This week marked the finale of the fifth season of Justified, and things got pretty interesting. As per norm, the finale concluded the main arc of the season, but left just enough loose ends to propel us through another. To remind everyone, next season will be the sixth and last, so hopefully it’ll be topnotch.
The finale picks up almost immediately after its preceding episode, with Vasquez breaking the news to Wendy and Daryl that Kendal will be tried as an adult for attempted murder of a federal officer (which means forty years to life if he’s convicted). The Marshals release Daryl, dispatching Tim to tail him, but hold Wendy for a bit extra. Why? Well, to allow her to watch as Raylan breaks the bad news to Kendal. While Kendal maintains his story, it’s very clear in his body language that he’s lying, and that, as everyone suspected, Daryl is in fact responsible for shooting Art. Despite this, however, Raylan can’t seem to convince Wendy to wear a wire and record her brother’s confession.
Meanwhile, things aren’t exactly looking up for Boyd. Since he was unable to deliver Daryl Crowe in the previous episode, he’s fallen out of favor with the Marshals once again, and must make preparations for the looming legal onslaught. When he returns to his bar, though, he finds the pesky Mexican drug cartel is waiting for him, intent on killing him, but only after he brings them Daryl. Everyone wants Daryl. To prove that they’re not messing around, they shoot and kill poor Jimmy. I guess it was only a matter of time before Jimmy met his own sticky end, but I’m nonetheless sad to see him go. Boyd has pretty much lost everyone in this season.
Anyway, he sets up a meeting with Daryl at Ava’s old country house. They get over there and, to the Mexicans’ surprise, end up meeting with Tim and Rachel, and not Daryl at all. There’s a minor shootout, the Mexicans are killed, and Boyd, having tipped off the Marshals and appearing an obvious victim, is allowed to go free.
Later, Wendy does meet with Daryl, distraught over Kendal’s position, but confident that the Marshals were bluffing about trying him as an adult. Weakening Daryl’s defenses, she maneuvers him into a position where he does end up confessing to shooting Art. She then pretty proudly announces that she did, in fact, record the whole thing. Enraged, Daryl advances on her, but she pulls a gun. Raylan enters, asking that everyone calm down so he can arrest Daryl. Daryl makes a move, and Wendy shoots him twice, killing him. Raylan reports this as self-defense, and Wendy and Kendal are free to return to Florida.
In the hospital, Art finally regains consciousness, and we’re all very happy to hear that he’s going to be fine. Raylan visits him, informing him of Daryl’s fate. Art tells Raylan that the transfer went through, and in a few weeks, Raylan can move back to Florida, which seems to please Raylan a great deal.
Of course, the song very clearly states, “You’ll never leave Harlan alive,” and there is one more season to go. When Raylan returns to the office, Rachel and Vasquez inform him that they do plan to take down Boyd Crowder, and that they want Raylan to head the investigation. Without even hesitating, Raylan accepts, saying he’d be glad to do it.
Later, much to Boyd’s surprise, Ava is mysteriously released from prison. She returns home, but is very stiff and cold with him. It seems that this is because of their relationship troubles, but we later discover that Raylan is responsible for Ava’s premature freedom. Why? Because he wants her to inform on Boyd.
And finally, Boyd goes to meet with Wynn and Katherine, telling them that given how shitty the last few weeks had been, he has decided to leave the heroin business behind. This does not bother them, as they have something else in mind for his particular talents: robbing banks.
So. Season finale. I’m trying to remember if there was a single episode this season without a dead body? I’m honestly not sure. It was an incredibly violent, rocky thirteen episodes, but the last few seemed to be back on track. Hopefully, as they gear towards their sixth and final season, everything will run smoothly. I’m glad Art didn’t die, and since the main arc of next season seems to be Raylan vs. Boyd, we should get quite a lot of them together. As you know by now, if you’ve been reading these recaps. The two of them together makes my favorite TV.