Justified’s 6th and final season takes aim at its sixth 2015 installment in “Alive Day,” as Markham's men grow desperate in the wake of a sloppy error, Boyd's mining scheme hits a deadly snag, and Rachel begins to suspect Raylan's liability with Ava.

Last week’s Justified installment, “Sounding,” saw Ava’s desperation threatening to derail Raylan’s case, while Wynn Duffy looked into her release, and Boyd enlisted a dangerous ally in the caper against Avery Markham (Sam Elliott)., so what does the sixth episode of Justified season 6 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about Justified Season 6, episode 6, “Alive Day!”

Poor, sweet, dumb Choo-Choo. Like Dewey Crowe before him, the leviathan Mundo had to find out the hard way that Justified is historically cruel to criminals lacking the conviction or intelligence for their particular line of work. His soft demeanor and unsteady trigger-finger may not have been of his own making, as Walker points out with gruesome detail to Markham, but Choo-Choo’s ultimate end was no less sad for the sentiment.

Raylan articulates it best in confrontation with Markham, that the wizened Kentucky gangster hired mercenaries who excel at killing, but don’t fully grasp the nuances of general crime, and one’s ability to play the game seems most on trial by tonight’s “Alive Day.” Just as Ava sheds her nerves and learns to manipulate Earl into giving up more useful information on Boyd’s schemes, Boyd remains almost entirely oblivious to the traitors in his midst, and even Rachel learns from a hobbled Art the game of redirecting Raylan’s loose cannon law enforcement.

Even Markham and Katherine Hale seem to be playing one another move for move, backing spontaneous proposals with ploys to uncover which of them ratted out Katherine’s husband Grady, and to paraphrase another criminally well-spoken series, half-measures are starting to get the innocents killed. Well, whatever passes for “innocent” on Justified, anyway.

Poor fella can't even fit in this frame.

Raylan seems relegated to a functional role this week, save for another foreshadowing confrontation with Boyd and Ava that again circles the drain of that famous table confrontation. The two might well have drawn their weapons then and there until Ava, increasingly exasperated with both men batting her around like an object, dispenses with southern hospitality, and grants a stay for the inevitable showdown. The game will likely soon change altogether, now that Limehouse has given Boyd a line on Ava’s duality, and something tells me that Uncle Zachariah will play a much larger part in her future, now that his own machinations against Boyd have been exposed.

Just about halfway through the season, “Alive Day” subverts its more humorous, flashy exterior to bring about a big swing for the season, particularly with Walker and his men on the run, likely implicating Markham in the process. The focus on poor, sweet Choo-Choo certainly helped to keep things light before the first major gun battle of the season, climaxing in a wry, particularly Elmore end as Choo-Choo parks his car on the tracks, but slips away before the train comes to an unexpected stop. Even in death, half-measures never get the end you want.

Perhaps not the most memorable of the season, though “Alive Day” certainly served to make the major conflicts more personal than the grand weed-scheming of previous weeks would suggest, now that Boyd, Ava, Raylan, Rachel, Avery and Katherine all have reason to suspect one another of duplicity. The only item more troubling than Boyd’s loss of trust for Ava perhaps, is the knowledge that both he and Raylan seem to have lost their edge of seeing the threats amassed around them.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Sly of Boyd to pivot suspicions about Dewey Crowe onto Markham’s crew, though hopefully sweet Dewey will get his true justice.
  • Still not entirely following this “who’s the rat” game around Katherine’s late husband. Are we meant to suspect that Avery was in fact playing her, or is there a third layer to the mystery?
  • Ex-Chief Art, still jerk enough to take Rachel’s parking space and chair.
  • “Wonderful things happen when you sow seeds of distrust in a garden of assholes.”

Well, did Justified hit the mark with its sixth and final season’s latest? Join us again next week for an all-new Justified review of season 6's seventh installment, “The Hunt” on FX!