Friday, 23 October 2015

Justified: The Final Season

In this so called ‘golden age of TV’ certain shows reign supreme. The most watched show ever is the brilliant The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones is watched by millions, and seems everyone has seen an episode of Sherlock or Doctor Who. Popularity doesn’t always mean a show is good, take a look at the vapid ‘comedy’ The Big Bang Theory for example, but it’s not a bad indicator of a shows quality. That’s why it always surprised me that Justified wasn’t one of the most popular shows on TV. The outstanding final season is out now on DVD and Blu Ray and it achieves what most final seasons don’t and manages to be a fitting end for the series.

The strongest point of Justified has always been the dialogue and season 6 is the show at its eloquent best. It remains witty, badass, and instantly quotable and is the best dialogue on television bar none. This is due to not only the Elmore Leonard influence (Justified is based on his story Fire in The Hole) or the terrific script writers, but also the casting of actors who can articulate it properly. Season 6 sees the introduction of some great new characters, played by some pretty big names. First and foremost is Sam Elliott as Avery Markham, a quick talking criminal with a small fortune from a legalized cannabis business. Fittingly for the western-flavoured world of Justified he brings his cowboy-esque drawl and speaks the sardonic dialogue like he was born to it. His interaction with the various characters of the show is a highlight, and he does pants-shittingly scary believably well. Another stand out performance is another new-comer to the Justified world - Garret Dillahunt as Ty Walker, a local mercenary doing the dirty jobs for Markham. Dillahunt is the perfect Justified villain; being hilarious and incredibly threatening in equal measure, sometimes in the space of a few seconds. 

These new villains are great additions to Justfied’s rogue’s gallery, but that’s not to say they overshadow the true rival to Timothy Olyphant’s gun slinging hero Raylan Givens; the silver-tongued Boyd Crowder played by Walton Goggins. As always he remains the absolute best thing about the show, stealing the lime light with the best lines whenever he’s on the screen. His relationship with Raylan throughout the show as it slowly builds to an emotional climax is outstanding. And talking of Raylan Timothy Olyphant also does a great job as the central character, US Marshall Raylan Givens. Like nearly everyone else in the show he’s hilarious and badass and he also wears the absolute best hat in the history of TV. The story arcs of the main cast are also nicely resolved, with the Raylan vs Boyd conflict being only one of many building storylines. There is a lot to juggle for the showrunners but they do an admirable job, wrapping up all the plotlines nicely and in a way usually unseen for final seasons. It doesn’t lose what made the show interesting in the first place either, a la Dexter, and there are no questions left in the air, *cough* Lost, making it one of the best final seasons of recent memory.

  People wrongly look over Justified when talking about the best TV shows of the past few years, which I personally think is wrong. No other show on TV has managed to have dialogue so fresh and quick and characters quite as fun and varied as those on Justified. The action is also still incredible, with Raylan’s frequent high noon style duels a particularly highlight. The real draw of the season though is the climax to the ongoing love/hate relationship of Raylan and Boyd. And that is handled perfectly, with an absolutely stunning ending for their storyline. This may be the end of the show but it’s never been better.

Justified: The Final Season gets 5/5.


Tom Bumby

Justified: The Final Season at CeX

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