Justified "The Hatchet Tour" Review: No Triggers Pulled, But Shots Fired

Justified S04E09: "The Hatchet Tour"

***Spoilers for "The Hatchet Tour" ahead, obviously***

Mystery solved! Well, almost. I don't remember at what point I hunched that Sheriff Shelby (Jim Beaver) was Drew Thompson, but clearly I wasn't alone as many of you have commented with regard to Justified's not-so-well-kept secret. For me, the biggest neon arrow came last week from Raylan, who—just before arguing with Art about staying on duty after Arlo's murder—glared at Shelby as he left and made a passing comment about not entirely trusting him. Raylan's instincts should stand up in court as admissible evidence (except when it comes to sexy, leggy blondes) and indeed, our lawman was spot on. I'm not going to take credit for guessing correctly; it's my bad for not saying something in last week's write-up (do your job and put your money where your mouth is, Tim!). I think I may have been blinded by the power of Timothy Olyphant's acting as he strode to the elevator, broken and bereaved. That still tickles my tiny emotional core just thinking about it. Or maybe it just seemed so obvious that Shelby was Drew that I thought he couldn't actually be Drew. But he is.

There were other clues, too. The most damning being the most obvious: Why the hell has Shelby been all over Season 4 in the first place? And why did he keep popping up everywhere Raylan did, casually showing interest in the case? What was he really offering Raylan, anyway? What purpose did he have in Season 4 if he WASN'T Drew Thompson? If Justified really wanted to keep us in the dark regarding Drew Thompson's identity, it would have kept the lights all the way off, but it purposefully didn't. And you know what? That's how it should be played. Too often television hands us mysteries that are impossible to solve, frustratingly introducing the real culprit at the very last minute so our sleuthing skills at home are wasted and the fun of solving the mystery is reduced to a mere non-participatory ridealong (I've never understood that kind of storytelling). Here, Shelby hid in plain sight and our suspicions about him grew each week, allowing us to play Justified: The Home Edition

Still, Shelby revealed as Drew was satisfying. It reminded me faintly of last season's Sons of Anarchy when whoever was behind the Charming break-ins was a big hullabaloo. I thought the answer was fairly obvious: [spoiler redacted] was behind them, duh-doi. But that was just a little something to kickstart the greater story, and I think Justified is doing something similar. Figuring out who Drew Thompson, though clearly the objective of the season from the start, was only part of the case. Catching him, learning about out the importance of the bag and how it ties to Arlo, and discovering Drew's motive is the real story here. And guess what? There's still four episodes left to explore that. The case really took off when Boyd joined the hunt for Drew, and that aspect hasn't changed. Now both Boyd and Raylan know that Shelby is their man, and instead of turning over rocks this thing is a bona fide manhunt. Bring. It. On.

Looking to average out its body count after last week's Great Harlan Massacre, there were zero deaths in "The Hatchet Tour." BUT! There were plenty of tense scenes sprinkled throughout with guns-a-pointing, almost as if the show was teasing us and taking advantage of our jumpiness. Chief among them was Boyd retaking the position of power over bulky heroin junkie Colton thanks to some intel from another one of his untrustworthy henchmen, Johnny.

It was Boyd vs. Devil 2.0, and who wasn't ready to see what the insides of a veteran's noggin looked like when Boyd put the barrel of a gun to Colton's forehead? But here's what we learned in that scene: lying to Boyd's face about shooting or not shooting secret-keeping whores is forgivable. Planning to take over Boyd's business is not, as Devil found out last season. TAKE NOTE JOHNNY. Also, can we assume Johnny's a dead man by the end of the season? Why is it so hard to get a good henchman these days?

We also got some more gun-pointing courtesy of Tim, who is correctly pegging Colton as the man who offed his pal Mark. This is part of the big arc for Tim that creator Graham Yost previously teased, but so far it needs some more punch. Tim might be my favorite character in Justified because his strength is irritating Raylan with vaguely homoerotic and definitely jabbing quips. His Season 2 declaration of "I love this shit... this shit gets me hard" while threatening to shoot Raylan is in the Justified Quote Hall of Fame, the timing and delivery of it redefining impeccable. From that quote, we can ascertain that he quite literally gets off on irking Raylan. On his own, as he was for most of this episode, he's more of a serious cat. We've always wanted to see more of Tim (and Rachel), but I think what we really asked for was more of Tim and Raylan, the Marshal Service's Lenny and Squiggy. Send them after a fugitive, send them out for frozen yogurt, send them out for colonoscopies, I don't care, just send them out together so that they can annoy each other. That's gold!

Even with the big info drop of Shelby being the Drew that was under our nose all along, "The Hatchet Tour" was more of a transition episode to the next stage of the case. Revealing Drew's identity now was a pacing issue. It seemed to me that the writing staff was very cognizant of how long the audience could hold interest in a case and hit its beats almost perfectly. With the Who solved, Season 4 is now a What Where When Why, still leaving plenty of questions to be answered. 



POSTCARDS FROM HARLAN COUNTY

– Cool factoid of the day: "The Hatchet Tour" was written by Taylor Elmore and Leonard Chang, and if you say their names fast enough you might just stumble upon the name of a famous author with ties to Justified

– I loved learning that Wynn grew up with a Yorkie. 

– Has Harlan ever had a sheriff who wasn't crooked as hillbilly's incisor?

– Holy smokes was that early scene the angriest we've ever seen Art? 

– More good father-son revelations even after Arlo's passing. Raylan seemed genuinely taken aback when he learned that the big Dog Shit Fight from decades ago involved Arlo defending his mother's honor, and wasn't just Arlo being an asshole.

– Of course Patton Oswalt gets the biggest laugh of the season as Constable Bob reached into his Go Bag and introduced Lee and Gerald to his not-so-little friend.

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Can't believe no-one else mentioned how much Art shone in the episode. Not just the rant at the beginning but also his admiration of what a badass Drew Thompson is. I rewound that scene a few times. :-)
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Can someone please tell me what is Detroits interest in Drew Thompson. I must have missed something.
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Drew Thompson is a missing federal witness against - amongst others - The Tonin, I believe.
Which is why he faked his death in the first place, and why Detroit is so hot to take him out.
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I seriously love this series. It's simply perfect. The casting is genius and the dialogue divine. Tim and Raylan together? I could watch 45 minutes of that snark and never be bored once. Throw Boyd and Ava into the mix and things just keep getting more interesting. Art, so much more than the traditional captain figure, from anger, to resignation, to amusement and then frustration, he can give you them all in four seconds on screen. Rachel, clearly being groomed to take over from Art (though please, why retcon a husband for her to leave... single is a choice, not a challenge, or something to be afraid/ashamed of!). I have two reasons to watch television, Justified and Person Of Interest. Long may they reign!
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I love how Drew/Shelby handled the Ellen May situation. Colton should have been killed, but I think that Boyd knows that he can't trust any of his Henchmen so he waits - maybe he needs Colton in the end. And that's where Tim comes into play... no way he lets Colton get away with the murderers. I love this show.
Come to think of it - even with Breaking Bad, GoT, Fringe and Banshee I think Justified has made(continuously) the best casting choices EVER.
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Ava and Boyd are my favorite couple on TV right now. They're just so gosh darn cute together! Loved the house hunting scene, and I really liked seeing Boyd out of his element with these upper-crusty folk the last few episodes. Of course he got the upper hand, but it was interesting seeing him off his game for a bit.

Scratch that, Tim and Raylan are my favorite couple. And it looks like the two are teaming up next episode! But, is it too much to ask that Tim gets into some deep shit and says "This isn't where I parked my car" to excuse himself? I don't think so.

And yes! Shelby is Drew. I started suspecting after his conversation with Ellen May about his almost-fiance. I feel so vindicated. At first I thought it could be Lee, but that would have been too obvious. So Shelby it is.

And finally, Constable Bob's scene was probably the funniest thing to grace Justified. He had me cracking up at how tragically inept he is at his job. Constable Bob for sheriff (I hear there's an opening).
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Can someone please explain why the Marshall service cares to find Drew Thompson? I know Art and Raylan keep talking about "retiring on this case", implying it's be this huge find, but I still don't understand why that is!
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Once again - Drew Thompson faked his death because he's a federal witness against Theo Tonin, the Big Boss from Detroit. He didn't want to testify, Tonin doesn't want him to testify, all the feds DO want him found because being part of taking down Tonin would make their career.
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I think I'm with you, Tim. All the clues were there about Shelby the whole time, so much so that I almost cleared him from being Drew just because of that. My money was on Lee Paxton, until Shelby showed up in this episode and it dawned on me that Shelby has been around this case an awful lot.

Great episode here though. Great Boyd stuff. Lindsay Pulsipher's return was nice to see, I knew it couldn't have been the last of her, and I'm wondering if she's really just looking for Ellen May or if she has some kind of a plan to get back at Boyd for killing her brother. Also, I loved Art's scene at the beginning. Art has been mad before, but usually a good wise-crack can still get through. Art yelling at Tim, and Tim's reaction, was perfect. Art was PISSSSEEEDDD this time.
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I think you did the right thing in not speculating about Shelby/Drew in the review last week so don't beat yourself up about it.

Most of what I think of this great show/episode has already been said in the comments but I just want to add "thanks for the great review/article".

Wynn kind of looks like a Yorkie;-)

Good on you for mentioning Raylan's reaction to Arlo defending his mother's honor. Fantastic acting (subtle but perfect) by Olyphant
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Its a good show but I still prefer Season 3 which I think is the best! Now my question is why did Shelby/Drew run now?I mean they have been different parties hunting him since the beginning of the season? It seems no one was going to tell on him. He must have order the hit on Arlo as I think he wanted a normal life as a sheriff. Then why did he run now? Did he expect Bob to let his secret out? Then why not run earlier? Some parts of this season is confusing as hell.

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It's a good question why he waited as long as he did. Between the Marshals, Boyd, Theo Tonin, and even drug-users all wanting to find Drew... perhaps leaving earlier would have been the wise move. Sure, leaving might send up a flare that HE was Drew... but waiting around was pretty dangerous.

Meanwhile, he probably A) figured Raylan was going to find out after talking to those 3 idjots in the cabin and B) felt that Hunter had done enough to keep his secret... so it was worth running. Though why so late, I have no idea.
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You were right not to publicly speculate on Shelby being Drew, that'd have distracted from the actual review. I think with as many folks out there last week guessing it in the comments, no one person deserves credit anyway.

Shelby was the last person in the main story whose timeline could fit Drew Thompson, and he asked about Thompson's widow, and he saw the similarity between Ellen Mae and his ex-wife (they did good casting, there is certainly physical and personality similarity there). There were a ton of clues, and yet nothing that screamed at the screen either, so they handled that portion well. They still missed a key bit in losing the "why do we care" portion of the mystery though, I still don't remember why we're looking for Drew Thompson on the law side.

I would have loved if this episode had straight up killed Boyd Crowder during one of the times where it could have. He's too big for his britches and has overwhelmed the show yet again, if they simply axed him right then and there, that would have been some impressive storytelling. Live wildly by the gun, die randomly by the gun. Or a bus, or whatever. Maybe Colton or Johnny could whack him. This show doesn't have the balls to get rid of the character though, and it's to its detriment that we'll instead see Cousin Johnny catch hell for his machinations.

Overall, this was a good episode that got away with a lot of personality moments and moved the plot along. Raylan coming off of Arlo's death felt right, and Hunter not using the keys to escape was a good small moment for a character.
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You're right. Although Walton Goggins is awesome, it has become strange that Boyd always survives.
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I think they are as many fans of Raylan and of Boyd so probably many would be upset if they killed Boyd. Not many shows are as brave with ratings as Boardwalk Empire.
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A good show should be able to dictate what people want, not acquiesce to it. That is how stagnancy is born.
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Constable Bob's shoot 'em up was funny but miles from being a little bit convincing. A gun like that would have taken that deck down and - yet - nobody is wounded/killed and they didn't seem all that mad either when it was over.
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AK-74U is a smaller-caliber weapon than its older brother, I doubt it'd do much damage to the deck's beams. And it's Harlan and they were drunk, probably a common occurrence the way this show plays that town.
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Loved the episode so much. It had the best comedic scene I've scene in a while. Bob shooting with his big gun. Fantastic.

I didn't see Shelby as Drew Thompson at all, which I'm made up with. It was shocking and full of twists. Brilliant season.
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"Has Harlan ever had a sheriff who wasn't crooked as hillbilly's incisor?"

Better yet, has Harlan ever had ANYBODY who wasn't somehow crooked? Seems like almost everybody 'round those parts, whether they be lawmen, government workers, or hillbillies, are a part of some sort of crime. All the more for Raylan and the Marshals to shoot, I guess.

As for Shelby - Drew, I'll admit to not having that revelation and that the idea only came to me when I read a few commenters here two weeks ago. I never really had that "Why is he around so often?" question come up just because Justified has had some recurring characters that just... recur... or hang around until they get involved more next season.

I totally wanted Tim to shoot Colton, just because I think a disapproving look from Boyd isn't enough for all of Colton's wrong-doings, but I guess it leaves me another thing to look forward to in the last few episodes of the season.
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Well, as Time said, WHEN he shoots Colton it will be when his eyes are clear.

I guess he wants to shoot Colton when he's not high. Between there being no sport in it (poor reflexes / aim) and Colton not really fealing it, I guess it makes sense.

Tim is pissed.
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Can someone explain to me why Hunter went through all the trouble for Drew/Shelby and vice versa? Didn't really pick up on that...
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Aw c'mon, Tim.....that scene with Constable Bob having a shootout with Paxton and Gerald merited more than just a mention in in the Postcards. That was hilarious. Patton Oswalt plays a needy, really-wannabe-a-hero-but-ain't so well. As far as comedy, that was one of my favorite all-time Justified moments.

I figured Shelby was Drew, but wasn't sure. What tipped me off was last week when he kept acting so interested in Drew Thompson's "widow." I kinda missed how he kept popping up all season casually showing interest. At the most, I wondered if he was working Raylan on Boy'd behalf. But I should've noted the contradiction when he started harboring Ellen May. Ah well.....at least I caught one of the tells that he was Drew.

I need to watch this one again, because somehow I missed why Lee and Gerald were expecting people to come after them when Bob showed up. Not sure why they were expecting company and who they were expecting it. Last we saw them, Boyd had extorted them for 100grand a piece and a Dairy Queen.
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Ok now I know that great scene between Colton and Boyd had to happen. But who else wanted Tim to shoot Colton while his head was turned toward Boyd. Not necessarily kill him, but just wing him in a moment of badassery equivalent to something Raylan would have done?

This was another great episode not just for the reveal. But the way it was done. I figured Shelby was Drew, but the scene in the car with Sheriff telling him that he didn't reveal who he was. That was great. The scene with the Sheriff and Raylan and the truck, excellent. All things Boyd were fantastic. Tim fantastic, in both scenes where he didn't blink with pointing the gun at Colton and dropping jokes at Art while Art was so pissed. That was great.

But the thing that gets me, and the reason why this show is so good. After all of Raylan and Boyd's running around talking to every badass and self important jackass in Harlan county. All of them, the key to figuring out who Drew was, was found with ties to the two kind of useless but lovable characters in Elen May and Constable Bob. And I never thought of either one until they had there respective scenes about it. I didn't think Shelby was truly Drew until he had that talk with Elen May. And had no idea about Bob.

I had been wondering all season what the hell Patton Oswalt was doing there. Not just him as an actor, but as a character. Because he just didn't fit. Comedy in this show usually comes in the form a quip or two from Raylan before he shoots someone, as that person threatens him. Or something to do with Boyd. Or the interactions between Tim and Raylan, Art and Raylan, Boyd and Raylan. But I couldn't figure out why Oswalt's character was there. And there it was. He was the key to Raylan figuring out who Drew was. The guy he kind of ignored and placated the whole season. And that is why this show is fantastic. Just written to such a level like POI that leaves every other show, (with perhaps the exception of the newcomer The Americans) in the dust.

Also the scene with Duffy was unbelievably great. It is nice to see people on opposing sides of the law get along congenially.There is just something about it that just makes me smile.

Postcards:
With Bootlegging, then weed, and Oxy. My guess is no. No, there has never been a Sheriff of Harlan that wasn't corrupt.

Art was pretty pissed. However it was hilarious. Especially the interaction with "Red Shirt" Marshall that gave Raylan the Sheriff and then with Tim's joke.
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Was hoping Drew Thompson would turn out to be Ian McShane and complete the Deadwood reunion. But alas, I had an inclining that Shelby would be the man of mystery and did like the reveal in the end.

Justified is just so much fun to watch.
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Damn, still had my bets on Arlo right up until the reveal. Even after he died last week I thought maybe we would learn posthumously that it was him, and then Boyd, the Marshall service, the Dixie Mafia and maybe even Theo Tonin's boys would finish up the season in a D.B. Cooper-esque race to find his hidden treasure. Just me? ok then....
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Somewhere in the last few episodes I thought it could be Shelby, but also dismissed it as being too obvious. Touche, writers! Please let next season be all about Constable Bob. He's too much fun. He could totally team up with Dewie and Dickie.
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Jim Beaver is the MAN!!! I can't wait to see more of him in the final season of "Breaking Bad"
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Jacob Pitts has come a loong way since "Euro Trip." I'm loving it! 'nuff said!
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Tim: "Would you like me to write that down or paraphrase?"
Art: "Don't be a smartass!"

Found that hilarious in the beginning.
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More good stuff, of course. Great Art (in particular), Shelby and Hunter and some pretty good Tim, although I suspect (and hope) that Tim's best scenes of the season have yet to happen. But I fail to see how Rachel can be continually listed as a main cast member when she's given virtually NO screen time or dialogue whatsoever week after week after week. Come on, writers, throw some lines to the girl, fer cryin' out loud.

Patton Oswalt has been a curious character this season. For a guy who's a funny comic in real life, he hasn't gotten a lot of humorous bits. And for a guy who can also do real drama fairly decently, he hasn't gotten many meaty scenes so far. I sure hope his character has more to do in the remaining third or so of this season. He can do both funny and serious quite well, so let him show it. Tonight gave us a little bit more of that, but I still want more.
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I hope people don't keep fussing about how the Drew Thompson/Shelby reveal was "so obvious." Just because they don't spell out a plot point for the audience doesn't automatically mean they're turning the mystery into Who Shot JR. I much much rather have a plot reveal be organic and make sense (even if it was a little predictable,) instead of a shocking last-minute reveal that ultimately makes little sense in context (many, many shows can be cited here). However, I'm expecting to read a lot of "it was so obvious, I saw it coming a mile away! Terrible!" in the morning.
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First I just love Tim and Raylan. They get off on each other it is almost errotic!! Second, I thought Shelby was Drew when he told the story of going to the drive in and not proposing "30 Years ago"!! Knew it then.
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I loved the whole scene with Wynn. Not just his genuine surprise at and the surprisingly genuine statement of his sympathy for Raylan's loss.He may be an evil drug dealing mob lackey, but he has some humanity underneath the cheap suit.

I know they were trying to reinforce the ineptitude of the constable, but seriously, with a gun like that spraying up down and side to side, he should have at least winged one of them.

And I miss Rachel too, Art started the season off being worried about her going all "cowboy" on someone because Raylan was a bad influence, and she has barely been an extra. Instead they bring in Colton to keep Tim busy and nothing for Rachel.
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Tim in Harlan is a win win for me. Great and hilarious episode. Also the preacher sister is back. I guess she will be involved in the final episodes.
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"Get out of here until I decide I like you again." Even with only one scene Art still gets the best line of the night.

I also really liked Boyd and Ava house hunting. Those two are awesome.

Speaking of Ava, I can't say enough how much I love her transformation from from a blue collar southern belle into a criminal ring leader capable of cold blooded murder. She may not always get the "iconic" moments and dialogue but her character development has been utterly fascinating.
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I'm more inclined to be in the same boat as WavSlave. I liked Ava quite a bit early on in Justified... I couldn't care less about her now. I'm not sure what she's actually contributed the last little while; she just seems to be around as a talking board for Boyd.
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Somehow, I've always been bugged by Ava's complete turn to the Dark Side. Sure, it was necessary in order for her to have any continued relevance in the show, but she's slowly become one of my least favorite characters.

Her and Boyd's attempt to climb to the top of Clover Hill is another thing I can't say I particularly enjoy. No, I don't want to see them kicked all the way back down to the bottom of the lowest holler, but I would definitely love to see them suffer a serious setback or three. This may well come to pass at the hands of Theo Tonin or Mike O'Malley's lackey character.
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I dont find Ava's evolution from the woman who still retained a sweet school girl crush on Raylan to the woman who enjoys being bonnie to boyd's clyde very convincing. How does a woman who took a beating for calling Boyd, Bowman's creepy brother come to fall in love with the creep?
If they were just trying to keep her in the story I believe the way they should have went would be as Raylan's fallback girl. A little love triangle in which Raylan comes back to Ava after all the many times Winona hurts him. This would be a much more interesting story than Ava and Boyd. I rooted for Ava to win Raylan because Winona is a cold hearted b###. But her character disgusts me now. She embraces everything she hated about the husband she killed. She is a brothel madam and a cold blooded killer. She and her love story with Boyd is the weak point in the show.
At least if they had left her in Raylan's life he would have some personal connection left. They have systematically removed every personal relationship Raylan had going. His aunt, his ex wife, Ava and now his father. He now has NO connection to Harlan whatsoever. So tell me why they have taken away every personal storyline of the hero and star of the show and given them all to the villain? If I wanted to watch a show about pimps, drug dealers and murderers I could just watch Breaking Bad. This show is supposed to be about US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givens. What happened to that?
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Well, in Ava's defense she never took a beating from Boyd. She was beat by Boyd's brother, and both Boyd and his father hated what her husband did. Even in Season 1 we find that Boyd had a soft spot for her. In fact, Boyd's father ultimately didn't hold a grudge against her for killing him... but he just didn't want her around as a reminder any more.

As for what made her go to him? Probably to stick it to Raylan since going with Boyd probably annoyed him more than anything else. But it blossomed somehow... I guess because Boyd was smart, charming, and willing to protect her. I'm not saying that makes sense, but it's not that far out of the realm of possibilities.

Besides, both are "damaged" in a way and damaged tends to attract damaged.
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I think Ava and Boyd have been doomed for a while... things were looking too "up" for them. Honestly, on "Justified" how often have we seen people getting everything they want without the world coming down on them. The closest was Loretta: and it's debatable how happy she is now.

Betweeen Ellen May being loose and Boyd making a deal with Theo Tonin... it was only a matter of time before it all hit the fan.
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Me too, I always find Ava turn to the dark side kinda unconvincing
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