Series Finale

This analysis of the lessons learned in the Justified series finale puts a bow on the Season 6 coverage, co-branded between this site and The FDH Lounge.

 

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Photo Courtesy Of FOX

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The FOX network announced a couple of weeks ago, that this would be the final season for their series “The Following,” a decision that the network may have reached a season too late. However, the show deserves recognition, for concluding it’s run with two rather exciting episodes, complete with a surprising ending. Although the ending was far from happy, it may have been the most fitting conclusion for this series, that revolved around a protagonist, who lived life constantly on the edge.

The use of the word protagonist, instead of hero to describe FBI Agent Ryan Hardy’s intentional, as Hardy might have worked on the right side of the law, but viewers learned long ago, that it’s vengeance that drove Ryan Hardy. Beginning with his forcing the junkie that killed his father, to overdose on heroin as he sat and watched, Hardy had as much of a need to kill others, as the worst serial killers he hunted. However, even working for the Bureau, Ryan played hard and fast with the law. He was never afraid to bend, or even break the rules, when he found it necessary.

The previous episode concluded with Mark Gray, stabbing FBI Agent Mike Weston multiple times in the back, then he attacked Weston’s girlfriend Max Hardy. Weston however stayed conscious long enough, to fire off several rounds into Gray’s chest, killing the final member of the family of psychopaths. This episode opens with the ambulance carrying Mike arriving at the hospital. Ryan meets his niece Max at the emergency room and tries to comfort her.

Daisy’s sitting alone in Theo’s SUV, listening to a radio report about Weston and Gray, the reporter announces that Mark died during the scuffle. We realize that the car’s parked in the woods and we see Theo, about 50-yards away on his knees, with a pistol pressed to his temple. We then watch his face morph, from despair to that steely coldness we’ve witnessed before. He looks up to see Daisy, he says he has a plan and if all works out, she have her freedom the following day.

Gwen arrives at the Emergency room to stay with Max, Ryan thanks her for coming then asks to talk to her privately. He tells her he went to an AA meeting the night before, she smiles and says she’s happy for him, but it’s going to take more than one meeting, to convince her he’s changed. He then says he’s leaving the Bureau, after they catch Theo, she says she hopes for the baby, that it comes to fruition.

Theo and Daisy head to Eliza’s office, the former Strauss student who’s made a deal with Theo. He kills Hardy and Eliza supply he and Penny with new untraceable identities. Noble kills the three guards and tells Eliza to have the two who are on their way to stand down. He says he needs two men from her that are handy with guns, to help him take down Hardy. Eliza gives him the two men in her office.

Ryan heads back to the Bureau office and Lisa Campbell asks him why he’s there? Hardy responds unless she’s suspending him, he’s working the case. She says she tried to get him suspended, but Donovan overruled her, saying Hardy was their best chance of catching Theo. Hardy says that it’s time to turn up the heat.

Hardy and Campbell hold a press conference, showing multiple photographs of Theo and Daisy, asking the public to come forward with any information. The Bureau’s phone lines get flooded with calls, but none of the tips prove to be credible leads, as they’re all far from the area, the pair are traveling in.

The doctor treating Mike comes out to talk to Max and Gwen. He tells Max that the next 12-hours are critical for Weston. She starts crying as soon as he walks away, telling Gwen that he saved her life and she just sat there. Gwen tells her that this isn’t her fault. She then says tough as it is for you Hardy’s to believe, there are some things out of your control. She tells Max to go home and get some rest, but instead she heads to the Bureau office.

Max follows up a tip that Max and Daisy were spotted in Eliza’s office building. She and Ryan show up, just as Eliza’s  leaving for the day, but she lets them into the office. She says she recognizes Theo and Daisy from the news, but she’d faint if she saw them up close. She tells Hardy, the place belongs to her boss, whose out-of-town on business. She says she just comes by to water the plants and bring in the mail. She asks Hardy for a business card, says she’ll call if she sees anything suspicious.

A graphic tells us we’re in Hudson Valley, it’s the safe house for former FBI Agent Gina Valdez, her wife Dawn and Gina’s two toddlers. There are two agents stationed in an SUV, right near the front door, but then we see Theo standing in the woods. The two agents are quickly killed and the two men that Eliza lent him, pose as the agents. Gina’s putting the kids upstairs for a nap, when she suddenly hears a crash on the first floor, she puts her son and daughter in the panic room and tells them not to open the door unless she tells them to. She locks them in and punches a code on the keypad.

She goes downstairs after grabbing a pistol, she finds Dawn strapped to a chair, soon Daisy and Theo have her strapped to another chair. Noble calls Hardy’s cellphone and has Gina tell him she thinks she found some clues that could help them catch Theo. Hardy realizes it’s a setup and he gathers about a dozen agents to help take Theo and Daisy out.

Theo get’s a call from Eliza saying that he either brings her Hardy alive, or the deal’s off. She thinks that Hardy’s onto what her organization does. Theo hangs up and comes close to losing it, then threatens Dawn and Gina, telling them he’s in charge of their lives, nobody else is.

About a quarter-mile away from Gina’s home, Ryan’s telling his fellow agents that he needs to go in alone, or else Theo will kill Gina’s family. He tells them to give him exactly ten minutes, then to come in with guns high. He drives to the house, the two fake agents come out of the car to greet Hardy, but one tries to take Hardy out. Ryan gets that operative to kill his partner, then he leads the fake agent and Theo on a chase through the woods.

Gina and Dawn get free and beat Daisy to the panic room. Just then the other agents arrive, they quickly kill the fake agent and start chasing after Theo. Max kills Daisy, we watch her try to get up, then her eyes gloss over. Theo finds a female agent alone in a car, smashes the window, shoots her in the shoulder and steals the car. Hardy finds her a few minutes later, as he tries calling for an ambulance Theo knocks him out from behind.

Ryan comes to in the trunk of a car, Theo transported Hardy and the female agent to some grimy cave complete with cells. He sticks them both in one, then padlocks the door. Ryan attempts to keep the woman’s spirit’s up, asking if she’s got people to live for. She says she has her fiancée and her father.

Max gets a call from Gwen, saying that Mike’s suffered a setback, his fever’s spiked and he’s back in surgery. Max rushes to the hospital and Gwen tells her that they found a nick in Weston’s colon and he’s got the best doctors in the world. He makes it through surgery and his fever’s dropped, she asks if she can see him and the doctor says he’ll get him cleaned up and then she can visit with him. She then tells Gwen, she held off in telling her hoping the situation would change, but Ryan’s missing. She says the entire Bureau’s looking for him.

Theo gets another call from Eliza, asking if he’s captured Hardy and Noble tells her he has. However he tells her he’s going to keep him. That the deal he made was when Penny was still alive, now he just wants vengeance and he’s going to torture Hardy before he kills him.

Theo then slits the throat of the female agent in front of Ryan. Suddenly the tunnel’s filled with gunmen, it seems that Eliza’s got a mole in the Bureau, who put a tracker on Hardy before he went to Gina’s house. Theo says that if she kills him, then her organization will get exposed, as he has planted a link to news organizations around the planet. He says only he knows the code to disarm it, she gets one of he henchmen to try to get Theo to talk with high voltage power cables.

She then sits Hardy down and asks him who he told about visiting her and what she knows about her organization. Hardy however is truly clueless about her and says who ever her mole is, should have told her that. She says that’s what she was told, but she doesn’t believe it.

She then pulls a copy of Gwen’s sonograms out of her purse and threatens to kill Gwen and their child, if he doesn’t talk. However just then, he breaks the band holding his hands behind his back. He then proceeds to take out all four of Eliza’s gunmen. Eliza escapes, while Theo cuts the bonds on his feet. He’s about to go after Hardy, when he finds the sonograms. Hardy tries chasing him but he runs out of bullets. Theo tells him he’s going to kidnap Gwen, then raise Hardy’s baby the way he got raised, abused and neglected.

Turns out that Lisa Campbell’s Eliza’s mole and the two women meet in the woods. Eliza tells Campbell her new mission’s killing Hardy, Campbell asks her how she expects her to pull that off? Eliza tells Campbell, that’s her problem, but everything they gave her, as well as her body will disappear if she fails. Campbell starts to head back to her vehicle, when Theo grabs her from behind. He tells her she’s working for him now.

Max and Ryan find each other in the woods and they drive to Ryan’s apartment, where Gwen’s staying. He calls the two agents guarding Gwen and tell them Theo’s on his way, to call for backup and keep her safe. Before the agent can call for backup, Lisa calls him and says Hardy’s being held by Theo. They’re going to transfer Gwen to another location.

The agents bring Gwen down to the basement to evacuate her from the building, when they get startled by Campbell. They ask where her backup is and Theo says he’s her backup, then shoots all three agents and kidnaps Gwen. He tells her to be careful, so as not to disturb the little one.

Ryan and Max show up minutes later, Lisa’s okay. She just got shot in shoulder and she tells them Theo jumped them as they tried to transfer her. She says she has no idea where Theo took Gwen, Hardy calls for an ambulance for Campbell. Then Max heads back to the Bureau office to scour traffic feeds, while Hardy pilots a chopper, to try to track them down.

Max and Ryan have Theo’s car in sight, but Noble drives off the road when he realizes there’s an FBI roadblock up ahead. Max loses him, but Ryan sees his headlights and lands the chopper just as Theo hits a dead-end. Theo takes Gwen out of the car, onto a bridge that’s suspended over a massive waterfall. Ryan chases them up there, but Theo puts his gun against Gwen’s temple.

He tells Hardy that even if the agent kills Theo, he’ll still kill Gwen first. He tells Ryan his only choice is to lower his gun and walk away. Hardy finally says that Theo’s right and he lowers his gun. Theo relaxes and takes a step back from Gwen and Ryan shoots him in the head.

Ryan and Gwen embrace and ask each other if they’re okay. Suddenly Theo gets up and rushes at Hardy, they both fall over the bridge’s railing. Gwen screams, then looks below and sees Ryan’s holding onto a net with one hand. His grip starts to loosen, he looks at Gwen, tells her he loves her and falls into the churning water below.

Back at the hospital, Mike’s out of the woods and has regained consciousness. Max comes in and tells him that Ryan’s gone. We then hear a news report, saying there’s very little hope that Hardy survived the fall and it may be weeks before his body’s recovered.

Gwen walks into the room and she and Max embrace. Max tells her that Ryan told her about the baby, when they came to rescue her. Gwen says she’s not sure she can do it by herself, Mike says you’re going to have to. Suddenly we see someone enter the hospital and turn the other way when he sees police officers. We watch the man in a sweatshirt walk into a patient’s room and put his hand over Lisa Campbell’s mouth. It’s Ryan, who then tells her he knows what she is and who she works for. She cost two agents and him his life, he says his family needs to think he’s dead. He then says he’s going after Eliza and asks Campbell for everything she knows.

When he finishes questioning her, we hear the sound of her monitor, signaling she’s flat-lined as he leaves the room. He then sees the room with Max, Mike and Gwen and he stops in his tracks, it seems like he’s going to go in there. However he just walks by and leaves the hospital. Ryan Hardy’s going on a new mission, this time though he’s on his own.