“Let the goddamn helicopter go and get your ass back to Lexington.”

– Art Mullen

This show gets me.

It knows that deep down, in my soul, all I’ve ever wanted is a scene where Raylan leaves his badge in the car and goes on a vigilante mission to take down Boyd, while Art gives him 48 hours to close the case before he comes after him.

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It’s an action movie trope, sure. But a damn satisfying one. And one that feels right for this show. It honors Elmore Leonard and sets us up for the final showdown we’ve all been hoping for. And putting Ava in the mix both adds a wild card element to the finale and brings us full circle to how this all began – with Ava, Raylan and Boyd settling things in a gunfight.

Of course, even as Raylan “goes rogue,” he still manages to do some damn fine police work. (Which is the one thing Vasquez doesn’t understand – he just assumes Raylan is dirty, when really he’s a good marshal who just can’t play by the rule.) First, he points the marshals in the right direction in the search for Ava. Then, he manages to save Earl’s life by intercepting the dirty cop who is going to serve him up to Markham and Boone. Everything about the scene between Raylan and the dirty cop was amazing. And he also makes headway in talking him into testifying against Markham.

Speaking of Earl, this episode isn’t one that rewards loyalty. Earl’s brother, Carl, is tasked by Markham to go to the hospital to gun down Boyd, but he lets Boyd talk him out of it … only to be gunned down by Boyd to create a diversion so he can escape. It is a remarkably coldblooded move even by Boyd’s standards, but certainly an effective one.

Michael Cosmatopolis also meets a grizzly end because of his loyalty to Wynn Duffy. He serves Wynn up to Catherine, but the speech she gives about supporting her former partner Grady convinces Michael that he should stay loyal to Wynn. He tries to convince Catherine to simply label him a rat and leave Wynn to fend for himself, but she refuses and tries to gun down Mike to get him out of the way. And in a tragically Herculean effort, Michael takes several gunshots to the the midsection, but keeps fighting and ends up killing Catherine before collapsing on the floor, asking Wynn to hold him as he passes away.

Micheal’s death really got to me. Which sort of surprised me. I’ve become really fond of him (and had been openly campaigning for a spinoff where he and Wynn eat guac and play Scrabble) and his is a tragic death. He dies because of two conflicting loyalties – one to the man who is the closest thing to family he has and the other to his crime family. I was sad to see him go. And I’m very curious what Wynn will do now. (He seems to have turned himself over to the authorities, so presumably he’ll be working with the marshals to testify against Boyd and Avery in an attempt to save himself.)

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So just to recap – Wynn is (presumably) in the marshals’ custody, as is Earl, Ava and Zachariah are stranded in the mountains without a clear exit strategy now that Grubes is dead, Boyd is pursuing them (and knows all about Grubes), Markham is grieving over Catherine’s death and looking to find Ava and Boyd to get his $10 million back and Raylan is going rogue in order to bring everyone to justice before Art hauls him in.

There’s a lot on the table and I couldn’t be more excited as we hit the final stretch.

And another thing …

  • So Boone watches the History Channel? That doesn’t necessarily contradict his claim to Raylan that he has never heard of John Wayne and doesn’t watch movies, but it does seem at odds with it. I suppose he could only watch documentaries. Or, perhaps he was just fucking with Raylan.
  • When did Ava begin working with Zachariah? Did she just turn to him after stealing the money or was she more involved in Zachariah’s plan to kill Boyd than she let on?
  • Catherine calling him Michael after he made it clear to Wynn that he’s always hated the name Mikey was a really nice touch.
  • Nelson had a chance to finally do something cool on the show … and he completely blew it.

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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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