and then, sitting in the yard in front of the family graves (his own being next to his parents'!). Boyd's scene was poignant, but Raylan's scene was even more painful.

Raylan is left facing the past, facing his ghosts, but I didn't read the scene the same way Murray did, although he beautifully phrased his view :

"the episode does end with Raylan patching up the hole in Arlo’s wall and drinking a beer next to his father’s fresh grave, which implies that Raylan has the ability to bury the past. Meanwhile, back at the bar after Ava’s arrest, Boyd sits and stews, and the camera lingers briefly over the racist tattoos on his fingers, implying that Boyd is more permanently stained. (Or to put it another way: Raylan puts bodies in the ground in “Ghosts,” while Boyd exhumes corpses.) "

Actually, it seems to me that, like Boyd, Raylan is trapped, and is also giving up on the dream of his life, that is, in his case, leaving Harlan. He's been struggling since the beginning of season 1 against his fate, but everything has kept bringing him back to Harlan, and there, in his father's house, with his beer in one hand, he looked like he was finally acknowledging "his own limo", accepting his fate at last, accepting that his place his there, so he took a relaxed position in the chair (I loved the close-up on his boot,!) that spoke of cowboy's coolness (and another detail I loved was his putting the hat on before going out!) but also of "being at home". Besides the new cover of "You'll never Leave Harlan Alive" didn't really go well with the idea of burying the past. But perhaps, Murray just meant that Raylan patching old wounds and was ready to move past his daddy issues and grudge, that he was no longer running away (his default mode when it came to Harlan, which was ironical for a Marshall!), and had found the ability to just sit down and relax.

That said, Raylan's less relaxed other hand (I do love those details and meaningful close-ups!) told us that Raylan isn't at peace yet, which is good for the future of the show.

One could argue it was the aftermaths of a hell of a day, and he couldn't quite relax yet. Me? I saw the two sides of Raylan Givens in that last scene: ont he one hand there's the super cool, lay-back Marshall who is so polite, even when being a asshole, and smiles a lot, but on the other hand there's also the angry man whom Winona evoked in the premiere, the deadly shooter who is just a murderer wearing a badge.

By the way "Ghosts" was the episode in which Seth Bullock seemed to lurk under the surface, especially in the scene with Art and Vasquez and later in the scenes with Boyd. There's often a smile in Raylan's eyes but Olyphant recaptured some of the Bullock's intense looks in those scenes.

In other words, I like the finaled. Putting the action packed scenes early in the episode, and ending on a more character-oriented and contemplative and melancholy note was a good call.

Wynn Duffy showed up, triumphant, as if he had never left with his tail between his legs, which is always a treat. Winona was not insufferable. Art had some good lines. We had two good Raylan/Boyd scenes (the second one somehow more intimate as Ava was out of the picture so they dropped the posturing).

In the end, Raylan kinda crossed a line by not only turning a blind eye (or simply walking away without looking back) on a murder, but also setting it when he reached out for Sammy; but of course he believed it was justified and by using a mob guy against another mob guy he  outsmarted everybody. He also put some bad guys down the old-school way, as expected, for Justified isn't based on suspense when it comes to Raylan's ability to defeat his enemies in a showdown, au contraire, part of the show's appeal is that the audience gleefully waits for the villains to be "taught a lesson" by our gunfighter(I agree with Noel Murray when he says : "There’s nothing more adorable than criminal types who think they have some kind of an edge on Raylan Givens."). Why does America still need superheroes when it already has Raylan Givens?
Now that Arlo is dead, Raylan can't be hurt by living men, only by ghosts.
 
RL is keeping me away from LJ. There's work to do, and an old and sick cat to take care of. I mentioned it in comments from an earlier post, Loukoum has a polypus in his nose that showed on the MRI in January but was barely mentioned by the neurologist then, because the priority was the ostitis. The problem is that the polypus has grown (which probably caused the sneezing that was already there before I left to Rome)and has started bleeding when I came back from Rome...the only treatment would be surgery but Loukoum is almost 18, and a new MRI would be needed anyway to see if it's operable,  so I decide to let him be.

It's kinda heartbreaking to see him frantically rub his nose or to hear his noisy breathing and frequent sniffing and sneezing – especially with the blood throwing that ensues –, but he still eats rather well, asks for food in the morning, communicate, purrs...so we haven't reached that place yet. I don't know how long we have together. I just hope I'll be able to recognise the right moment when it comes, as I don't want to .

And of course, I'm leaving for Rome again in three weeks which doesn't help. So it feels that I'm still in the limo too, emotionally speaking.

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