Justified’s 6th and final season takes aim at its fifth 2015 installment in “Sounding,” as Ava’s desperation threatens to derail Raylan’s case, while Wynn Duffy looks into her release, and Boyd enlists a dangerous ally in the caper against Avery Markham (Sam Elliott).

Last week’s Justified installment, “The Trash and the Snake,” saw Raylan’s pursuit of the mysterious Avery crossing paths with a few old friends, while Boyd attempted an explosive solution to his banking problems and Ava bristled under Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen)‘s watchful eye, so what does the fifth episode of Justified season 6 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about Justified Season 6, episode 5, “Sounding!”

Last week’s installment cracked wide open the endgame for the season, so it stands to reason that this Tuesday’s Justified would take a more restrained hour and cool its heels, even bask in a few more victory laps with past guest stars. Apart from Justified’s greatest hits, “Sounding” at least built a palpable amount of tension throughout the hour, proving ever-more ominous around the fates of its three leads, even if no one quite gets what they want in the end.

Ava once again goes running for the hills, under threat of Katherine Hale discovering Albert (Danny Strong)’s involvement in setting her free, and it’s especially impressive that Joelle Carter and the Justified writing team have managed to keep this particular plate spinning so efficiently. This time around, Raylan’s pursuit of a frightened Ava takes us through the familiar hills of Noble’s Holler, some shocking torture sequences, and even a visit with Constable Bob “Balls like Death Stars” Sweeney, the always-welcome Patton Oswalt.

It’s a merry sort of chase around Harlan, though largely serving as setup toward the final scene, and putting Raylan down an uncomfortably ambiguous road in protecting Ava. Raylan’s worldview dictates that we see him as the white knight, when in truth we’ve seen plenty of unethical compromise in pursuit of his personal goals, Ava included. It’s no accident that Ava invokes religious imagery in suggesting that Raylan would have a place in hell for breaking his promise to a woman, and her kiss sees Raylan doing exactly that: forgetting all about promises he made to Winona and their baby girl, and leaving Harlan madness behind. In the end, Raylan only wants to return to the simple and selfish beginning, where he and Ava united against Boyd, and Raylan’s decision to stay with Ava after the kiss suggests a tragic courting of disaster ‘til the very end.

The Ava-centric storyline courted the majority of narrative real estate this week, affording Boyd a little less time to blindly bask in his vision of a legalized Harlan County. It’s of interest that Boyd barely seems to recognize the telling nature of Ava’s breakfast doting, but Mr. Crowder’s presence this week mostly served to bring Jeff Fahey into the scheme as another eccentric cog, albeit one that shares Ava’s bitter blood with the family. There was a certain poetry to be found in Boyd staring into a mineshaft he swore he’d never venture down again, another compromise in pursuit of what characters believe to be a bright future, though both Fahey’s Zachariah (Biblical!) and the mining exploration felt a bit repetitive against last week’s schemes.

‘Better Call Bob’ is the spinoff we truly deserve. Will also accept ‘Death Star Balls.’

Elsewhere, Avery Markham’s plans for Harlan seem to be cracking a bit, pressure that sees Garret Dillahunt’s Ty Walker growing increasingly exasperated, and precipitating one of two failed interrogation scenes this week. Both the ominous setup and resolution of Albert and Calhoun’s questioning serve as a reminder that violence may not always lead to truth in the real world, and crime isn’t as exact a science as Wynn Duffy or Mikey would like to “aplex” it as, but it was at least entertaining to have Albert “redeem” himself in Rachel’s eyes by enduring Wynn and Mikey’s cattle prod. Danny Strong’s writing credits and Empire work keep him a busy man, so it was good to put a button on the character, victory lap or otherwise.

Admittedly not so exciting or revelatory as last week’s installment, but a good amount of fun and tension-building, as the web closing in around Harlan grows ever more tangled. Also, “Balls like Death Stars.” We’ll take it.


  • “Balls like Death Stars.” Just wanted to say it again.
  • Plenty of lingering shots to ratchet up tension this week, whether it’s Ava’s long drive away from Boyd at the house, or the circular saw hovering in the air before landing next to Earl in the marsh
  • Hoping this isn’t the last we see of Limehouse, of course.
  • Rachel and Time couldn’t have waited a few more seconds to burst in and talk to Albert? How far could Wynn and Mikey have gotten, 5 feet?

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 sixth installment, “Alive Day” on FX!