Justified: City Primeval Episode 8 Recap — The Finale Poses a Question

“The Question”

Raylan sits at a table in the Justified: City Primeval finale
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

The following recap contains spoilers for the finale of Justified: City Primeval, Episode 8, “The Question” (written by Dave Andron & Michael Dinner and directed by Michael Dinner).

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the series being covered here wouldn’t exist.

The finale of City Primeval picks up more or less where we left off last week. The Albanians bring Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Clement (Boyd Holbrook) to Skender’s (Alexander Pobutsky) place, where Carolyn (Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor) is waiting. Toma (Terry Kinney) affirms his agreement with her that Raylan will be taken care of, while Clement will be “taken care of.” And they proceed to lock Mansell inside of Skender’s safe room, without provisions, to let him die in there. Notably, Raylan pushes the button to close the door.

We might well ask whether this plan was very stupid or very smart. As Toma notes, the room is soundproofed, and Clement has no way to get out. After a while, he says another tenant might notice a smell, and the cops will figure that this is where Clement went to hide and so on. From the point of view of avoiding legal repercussions, this seems smart. It also feels just to Toma that it will be like Skender is doing it, and I’m sure he likes how unpleasant this death is going to be.

But, it also will take a good amount of time!

And from this point of view, the plan seems kind of foolish. It’s true that Clement doesn’t manage to escape because he’s clever, but the timespan opens a lot of space for various things to happen. I wondered if Raylan was going to go back and release Mansell, for instance. And maybe he was. Instead, he rolls up on a dead Skender.

If the initial plan to lock Clement in that room wasn’t bone-headed, Skender’s attempt to go there on crutches to shoot Mansell certainly was. I don’t know why Toma didn’t tell him what the actual plan was, or why Besnik (Yosef Kasnetzkov) didn’t at least go with him, but so it goes. Clement gets out and proceeds to kill everyone at the Albanians’ compound on sight, except for the old guy who feebly points a gun at him. He lets that guy live. Good on him, I guess.

Clement hunches with a lit lighter in his hand
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

After discovering Skender’s body, Raylan heads to Carolyn’s and waits for Clement to arrive. He’d told her to skedaddle, but it’s notable that she returns before the whole thing is over.

Clement wants a beer and starts trying to tell Raylan about his music. He’s pulling not a gun, but a demo tape, out of his pocket when Raylan unloads a clip into him, and it’s striking how Mansell seems genuinely surprised that Raylan’s killed him. I don’t know if that’s because Raylan is a man of the law or because Clement really did think they were almost friends, but City Primeval manages a moment that is almost poignant as Mansell bleeds out. It was the first time all season I kind of felt bad for the man.

Raylan asks Carolyn if she’s called EMS, and she tells him she called the Wayne County Morgue. That’s cold, but I’d have to say it’s justified. After all, this man killed the only father she’d ever known, as she described Sweety (Vondie Curtis-Hall) last week.

Carolyn and Raylan sit in a diner booth
CR: Chuck Hodes/FX.

Meanwhile, with Judge Guy’s little black book in hand, Raylan, Norbert (Norbert Leo Butz), and Wendell (Victor Williams) have arrested Maureen (Marin Ireland), and we see her beginning to be investigated by Internal Affairs. We don’t find out how that turns out, which is my one disappointment in this finale. I liked Maureen. She betrayed Raylan, and justice, but as she spat bile at IA… I still kind of liked her! But I guess I hope she got what was coming to her.

That certainly seems to be the implication. The epilogue to the finale shows us Carolyn sitting on the bench in the wake of her meeting with the lieutenant governor, where she recommended against appointing those whom you might think played the game well. Because they’ll be in that book. I think we’re supposed to infer that all of the corrupt souls in the book got their comeuppance.


Cut to Miami and Raylan is deciding to quit the Marshals. He’s giving his house a fresh coat of paint for good measure, and he gets a package from Carolyn with a bottle of booze and a note that says she’d like to come to Florida to visit him in the winter. Then Willa (Vivian Olyphant) arrives, and Winona (Natalie Zea) is dropping her off!

It’s great to see Winona showing up in this series, however briefly, and I’d lament that Richard (Jason Gedrick) isn’t with her, but I suppose the scene wouldn’t have worked as well if he was.

Winona notices the bottle and card on Raylan’s porch, and of course he hadn’t yet even told her about his early retirement. She’s clearly kind of hurt by that, and by the fact that Raylan didn’t talk to her about it. Not because you need her permission, Raylan! Because she’s Winona. Regardless, she encourages him to avoid mucking it up with his new thing and it’s all very nice.

Willa continues to be Willa, and Raylan takes her out on a boat. That’s nice, too.


The finale of Justified: City Primeval sets up the sequel series we all really want. It’s not connected to the story of this season, but I’m so happy they shoe-horned Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) in here in the final hour.

We pick up with Boyd preaching in prison (of course) and getting ready to be transferred for medical reasons. Or, so he says. It turns out that it is not true. Classic Boyd.

Luis Guzmán gets in on the fun as Officer Ramirez, who makes Boyd promise not to cause him any trouble. But it turns out his partner, Officer Gerret (Ahna O’Reilly) is in cahoots with Boyd. After he makes a racket, she busts him out of the van and they lock Ramirez inside. Then the lovebirds head to Mexico.

We end with Raylan getting a text about a federal inmate escaping in Kentucky, and then a phone call he doesn’t answer from the Marshals. Willa has just been prodding him to answer the question as to why he retired. And thus City Primeval comes to a close.

I don’t know if we’ll get the sequel series that this ending clearly sets up, but if we do, I am certainly there for it. The ending of Justified, with Raylan visiting Boyd in prison, was perfect, but it was exhilarating to see Crowder putting his vest on and breathing the air of a free man again.

You can easily see how a new series would go, with Raylan getting sucked back into the game to chase after Boyd. I would definitely watch that. But at the same time, if this is the end, I think it works. We can imagine the rest.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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One Comment

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  1. This entire series was a disappointment from start to finish. It’s only redeeming quality was the return of Walton Goggins, which could easily have done by skipping this waste of time all together and just doing a spin-off featuring Boyd. The first series was amazing. This one was the complete opposite.

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