On January 20th, FX’s Justified began its sixth and final season. Based on several Elmore Leonard works, Justified follows Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a US Marshal who is “exiled” to his hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. Raylan frequently finds himself in conflict with erstwhile mining buddy, now criminal mastermind, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as the two attempt to coexist in a world that seems a little too small for both of them. Justified highlights the local culture and explores numerous themes, such as family, religion, history and the thin line that divides the good guys from the bad.
Join Jeff (of Slazenger1) and me in the coming months as we honor this criminally underrated drama with a series of “RayActions” to each of Justified’s Season 6 episodes. These posts will not be particularly formal, but will give us the chance to make some observations and reflect on each episode, likely culminating in a full Season 6 Dead Season Discussion after the finale.
This week’s RayAction is focused on Justified’s series finale, “The Promise.” It contains SPOILERS for the entire series of Justified. Fire in the Hole!
The lead single off the official soundtrack for Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City is entitled “From Can To Can’t.” It’s got Grohl drumming, Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielson, and Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor (sorry, Scott Reeder). It’s a great song. The lyrics are bold and evocative, but vague enough to preclude a single meaning. The song itself is organized around “the line.” In the first refrain, Taylor draws the line. In the second, he blurs the line. The in the last, he crosses the line.
Justified is sort of the “From Can to Can’t” of Raylan Givens. By the end of “The Promise,” we know Raylan. That no small thing, as Winona pointed out in “The Hunt.” Raylan is so guarded; so closed off, that it’s hard to get a read on him. But actions speak louder than words and we’ve had six seasons of Justified comparing Raylan to his prey to see where he draws, blurs, and crosses his line.
The best example was in “Ghosts,” the Season 4 finale. Raylan told Nicky Augustine that he had a deal for him, but that he wasn’t optimistic Nicky would take it. When asked why he was so pessimistic, Raylan replied “Yeah, well, it’s been a day.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because Ty Walker uttered a similar line in “The Hunt.” The difference is that when Raylan has “a day,” he ignores a crime. When it’s Walker, Continue reading