Justified Season Finale Recap: 'Well, Why Didn't You Just Say So?'

Justified Season 5 Finale RecapSay what you will about this uneven season of Justified, in the end it unarguably teed up a wonderfully savory premise for the FX drama’s farewell run.

RELATED | Justified Sets End Date, Season 6 Will Be Show’s Swan Song

The Season 5 finale tended to much of its business in an efficient manner, with about 20 minutes to spare. Boyd, held captive by the Mexicans that Daryl Crowe wronged, dodges a bullet (never a euphemism in Harlan) when Raylan got his sneaky text message (look at Boyd quickly tweak his address book!) and sent in the troops (meaning Tim and Rachel) to have a shoot-out with the desperadoes.

Wendy meets up with Daryl to say that the whole thing about Kendall facing adult charges/40 years in a federal pen was Raylan’s bluff, so he can go ahead and confide in her his role in gunning down Art. To grease the works, Wendy apologizes for abandoning her son and family when they needed her most years ago, and it works: “It just happened,” the big dope admits of the shooting. Wendy then risks a bonehead move by immediately bragging that she recorded his confession on her cell, but she’s smart enough to have a gun handy to aim at his… Crowes. Raylan walks in on the confrontation, but doesn’t intervene. (As he tells his foe, “A man can’t come between family.”) When Daryl lunges at his sis, she blasts his Crowes, and then pops him again. To his Crowe-less adversary, Raylan taunts: “Didn’t I tell you you were going to wish I killed you?”

Following his melee with the Mexicans, Boyd is fixing up Ava’s house when he gets the call that she is being released, because his fiancee’s old cell mate and Albert the guard have recanted their stories about the shivving. That night, Boyd and Ava briefly reunite, before he tears himself away to wrap up business with Wynn and Katherine Hale — ‘cept, while they agree he’s crap at running heroin, they hear he knows a thing about robbing banks, a wrinkle that puts a twinkle in Boyd’s eye.

RELATED | Michael Chiklis Joins FX’s American Horror Story: Freak Show

Meanwhile, Ava has a rendezvous with Raylan on the bridge, and it’s quickly revealed that he helped orchestrate her release, with the proviso that she without hesitation and with full cooperation helps him with his Harlan County swan song: building a RICO case against Boyd, after which he’ll relocate to Florida to reunite with his teary, sleep-deprived baby momma and their daughter. Ava seems good with the arrangement, but ultimately admits, “I’m scared.”

“Don’t be,” Raylan reassures. “Everything is going to be fine.”

What did you think of the final wrinkles — Raylan sticking around to build the RICO case, and recruiting Ava for the cause? Are you anxious for that Season 6 Raylan/Boyd showdown? (And who will you root for?)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jonathon says:

    Great end to another great season of justified!

  2. Nicole Robertson says:

    And what about Winona, waiting for her man to return? He used to be a miner, but she always gets the shaft.

  3. Pat D. says:

    Best moment was badass Tim and Rachel taking down those Cartel henchmen on the porch.

    • Mark says:

      A hallmark of the show is that all three (Tim, Rachel, Raylan) are terrific shots. We don’t get to see them shoot that often, but are reminded of it periodically.

  4. Francine says:

    This season wasn’t my favorite by any means, but its still far better than many of the shows out there. The last few episodes were really firing on all cylinders though. I’m not surprised at Ava at all. I always liked her chemistry with Raylan so Im looking forward to seeing more of that. I knew the final season was always going to be a Boyd/Raylan showdown, but a tiny part of me wants them to kiss and end up as friends, lol. I think its because of Walton Goggins. He’s just such a fantastic actor that I constantly find myself rooting for him, bad as it sounds. Really sad but looking forward to the final season. I can’t even begin to imagine how the show could end.

    • tripoli says:

      I sort of agree. There was a brief time when Raylan and Boyd were kinda working well together. Of course you knoew it was going to be short lived, but it was great to watch. The chemistry between Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggings is amazing. Really looking forward to the inevitable showdown.

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  6. Rod says:

    RIP, Jimmy. :-(

  7. James D says:

    predictable end, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an enjoyable one. next season will be tough as I’m like most i suspect am conflicted about Boyd part of me wants him to get the better of Raylan and the other doesn’t. when it’s all said and done Walton Goggins better get any role he desires, he is one of the best out there and deserves all the success he gets.

  8. benny says:

    Man really bummed about Jimmy.

  9. Leno says:

    I for one am absolutely rooting for Boyd.

  10. angelwings says:

    Boyd is the last good reason to watch Justified. I’ve slowly come to genuinely dislike Raylan and inexplicably adore Boyd. Clearly Walton Goggins is the MVP of the show.

    • Jane says:

      I agree. I have actually grown to dislike Raylan. He is so judgmental when he is just as bad as anyone he arrests. Even Art can’t stand him any longer. I am really upset that they broke up Ava and Boyd. Theirs was the only love story on any show I watch I really cared about. Now Raylan is just using Ava with no feeling for her at all. Personally I would be ok with the show ending with Boyd killing Raylan and he and Ava riding off together.

      • Fran says:

        Again I have to ask- how is Raylan just as bad as the people he goes after? Does he routinely kill people for the heck of it? Does he buy and sell drugs? No he doesn’t. He’s not a good and moral person and he has plenty of faults- we’ve known that since day one. Raylan is a flawed man but he wants hardened criminals off the street. His methods are questionable but his purpose is not. Raylan has certainly been unlikeable at times this season, but it seems to me that there’s a reason for that and its all leading up to the final season. And I don’t think Art can’t stand Raylan. Art has known that Raylan breaks the rules but they’ve always had an unspoken agreement about it. As long as Art didn’t know specifics, they were fine. Raylan broke that agreement and Art is ticked. But I don’t see it staying that way, and it seems to already be thawing. I do agree with you about Boyd and Ava’s love story though. I fully enjoyed that and I’m sad to see that end. You do feel sympathy for Boyd, but at the end of the day, he is a criminal. I can’t reasonably root for someone like that to win exactly, but I certainly dont want him to die either. But that’s just me! You’re of course entitled to feel differently :) I will say that the writers (and Walton of course) have certainly done a great job getting us to question what character our loyalty lies with. That’s part of why I love the show so much.

  11. patrick isaac says:

    Justified started and ends with raylan always being justified,the show is great i am sad that it ends in season 6,however in england we are waiting to see season 5,let alone 6 so thanks for ruining that.

    • Jennifer says:

      If you haven’t even seen season 5 yet, why on EARTH would you be reading a column about the last episode of the season? If anything was “ruined” for you, you only have yourself to blame. Seriously.

      • Kim R says:

        Right?! I totally avoid anything with the word Justified in the title until I have watched the episode that week. Look away, Patrick Isaac! Look away!! :)

  12. lily says:

    i bet ava and boyd will be back together pretty fast and she won’t actually turn on him. i just have a feeling she won’t do it

    • Lola says:

      I agree with you. I’m thinking she’s going to change her mind but Boyd won’t know it and she will somehow be killed because of it and Boyd will find out after. I’m not liking her chances of surviving the last season.

  13. ivy says:

    Tim never get enough to do and he is such an awesome character
    amazing season
    i don’t want this show to end it’s too good

    • what now says:

      I couldn’t agree more! Tim could be such a multifaceted character if given the screen time.

      • Kate says:

        Justified is a fabulous show but when it comes to writing Rachel and Tim consistently and giving them an actual storyline – and more than two minutes of screentime, this show continues to fail. I just can’t believe Graham Yost doesn’t take advantage of these two wonderful actors and write them good material. It’s one of the few flaws Justified has and lately especially with this rather dull cast of supporting characters in s5, it was really glaring.

  14. Jenna says:

    Agree the season had some issues (I got really tired of Ava in prison and not interacting with any of the leads), but this finale was awesome. So excited, and anxious, for next season. Boyd is a great character, but I gotta root for Raylan (and his reunion with his adorable daughter).
    I’ll miss this show, but I’m really looking forward to a resolution; and I’m hoping Fargo takes some of the sting away.

  15. tv2day says:

    Amazing show. They should have brought back constable Bob though. Maybe he’ll be the new sheriff next season. Also needs a sprinkle of Elston Limehouse for the final season

  16. thatdude says:

    Cant wait for the final showdown

  17. AdamJ says:

    So season 6 Boyd’s going to rob banks and build up a stake for him and Ava to then ride off into the sunset….if he can win her affections back…..meanwhile Raylan has to catch him in the act.
    Seems to simple…needs more hillybillys and dead people..

  18. Aaron says:

    Jimmy!!!!!!! :( (My favorite of Boyd’s henchmen.)

  19. Evan says:

    I’m sorry but i cant stand Raylan anymore, just because he is the reason that most of these conflicts start because he feels like he can do whatever he wants to anyone! He thinks he is soo moral but when it comes down to it he is just as bad as Boyd if not worse!

    • Fran says:

      I understand the show has done a fantastic job making us feel sympathy for Boyd, but in no way is Raylan worse than him! Did Raylan nearly beat a man to death? Does Raylan buy drugs to sell? Did Raylan blow up a guy? And those are just things Boyd has done this year. Secondly, where did you get the idea that Raylan is moral, or even acts like he is moral? The entire premise of the show has never shown that, in fact its been the complete opposite. When it comes down to it, Raylan is trying to get hardened criminals put away. Exactly how is that a bad thing?

      • Evan says:

        I don’t know what show you have been watching but Raylan is suppose to follow the law but he doesn’t, he does what ever he wants and never face any consequences! And people keep bringing up Boyd’s misdeeds to make themselves feel better about Raylans’ but Boyd is an outlaw and he does what outlaw is gonna do while Raylan orchestrated Nicky Augustine murder, let Wendy murder Darryl and a whole lot of other things! This guy fools himself into thinking he’s better than Boyd when in fact he is just like him the only difference being he has a badge!

        • Francine says:

          I’m watching Justified- a show about Raylan Givens, a flawed lawman who frequently takes the law into his own hands to put criminals away. He’s not black and white and was never meant to be. That is the entire premise of the show, since day one. I have no idea how you made it this far into the show if you dislike that idea so much. Maybe we ARE watching a different show.

          • Evan says:

            It’s too unrealistic… Raylan would have been in jail or fired at the least for all the illegal things he has done if it were real life! There is no way he would still be a free man with all the unjustified shootings he has been a part of! So you are okay with him doing whatever he wants and never having any consequences?? My bet is he never makes it back to Florida… the last scene should be Raylan and Boyd in a shootout with it not being clear whether or not either of them survived!

  20. nuclearjudas says:

    Spoilers, obviously.

    Was sad to see Darryl Jr go out the way he did. Thought Rapaport did a fabulous job bringing colour to him and his strife to make a better life for his family in his own way, but he kind of had to go for the last season to properly focus on Raylan and Boyd.

    Seems like a lot of people love Boyd and watch solely for him, but i for one am growing increasingly indifferent as he’s protected by the most ridiculous plot-armour I’ve ever seen. The man has a guardian angel on his back or something, because the stars juts align at the right time for him every time he’s in danger.

    Cannot see the show ending any way but Boyd in prison or dead, and Raylan either under some serious scrutiny, or getting off clean but being a worse man for it. So sad it’s ending, but boy, do I look forward to the last season.

    Also, agree about Tim needing more screen time. His lines and scenes in the finale were absolutely bad-ass.

  21. IPF says:

    “Uneven season”???? Sorry Mr. Mitovich but your description couldn’t be more wrong. While Justified in general has always been amongst the best scripted, best acted shows on TV since its inception; the story itself from season to season often has varying degrees of quality. Superb contributions this year by newcomers Alicia Witt and Michael Rappaport added to the already great regular cast’s renewed storylines and made for the best season we’ve seen since season 2

  22. mark says:

    Some people need killing,and Raylan,seems to pick the right ones,he’s said himself if he’d stayed around harlan himself he could have been Boyd,they’re two sides of the same coin’
    Raylans doing what the U.S.
    Marshalls of old did,being out where the real bad deeds are done,making the bad guys pay one wayor the other.
    In the Harlan vernacular, “Gittin her done”.
    Walton Goggins ! weird name,great actor!!
    Great show ,gritty,and all done without any realy bad language.

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  24. Jon says:

    Dont pull a dexter

  25. RS says:

    I watch TV for entertainment. If the episode/story is entertaining, it’s fine. If I wanted reality I’d watch a documentary.

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  29. Mike says:

    Having been a fan from season 1, watching it all unfold…Fire in the hole…..
    Its like a drug….I felt the need for a good glass of whiskey on the rocks and a bag of beef jerky as I sat down for the late night hour of shoot em up….I was justified action…
    With that said, The season 5 finally was IMO a bit weak….we could have left with Art M….flat lining….or a little less of the good guys winning…..
    As a side note, I would love to have a part in the last season….would be a dream come true to have just a small part…..to be able to say I was part of one of the best shows ever to grace the screens of Americas TVs


  30. boyd crowder says:

    that boyd crowder is the man, he is a smart outlaw that is quick on his feet when in a tight situation.

  31. Raymond King says:

    Great show, I love it

  32. Penny Lawson says:

    They have the most supitest shows on but get a good one and they end it . Par for the course I guess

  33. Oz lindsey says:

    I can’t believe it all ends with season 6. Before Justified I didn’t watch TV. It will be a very long time before they get a dramatical team like Olyphant and Goggins again. There may never be a script and dialogue writing team like the one that wrote for Justified. Is it too optimistic to hope for stunningly entertaining movies with the same acting/writing team? Let the movie legacy begin!

  34. Sandy says:

    Timothy O is so sexy that the storyline wouldnt matter. However, what a fantastic script & awesome supporting cast members! Boyd is incredible & and often steals the show! If you havent watched Justified yet, start from season 1 & enjoy! 😍

    • Karen Shugak says:

      I agree with you Sandy. I was only recently introduced to Justified, but watched all 5 Seasons back to back. Absolutely love Olyphant, having said that I wish it wasn’t going away after Season 6. But, whatever he endeavors next I will be there watching.

  35. Linda Rogers says:

    My favorite season. What’s the date for season 6?

  36. Jody Lynn Bruch says:

    Outstanding show, from the writers to every actors portrayal of every character. Thanks for putting together of one hell of a show. Kind of thinking Harlan is going to go out on top.

  37. Michael Raysses says:

    I just love this series !…. FX had some really good television to watch!….. Gotta admit…. Ol Boyd is a great explosives expert!… Especially the way the kills John Kapelis’ character in season five?… This is a cool show… One in which I’d like to see raylan/Winona…. Tie the knot again… Only this time, make it work!…:)))