Justified Season 4 Review “This Bird Has Flown”

This week’s Justified was full of twists and turns. Two storylines that looked like they were going to be around for the long haul of the season were perfunctorily snuffed out. First, we learned almost immediately that Preacher Billy did indeed die from the snakebite. With nowhere else to go, Ellen May returns to Ava and Boyd and begs to come back “home.” Second, with very little effort, Raylan and Rachel track down Lindsey and Randall, who have stolen Raylan’s ill-gotten $20,000 and purchased fighting chickens with the money. Randall’s dreams of managing his own cock fighting ring disappear in a cloud of feathers, or rather bean bags, when Lindsey knocks him out and Raylan takes him into custody. Can this really be the end of Boyd’s and Raylan’s nemeses? If this were another show, I might say yes. But, I don’t think the Justified writers are that quick to abandon storylines.

Let’s start with team Crowder. Even though Ellen May tells Boyd and Ava about Preacher Billy’s death, Ava has serious doubts that Ellen May will be able to keep her mouth shut about the murder of Delroy. Ava goes over the possible scenarios if Ellen May returns home. She is clearly talking herself into having Ellen May killed. Even with Boyd urging her not to panic, Ava keeps coming back to the idea of taking a definitive step to ensure Ellen May’s silence. We should all pause a moment to remember the Ava of season one. She was misguided, but she was also a sad soul, desperate for love. Devoid of empathy and humanity, Ava 4.0 has now taken over and may end up being even more rotten than Boyd.

Team Raylan consists of, well, Raylan. Though, Rachel joins him in his pursuit of Lindsey and Randall. They track Randall to the house of Joe, the trashy local thug we previously saw organizing backyard fights. Raylan’s confrontation with Joe was the best scene of the episode. Joe is in bed with two women when Raylan and Rachel come strolling into the room. Raylan walks up to the bed and sits down next to Joe to chat. It was such a bad ass Raylan move for him to interrupt the goings on, then go and actually sit on the bed with the three of them for a conversation. Raylan and Rachel figure out where Lindsey and Randall are heading and Raylan sets his trap. When Lindsey and Randall roll up, Raylan is waiting there with a gun that shoots beanbags. When Raylan drops Randall with a bean bag, it was quite satisfying – like the old Raylan was back.

Of course, then Raylan forgets all his law enforcement training and turns his back on the injured Randall. Needless to say, Randall recovers and starts the Raylan beat down that we’ve seen many times over the last couple seasons. Luckily, before Raylan is beaten to a bloody pulp, again, Lindsey steps in and lays out the two of them. Raylan looks up at Lindsey and says that he knew she liked him. It is hard to tell if Raylan actually has feelings for Lindsey or this was more about his bruised ego. When Raylan is able to get off the ground, Lindsey is gone. At least he’s able to take Randall into custody, though.

At the end, while teams Boyd and Raylan have taken some small hits, they emerge relatively unscathed. I can’t say the same about Ava. When Ellen May brings up the murder of Delroy, Ava makes up her mind. Ellen May must die. Boyd gives Ava a pep talk, but it is clear she doesn’t need that much encouragement for her decision. They send Ellen May out with Colt, and let him know during the drive that he needs to murder Ellen May. Instantly, I had thoughts of the scene in the Sopranos when Adriana is taken into the forest and murdered. Colt stops at a gas station and goes into the bathroom to load his gun. When he goes back out, Ellen May is gone.

Ellen May’s disappearance was unexpected and got me thinking. What if Preacher Billy isn’t really dead? What if this is a scheme thought up by his sister, and they are using Ellen May to bait Boyd and Ava? The preview for next week looks like we’ll be swinging back to the bag in the wall story. This still leaves me wondering, though, if we may not have seen the last of Preacher Billy or Ellen May.
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