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Introducing Avery Markham, Justified “Noblesse Oblige” 

Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX
Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

Up until now Mags Bennett, for me, has been the best villain of the series. Margo Martindale was nominated and won an Emmy for her amazing work on this show and while I’ve enjoyed every season of this series since it began, I just don’t think we’ve had a villain as dynamic or as interesting. I put Boyd Crowder in an entirely different category – and I’ll talk more about him in a minute.

With the introduction of Sam Elliott’s Avery Markum, I think we’ve finally found a worthy successor to Mags. In “Noblesse Oblige,” we get a much better idea of what Markum and his crew are doing in Harlan and just what they’re willing to do to keep Crowder and his ilk out of their business. Boyd’s had two warnings now and, quite frankly, I’m surprised he made it out of this last confrontation with all his parts intact. We heard Avery and Katherine talk about how to send a message to an errant employee, so we know how seriously Avery takes theft within his operation. Of course, Boyd isn’t one of his boys. And Avery does make it very clear that if he ever sees Ava or Boyd at the pizza joint again he’ll kill them.

Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX
Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

But when have we ever known Boyd to back down from a fight? While I love that Avery is this season’s big bad, I’ve enjoyed Boyd Crowder being more of an everyday thorn in Raylan’s side. Of course, it’s much more than that, but Boyd’s a very different type of villain and deserves to be thought of in a different way. We know this man, we’ve seen him evolve, we know what motivates him and most importantly, we care about him.

I did think Boyd had enough respect for Avery to back down, but this wouldn’t be the final season of Justified if everyone was playing it safe. Boyd vows to Katherine that he’ll steal that money and kill Avery in the taking of it. I think he’ll try and it’ll be interesting to see if he can do that and make a clean getaway, especially with Raylan and company breathing down his neck. And what about his relationship with Ava? I think Ava’s managed to convince Boyd that they’re ok. I feel like she’s still doing her part to as a CI, but I also truly believe Ava knows Boyd’s the one for her. There’s no way she can recover from this betrayal if and when Boyd discovers it, but I think she’s going to try to make things ultimately right with him in any way she can. I could be wrong; only time will tell.

Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX
Photo Credit: Byron Cohen/FX

Other developments

I like that we’re seeing little glimpses of Raylan being – or trying to be – involved in his daughter’s life. He’s seen her crawling around on a webcam and he mentions her every once in a while. This week, I feel like Raylan being a father hits especially close to home. He sees Luther willing to take the fall for his idiot son Tyler because as a parent, he’s trying to do his part. Luther said he’d never see a son of his die down a mine, but he also doesn’t want to see Tyler die by Boyd’s hand. Maybe if Luther can give his son this, he’ll feel like he’s done his job.

Although Katherine and Wynn failed to tell Boyd the full truth of who he was stealing from, I’ve got to give it to them for trying to pull off this big score. I can’t imagine how they think they’ll make it out of this alive though. Avery is Katherine’s ex-partner and her current lover. And do we know how Wynn is connected into all this? I know they want a big pay day and they think the answer is to steal from Avery, but have they really thought about the consequences? I think I’m worried about them because of the blowback it’ll bring Boyd’s way and no matter what, I’m probably going to root for him until the bitter end.


  • Garret Dillahunt is great at both comedy and drama. I love seeing him here and I feel like we’re going to watch him get a lot darker and probably pretty desperate (when does everything ever go to plan in life on in this series?) by the end. I’m looking forward to seeing that.
  • I know Art’s still convalescing and I’m enjoying seeing Rachel in charge, but I’d love to see Art again and soon. Maybe Raylan needs another pep talk to stay on the straight and narrow in regards to Boyd? Or maybe the writer’s will come up with a different and/or better reason.
  • This episode was very high on my tension meter and I loved every minute of it. I like watching episodes worried for people and not knowing how it all might turn out. Keep it up, Justified.
  • Also, am I allowed to say it’s a little strange seeing Sam Elliott without a mustache? He’s got a nice face either way, but I think I’m so used to seeing the ‘stache, it’s thrown me a bit not to see it on his face. It in no way takes away from his great performance. Just saying.
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX

Can Raylan have a happy ending?

With the end of the series looming large, it’s time to start asking the big questions – or maybe – start answering them. A lot of people, and I am one of them, cannot picture Raylan as a father. I mean, he’s already a dad but I just don’t see him being in his child’s life. He doesn’t seem cut out for it.

I attending the Justified panel last month and the FX TCAs and the cast and EPs talked about the final season, what’s really going on with Ava, what to expect from Duffy this season and the ultimate end of the series. Here’s an excerpt from the session:

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX

You’ve got all these almost heartbreaking scenes of your daughter and missing out. I think you are setting us up for a big fall. I just don’t see him going and being a daddy and doing that.

Timothy Olyphant: “You are right on the nose. Yeah. It’s going to be depressing.”

Graham Yost: “It’s going to be totally depressing.”

Timothy: “We are setting you up. It’s going to be sad. We thought Elmore [Leonard] would like it that way.”

Graham: “What Elmore liked was really depressing.”

And what about Ava’s true motivation? Is she in it for herself? Does she still love Boyd? Is she just trying to make it out of this entire situation alive?

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX

Joelle, can you talk about the spot that Ava finds herself in as this season starts? I always feel like she’s smarter than anyone gives her credit for, but do you think she’s going to be able to walk this tightrope without breaking apart?

Joelle Carter: “Well, I’m in love with you for thinking she’s smarter than everyone thinks she is because I do, too. The predicament that they’ve put me in at the beginning of this season is ‑‑ for an actor is delicious, for Ava is unfortunate.

She’s just been saved by a man that she has some distaste for, for the way he left their relationship and she’s having to reunite with a man she’s quite angry with, for abandoning her in prison, yet she’s going to have to rekindle that relationship somehow and make this work.

She’s looking for the best opportunity and just trying to figure out how to play out this new role and fill this new identity. And it’s exhausting for Ava and it’s exhausting for me and very exciting. I have to commend Tim and Walton [Goggins] for really just giving me so much on both sides to work with. It’s been fun.”

What about Duffy? I still don’t see his angle.

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX

Jere, can you talk about Duffy’s trajectory this season? Is there going to be some bank heists? What is the crime this season?

Jere Burns: “Without giving too much away — everybody probably knows by now, [Duffy] goes wherever Duffy needs to go for Duffy to stay alive, much like a cockroach. So I think Duffy gets this year to do some things that Duffy’s never done before and form some alliances that Duffy’s never formed before and maybe even do something compassionate, I don’t know, that we’ve certainly never seen before.

Is that really a possibility?

Jere: “Duffy compassion. It’s not compassion compassion. It’s Duffy compassion.”

And how does it all end? Will we get a series finale that we find satisfying?

Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX
Photo Credit: Frank Micelotta/FX

We know endings are really, really tough. Obviously you know the ending already. Did it come to you very naturally and organically or was this something that you really had to hash out in the writers’ room and bounce off the walls and come up with something that you all felt worked well?

Michael Dinner: “Who says it’s come already?”

Graham: “We don’t have the ending yet. We’re shooting number 10 now. We got a script for 11 and we’re going to be banging on that for the next week and also breaking in and outlining 12. Then we’re getting into 13.

Now, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been thinking about the ending and Michael and Fred [Golan] and I and Tim, everyone, and Sarah [Timberman]‘s out there. We’ve all been talking about the ending. Elmore didn’t outline and he’d just start writing. If he didn’t like where it was going, he would just throw out the pages and start again.

Can’t do that when you’re doing a television show, except to the degree that when you’re going toward the ending, that we’ve got a certain amount of flexibility. We are going to have to do it pretty quickly in the next few weeks, but we absolutely don’t know exactly how this is going to end yet. Everything’s pretty much open.”

Justified airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on FX.

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