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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 12, ‘Collateral’: The Ballad of Boyd Crowder

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 12, 'Collateral': The Ballad of Boyd Crowder

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 11, ‘Fugitive Number One’: I Didn’t Know You Liked Classical

About two-thirds of the way through “Collateral,”
Raylan and Boyd find themselves in the same wooded area of the hills of
Kentucky under the cover of night, and try to kill each other. They both keep moving around behind
cover, and while each tries to get a bead on the other, they have a
conversation.

Boyd asks the obvious question, “Why you wanna kill me
so bad, Raylan?” Considering
how many characters this season have correctly noticed that Raylan wants to
kill Boyd above all other concerns, it’s a fair line of inquiry. It could just be that, as Boyd figures,
Raylan just wants “to win.”
It could be that Raylan sees Boyd as the path he could have taken, if he
had followed in his hated father’s footsteps instead of taking the opposite
tack. Or maybe Raylan simply has
to mythologize himself as the cowboy hero, because his father was so consummately
a villain, and most Westerns don’t end with the villain going to jail; they end
with death. Regardless of the
reason, Raylan is willing to give up his career in the Marshals service, if it
means he’s the one who gets to kill Boyd Crowder.

As Boyd tries to get to the heart of Raylan, he also has his
own philosophical crisis this episode when he kidnaps an unnamed local (Shea
Whigham, always welcome), who turns out to know who he is. At first Whigham seems to be in awe of
Boyd, comparing him to Billy the Kid.
But once he’s served his purpose and Boyd turns his gun towards him, the
truth comes out. He knew from the
moment he saw Boyd that he would kill him, and that regardless of his own
legend, Boyd has left a river of bodies in his wake. Raylan’s not wrong about Boyd lying to himself — any
romantic notions Boyd has about his “outlaw” life are just wishful
thinking. Boyd’s a
died-in-the-wool killer. Meanwhile, Raylan may have gone rogue to pursue Boyd,
but he’s still got his soul: He breaks off from their shoot-out to get poor,
wounded Constable Bob to the hospital.

The interesting question is how Boyd is planning on dealing
with Ava. His revenge talk is
strangely muted, almost like posturing, and when Raylan accuses Boyd of wanting
to kill her, Boyd simply says “You don’t know what’s in my heart.” Boyd’s love for Ava is genuine, and Ava
already betrayed Boyd once this season. He was willing to forgive her then; I’m
very curious to see if he can do it again.

I noted last episode that with Katherine’s death, Markham is
a man with nothing left to lose, and now Wynn Duffy finds himself in the same
position. He convinces Vasquez
that he’s going to leave town — which is the only prudent maneuver since, as
he notes, Raylan, Boyd and Markham are soon to converge. “Like the aligning of the planets,
if the planets carried guns and hated my guts.” It’s a convincing story, since Wynn has always shown a
startling gift for self-preservation, but later we see him selling Katherine’s
jewelry for a new mode of transport and a topographical map of Kentucky. He knows Avery Markham’s going to hunt
him to the ends of the earth, so he might as well have a comfortable nest egg
while it happens.

READ MORE: Patton Oswalt Joins the New Season of ‘Justified’ As That Guy From High School

The whole episode is filled with characters who have come to
the end of their ropes. Raylan’s
distant hill folk kin have had to pull up stakes and have nothing to their
names, until Raylan decides to give them Arlo’s house. That way the house stays in the family,
as it were, and actually fills a need.
That it helps atone for Arlo’s sins is a bonus: As Raylan says,
“Did you people dirt. This is
payback.”

Loretta, too, finds herself in dire straits. With Boyd’s crew scattered, her one
form of muscle is her goofy ex-boyfriend Derek, who unsurprisingly is not as
quick on the draw as Boon. With
her back to the wall, she offers to partner up with Markham and be his guide to
Harlan, selling out her principles in exchange for her life.

Stuck in the hills with no one to guide them, Zachariah and
Ava don’t have a lot of options.
Ava decides to head back down the mountain while Zachariah figures his
best option will be to wait for Boyd and kill him when he inevitably
comes. Raylan shows up first, and
Zachariah rightfully gives him what for about the way he and Boyd used Ava in
their war against one another. It’s
about time someone chewed out Raylan on that particular subject. Usually it’s Art or one of the other
Marshals who call Raylan on his shit, but in this case they’re all completely
on board with exploiting Ava, since they see her as just another criminal, same
as Boyd. And while Raylan does see
her as more than that, it hasn’t been enough to keep him from using her.

When Boyd finally does arrive, Zachariah’s about as effective
against him as he’s been all season: A for effort, F for results. Boyd gets the drop on him, but
Zachariah has one last trick up his sleeve: a pack of dynamite strapped to his
chest for one last suicide play. Boyd
survives, but Zachariah does manage to bring “Justified’s” grand total
of unexpectedly-exploding characters up to three. A nice round hat trick.

You can tell Ava’s escape plan is pretty terrible when she
comes down the mountain and is immediately picked up by Bob, who managed to
follow Raylan to the mountain. Ava’s
only able to get away when Boyd shows up, and even then she gets picked up by
Markham’s crooked cops. Now
Markham’s got the one thing Boyd and Raylan want most, other than each other
dead. Time for a showdown.

Grade: A

READ MORE: 2015 Emmy Predictions: Best Drama Series

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