As you can tell from the promo for tonight’s episode of Justified, “Loose Ends” (watch it below), the feud between Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) continues to escalate. And equally exciting for fans of Joelle Carter, Ava gets a shotgun back in her hands when whore Ellen May (Abby Miller) comes to her for help. Oh, and also, Raylan kisses her. What did Carter tell EW about what lies ahead? For starters, the kiss harkens back to the series’ pilot, when Raylan showed up to see her on business after she killed her abusive husband and she laid one on him. “It’s like when he came to her door, she was like, ‘Ohmygod, Prince Charming!’ He’s just like, ‘Oh great, it’s Ava! Let’s just make out!'” she laughs. “It’s like the reverse side of that coin. He’s mentally in the same kind of place. His whole life has just been uprooted. Winona’s not there anymore. He’s sitting there, and in comes this familiar face. They still like each other. They still have that sexual chemistry. They’re just not right for each other.”
Carter knows fans have mixed feelings about Ava and Boyd being together. “From Day 1 of Boyd being in Ava’s house, people were like, ‘What’s going on? Don’t do that!’ There are people who cannot stand to see Ava in the world of violence and being a criminal and with Boyd. And there are other people who are like, ‘I’m so happy you’re with Boyd.’ I think they’re torn,” she says. “But as far as me playing the character, I don’t know what would happen to Ava if Boyd wasn’t in the picture anymore. They’re soulmates. They found each other. In this strange world of violence, it’s really odd to see a love affair like that. The more you see our people drop like flies, it’s starting to look like the only people they can really be loyal to and trust are each other. I love it. I love that they someday might be so isolated that they truly are on the run. I mean, they promised me Bonnie and Clyde for two seasons now,” she laughs. “It’s a slow burn, which is probably better, and it’s earned, which I think helps the audience and helps the reality of the whole thing, which is great.”
As for Ava pulling out her shotgun, she won’t say whether or not she fires it tonight. “That’s the funny thing. Last season, they had written a part where I scare away the Bennetts, and Tim [Olyphant] was like, ‘I’m so sick of seeing her hold a gun and not use it.’ So I was like, ‘Yay! I get to shoot at them!’ So I came out shooting. We all saw the big Bennett boy, he’s pretty scary even when I had a gun on him. So it was nice to know that she now has the capability and the license to use a gun,” she says. “I think that season 3’s about Ava owning a new self, and she’s really come across some strength and courage that she’s not necessarily used to. In a moment of defense or strategy, she’ll come to that conclusion to protect what’s now hers. I think that’s the life she’s building with Boyd.”
Will we see her holding a shotgun again this season? “She will be violent with her bare hands,” she teases. Ah, that reminds us of Ava whacking Devil in the face with that frying pan earlier this season. “That was genius. That was a very Ava moment,” she concurs. “I don’t think she premeditated that. I think it was like, ‘Okay, I gotta do something right now, and here’s a frying pan.’ I like when we can do that. If it’s someone coming into the house and her shotgun’s close, then yeah, she’ll pick up a shotgun logically. But if it’s not, then I like to see her try to figure out another way.” That sounds very Raylan of her, we say. “The difference is that Ava’s just introduced to this world, Raylan lives it. He’s probably constantly thinking of ways to handle situations without killing people because he’s in law enforcement…. I like to think that they think that way, our law enforcement people,” she laughs. “How can I get out of this situation without killing or maiming anyone?”
For more with Carter, read our weekly postmortem with Justified EP Graham Yost going live at 2 a.m. ET tonight.