I was pleasantly surprised by the finale. After the first few episodes this season, I was highly impressed at how intricate and heavily plotted the series was; far more so this year than in the past, to my memory. And as it went on, it just kept going, with characters and their interests and their angles become more intertwined. I got excited to see how they would wrap it all up, and make sense of the chaos.
A few episodes before the finale, though, it became clear they weren't going to do that, and I got a little bummed. Quarles broke down (which I like in a few ways, mind you) and characters started doing all sorts of things based on informed guesses and sometimes opaque motives. I like this in small doses--a character making a mistake because they think something wrong that we know
is wrong is usually the height of drama--but there was quite a bit of it. And I, admittedly, like the stories that can go all the way to the edge of chaos and bring everything back into alignment by the end.
So, I was a little disappointed then. But the finale was the next-best thing to tidying everything up, because it had a number of simultaneous payoffs. We've been watching Quarles use that rig all year, and there've been multiple comments on the possibility of it jamming up, so naturally I assumed that it would jam during some climatic battle. And we've been watching Limehouse hang around those pigs holding that cleaver all year, too, so it was nice that both toys came to a head against one another, just above Quarles' arm. And Raylan holding it farther away from him as he reached for it was pretty hysterical, too.
Wasn't quite what I'd hoped for it, but still quite good. And I could feel better about it if several of the dangling conflicts are resolved nicely next year. This is actually the rare TV season that might heavily benefit from a second watch, given the angles involved. There were a few episodes around two-thirds of the way through where you basically needed a machete to cut through the web of what everyone was trying to do to everyone else.
And man, I really thought Boyd was going to get that money. However the show ends, we know a big confrontation between Boyd and Raylan has to be in the cards, and I figured $3.2 million would really kick his criminal enterprise into high gear. Then again, maybe that's the point: the show's plenty successful and they see no reason to ramp up the inevitable end game just yet.
Still a really great job, and I'm glad it's already been picked up for a fourth season. I know of no better modern source of badass one-liners, either.