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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 7, ‘The Hunt’: It Has Been A Day

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 7, 'The Hunt': It Has Been A Day

PREVIOUSLY: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 6, ‘Alive Day’: Way Down In The Hole

To say Ava and Boyd Crowder have a complicated relationship
would be understating things quite a bit.
She’s drawn to him, but he’s also the brother of her abusive husband, a
man she shot to death at the dinner table. Everyone in Harlan knows the
Crowders are bad news, but Boyd is different, at least in the way he treats
women. But there’s still that doubt. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and
the Crowder family tree is more rotten than most.

The threat of Boyd harming Ava hangs over the whole episode,
since the audience knows that Boyd is now aware of Ava’s having gone to
Limehouse looking to run away. But since Ava doesn’t know that, she’s worried
about Boyd’s seemingly friendly but still erratic behavior, as he drags her off
to Bulletville for an impromptu hunting trip. (That Bulletville was the
location of Season 1’s blood-soaked season finale only adds to the sense of
dread.) When she expresses worry
about what a marriage to another Crowder would bring, Boyd turns it around on
her, asking him to hit him, and she obliges. She slaps him twice, but then Boyd
grabs her by the neck and pushes her back, seemingly ready to unleash his rage
on her, but she’s able to diffuse it with passion, so their inevitable blow-up
is held off for one more day.

The next day, the tension builds to a pretty contrived scene
where Boyd dashes off to hunt a boar, but Ava thinks he might be hunting her,
but nah, he was really just after that boar. All is forgiven though, as their
final scene of the episode is dynamite. Ava admits she’s Raylan’s CI and she’s
finally able to express the full breadth of her anger about Boyd abandoning her
while she was stuck in prison last season. Interestingly enough, Boyd is less
concerned about her snitching than he is about the possibility that she’s
sleeping with Raylan again. In the end, they’re fully reunited, with a plan to
feed Raylan false information until they can steal Markham’s money. Everything
seems harmonious again, until one final reveal: the loaded gun Boyd was
brandishing during their confrontation had an empty clip. He’s got Ava trusting
him again, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Their relationship is as complicated
as ever.

Ava and Boyd aren’t the only couple in the spotlight this
week, since Winona’s back in Harlan for a few days to get Willa a checkup with
a local doctor, and Raylan takes a break from the manhunt for Ty to spend some
time with his daughter. It’s nice to see Winona again, especially since Natalie
Zea and Timothy Olyphant have such a believable, easy chemistry. Their scenes
together have some great touches, like Willa shrieking non-stop through one of
their arguments, for that extra touch of domestic verisimilitude. Winona’s
entire air of exhaustion and borderline desperation in regards to her child is
a nice change of pace from the quiet, seen-and-not-heard babies that usually
show up on TV. “Oh baby girl, I never love you more than when you’re
quiet,” she tells Willa. Certainly many moms would agree.

Winona’s not just in town for Willa, though. She confesses
to Raylan that she misses him and wants him back, no strings attached, and they
can live anywhere he likes. “You can be with me and still be you,” she
says, which is awfully convenient, since Raylan being Raylan has been the main
bone of contention between them over the years. Winona’s complete about-face
seems like a too-easy solution for keeping Raylan in Harlan, and appears to
remove any drama of his going through with his transfer.

While Winona and Raylan’s relationship has been tumultuous
enough over the course of the series for Winona’s decision to at least be
borderline plausible, this feels more like the writers pulling the strings than
an organic character choice. There’s still plenty of time for something to
happen between them before the end of the season, most particularly if Winona
finds out the lengths Raylan went to in order to protect his family from Nicky
Augustine, but for now they’re back together.

While all that’s going on, the other dangling plot lines
slow down a bit to give the couples some breathing room. Poor Ty is really in a
fix, as he realizes Markham and Seabass are going to leave him in the wind
(plenty of betrayal this week), so he has to perform minor surgery on himself
in a rest stop bathroom. Ty’s a professional, so he’s able to avoid the manhunt
and patch himself up a bit, but he’s really starting to unravel, and when his
scheme to steal a medical kit goes awry at the end of the episode, he loses it
and murders two paramedics in cold blood. Considering the heat Ty is pulling,
it’s unlikely that Markham will send Seabass to finish Ty off, but if they’re
not careful, Ty might come for them first.

Grade: B

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