By the end of the penultimate episode of Justified, Drew Thompson was in custody; the marshals had honored his request to get Ellen May to safety; and Boyd had apparently avoided paying the ultimate price for failing Theo Tonin. So, what was left for the season finale? Would we watch Raylan watch TV and clean his gun during his suspension? Go with Boyd and Ava to pick out a florist for their wedding (right after they take care of Delroy, of course)?
The very end of the episode—and the previews for the finale—set the stage: Apparently Tonin’s men will be exacting revenge for the Drew Thompson fiasco not on Boyd but on Raylan directly. First, Picker drops by with the anonymous baby gift of a glider chair, which Winona thinks is from Raylan. But in the previews we see that the lovely nursery that Winona has set up has been taken over by a gang of thugs, and they need Raylan to do them a favor (get Drew, I suppose). Winona is being held at gunpoint in her brand-new chair.
And so now is Raylan’s moment of truth. The big reason that Raylan and Winona aren’t together (aside from the fact that that would make Raylan really boring and the practical matter that Natalie Zea is busy on The Following) is that Winona thinks Raylan’s job is too dangerous. And Raylan is too stubborn, and too cool, and too convinced that he is needed at the marshal’s service, to change even for the woman he loves.
But now that we go from Raylan’s job endangering Raylan to Raylan’s job endangering his true love and his child, how will he respond? Will he give in to the mobster’s demands to keep Winona safe? It’s impossible to believe he would do that. Raylan doesn’t always play by the book, but even when he violates protocol (as when taking Hunter Moseley on a detour to Harlan rather than dropping him safely at the Supermax), he almost always stays on the right side of the law. At the same time, it’s doubtful that he’s going to stand by and watch his ex-wife and child die on the principle of keeping Drew Thompson—for whom he’s demonstrated nothing but contempt—safe.
Raylan generally gets out of scrapes in one of two ways: He stays calm and coolheaded and outsmarts his foes (see: Drew Thompson to Lexington on a coal train), or he waits for them to pull their guns and he shoots them (see: Jody Adair and Theo Tonin’s sheriff’s-deputy-impersonating assassin).
Which way will Raylan go? Is there a third way? We’re about to find out.