In Wednesday’s episode of Justified, the long-standing feud between the Givens and Bennett clans once again erupts in violence, resulting in the death of a major character.

After last week’s knock-down-drag-out-brawl between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and the Bennett clan’s wall of muscle, Coover Bennett (Brad William Henke), fans were left wondering when they would next see the two engage in fisticuffs. Well, they certainly didn’t have to wait long – but few could have guessed the rematch would end with Coover taking a dirt-nap.

Justified executive producer Graham Yost explained the death, and elaborated on how it will act as the catalyst for the events that make up the remainder of the season.

“We needed something to set off the final act of the season. We felt that it couldn’t be Dickie, because the Raylan-Dickie thing is a huge story. Raylan crippled this guy. That’s the heart of the feud. It couldn’t be Mags. We needed Doyle around because Doyle is ambivalent. He’s a lawman — and he’s probably not a terrible sheriff, he probably gets some bad guys and keeps a lid on things. So it’s like, well, I guess then it’s Coover.”

Clearly, Bennett matriarch Mags (Margo Martindale) isn’t going to allow the death of the big lug to go unpunished, but the recent deal she cut with Black Pike representative Carol (Rebecca Creskoff) may prevent her from going after Raylan full-bore.

“Mags will have to struggle with this. We thought her goal was one thing in episode 8 [to save the holler], and then we found out it was a whole different thing in episode 9, which is to secure a different future for her family. What would she not do because she doesn’t want to risk that future? How much is the future worth to her? That becomes a big question. As I said before, this is not the life she chose for herself, but then there’s that certain acceptance of fate — this is who I am, this is where I live, this is what I must do. That’s the thrust of Mags in the last few episodes.”

Season 2 has been remarkably solid, highlighted by the scene-stealing Martindale, the aforementioned Creskoff (Hung). Of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention the remarkable Jeremy Davies (Lost), whose gift for growing facial hair is outdone only by his innate ability to slip seamlessly into his roles. Like last season, however, Walter Goggins (The Shield) has proven himself almost as invaluable to the cast as Olyphant. The producers were wise to give Boyd Crowder a free pass from the epic gun-battle, which ended the show’s plotline last year.

Speaking of the finale to season 1:  Justified is clearly not afraid to go out with a bang. Spilling blood is always a certainty with a trigger-happy hero like Raylan, and the show seems to be finding a niche for itself by promising to wrap storylines in such dramatic style.

According to Yost, the title of this season’s finale, ‘Bloody Harlan’, won’t be hyperbole. “People get shot. There’s shootouts. S**t happens.”

New episodes of Justified air Wednesday nights at 9 PM on FX, until the season finale on May 4.

Source: Entertainment Weekly