A review of tonight's “Justified” coming up just as soon as I want to buy your hat…
“I gave you what you always wanted, Raylan: Boyd Crowder bleeding out at your feet.” -Ava
Well, that was unexpected. Though it probably shouldn't have been.
This final “Justified” season – and really, the entire series on some level – has spent so much time prepping us for what seemed to be the inevitable showdown between Raylan and Boyd that it was startling to instead have Ava shoot Boyd in the shoulder – around the same place where Raylan shot him back in the pilot – and drive off with Markham's cash. I don't assume Raylan is going to let Boyd bleed to death, but if he's wounded and possibly incarcerated – can they make the RICO case without the money? – then that final gunfight becomes much trickier to arrange.
At the same time, “Trust” was so much about its eponymous subject, and about the many people who betray it – Katherine by arranging the theft of the money, Mikey by knocking out Wynn and trying to turn him over to Katherine, Boyd by taking Katherine hostage (and setting up Carl and Earl to be arrested) – that it only makes sense for the episode to conclude with one last, giant betrayal. It scrambles all of our assumptions about the shape of the closing chapters of the story, but it's also exactly what Ava should have tried at this point. She couldn't trust Boyd, and after learning of David Vasquez's plans for her, she couldn't trust Raylan. At that point, it's every woman for herself, and $10 million plus some Limehouse IDs(*) could potentially put a lot of distance between Ava and Harlan.
(*) Though she did already tell Raylan that her new name would be Ofay, and this was before she knew that Vasquez was pulling the plug on their deal.
Like so much of this season, “Trust” was a wonderful treasure trove of watching smart people trying to outmaneuver each other, with the occasional mix of dumb people who get victimized (Carl and Earl) and ones who briefly wind up on top (Mikey). In particular, Boyd waiting until the cash was in his truck before telling Markham that the plan to steal his money was all Katherine's idea was a hilarious twist of the knife for two alleged master criminals who always looked down on him.
I did question why Markham would be so eager to hand over all the cash in exchange for a woman he already suspected (thanks to Raylan) of trying to rip him off, but there is suspicion and then there is knowing – and knowing that she was the ringleader, rather than just part of the game – and Sam Elliott's reaction was priceless, as was the shark-like grin he adopted when Katherine asked Markham if he was going to kill her. Somehow, amazingly, this show has made me a convert to the idea of a clean-shaven Sam Elliott, because those smiles wouldn't be half as creepy if they were peeking out from under the ol' stache.
So where does this leave us all? Wynn is a prisoner of Mikey, and about to be turned over to two very angry people whose trust he betrayed decades ago. Boyd is wounded and potentially about to be arrested for his many misdeeds, even if they don't rise to the RICO level. Ava is loose with $10 million. Boon is roaming free putting offers on hats and killing old ladies. And I suspect David, Rachel and Art are going to tag team for the angriest lecture Raylan Givens has ever received in his whole career.
After the events of this episode, I have no idea what's coming next. And I do not care, given how much fun I am having watching it all play out.
Some other thoughts:
* On the one hand, I don't know that Boon's adventures in the hat trade added anything to the level of menace he had from the moment he appeared in Loretta's house. On the other, the show is clearly setting him up for something significant in the closing episodes, and as a late addition to the season, he needs some more face time, and Jonathan Tucker is very entertaining to watch in this role.
* It gets a little lost in the larger discussion between Raylan and his colleagues about where the case goes now, but I loved Tim expressing a firm desire to see Boyd actually stand trial after all their hard work, rather than have him become the latest casualty of Raylan's code. Tim is every bit the efficient killer that Raylan is, but he doesn't have that same itch to do it that our hero does, and it's nice to be reminded that he, Rachel and Art prefer a more mundane brand of justice whenever possible.
* Is this the last we'll see of poor Earl and Carl? All things considered, arrest is a better fate than most of Boyd's henchmen have received, but I had hoped for some kind of payoff to Carl realizing a few episodes back that Boyd doesn't care about the safety of the help at all.
* Also, given the discussion of Zachariah's whereabouts, and the way the show has always adopted a “if you don't see a corpse, then he's probably not dead” mentality, I suspect Ava's uncle will figure back into things before all is said and done.
What did everybody else think?
Alan Sepinwall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org