Justified: City Primeval finale twist suggests Raylan and Boyd rematch

Timothy Olyphant

In the closing moments of Chicago made, Justified: City Primeval, the portrayal of Timothy Olyphant‘s meticulous U.S. Marshal, Raylan Givens, reveals a yearning for a simple pleasure shared by many exhausted public servants: a peaceful night’s rest. All he desires is a chance to set down his burdens.

However, whether driven by his unwavering sense of duty or the relentless beckoning of his ringing phone, Raylan cannot seem to find that peace. The show’s finale, along with preceding episodes, hints that satisfaction may remain an elusive dream, with the idea that closing one more case, capturing one more criminal, or performing one more righteous act in an unjust world might allow him to retire, hanging heavily over the narrative.

Following a tumultuous assignment in Detroit, quitting his job appears to be the logical choice. The local police force lacks integrity, the courts are corrupt, and the criminal Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook) pushes Raylan to his limits. A particularly gripping scene unfolds as Raylan and Clement find themselves in an Albanian mob’s makeshift holding cell, more tomb than cage. As Raylan himself slides the lid shut on Clement’s makeshift coffin, the tension in the air is palpable.

Timothy Olyphant delivers a powerful performance through Raylan’s stoic silence, torn between his desire to close the door and his struggle to keep it closed. Despite advice from the Albanian boss Toma (Terry Kinney) and Carolyn (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor) to let sleeping dogs lie, Raylan can’t resist. He rises from his uncomfortable bed and returns to confront his sworn enemy. However, it’s Skender (Alexander Pobutsky) who beats him to the punch, inadvertently unleashing chaos and destruction on the Albanian organization.

photo credits: FX

Clement Mansell’s blaze of glory is short-lived. While he initially succeeds in escaping, his second attempt goes awry when he faces off against Raylan in Carolyn’s house. Their exchange is laced with tension, showcasing Raylan’s impatience and caution. In a sudden twist of fate, Raylan shoots Clement three times in the chest, and Carolyn arrives to call the morgue.

Clement’s final words reflect his perpetual obliviousness and the lasting impact of his character. He never fulfilled the potential he believed he had as a rock ‘n roll star, and his criminal pursuits were all just a game. His death, with his dream in his hand, provides a fitting conclusion.

This brings us back to Raylan. The ending of Justified: City Primeval suggests that his time in Detroit has left a profound mark on him. At his Florida chief’s retirement party, he decides to quit instead of accepting a promotion. When he shares this decision with Winona Hawkins (Natalie Zea), her response leaves him in a state of uncertainty. Does he answer “the call” as described in the premiere, or does he choose to be there for his daughter (Vivian Olyphant)?

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Olyphant revealed that the concept of revisiting Boyd Crowder, the original series’ most enduring and charismatic villain, was pitched to him by series creators Dave Andron and Michael Dinner early in the development of Justified: City Primeval. Olyphant shared, “I heard that idea from [showrunners Dave Andron and Michael Dinner] before we even started shooting. In fact, that idea of the phone call at the very end, is he gonna pick up? None of this was my idea. The only thing I can pat myself on the back for was knowing it was a good idea when I heard it. ‘That’s a good ending. We can work toward that.'”

In theory, the Justified saga could conclude here, with Raylan embracing a peaceful life as a father. Both he and Boyd Crowder end up retired, residing in different places, and finding closure. Nevertheless, the possibility of a revival looms, and Boyd’s return raises questions about the series’ future.

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