Justified is nearing its end, and everyone’s jostling for a piece of the pie. Deals are being made, plans are being put into place, and some people are getting ready to leave Harlan behind. All that stands between them and an open road? Each other. It’s a tricky situation that’s getting tricker by the minute, and it’s clear that these characters aren’t just going to sit back and let others take control; they are going to do what they have to do to survive, to maintain some semblance of control over their surroundings, and it sure is damn exciting to watch.
In fact, this “doing what you gotta do” mentality plays a huge role throughout “Burned”. First of all, Wynn Duffy is revealed to be the snitch who got Grady killed, and he has to work with Raylan because, as he tells a disappointed Mikey, “this is what you do.” It’s a reveal that makes perfect sense if you think about it, and it also allows Jere Burns to let a little desperation seep into Wynn Duffy’s demeanor. So far, he’s been the cool cat, the guy who was just going to ride it out and outlast everyone around him, but now, he has to be an active participant in order to survive. It looks like there will be less time spent in the tanning beds moving forward.
Elsewhere, Raylan responds to Markham’s “You’re just jerking me around to get to Boyd” with “Don’t take it personal…just doin’ what I gotta do”. Here’s a guy who’s ready to get out of Harlan, and although the last two episodes really began to jumpstart that process, “Burned” once again affirms Raylan’s desire to take down Boyd before he goes. It’s the kind of attitude that leads him down a path of trouble, but it’s also just part of who he is, part of what he has to do in order to sever his ties to Harlan. Markham gets it.
Of course, while Raylan’s on his way out of town, Loretta’s digging her roots straight into Harlan County’s ground. It brings her into direct conflict with Avery Markham, and in a wonderful sequence that recalls Mags Bennett’s Black Pike meeting, Loretta sticks it to Markham with a big speech about giving the county back to the people, about security and safety. As much as the season’s been concerned with the past, this is one glimmer of hope for the future, for a youthful presence with the drive and intelligence to keep Harlan thriving for decades. Kaitlyn Dever is absolutely stellar in this scene, and she’s sure to do some great work moving forward when Markham decides to make his move.
Boyd’s already making his move. Although he doesn’t succeed in his attempted robbery of Markham’s vault, we can see that simmering tensions now turn into actions; planning from behind the scenes now becomes almost dying in a mine shaft explosion. Although we know that Boyd won’t die, it’s still an incredibly tense and well-directed scene, and we can feel the desperation and the fear in the air as he hammers away at his restraints. Knowing Boyd, though, we can anticipate him not letting up one bit moving forward. In fact, he’s just going to come at Markham harder next time, and he’s not going to stop until he gets what he wants. No one knows who will be left standing at the end of all this, but it probably won’t be very pretty.
-Katherine Hale is one stone-cold badass. Her dispatching of Seabass is efficient and brutal, and although I maybe would’ve liked to see more of that character, I’ll forgive it because we’re getting really close to the end.
-Tim and Rachel are once again not doing enough. Sigh.
-The first scene between Loretta and Jonathan Tucker’s Boone is very tense and well played by both actors. I’m not sure how exactly Boone will play into these final four episodes, but he’s an intriguing presence right off the bat.
-Only four more, everyone.
Photo credit: FX, Justified