‘Justified’ Final Season Premiere Review: “Fate’s Right Hand”
‘Justified’’s 6th and final season takes aim with its first 2015 installment in “Fate’s Right Hand,” as Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) presses Ava and a freed Dewey Crowe to turn on Boyd, while the man himself plans a daring bank robbery for his new employers. Last year’s ‘Justified’ finale, “Restitution,” saw Raylan pushing Darryl Crowe to confess to shooting Art, while Boyd dealt with cartel killers, and Ava found hope from an surprising offer, so what does the first episode of ‘Justified’ season 6 bring? Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Justified’ season 6's premiere installment “Fate’s Right Hand!”
Few would argue that ‘Justified’ season 5 ended up something other than a well-intentioned misfire, but as we’ve seen with ‘Parks and Recreation’ and a number of other series before it, any show’s decision to end on its own terms before stagnation usually proves to be the right one. ‘Justified’ in particular has never been one for flashy premieres, but “Fate’s Right Hand” seems exactly the kind of course-correcting the FX drama needs in its final season, keeping things relatively simple while refreshing the essential conflicts.
For one, a palpable sense of ending has set in throughout Harlan County, whether by Raylan looking to expedite his one last case against Boyd and scramble on down to Florida, or in Boyd sensing that Harlan itself’s days are numbered. Not only that, but “Fate’s Right Hand” expectedly kills a darling to let us know ‘Justified’ season 6 means business, shuffling off that lovable inbred clown, ol’ Dewey Crowe. You were too good for us, sweet Dewey.
The effectiveness of “Fate’s Right Hand” as a final season premiere also lies in its basic shorthand for reintroducing us to its characters. Raylan flashes that Marshal law in dragging a Mexican police officer across the border to force his cooperation, later assuring a weakened Art over drinks that Boyd would never outdraw him, should it come to that, a staunch reminder that Raylan’s unwillingness to change with time might well be his undoing.
So too does Boyd’s sweetness with Ava and simple carpentry seem at odds with the symbols of hatred permanently etched up and down his arms, a quick refresher that Boyd makes every bit the anti-villain to Raylan’s anti-hero, contrasting Raylan’s brazen attitude with a more soulful understanding of the riches in front of him. Ava too ends up reassuming her past identity as a duplicitous housewife preparing to strike, though given Raylan’s stubborn insistence on people’s inability to change their true natures over time, his overconfidence may be infectious. After all, Dewey’s blind hopes of returning to the past ended up his undoing, literally gazing into a past photograph, unable to see Boyd drawing his gun behind him.
Of course, ‘Justified’ wouldn’t be ‘Justified’ without that flowery Elmore Leonard-style dialogue, and the relationships between Tim and Raylan or Boyd and his men, remain as sharp as ever. Witty interplay has always carried ‘Justified’ through the lulls in weaker episodes, and considering that “Fate’s Right Hand” hasn’t much to show us in terms of Boyd’s new employers, or the significance of Garret Dillahunt’s mysterious real estate tycoon, there’s plenty to be said for a quieter hour that refreshes its core relationships and sends off poor Dewey Crowe to that $6.00 whorehouse in the sky.
We’ll be sad to lose ‘Justified’ after only six seasons, but “Fate’s Right Hand” definitely feels like a return to simpler times, and a much cleaner start than anything we had last year. The next couple episodes deftly keep up the momentum as well, but tonight was definitely a strong, if quiet return to form.
AND ANOTHER THING…
- It’d never happen, but I want to go to a ‘The Bridge’ and ‘Justified’ crossover down in Mexico.
- “I use a paste.”
- “Halt. U.S. Marshals.” I may devolve into listing quotes, at this point.
- So, who has odds on Raylan and Boyd having a final conflict that mirrors either the dining room scene from the pilot, or the Florida showdown?
- Bonus! You can also read Ryan McGee’s take on ‘Justified’'s return.
Well, what say you? Did you feel that ‘Justified’ hit the mark with its sixth and final season premiere? Has Boyd truly gone to the dark side for good? Give us your reactions in the comments, stay tuned for the latest on tonight’s premiere, and join us again next week for an all-new ‘Justified’ review of season 6's second installment, “Cash Game” on FX!