Justified Season 4 Review “Peace of Mind”

Justified is winding down its season and wrapping up storylines. The Drew Thompson chase may be over, but there’s still the problem of Theo Tonin. Tonin is going to have Boyd and Raylan in his sights since both of them have kept him from getting Thompson. That means that next week’s finale is going to be the big showdown between Tonin’s gangsters and the good folks of Harlan County.

The goal of this episode was pretty simple: wrap up the Ellen May/Ava and the Gutterson/Colt conflicts. It was anticlimactic considering the high drama of recent weeks, and everything was tied too neatly in a bow. It might have been better to let Ava shoot Ellen May and then have to accept the consequences. The Ellen May character was tolerable in the beginning of the season, but the more we see of her, the more irritating she becomes. I was glad to see Colt go, and, of course, Gutterson had to be the one to kill him. Look, I love Justified and I certainly don’t want this to be a show where the good guys die. But, stories like Gutterson’s are predictable. Enjoyable, but predictable. It might help to mix things up a bit.

Boyd has spent most of the season running around Harlan chasing after something or another. It makes me miss the pro-active Boyd who builds his own schemes and isn’t hampered by doing things for other people. There has been something off about Boyd this season, and it probably relates to his criminal emasculation by the mafia. Boyd needs his mojo back. As an aside, while I love Boyd’s pontifications and sarcastic comments, his reference to there being more “dark meat” at Thanksgiving was a bit much.

At the end of the episode, we see that Tonin’s men have decided to take a different approach in challenging Raylan. They’ve located Winona and are going to threaten to kill her and the baby. On the one hand, this idea kind of works since Winona has been out of the picture this season and it will give Raylan the chance to demonstrate what he’s willing to do to protect them. On the other hand, it is the easy way out. We’ve seen Winona in danger before – it was the primary reason she left Raylan. Of course Raylan is going to save Winona and his unborn daughter (it’s a girl!!).

In the preview for next week, it looks like there is a scene with Boyd handcuffed and hysterical. Is this the moment of truth? Has Ava’s story come to an end? This feels like the appropriate time for her character to go. We don’t want to see Ava become a monster, like Boyd and his gangsters. But, she has done too much to go back to being one of the good guys. Realistically, what is left for her character? As I’ve been saying for weeks, there’s not going to be a home in the suburbs for Boyd and Ava. Killing Ava will send Boyd into a morass of grief and rage and will give his character new motivation next season.

I still wonder if the preacher’s sister is going to have a place in the season finale. We know that she still bears a heavy grudge against Boyd. It would be a disappointment if there wasn’t something done to wrap that up.

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