“Well hell, Raylan, then I have already won.”

– Boyd Crowder

All season Art, Boyd and countless other characters have been warning Raylan Givens about the pitfalls of seeking revenge. In a previous episode, Boyd went so far as to compare Raylan’s quest to take him down to Moby Dick. And this week, as the two come close to having their final showdown, Raylan begins to see that it isn’t as satisfying as he hoped.

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Last week played into a classic movie trope by showing us Raylan walking down the street as Art gave him 48 hours to come back in before he was coming after him. But this week plays against those expectations, giving us the most anticlimactic gunfight ever. Raylan and Boyd are both hiding behind trees taking wild shots at each other while Boyd asks Raylan if he even knows why he’s so fixated on killing Boyd.

Then, in a very poignant moment, Boyd tells Raylan that Bob is at the bottom of the mountain bleeding out. At first, Raylan balks and says Bob can take care of himself, which is when Boyd says that, if that’s the case, he’s already won. But ultimately, Raylan does go to Bob and rushes him off to the hospital.

It’s a huge character moment for Raylan. It is, essentially, him giving up on his quest to kill Boyd and returning to the straight and narrow. While calling in Bob’s injuries, he alerts the marshals task force to Boyd’s location. Because of this, there are officers waiting to apprehend him when he arrives at the hospital. But I have to imagine Art will be able to straight all of that out and to save Raylan from Vasquez. The important thing is that Raylan finally reached out for help. He isn’t doing it all by himself. Instead he’s leaving the manhunt to the marshal service.

This show is based on a short story by Elmore Leonard called “Fire in the Hole.” The pilot episode of the show closely mirrors the story, but the key difference is that Raylan kills Boyd in Ava’s kitchen in the original instead of just barely missing his heart. Keeping Walton Goggins around was obviously a brilliant move that made this show great, but I always just assumed that Raylan would end up killing him in the end. After Ava shot a few episodes back and then they had their unfulfilling showdown this week, I have to wonder if the writers have something else in the cards. I could still see Raylan getting the chance to take Boyd down while working with the rest of the marshals, but I could also see him letting Art or Tim or Rachel apprehend him.

There’s a lot of other things to resolve in the final episode. Loretta has aligned herself with Markham. Ava has been captured by his corrupt cops. Boyd is still on the loose. The money is out there somewhere. Plus, Wynn Duffy still exists as a wild card.

I’m really curious to see how it all comes together. This show has definitely taken a detour from the expected this final season. It feels like they are in uncharted water at this point. But I’m excited to see how it all comes together. Right now it all feels a bit fragmented, but they’ve certainly earned my trust by this point. So I want to believe they’ll stick the landing.

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And another thing …

  • “Didn’t much care for what you did at the Pizza Portal” is a line that only works when heard in Sam Elliot’s deep baritone.
  • Raylan finally got rid of Arlo’s house.
  • I did love everything with Boyd and the man he carjacked. Last week, Carl completely underestimated Boyd and was gunned down during his rescue attempt. The look on Carl’s face was one of pure surprise as he got shot in the chest. But the guy Boyd kidnaps this week knows he is going to die. He knows Boyd in a way Boyd’s men don’t. He sees him for the soulless monster that he is. And even after stroking his ego and being as accommodating as possible, he still is murdered.
  • Uncle Zachariah is 0-2 on attempts to blow up Boyd. Looks like he won’t be getting a third chance though.

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Written by Joel Murphy. If you enjoy his recaps, he also writes a weekly pop culture column called Murphy’s Law, which you can find here. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at murphyslaw@hobotrashcan.com.

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