Justified 6.02: “Cash Game”

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens

Previously on Justified: Boyd committed murder and bank robbery (so business as usual, basically); Ava was caught between a rock and a hard place (or a Givens and a Crowder which amounts to the same thing); and Raylan got a perplexingly generous offer for the old family homestead.

Ava hears Boyd rummaging around in her barn; he claims to be looking for paint to finish a job for her, but he’s actually hidden the ledger and documents from the bank robbery last week. After she kicks him out, she finds the documents.

At the Marshals’ office, Tim Gutterson and Raylan have a hilariously laconic conversation about Raylan’s baby while Vasquez and Rachel interview a potential witness to Boyd’s neo-Nazi activities. Raylan is concerned that the baby isn’t walking (at five months) and explains to Tim that there are two kinds of people in the hollers of Harlan County: those who are basically on Boyd’s side, and those who are terrified of Boyd. Getting nothing from the witness, Rachel tells Tim and Raylan to go on a road trip to Harlan and interview the owners of the safe deposit boxes that Boyd robbed.

Meanwhile, in Harlan County, Ty Walker (the mysterious Mercedes driver who offered Raylan a suitcase full of cash last week) makes a vaguely threatening offer to an elderly couple to buy their house. Ty seems flattered that the wife calls him the “devil himself” but is weirdly offended that the husband calls him a “peacock” and then wipes his nose on the lady’s freshly-laundered sheets. That’s just gross and rude!

Mary Steenburgen as Katherine Hale in Justified 6.02 "Cash Grab"
Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) is not pleased with Boyd.
Katherine Hale and Wynn Duffy are disappointed that Boyd robbed the contents of a “filing cabinet” rather than the cash they assumed would be in there, and insinuate that Boyd pocketed the money himself. Boyd takes great offense at the idea that he’d double-cross them, and then Katherine takes it one step farther by suggesting that Ava’s release from prison wasn’t a coincidence.

Raylan meets Calhoun Schreier, self-proclaimed king of Harlan County real-estate agents and owner of the ledgers currently in Boyd’s possession. (This show really has it in for realtors, between the ill-fated Gary Hawkins, Winona’s second husband, and now Calhoun.) I’m delighted that Calhoun is played by Brad Leland with the same exuberant smarminess that he brought to used-car salesman Buddy Garrity on Friday Night Lights.

Calhoun thinks Raylan’s come about selling Arlo’s house, and introduces Ty to Raylan. Raylan finally gets a word in edgewise and says that he and Tim have come to talk about the safe deposit box robbery. Calhoun blusters that he didn’t think US Marshals were interested in bank robberies and that there was nothing in his box anyway, and Tim deadpans that “[they’re] interested in all sorts of fun crime stuff.” Calhoun, sweating bullets, is still enough of a salesman to tell Raylan to let him know if he wants Calhoun to represent him.

Ty says the boss will want them to find out whether Calhoun was the target of the robbery, so clearly there’s another, even bigger bad out there waiting to do something naughty in Harlan County. Ty says they’ll let the marshals lead his man to the guy who masterminded the robbery and then they’ll “definitely” kill him. Better men than you have tried to kill Boyd, Ty, and they’ve failed, so my money’s still on Boyd here!

Tim and Raylan drive away to interview the other robbery victims and notice that Ty’s guy is following them. Raylan also gets a message from Ava to meet with him, so he devises a novel way to get another vehicle. He gets out of the car that Tim’s driving and stands in the middle of the street until the guy who has been tailing them has to pull up or risk hitting Raylan.

Choo-Choo (who earned his nickname because he punches as hard and fast as a freight train) is easily outwitted by Raylan, though to be quite honest, it seems clear that Raylan’s five-month old baby girl Willa could probably outwit Choo-Choo. Raylan takes Choo Choo’s car from under his nose and leaves him even more ticked off than he was before. Meanwhile, Raylan calls Tim with a little job.

Katherine Hale meets with an old flame, Avery, who left Harlan and made good (if by “good” we mean “drives a Rolls and smokes premium marijuana.”) She talks to Avery about management techniques and asks what he’d do if he thought one of his subordinates was stealing from him. Avery says he makes sure people stay loyal to him by paying them top dollar, but when Katherine asks what he’d do if, despite his generosity, one of his employees robbed him. Avery says he’d blind the person just for starters. Yikes!

Ty and Calhoun are still in conference about that safe-deposit box; Ty yells at Choo-Choo for his incompetence and then smashes some furniture in Calhoun’s office before demanding the name of Calhoun’s bank manager. Calhoun is already sweating from his dealings with Ty as Calhoun gets a text message and then a phone call from Boyd about his ledgers. As Ty looks on, Calhoun sweats some more (I see some major dry-cleaning bills in his future) and makes an appointment to meet Boyd at 8 p.m. that evening. Calhoun remembers the name of the bank manager and gives it to Ty, and now I fear for the poor lady’s life. All she did was rent Boyd a safe-deposit box!

Choo-Choo tries to hitchhike, and is passed by several sensible people (kids, don’t pick up Khal Drogo lookalikes who try to hitchhike, ok?) before none other than Tim Gutterson stops by.

Ava and Raylan meet and Ava proudly hands over the ledgers she took from her barn. She’s disappointed when Raylan isn’t particularly excited and then she’s fearful when Raylan suggests that Boyd set her up to steal the documents. Ava asks Raylan if he thinks she’s in danger; uh, Ava, you’ve been around Boyd for a number of years now, and you know exactly what he does to people whom he doesn’t trust so yes, there is danger. Luckily, Ava’s a smart cookie!

Choo-Choo walks into a bar with Tim trailing behind. He introduces Tim to C-Bass as another ex-Iraq veteran. C-Bass can’t believe Choo-Choo just let Raylan take his car and Choo-Choo says he wanted to kill Raylan but then he was worried that he’d have to kill everyone else who drove by. C-Bass is worried about loose-lipped threats to murder US Marshals in front of Tim, but Choo-Choo says it’s ok, seeing Choo-Choo told Tim all of this everything in the car anyway. At this point, Tim drops the bombshell that he’s a US Marshal too, and promises to tell Raylan that he wasn’t very nice to Choo-Choo. Ha!

Calhoun is being “serviced” by Patrice, to whom he confesses that it may be his last day on earth. Patrice is relieved that Calhoun doesn’t have “the cancer” but Calhoun says he’s in big trouble. Patrice says she’ll be happy to hear all about it after he pays her. At some point not much later, Raylan walks in on the confessional and aftermath. When Calhoun remains tongue-tied, Patrice confesses to Raylan for him, and mentions the “blackmailer” currently in possession of his ledgers, in which he kept details of his shady clients. Raylan figures out the blackmailer is Boyd.

Ava returns home to put the ledgers back where she found them, but Boyd is already waiting for her on her porch steps, looking as sinister as he possibly can. Ava is a natural at this because she switches gears and starts yelling at Boyd for risking her freedom by hiding the proceeds of his robbery on her property. For the moment, she convinces Boyd that she’s just angry he lied to her, and she sinks down in relief after Boyd buys into that little performance. But the question of how good an actress Ava really is still remains; she has to convince Boyd he can trust her, or else end up in prison or worse, with a bullet in her head. I hope she has good balance on her tightrope!

Boyd shows up at Calhoun’s with a prepared story of how he just happened to “find” the documents at a rest-stop, and instead finds Raylan, who doesn’t buy the story for an instant, but is happy to relieve Boyd of his ill-gotten gains. That was slick, Raylan! Boyd’s a pretty smooth operator too, because he doesn’t reveal an iota of frustration at the failure of his blackmail plans and the loss of the ledgers.

The bank manager Joyce Kipling gets a rather terrifying visit from Ty Walker. Garret Dillahunt has the amazing ability to make an omelette recipe sound like a death threat. Joyce gives up the information that the police suspect Boyd Crowder of being involved with the robbery. I feel a confrontation coming up, as hard and fast as Choo-Choo.

At Boyd’s bar, Carl sweeps up and finds Dewey’s gator tooth necklace, which he tries on for size before he hangs around the neck of a stuffed squirrel. Wouldn’t it be wonderfully ironic if it were the murder of Dewey that finally brought Boyd down?

Ava enters, having clearly thought of an even better story for Boyd. She tells Boyd that whatever he’s got going on, she can handle it. She can’t help Boyd if he keeps her in the dark. Then she reveals that one of the land deeds Boyd stole was for a pizza place in downtown Harlan. There’s something very special about this pizza place, because the previously despondent Boyd gets super-excited and happy and proposes that he and Ava share some of the good bourbon.

Ty and C-Bass drive up to the home of the elderly couple we met earlier, and unload some industrial-sized rolls of plastic wrap. Oh dear!

While they are engaged in their nefarious business, Tim and Raylan return to the pizza place with Choo-Choo’s keys. As they arrive, Ty and C-Bass also return; Ty and Raylan exchange words, with Raylan saying that he can’t figure out where Ty has all this cash from and why he’s buying all this land. Raylan says that if Ty wants to buy his land, he needs to meet with Ty’s boss. On their way out, Raylan tells Tim that the pizza restaurant used to be a bank. Hmmmmm!!

I wasn’t crazy about Season 5, but two episodes into Season 6 and my doubts have vanished. All the strengths of this show (plotting, dialogue and characterization) are back with a bang, with an intriguing central mystery (who is Ty’s boss and what does she or he want with all this property?), great new secondary characters like Ty (and Calhoun, Patrice, Choo-Choo and C-Bass, all introduced in this episode, and all with that trademark Justified quirkiness that doesn’t veer too far into caricature), as well as great use of the characters we already know. From Ava’s precarious (and guilt-ridden) turn as a CI to Raylan’s and Tim’s deadpan banter, I’m loving every moment of this final ride on the Justified train.

Regina Thorne is an avid reader of just about everything, an aspiring writer, a lover of old movies and current TV shows, and a hopeless romantic.

Read all posts by Regina Thorne for Criminal Element.

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