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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Justified: The Final Season (Blu-ray)
Justified: The Final Season (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // Unrated // June 2, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $65.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted June 14, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Show:

I came into seeing the F/X show Justified early on in its existence, experiencing the excellent second season for DVD Talk before becoming a dutiful weekly viewer. It gradually grew in attention, praise and popularity (completists can check out reviews of Season One, Season Three, Season Four and Season Five).

Even the most discerning fan of Justified would have to admit that when it came to Season Five, things tended to get a bit astray. Whether it was a season-long plot arc for Ava (Joelle Carter) or the antagonist for the season being a disappointment in Michael Rapaport (The Heat), the show seemed to be trying to figure out what to do with its main characters, namely U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant, Hitman) and country bumpkin/criminal mastermind Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins, Django Unchained). Based on material from Elmore Leonard and created by Graham Yost (Boomtown), the show was trying to find a way to close out the mutual respect and occasional feud between Raylan and Boyd.

With the knowledge that Season Six would be the show's last, Yost managed to lure several guest stars who served as antagonists of varying degrees, which seemed like even more a reunion of alumni from the HBO show Deadwood, and others who would be perfect fits for it. Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope) portrayed Ty Walker, a war veteran now used to handle security for a businessman. But two other hires turned out to be notable. The first was Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski). Elliott played Avery Markham, a Kentucky gangster of some repute. Early in the season, this is sold all the more effectively when Boyd meets Markham after inadvertently conflicting with Markham's interest. The look Boyd has, that Goggins communicates without words, is wholly effective.

The second hire was for Mary Steenburgen (Last Vegas), who played Katherine Hale. Katherine was the widow of a mentor to Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns, Dear John), who had an agenda of his own on the show, but Markham's longtime feelings for Hale emerged when Markham did. In a similar vein of Margo Martindale's Mags in Season Two, Katherine was a bit of a black widow, and her role was colder and with more precision that Mags, and Steenburgen's performance through the season will hopefully be one with some awards recognition shortly.

Even if Steenburgen, Elliott and Dillahunt weren't pinging baseballs off the outfield wall for doubles every time they were on screen (metaphorically speaking), Yost and the Justified still had the task of managing multiple antagonists over a season while advancing things for their core characters. Traditionally they have been up to the task before, and this season was another of those times. Then when you consider that Yost seemed to want to give any peripheral character their own scene or two, be it sendoff or closing up a loophole, the creative stakes were given a higher ante, and Yost delivered with those too. Previous baddies like Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) and Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) returned for a moment or two, more whimsical characters like Constable Sweeney (Patton Oswalt) did the same. Even Raylan's long-deceased father Arlo (Raymond J. Barry) returns in flashback. And all of them handled their farewells with aplomb, making you remember what you liked about them without overstaying their welcome. As spot on a farewell tour of a galaxy within Harlan, Kentucky as one could ask for.

So what of the finale? I mean, there was a whole bunch of stuff going on in the early stages of the finale, but the way things played out was kind of quiet, all things considered. There was even a moment about 15 minutes remaining in the finale that could cause for worry, in that it could have been handled poorly (and I thought would have been at the time). But in the decisions of that episode, one could sense that Yost knew what he was doing, and perhaps important of all that he was retaining the spirit of Leonard's work and that after 77 episodes, he had perhaps earned some trust amongst the viewers, and he carried Raylan, Boyd and Ava to natural character conclusions, or at least one that could be considered not a leap from what had been put in place before.

There might have been some trepidation that going into the last season of Justified, but honestly with Olyphant, Goggins and Carter in full command of the characters they inhabit, there shouldn't have been a concern. Toss in a pro like Yost behind the creative wheel and that he managed so keep so many balls in the air and when they landed, they landed pretty much as one would hope. Justified was an excellent show for most of its run but from an execution standpoint, may very well have saved its best for last.

The Blu-ray Discs:
The Video:

The last few episodes of Justfied are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and use the AVC codec for the Blu-rays, with the results looking snazzy. The last episode aired less than three months ago (as of this writing) and the image packs loads of detail and color into the frame whenever it can. Fibers on clothes and textures in wood sets or varnish on a bar can be picked out easily. Black levels in the dark scenes are natural and deep for most of the season, which an occasional moment or two of crush, but throughout the near 10 hours of content, there is little to complain about.

The Sound:

Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for all of the episodes. That is NOT a typo, and considering previous seasons included lossless audio, a disappointment. Fox aired shows have experienced similar lackluster video efforts (like Raising Hope and Enlisted), but Sony produced the show and these discs, and this is a bummer. Examining the discs' sound quality of the track, things are decent, lots of gunfire and various dynamic action, a flash of the low end on occasion. Sound quality is fine, but the scrimping on a better soundtrack, not so much.

Extras:

A wet fart in terms of extras. Deleted scenes on five of the season's thirteen episodes (9 scenes totaling 12:39 in length) don't show anything other than Wynn Duffy, badass. Directing the Show (10:55) is a piece where actor/director Adam Arkin shows the viewer his process and approach to the show, while the crew discuss him as a director. "Hollywood to Harlan" (5:38) examines the inspiration for the location. Both of these extras are on Disc Two. Disc Three has "Dutch Speaks" (11:40), where Leonard explains his origins in writing and inspirations for the story and characters that became Justified, and shares his thoughts on the characters. Ultraviolet copies of Season Six episodes are also available for download.

Final Thoughts:

The final season of Justified is an excellent one and worthy of praise from fans and those new to the show alike. The lack of extras or thought into this set for a show as popular as Justified is egregious and it is really hard to recommend buying the set if you are a fan considering prior seasons are excellent from the technical and supplemental perspectives. Definitely check the show out, but skip buying it.

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