A Note on the “Justified” Finale

I’ve argued with a couple of people over this and agreed with a couple, so let me make my position clear:

In the finale the writers try to make it clear that we’re supposed to sympathize with a murderer who arranged a hit on an innocent woman, got out of jail on the condition that she betray her fiancee, managed to not fulfill either her obligations to the law OR her fiancee, steal ten million dollars, and chose to get knocked up by a psychopathic criminal, who predictably ended up in jail, leaving her to raise the kid on her own.

And we’re supposed to sympathize with her mostly for that last one.

So, on the record: I didn’t buy it, and I think it’s a shame the writers tried to make us buy it.

BUT – there is one major saving grace here (spoilers for those who care):

The very end hinges on the main character of Raylan ultimately deciding not to turn her in. While I think he should have, I think it’s important to note that Raylan’s decision not to turn her in was entirely within character.

This is an extraordinarily important distinction. It is the difference between watching a character you know and love suddenly acting completely differently in order to make a social justice point, and a character making a decision you don’t agree with but that the character would naturally make.

One is forced, and is bad writing. The other is good writing, because you are having your main character make choices that fit what we know of his personality. From how we saw Raylan’s character develop and from the way he treated Ava it made perfect sense for him not to turn her in; in fact, I’d have had a harder time believing it if he had.

The flaw was not in Raylan’s actions, but that the writers were clearly expecting the audience to agree with them. However, this is a MUCH more minor flaw, and I will go on the record stating that I do not think it mars the finale to any major extent.

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6 Responses to A Note on the “Justified” Finale

  1. You know, I feel like I should watch Justified sometime (isn’t that the one with Nick Sercy? or is the other modern western show I keep mixing it up with) but well…

    California Doubling: Pennsylvania is used for the Appalachian shots but it is very obvious to anyone from southeast Kentucky that it is in fact not Kentucky, the mountains are different and any scene in Lexington is almost laughable because the geography is so different.

    As someone that’s been to lexington MANY times it’s just hard to watch that show and not laugh out loud (unless it got a lot better in later seasons).

    • Nah, it’s CA.

      Here’s how I think of it: In High School, I was in a play where we all had to put on Cockney accents.

      Everybody thought they were great…except British people. They thought our accents were terrible.

      But who cares? We didn’t need to really sound cockney. We needed to sound how most people thought cockney people sounded.

      Same with this. Most people don’t know what the hills of Kentucky look like. Therefore…

      (Yes, it’s the one with Searcy.)

      • You’re mostly right (and I might watch it for Searcy) but while I can let stuff like that slide in say… a comedy or a stage play, when I’m watching something that is supposed to be super dramatic and taken uber serious it just gets……. hard, knowwhatimean? Like if you were to try and get emotionally invested in a very intense scene… while a guy in bright colors stands in the background, just to the right, juggling enthusiastically.

      • You are in the unfortunate position of somebody who knows what a cockney accent is supposed to sound like, in other words.

        Watch it anyway. The dialogue and acting are absolutely top notch. Olyphant and Goggins just kill their roles.

      • I wish I could “like” your comment above.

        Anyway, you ever watch any lighter TV fare? You might enjoy “Arrow” sometime if you’re one for comic-bookishness, though I think OUaT would suck you in far more than you’d expect if you give it a try. 😉

      • Thought this might be of some casual interest to you. Maybe you can get Nick to adapt one of your things. 😉

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