Justified: Season 2 Finale – ‘Bloody Harlan’

The first season of Justified far exceeded my expectations. Raylan Givens delivered on every level and the show produced not one, but two of the best characters on television today. That first season ended with one of the best finales I’ve ever seen, and somehow season has not only managed to avoid being a let down, but actually turned out better than the first.

Last night that 2nd season came to an end in a ‘full circle’ kind of way, and I loved it. There aren’t many shows on anymore that can put you on the edge of your seat, but that’s wear I sat through the whole episode. The finale picks up with Raylan talking to Art about transferring to Glenco, which is a move to make Winona happy. Boyd requests a parlay with the Bennetts, and Loretta McCready disappears from her foster home.  These 3 events set up the rest of the episode.

First, we learn that Winona is prego. This explains some of why she doesn’t want Raylan in the field. So perhaps we’ll see a little Raylan in the future, though more likely I think Winona either get killed, leave Raylan, or lose the baby before that happens.

Next, during Boyd’s parlay with the Bennetts he anticipates their intentions and sets up ambushes at both Ava and Johnny’s houses. This results in the death squads sent to each location being executed by the Crowder gang. The explosion we saw in last weeks preview killed not Johnny Crowder as we expected, but the Bennett’s men instead.   And the assault on Ava’s house ended almost exclusively with Bennett clan deaths.

Almost – Dickie shot Ava before escaping.

Doyle receives a call from Dickie with the news while still at the parlay. This is Boyd and Arlo’s big “F U” moment with Mags and Doyle. The Bennett assault was a failure and Boyd now has the upper hand.

Next we see Loretta has not been kidnapped, but instead commissioned a ride to Harlan for a chance at revenge on the Bennetts for the murder of her father. Raylan learns of her intentions and heads to Harlan. This is when Raylan falls victim to Dickie’s baseball bat. When Raylan recovers consciousness he finds himself strung up by his ankle in Piñata position.

This is when things looked the worst for Raylan, that is until Boyd Crowder shows up with a gun and a whole lot of bad intention. He has just seen Ava’s gunshot wound and has some swift retribution planned for Dickie Bennett. After getting Raylan cut down from the tree, Boyd allows Dickie to live at Raylan’s behest in order to help find Loretta.

Raylan takes Dickie to play ‘Human Shield’ at the Bennett’s house. When he gets there Loretta is already inside with Mags and Raylan has to deal with Doyle. Doyle seems unconcerned with the danger posed to his brother and decides he has had enough of Marshall Givens.

This is about the time that Loretta, inside the house opens fire on Mags, shooting her in the leg. This gunfire causes Doyle’s men outside to open fire – hitting Raylan and nearly killing Dickie as well. With Raylan on the ground, Doyle decides to end the feud once and for all. This results in Marshall/Sniper Tim Gutterson blowing a hole in the Police Chief’s forehead…

This brings the entire Marshall service rushing in at Art’s command, who is there because of Winona’s plea for him to help Raylan. The injured Givens limps into the house to find the injured Mags at the end of Loretta’s gun barrel. After Raylan is able to talk the gun out of Loretta’s hand he sits down with Mags. And full circle we’ve come as Mags pours a couple of glasses of her famous Apple Pie drink and, like with Walt McCready, the glass for the drink proves to be fatal. This time however, Mags poisons herself. News of Doyle’s death and Dickie’s arrest, couple with Coover’s death and Loretta’s attempted murder, Mags decides it’s all too much.

The episode and season end with Raylan’s hand in hers, and the Bennett’s hold on Harlan County officially released. I don’t think many people expected Dickie to be the only Bennett to survive the season, but such is life. This sets things up for the 3rd season where we are sure to see Boyd reclaim the county as his own.

I truly believe this is be the best running series on Television and I already can’t wait for season 3…

Video is also from Warming Glow

OTHER JUSTIFIED ARTICLES:
Justified: A Beacon of Modern Masculinity
Justified: Cottonmouth – Harlan County’s Best of the Season
FX Renews My Faith: 3rd Season of JUSTIFIED Ordered
Justified: Episode 209 “Brother’s Keeper”

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