“I’VE BEEN TO MORDOR, BUT NOT THROUGH THE MINES”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
“Fugitive Number One” had the unenviable task of carrying on from the biggest twist Justified has ever had, and it managed to do it perfectly. Every single viewer had questions about what shape these final handful of episodes would take. Would Ava be caught quickly? Would Boyd even be involved? What about Markham? Not only did we get put at ease by this episode, it also set us up for one hell of a race to the finish. “Fugitive Number One” has managed to get me even more excited about a show that I’m already fully hooked on.
Ava shooting Boyd came out of nowhere for us, but it certainly seems like she has been planning this for a while now. We knew she had reservations about where everything was headed, and to us it looked like she might betray Boyd to the marshals. Now after everything that’s happened, it looks like she has been in league with Zachariah from the moment he first appeared. They’re certainly working together now anyway, but if she has been working with him from the start, then that means she knew about his plot to kill Boyd down in the mine. She definitely wasn’t too concerned about whether he was alive or dead now, though, other than the fact that he might come after them if he is alive.
Ava working with Zachariah takes away one of my only worries about where everything is headed. Ava is resourceful, but I wouldn’t have been able to buy her evading the law for long without help. Even then they still came mighty close to getting caught by that helicopter patrol. Their plan to get out of Harlan hinged on the same guy who was going to get Walker out a few weeks ago. By the way, I just loved how that all tied in together. Of course that guy is now dead from an unknown cause, leaving Ava and Zachariah stranded while both Boyd and Raylan know their plan.
I had wondered whether Boyd could possibly be benched for the endgame, but that would have robbed us of the final Boyd vs. Raylan moment we all want. His gift of the silver tongue helped him out of a jam yet again, as he put a bullet in poor Carl and managed to escape marshal custody. A Boyd vs. Raylan finale has looked inevitable for a long time now, but I have to take my hat off to the writers for managing to craft a scenario that puts all of our main players in the same game. Ava needs to escape with the money, while Boyd needs to catch her. Raylan, now without his marshal badge, wants to protect Ava, but he also needs to bring her, Boyd and the money in to prove once and for all what side he’s on. Markham (sans Hale, more on that in a minute) wants to kill everyone and take his money back. Props once again to the writers for actually making Markham seem powerful again. Sam Elliott has done a great job so far, but Markham’s plans have all gone to hell, and his men have been taken out one after the other. He seems to have finally gotten used to Harlan life and has a whole load of dirty cops working for him now. Could they be a common enemy for Boyd and Raylan before their face off?
Now moving on to Katherine Hale. Boy was that a cracking good scene in Duffy’s RV. Mike and Duffy’s partnership has always been a quirky part of the show, and it managed to provide us with a surprisingly sweet final moment between the two of them. My only complaint was that Mike’s change of heart was telegraphed yet again. There were so many close-ups of him looking conflicted a few weeks ago. I knew he was going to turn on Duffy, and here we had the same kind of shots right as Hale was about to shoot Duffy. It didn’t take away from what followed though, as Mike gave his life to save Duffy while killing Hale in the process! It was bloody and brutal, with Mike getting shot around a half a dozen times. His final request for Duffy to hold him as he lay dying could have been incredibly goofy, but it worked perfectly. While Duffy seems like someone who only cares about himself, there was a genuine bond between the two of them. This moment of madness was perfectly topped off by Duffy’s exasperated 911 call, and I can only imagine how hilarious his explanation of events would have been to hear.
I couldn’t possibly think of a better way for Justified to be heading into the final few episode. With Art on his tail, Rogue Raylan is out to get Ava and Boyd. Boyd is in pursuit of his money and his ex-girl, with every cop in the county out looking for him. Avery Markham just wants to kill everyone and take his money back. We’ve had a few months of preparation for a heist that was doomed to fail, and we now find ourselves facing a madcap race to the finish where pretty much everyone is in danger. I’m going to leave my final predictions for now, but I will say that there’s far too much foreshadowing of a duel between Raylan and Boon to just ignore it. This close to the finish, you have to wonder could Raylan be about to come up against a quicker draw than his own.
95/100 – Superb
Where the hell is any of this going to go? Will Raylan face Boon and lose, or is it all misdirection? What’s going to happen when Boyd inevitable catches up with Ava? And who is going to put a bullet in Markham? If you manage to track down the answers to any of these questions, or you just want to discuss the show with me, tweet me @OldSnake24 or drop me a line in the comment section below. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded!
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