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‘Justified’ Season 5 Wrap-Up: Showrunner Talks Missteps, Raylan-Boyd Endgame

Justified Season 5 6 Spoilers Finale Raylan Boyd Graham Yost
FX

And lo, ‘Justified‘ season 5 hath come to a close with last night’s season finale “Restitution,” successfully putting the Crowe story to bed as the narrative spun about to place Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) back at odds for the sixth, and confirmed final season in 2015. Not everything about the fifth season worked, as showrunner Graham Yost admitted to various outlets in post-mortem, also setting up a final season with a very specific focus that could see one, or both of its leading men in the ground by its end.

You’re warned of ‘Justified’ season 5 spoilers from here on out, but suffice to say, the FX gunslinger drama has in mind to return to its roots for the sixth and final season, as last night’s finale “Restitution” finally put Darryl Crowe Jr. (Michael Rapaport) in the ground, while Raylan learned of one last Harlan case to work (Boyd’s) before riding off into the Florida sunset with Winona and his baby girl Willa. Speaking to HitFix, TVGuide and Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Graham Yost previewed what to expect from the final season, along with a few challenges from the season at hand.

In particular, Yost defended the time Ava (Joelle Carter) spent removed from the main action in a women’s correctional facility, as writers wanted to place the character in a situation wherein she’d be forced to rely on her own instincts, rather than protection from any man, as had been the case in the past. Yost knew early on that Raylan should be the one to end up getting her out of prison, though with the specific (and dangerous) intent to have her act as a criminal informant on former (ish) fiancee Boyd.

Moreover, where the Crowe family arrived to mixed success as villains, Yost told HitFix that the unintentional early exit of actor Edi Gathegi (Jean Baptiste) upset the balance of the season, but ultimately led to a stronger resolution in bringing young Kendal Crowe to the forefront, for what it brought out in Raylan to threaten a minor with jail time as a means to bring down Darryl Crowe.

What happened with that is, honestly, we kind of feel that that gave us the season. When we came up with the notion, I think it was Chris Provenzano and VJ Boyd, who came in and pitched the idea that Danny would just get the shotgun and shoot Jean Baptiste with it. The additional thing there was us asking, “Is Kendal in the room or is he outside of the room?” We decided to leave him there and witness that, and that then started a whole thing for Kendal, which is his fear, his secret. He reaches out to his “Uncle Jack,” who is his father, because he wants to get away. He’s this kid who is trapped in this world. That gave us our eighth episode where he’s on the run with Jack and Raylan helps Wendy rescue the kid, and that gave a little bond with Raylan and Kendal.

We didn’t have it all planned out. We were in the room working on breaking 11, the episode where Kendal says, “I did it. I shot the man.” When I heard that pitch, I thought that was fantastic. It totally fits with Daryl, it puts Kendal in a really tough position, and it puts Raylan in a position where he can’t go full Raylan and just kill the guy, because he needs Daryl to confess or the kid will go to prison for a long time. That gave us our last run of the season. It was one of those things where we had to just have faith that we would figure it out, and it ended up being something we hadn’t anticipated, and I think it was better than what we had planned.

Of course, the final also served to point the barrel back at Boyd, as Yost wanted to return the character to a place of villainy and lethality, showing by the end of the episode how Boyd’s various losses had turned him to a place of nihilism and uncertainty. Boyd will get back to what he does best, robbing banks, though now Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns), Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) and potentially other big bads will make their presence felt across the final season as well. Boyd may not be out of the woods with regard to the Mexican drug cartels as well, given that he’d killed several operatives by the finale’s end with no immediate consequences.

Yost and the writers won’t enter the ‘Justified’ season 6 planning stages formally until July, though multiple ideas have been kicked around the writers’ room for the final bullet in the chamber. In particular, we might likely expect a time jump of several weeks to bring Art (Nick Searcy) out of the hospital and back into action for one last case, while Marshals Tim (Jacob Pitts) and Rachel (Danielle Brooks) will receive a more prominent spotlight. And as for whether or not Boyd or Raylan wind up in the ground before the end of the season? From TVGuide:

The last season is going to come down to Boyd versus Raylan, but you add in Ava, Art, Rachel and Tim and Wynn Duffy and Katherine. We’ll involve all of them, but it really comes down to Raylan and Boyd. But how that’s going to play out? God only knows. Boyd’s not going to die in Episode 6, I’ll tell you that. And he may not die at all. We still don’t know. Raylan may not live. We really don’t know.

Well, what say you? Did ‘Justified’ season 5 finish on a strong enough note to set up a sixth and final season? What did you think worked, or didn’t work about the Crowe storyline? Tell us what you think the comments, and give us your predictions for the final season of ‘Justified’ on FX!

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