It seems hard to believe, but next week will be the last-ever episode of Justified. A lot has happened in recent weeks (bad me for not reviewing each of those episodes, but a lot of the content just seemed like filler to me). This episode was all about upping the stakes and setting the scene for the episode's last shootout.
The villainess Katherine was murdered in Wynn Duffy's Motorhome of Doom; Markum wants revenge. Duffy is trying to make a deal to become a protected witness. Art is back to running the show at Marshal headquarters. Ava has burned both Boyd and Raylan. With the help of her trusty Uncle Zachariah, she took off into the woods with at least most of the $10 million he stole from Markum. She also shot Boyd, who for his part, then staged a daring escape from his guarded hospital room and hit the road in a stolen police uniform.
Raylan's career as a Marshal is in jeopardy; he's been accused of helping Ava and taking a cut of the money. He's become a wanted fugitive himself. In the "previously on" opener, Art gave Raylan 48 hours to track down Ava and prove his innocence. Raylan set off into the hills without a badge in search of Harlan's most wanted after "borrowing" a Crown Vic.
But it's not Raylan who finds Ava trekking through the mountains carrying a backpack full of Markum's money; it's his steadfast high school chum Constable Bob. Having apprehended a federal fugitive, his future as Trooper Bob seems all but guaranteed. Boyd catches up after carjacking a man in a pickup truck. Constable Bob leaves Ava handcuffed in his Gremlin to confront Boyd. Ava tries to warn him, but there's a barrage of gunfire. Ava takes off again.
Later that night, Raylan and Boyd are having a tense standoff in the woods when a sound catches his attention. Boyd tells him that it's probably Constable Bob "on account of I shot him a couple times." Raylan finds his friend a short distance away with bullets in his gut and shoulder. Rather than waiting for an ambulance, Raylan manages to get Bob into the car and drive towards help. Bob is in bad shape and he knows it; he begs Raylan to keep him talking about Indiana Jones trivia, anything. (Medically, it really is a sound idea to keep an injured person awake to stave off shock for as long as possible). It's a truly touching scene between Patton Oswalt and Timothy Olyphant. The last we see of Bob, he's being rushed into the ER by a trauma team. Nothing further is known about his condition.
Back at Marshal headquarters, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Vasquez has a hairy bental fit about Raylan supposedly going rogue; he starts threatening everyone in the office with the loss of their jobs, or worse, federal prison time for aiding and abetting. Vasquez throws papers and scrambles another Marshal's desk. He furiously calls the FBI and tells them to join the manhunt. Art calls the office from the mountains, where he's trying to track down Raylan himself. Tim reports every detail of Vasquez's plan to his boss.
The underage outlaw queen of Harlan County, Loretta, has proposed that she and Markum become partners in the weed business. He has the money and connections to fund the operation; the people in Harlan know her and would trust the outsider Markum more if there was a familiar face involved. Markum seems to have agreed.
The big question for next week's finale is this: Will anyone leave Harlan alive? I surely hope Raylan and Constable Bob do.