Justified Season 5 Review “The Toll”

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After slow going in the beginning, Justified is finally heating up and heading towards some blowouts. This week, Art took a bullet, Boyd took control, and Raylan got an unpleasant surprise.

Last week, Art told Raylan that he would personally handle moving Allison to safety after she drew the ire of the Florida Crowes. Allison has no shame in dropping all of her drug paraphernalia into her overnight bag in front of Art. She’s a real winner. Another fine choice by Raylan. I did like Art’s question to Allison regarding his rift with Raylan, “Could you call it child abuse and take custody of him?”

It turns out that the precautionary measures are not in vain – as they are leaving the apartment, they are ambushed by a shooter. Art takes a bullet in the gut and the shooter gets away. This isn’t entirely surprising. Something big had to happen with Art. He’s been sidelined most of the season and everything has pointed to Rachel taking over (which we get confirmation of). This is kind of a bummer because Art is such a fantastic character and has great banter with Raylan.

Art’s wife is none too happy with Raylan. As they head to the hospital together, she takes Raylan to task for not being with Art at the time of the shooting. She clearly doesn’t know about their rift. You can tell that Raylan feels guilty, even though Art didn’t want him to come. I liked that Art’s wife schooled Raylan about Winona. Raylan is so incredibly selfish and hasn’t bothered to even think about what Winona’s life is like dealing with a baby on her own. This may also be laying the foundation for Raylan returning to Winona at the end of the series. Fingers crossed.

During the subsequent investigation of the shooting, Rachel is incredibly uptight and by the book. She learns that Art has left her in charge. This was set up long ago, so not a shock. I get the sense, though, that Raylan is more afraid of Rachel than he is of Art. When Gutterson suggests they go rogue to find the shooter, Raylan decides not to.

The investigators that role into the Marshal’s office immediately target Theo Tonin. They end up raiding a hotel room where Picker is meeting with Wynn Duffy, Boyd, and Katherine Hale. Picker eventually points the finger at Daryl Crowe as the shooter, which is what Raylan suspected the entire time. I really enjoy Raylan’s inflexibility in dealing with the various informants this season. They always think that they’re going to get some sort of concession from him, and he’s not having it.

During this time, Boyd is dealing with his own problems. He has to come up with a plan to protect himself after losing half of the drug haul to the Marshals last week. Boyd tells his men to hide the other half of the stash “so God can’t even find it.” He also asks the guys to take care of Ava if something happens to him in the meeting with Wynn Duffy. Boyd’s request, combined with his refusal to get busy with the hooker, reaffirmed his commitment to Ava. With his unwavering devotion, there has to be a reward with her eventual release.

Boyd’s first meeting with Wynn Duffy, Picker, and Hale is interrupted when they are all hauled into the Marshals office. Mary Steenburgen gives a great performance as Hale. In her confrontation with the US Attorney, we get a glimpse of what is behind her sleek appearance. She is way more dangerous than she appears to be.

When the criminals regroup in the hotel room to continue their discussion, Boyd commits the most spectacular murder of the season. He feins to have started smoking and offers Picker a cigarette. As soon as Picker catches the pack, it explodes, sending chunks of him across the room. This was unexpected and awesome. I thought initially that Boyd had some sort of recording device in the cigarette and didn’t expect a bomb. I loved it when he told them that the one thing he’s really good at is “blowing shit up.” This ranks right up there with Boyd launching the grenade in the first episode of the show.

Raylan once again falls victim to one of Wendy’s ruses. I didn’t really get the point of her calling him to the hotel. Meanwhile, Daryl and Kendall Crowe show up at the Marshal’s office and turn themselves in for Art’s shooting. Everyone is shocked when Kendall confesses to being the shooter. As Raylan listens to Kendall’s confession, it’s obvious that he doesn’t believe him for a second. With good reason. As he strolls out a free man, Daryl explains that it will be good for Kendall to spend some time in juv-y. There’s also a dramatic stare down between Raylan and Daryl and we know that things are going to have to come to a head next week.

I hope that Art doesn’t die. I would much rather see him retire with his wife. This would be a better ending for him. We’ve already seen Raylan deal with his father’s death, so it’d be better not to end the season on a similar note.

I am looking forward to an end to the Florida Crowes once and for all. I also want to see if Ava is going to get out or if she’ll still be in prison next year.

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