The last gunshot in “The Promise” is fired 20 minutes before the episode ends. The scene is as Western as Western can be without the tumbleweeds. Raylan and quick-draw artist Boone stare each other down on a lonesome highway. We see Boone framed, classically, from the vantage of Raylan’s holster. There’s a cut quick enough to just show Boone draw first. We see a long view of the two shootists, firing exactly at the same time. Raylan falls, Boone crumples, and Loretta kicks away his gun before he can fire the kill shot at Raylan, who has suffered only a graze.
Justified from the beginning has been a kind of modern-day Western. Timothy Olyphant, previously the seething Sheriff Seth Bullock on Deadwood, played Raylan Givens as a tortured hero in an (off-)white hat, basically decent yet–as ex-wife Winona pointed out in the show’s pilot–“the angriest man I ha...
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