[Review] - Justified, Season 4 Episode 12, "Peace of Mind"

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television
There is a lot in this penultimate episode of Justified's fourth season that made it feel like the season finale. The whole construction of the episode, coming down off the big high that was the past two weeks, that felt epilogue-ish. It brought an end to many of the plot lines, I dare say nearly all of the season specific ones anyway, and ended in a place that can grow fertile plots for next season.

And yet, there remains one episode to go. And that might be a sign of Justified's continuing attempts to undermine and subvert viewer expectations; to go left when expect them to go right. Because it has left me at a complete loss at to what we might expect from the show next week.

Hit the jump to read the review, which contains spoilers that once stole a dead guy's sun glasses.

When I say that everything felt like a season finale here, I mean everything. It was all hands on deck with the cast (even Winona appeared), which is usually only reserved for the beginnings and ends of years. With the season's primary story - get Drew - resolved, all that remained was to find an ending for Ellen May, and to bring the Crowder crime family to something resembling order. And this episode did all of that, without ever seeming bloated or packed too tight. It helped that each independent story this year became interwoven with the search for Drew, and through him, the search for Ellen May, so that resolving one pretty much meant resolving all.

Even Limehouse got a conclusion, coming finally to terms with the notion that his failures were his own fault, on meddling with those outside of Nobles, and that if his people and land were to prosper, he needs to stay out of these white people's business, and stop behaving in the way that forces visits from the Marshal's service. I think this might be the last we see of the ever intimidating Limehouse, his honour and respectability restored. Of course, on this show, unless you take a bullet you can never count anyone out.

It was through Limehouse's epiphany that Ellen May, who continues to prove the exception to the rule that people don't change, escaped her immediate fate, and fell back on her old habit of picking the absolute worst people to protect her (roll call: Delroy, Ava, Shelby, and her former conspiracy theorist pimp). It was also through this epiphany that Ava was led to her moment of truth, and like I've mentioned before, she is forced to discover a very clear line that she will not cross. Her final confrontation with Ellen May proves that Ava may well become the Queen of Harlan, but she will never become Mags. There is too much good in her, and knows who deserves to die and who doesn't, even at the cost of herself.

Colt received the most definite conclusion, in an abrupt and not entirely unexpected confrontation with Tim that comes somewhat from no where given the construction of the rest of the scene. It felt like an odd latch on to the end of Ava and Ellen May's powerful moment. It was also necessary in order for Ellen May to survive, as there was no other way she would have been able to leave that tent alive, short of Raylan getting there a few moments earlier, but that happens so often it borders on cliche. It was just a shame, as I only really began to find Colt interesting last episode, and here he seems to give up rather easily. There is no attempt to find another way out; as soon as Tim steps into the tent, Colt just gives in to the notion he's going to die. I suppose this could illustrate the effect the events of Colt's military service had on him, giving him a greater sense of duty and honour then a fear of death, but it still seemed really sudden.

I'd like to take a moment here, and talk about feet. This season we have seen repeated foot damage, but bookending the year have been Constable Bob knifing the teenager through her boot, and in this episode where Boyd shoots Nicky in his least armoured area. Both times these are treated as effective ways to disarm a person, with little series harm. In reality, if the bullet or knife managed to nick one of the major blood vessels that run through the foot, of which there are several, a person can bleed out and die within minutes, no different then if the jugular was cut. Foot damage is common in TV and movies, as it presented as a benign place to get hit (second only to the forearm, and just ahead of the shoulder and butt), but is a very real danger. I bring this up only because seeing someone get shot in the foot gives me the wiggins, and I don't want to be held responsible for glorifying such behaviour.

By episode's end, Shelby is in WitSec and will testify against Theo Tonin, Ellen May is protected, Colt is dead, Johnny and the rest of the Crowder clan are squared away, Boyd and Ava are on their own (in a wonderfully shot scene, with the two alone, surrounded by a dark void, with the shadows creeping in), with nothing in the world but each other and a sense of desperation, and the Detroit mobsters have left Harlan unsuccessful and empty handed. Raylan even got a round of applause, and the second time this season he has acknowledged that he knows nothing about the female sex. It was all wrapped up in a tidy little bow. Even that final scene with Winona, full of menace that it is, seemed like a more natural dangling threat with which to move into an entirely new season, rather then just a final episode. The Tonin crime family waging war against Raylan Givens seems like the perfect starting point for season five, rather then a way to end the season, especially considering that the series has already went big, successfully, once this year.

I'm looking forward to the season finale this year more then any other, and more then any episode this year, if only because I have no idea what is going to happen. The characters are secure. There are no dangling plot threads. No one is in the wind. I honestly have no concept or prediction as to the nature of the end, except that Yost teased a while back that Boyd and Raylan might find themselves on the same side of a fight yet again. Which makes me wonder if Detroit doesn't intend to just burn Kentucky to the ground.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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