[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the finale of Justified: City Primeval, “The Question.”]
Raise your hand if you saw that coming. Justified: City Primeval did its best Lord of the Rings: Return of the King impression with not one but three endings: While each denouement has merit and puts the cherry on top of this delicious sundae, ending number three whets the appetite for more in a way few probably saw coming.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), not quite out on bail but undoubtedly fresh out of jail, is on the run and heading to Mexico.
But how did we get here? Glad you asked. City Primeval’s finale, “The Question,” paid off a conversation from Episode 5 between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Detective Raymond Cruz (Paul Calderón). Cruz, retired after too many years of seeing too many guys like Clement Mansell (Boyd Holbrook) slip through the cracks, finally has a heart-to-heart with Raylan about catching Mansell many moons ago.
Unfortunately for Raylan, Cruz offers little insight into Mansell. Still, he empathizes with the Deputy U.S. Marshal over working a case where the bad guy is seemingly ensconced in Teflon, and nothing sticks — to say nothing of the system that creates corrupt law enforcement officials literally at the drop of a dime.
The retired detective recalls a similar situation in his career where nothing added up, and the criminal kept provoking him. The guy even showed up at Cruz’s house. The bad guy went for what Cruz thought was a weapon, and Cruz shot him — it turns out that it wasn’t a gun but a bottle opener, because Cruz’s ultimate antagonist truly wanted a drink with the man he respected, in whom he saw his own jagged reflection.
Raylan, who flirted with engaging Mansel in a shootout multiple times throughout the series, always worries how that might sit on his conscience. After all, Raylan enjoys his sleep. But Cruz tells Raylan even though it was just a bottle opener, he sleeps like a baby.