The penultimate episode of season three of Justified represents the exact moment when arguably all events of the past 3 seasons begin to come to a head. And when that happened we lost a recurring character that I know I will miss. “Coalition” had more twists and turns than probably any other episode of the series thus far. But all it did is made me live in fear for next week’s finale.

Every scene this week made me think “Oh, man, that’s insane, I can’t wait for [insert character’s name here] to figure this out.” Which was followed by a scene where you discover [same character] already knew what was going on and had another plan on top of that one. There were so many twists and turns, it was insane to try to follow them all. Here is the run down, try to keep up:

Errol and Dickie went to Boyd and Crew to let them know they know where the money is – in a safety deposit box in a bank Boyd has already robbed before. Talk about convenient! After beating up Dickie (For killing Helen and shooting Ava. And maybe for that ridiculous hair cut), the crew agrees to help out. The plan: blow something up on one end of town (preferably a car with Quarles in it that Wynn will set it off) as a distraction while robbing the bank. Just like he always does. But Limehouse tells Quarles (who escaped from Audrey’s because those people are dumb and gave him a chain that was way too long) that he should be at the bank when something explodes. How did he know this will be how it goes down? Because like I said, Boyd kinda has a very standard MO, so it’s obvious what he will do. Maybe mix it up in the future, Boyd. When Raylan comes down to the Holler to find out where the money is – knowing that there is no way Limehouse actually put it in that bank that Ava and Arlo were clearly staking out – Limehouse told him what was going down at the bank and to maybe just leave it so they all just kill each other. Or have the Feds come and arrest them all, whatever. Though he found that killing to be a preferable option.

Back at Johnny’s bar, Boyd pulls a gun on Errol, knowing that he’s being set up since Errol would never betray Limehouse. But when he tries to call Ava to fill her in and there is no answer he leaves to go get her.  Arlo had a psychotic break and left to rob the bank on his own and locked up Ava. Meanwhile, Dickie knocks out Johnny, and then holds Errol at gunpoint and demanded to know where the money really is. They go off, which both a trooper and one of Limehouse’s men see. Limehouse calls Raylan to tell him, finally, where the money really is. It’s been with the lovely little Loretta the whole time. Just like Mags wanted. Dickie shows up, gun in hand, but Raylan is already there. They have a nice talk – and by that I mean Raylan tells Dickie he is stupid and going back to prison. Raylan shoots Dickie, brings him in, and then tells Loretta he isn’t going to search for the money, but she better not spend it in a stupid way. Like a Van Halen concert for her birthday. Loretta says she doesn’t listen to Van Halen. I’m betting it wouldn’t be a Justin Bieber concert either. Although I’d love to get Loretta in a room with Bieber. She’d probably kick his butt.

Meanwhile, Quarles gets word from Limehouse that Boyd is now just at his bar, so to go over and kill him. Quarles drives over, in the car that is rigged to explode and Wynn follows, waiting for Quarles to kill Boyd before he blows it up. When everyone gets close enough to the car, Wynn’s henchman sets it off. Trooper Tom is nearby, so he pulls in to see what the hub bub is all about (yeah, I called a car explosion hub bub. It’s Harlan County – not like it’s a huge deal). Boyd and Johnny are knocked down from the blast, and Quarles was on fire. But being the guy he is (and also unspeakably high on oxy) he gets up and before Tom can shoot, Quarles shoots and kills Trooper Tom. Raylan shows up and boy is he upset. As am I because Trooper Tom is one of my favorite recurring characters. Sad!!

And that’s where it ends. My mind was reeling. I love how every time you think someone had a leg up on what was going to happen, someone else had a leg higher up. It was like they were Rockettes with the height of all those legs. (No, I’m not sure I know what I’m saying anymore either.)  I also think it is kind of perfect that Loretta had the money the whole time because in the end, wasn’t she Mags’s favorite child? She certainly had more potential than the rest.

But there was some really sad stuff too. As awful as Arlo is, it is so depressing watching his mind deteriorate. Thinking that Boyd is Raylan was sad. Talking to Helen (so nice to see her, even if she was just a hallucination) was even worse! And now he is off on his own, ready to rob a bank. And hey – did that car exploding somehow signal him to go blasting into the bank? It’s one of the things I’m most interested in finding out in the finale.

As for that finale – well, so many questions. Raylan loved Trooper Tom, and I think he is going to blame about half of Harlan County for his death. Not just Quarles who shot him, but every person that put that series of events into motion. It’s going to get ugly. I’m very nervous for Boyd and Ava, because even if they are bad, I think those characters are perfect. And I’m nervous for Tim and Rachel – not for any specific reason, but just because I would be devastated if they ever died. Art too. And what are the chances Winona comes back just to make things worse? She does have awful timing.

So now we must all sit and meditate and try to mentally prepare for the finale. I’m kidding- there is no way to prepare for that.

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae

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