Justified, Season 6 Episode 2: “Cash Game”

This week on Justified, we started to delve a little deeper into what Boyd was paid to steal from the bank last week. There are documents that are somehow connected to a mysterious man (we soon learn his identity), who happens to have $3 million stashed somewhere. Ava appears to have worked her way back into Boyd’s inner circle (the events of season five are just barely under the surface, as Ava finds it hard to trust him while at the same time trying to act as informant against him), and Raylan and Boyd have their first conversation of the season, complete with magnificent dialogue.

It’s been a long day, so I’m going to have to separate this episode into various storylines, most of which involve Boyd Crowder.

Boyd and Ava: Ava’s time in prison has understandably shaken her up a bit. So when she sees an unknown man (who turns out to be Boyd) enter her barn in the morning, she takes a gun with her for self defence. Boyd makes up some story about looking for Dewey (who he had just killed), who was supposed to drop off some paint. After he leaves, Ava finds the ledger he stole from the bank, and passes it onto Raylan. Raylan tells her he can’t keep it because if he does, Boyd will know that Ava’s ratting on him, so she confronts him with the information instead.

What I like about Ava is that she’s fully aware of the life she’s chosen; she had a fantastic conversation with Raylan’s aunt Helen (who married Raylan’s criminal father) in season two about loving men who commit crimes. So while she doesn’t trust Boyd because of what happened while she was in prison, but is also wary about reporting on him, she finds a way to make herself useful again. She notices from the ledger that mystery man has been buying up property all over Harlan County, but there’s a peculiarity about one of the properties (my house was quite busy during this scene, so I wasn’t able to catch exactly what it was). Boyd kisses Ava and tells her she’s a genius. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ava ends up falling back in love with Boyd and regretting the deal she made with Raylan. It’s fitting that these three characters are the focus of the final season, because their lives are so intertwined that there’s no way all three of them will make it out alive.

Boyd and Mary Steenburgen (and Wynn Duffy): Wynn Duffy is pretty much the Saul Goodman of Justified. He’s a cockroach, and he’ll always survive. Beyond that, we learn that Mary Steenburgen is trying to steal money from someone (I was so excited about this cameo), who has $3 million stashed somewhere. When Boyd is unable to produce the cash. Mary Steenburgen and Wynn Duffy confront him about the possibility that he has it hidden; they don’t actually confront him, Boyd is smart enough to figure it out on his own. Also Mary Steenburgen is sleeping with some guy who seems to have a pretty good supply of weed.

BUDDY GARRITY!!! Brad Leland is a great actor, who never gets enough work, so I was thrilled to see everyone’s favourite Dillon Panthers fan show up here as someone Calhoun, the real estate agent who has been buying up all that property and has $3 million stashed somewhere. It also turns out that the guy who offered Raylan money for his house last week (and another couple this week – why are they buying all this land?), is working in conjunction with Calhoun, most likely using his knowledge of the area – it’s highly unlikely that Calhoun is in control of this partnership. Boyd pretends to have found the ledger on the side of the road, and blackmails Calhoun to get it back; when Raylan shows up at Calhoun’s office for a second time, the girl he’s with tells Raylan that Calhoun blackmailed people, and wrote it down in the ledger, and now he’s being blackmailed by whoever has the ledger in their possession. Raylan’s response: “He got a long-winded, peculiar way of speaking?” – based on what they know Boyd’s been up to, this isn’t drawing a long bow, but when Raylan says that, we know he’s figured it out, because he knows Boyd.

The Marshall’s Office: They seem to be making slow progress. Raylan gets onto Calhoun, realises he’s being followed and takes Choo Choo’s car off him, and then figures out that Boyd is blackmailing Calhoun. So he tells Calhoun to hightail it and meets Boyd at the appointed time. One of the things Justified does so well is ensure that there aren’t too many scenes with Raylan and Boyd. Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins just play so well off each other that it’s always delightful, and I’m so glad that Graham Yost doesn’t overdo it. Rachel, as the acting Chief Deputy Marshall, is surprised that Raylan is willing to do things the right way, through the RICO case. Thanks to the conversation Raylan had with Art last week, and a video of his daughter up on his monitor, the audience and Raylan are constantly reminded of what he has to lose.

Other thoughts:

  • Between infiltrating Choo Choo and Sea Bass’ hideout during the episode, and his comment to Raylan: “Oh good, that is your kid. I was worried that was some random internet baby,” Tim is, as always, this week’s MVP. He needs to have more scenes with Boyd.
  • I love the way Raylan stops Choo Choo from following him (by standing in front of his car), and upon being told that it’s none of his business where Choo Choo was going, “Where you’re following me to is none of my business?”
  • When I heard that an actor from Friday Night Lights turned up on this show, I was expecting it to be Jesse Plemons, after his stint on Breaking Bad. I was surprised and thrilled when it turned out to be Brad Leland, because that is perfect casting.
  • Prediction corner: The guy who’s vacuuming up Boyd’s bar finds Dewey’s shark tooth necklace and tries it on before putting it on a stuffed animal. I was convinced that Ava would see it on her way out and figure out what happened to Dewey, but since it didn’t happen this week, it’s going to happen soon.
  • “Nothing lasts forever.” “Except this conversation it seems.”
  • “I haven’t been here since I was a kid. Used to be a bank.”
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