Joelle Carter Previews 'Justified' Season Finale, 'Tragic' Moment for Ava and Boyd


Joelle Carter (Getty).
After spending most of Season 4 on the hunt for Drew Thompson and Ellen May, the penultimate episode of Justified ended with both fugitives alive and in custody — much to the chagrin of certain Harlan residents. So what can fans expect from this Tuesday's season finale?

According to Justified star Joelle Carter, a whole lot of "high-packed tension" for Ava and Boyd, who decided at the end of the last episode that they needed to move Delroy's body. Zimbio recently chatted with Carter about Ava's emotional journey this season, her decision to spare Ellen May, and what's coming up for Harlan's criminal power couple, who she says will end the season in a "tragic and sad" place.

Congrats on the Season 5 pickup! Did you think you'd ever get to this point?
If you asked me when we were shooting the pilot I wasn't sure because Graham Yost kept saying, "You know this was a short story once." [laughs] Every time we'd shoot a scene we'd be so excited about, he'd be like, "Oh my god, this is going to go. I have no idea what we're going to write about." So it's fun to see how it's grown.

Ava in particular has had an incredibly interesting journey through the seasons. How has it been for you to watch her evolve through the years?
It's been wonderful. It's been interesting because I've had so little control over the next big steps for her and then just trying to fit into them and do right by them. It's nice to actually be in a character that has grown so much and that they've given so many opportunities to.

Has there been any twist for her that really surprised you?
Shooting Delroy. [laughs] That was a big one. And punching Ellen May was huge for me. When I read in the script at the end of Season 3 that I'd be going to her trailer to punch her I was like, 'You guys, I don't know! This is an abused woman.' But the way we ended up doing it was just Ava sticking up for her love, and in that moment of pure rage. It made sense in the end and it was, for lack of a better word, justified.

I loved how the last episode focused on Ava's journey with deciding what she was going to do about Ellen May. And I loved that when she went to Limehouse he asked her, "Are you going to have peace of mind when all this is over?" Can you talk a little bit about that scene and about that overall idea of peace of mind for Ava?
Yeah, I think the main thing that Ava's struggling with is this question of if she's going to be able to live with whatever decision she makes. And the fact that Limehouse has to be the one that is kind of standing there helping her look at that again — to reiterate like, 'Are you taking minute to slow down and understand what you're getting yourself into?' — it kind… it pissed me off and it pissed Ava off, I think, because he just betrayed her so badly in the last episode by pulling the whole Ellen May ransom thing. So it was interesting.

The writers knew what they were doing. They wanted to really set up the journey of that episode so that Ava had to constantly check in with herself again before she got to that tent. And I felt like through all of that Ava was really confident that she was going to do what she needed to do, but when she gets in there — when it comes to actually pulling the trigger — she just can't do it. It's not who she is.

After she made that decision and told Boyd, he accepted her and told her that he understood her reasons. Do you think that's the glue that holds Ava and Boyd together, that he accepts all parts of her?
Yeah, it's completely the glue that holds them together. They both accept each other 100 percent for who they are the decisions they have to make. It makes it such a sweet relationship to play with, because even when they think they're failing the other person, the other person always comes through and says, 'It's okay. We're going to work it out.'

Do you think Boyd not only accepts, but also appreciates that Ava has those limits?
I think so. I think he's the kind of person that respects that in every person. She's not going behind his back to do it in a different way, she's just figuring it out as she goes along and listening to herself. And that's a great place to be as an individual and as a human, when you can really listen to yourself instead of acting in a way that you think is going to help you for whatever reason.

I was hoping we'd get to see an Ava and Boyd wedding by the end of this season, but it looks like the two of them are going to be pretty deep in moving Delroy's body in the season finale. What can you preview from the finale?
[laughs] There definitely isn't time to prepare the kind of wedding for them that Ava would desire, I don't think. Yeah, this last episode has got a lot of high-packed tension and potential death toll. There are bodies to build up and Miss Ava and Boyd are quite busy.

Is there a standout moment that fans can look forward to in the finale?
Timothy Olyphant [Raylan] has some giant moments that he is going to have to face. And Boyd and Ava… at the end of the episode it's quite tragic and sad.

You mentioned Ava not having time to plan the kind of wedding she wants, so what do you think is Ava's dream wedding?
I think for them there has to be dancing and music and some sort of fancy flair. But knowing Ava it's going to be slightly off, but for her it'll be just perfect. I think when she married Bowman she was probably truly in love with this man, because I can't imagine someone staying with someone through the kind of abuse that this character endured through that relationship. So I'm sure with Boyd it would be completely different from the wedding that she had with his brother.

What do you think happily ever after looks like for Ava and Boyd? It's something they both want, obviously, but they live in this world of crime.
It's interesting because I try to picture what happily ever after would mean to them, knowing the circumstances of their environment. And I'm not quite sure. I'd have to sit down with Ava and really think about it in a logical way. But in an illogical way, they would love to have the big house in the fancy are and raise wonderful kids who don't have to struggle as much as they did. But I really don't know if it's in their reach.

Justified's Season 4 finale airs Tuesday, April 2, at 10/9c on FX.

See more Joelle Carter pictures:
  • Joelle Carter in Celebs Attend the FX Upfront Bowling Event 2
  • Joelle Carter in 2013 FX Upfront Bowling Event
  • Joelle Carter in 17th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards For Excellence In Production Design - Show
  • Joelle Carter in 17th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards For Excellence In Production Design - Arrivals
  • Joelle Carter in 2013 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6
  • Joelle Carter in Premiere Of FX&squot;s "Justified" Season 4 - Red Carpet
  • Joelle Carter in Premiere Of FX&squot;s "Justified" Season 4 - Arrivals
  • Joelle Carter in The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences Performer Nominees' 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Reception - Arrivals
I'm the Chief Content Officer of Livingly Media (Livingly, Lonny, StyleBistro, Zimbio, Mabel + Moxie, and It's Rosy). My TV boyfriend is Pacey Witter. You can reach me at