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Justified “Bloody Harlan”

Photo Credit: FX

What a quiet, matter-of-fact finale. Mags holds her own until the very end and then makes her bed. Loretta is stopped short from making hers, Raylan has an opportunity for a new life, and Art saves him. Oh, and James Le Gros! 

The day starts with Raylan asking Art for an extra week off and Art obliging. Raylan also dangles a request to be reassigned to Glynco and Art says he needs to think about it. Elsewhere, Doyle’s deputy, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) is having a surreptitious late-night meet on a deserted bridge with Boyd about Doyle’s (lack of a) future as the sheriff, primarily because of the Black Pike deal.

The next morning, at the No-Tell Motel, Raylan gets out of bed and into his jeans (it bugs me that he doesn’t shower in the morning, but I digress). He joins Winona in the bathroom. She’s brushing her teeth and he’s about to TCB when in the middle of her chattering away she sneaks in “I’m pregnant.” Ever astute, Raylan asks for a rewind of that part, and she’s nervous and says she just confirmed it. They agree it’s the best news in the history of ever and hug about it. So there’s that on the table now.

At Mags’s, Doyle fairly skips in to tell his momma that Boyd wants a sit-down, and she agrees to it, much to Dickie’s chagrin. She blames him for the state of things as much as Boyd, so there’s not much to be argued there.  This is also the morning that Loretta decides to bolt foster care with her foster dad’s pistol, catching a ride with Wade Messer (James Le Gros!).

Raylan arrives at Loretta’s foster home to take in the scene and realizes where she’s going and why. Winona, waiting in the car, begs him not to follow her to Harlan, but knows that’s a fairly  hopeless request, and she tells him to drop her at work, and then go but she may not be waiting  for him when he gets back. Winona stops in to ask Art to help and he’s noncommittal. We don’t know whether she tells him she’s pregnant, but I’m going to go with “yes.”

We catch up with Loretta being chauffeured around by Messer, who’s been promised a fee for taking her to Harlan. They part company at a local Gas n’ Sip. Boyd and Arlo have their meeting with Mags to try to sort out who will carry the weed trade in light of Mags deciding to stay.  While that’s going on, Dickie has set upon Ava’s house in retaliation for the parlay, and again, shoots a woman in her kitchen. Boyd’s new cohort, Devil, is on hand to return fire at some of the shooters, and the doctor is called to help. Over at Johnny’s, he gets the jump on men intent to do him in when he detonates his own house.

Mags gets a call about those shenanigans and the meeting ends. Pretty soon she gets a heads up that Loretta’s coming and dispatches Dickie (after he’s shot Ava, mind you) to go get her and keep her safe. Raylan arrives at Messer’s to chat, is knocked out by Dickie and promptly trussed up. (Seriously, Dickie gets around on that bum leg of his). He sends Messer after Loretta and resumes batting practice on a hanging-upside-down-by-his-ankle Raylan, Dickie’s doing the math on 7,000 steps a day times 20 years on his bad knee so he figures he’ll be taking that out in kind now. Ava’s shooting dispatches Boyd onto Dickie pretty quickly, and he arrives in time to interrupt and save Raylan. Raylan says he needs to borrow Dickie to find Loretta, and then he can return him for Boyd to do with as he will. Boyd isn’t happy about it but he concedes.

At Mags’s store, Loretta comes up the path and is allowed in, and she and Mags have a conversation of awkward about what Mags did to her daddy. Sidebar: I’m pretty sure Kaitlyn Dever had to stomp around the episode in an Old Navy coat that I have in my closet, so I know she was sweating bullets the entire time. Outside, Doyle and Raylan converge. As Loretta fires on Mags inside, everybody outside starts shooting, too.

Raylan takes a hit to the abdomen and falls and it looks likely that Doyle’s going to assassinate him but fortunately Tim’s a quicker shot and he plants one in Doyle’s forehead just before the Marshals (and Art!) swoop in. Raylan races inside to find that Loretta’s shot Mags in the leg, and he talks her out of setting the rest of her life’s path right there, gets the gun from her and hands her off to Rachel to get her to safety.

Raylan tells Mags that Doyle is dead and Dickie’s in custody. She offers him a drink and they sit down for a glass of apple pie cider, and it’s pretty clear that Mags has settled her own score. What we know from the scene at the end of the premiere, that Raylan doesn’t, is that Mags has poisoned herself. I loved the bookend nature of that. They sit face to face, hands clasped, and it dawns on Raylan that her grip is changing. He asks her what she’s done, and she tells  him it was in the glass, not the jar. She talks about seeing her boys again and unravelling the great mystery, and then she slumps back in the chair and is gone. Raylan is left dumbstruck that this woman who wrought such hell on the mountain somehow got to  die quietly on her own terms.

So, we conclude a whirlwind second season with a possibly happy setup for Winona and Raylan. We don’t know how Ava fared with her gunshot wound. Boyd is primed to be king of the mountain. We know Loretta’s safe. Dickie’s the last Bennett standing but is in custody. Love the setup for Mooney. I interviewed Lee a decade ago for Dark Angel and Xena and he was a complete sweetheart, so I would love for him to be prominent in season three if Mooney steps up as sheriff. So glad we know already we’re getting another season. I hope we see some Emmy love when the nominations are announced in July. Thanks so much for reading!

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