Justified 6.04: “The Trash and the Snake”

imothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, Garret Dillahunt as Ty Walker, Sam Elliott as Avery Markham

Any episode of Justified that gives me Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) backstory in addition to the return of one of my all-time favorite characters is, by definition, a great episode. But “The Trash and the Snake” also had some of the best dialogue not spoken by Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), as well as the pleasure of watching Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), Ava (Joelle Carter), and Boyd interact with their mentors or would-be mentors, a genuine explosion, and some nail-biting suspense.

We open with Boyd watching Ava sleep in their Lexington hotel room; if we hadn’t watched Boyd shoot Dewey Crowe and didn’t know that Ava was a CI, this would be romantic, but as it is, I’m just all tense and scared for Ava. When she wakes up, Boyd tells her that he’ll be out doing criminal business for most of the day. Ava stretches and says she plans to take advantage of the spa, but actually she’s just waiting to call Raylan and give him some information so the Feds don’t send her back to prison.

Raylan and Ava meet in the stairwell of the hotel, and Ava is totally twitchy. Raylan raises an eyebrow at the idea that Ava’s sleeping with Boyd again, but also makes sure to tell Ava that he did not in any way ask her to do that. Ava gives Raylan the name Avery Markham (Sam Elliot) and then asks him: “What’s it like, holding someone’s fate in your hand?”

Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) is waiting in Ava’s room, and asks Ava to join her for lunch, expressing curiosity as to where Ava’s been. Ava lies that she went out for a smoke, but Katherine’s too smart for Ava’s good, and picks up the pack of cigarettes and lighter that Ava clearly didn’t take with her. Ava puts on a brave face, saying she only smokes one cigarette at a time, but that was a bad slip and I’m getting more and more nervous for Ava.

Meanwhile, Raylan visits his mentor/father figure Art (Nick Searcy), who’s slowly recovering from his gunshot wound. Art fixes himself a pan of eggs and bacon, telling Raylan that he sent his wife off to her yoga class so he could stop eating the “twigs and cat-food” she’s been feeding him. I love Art!

If there’s ever any character who makes exposition fun, it’s Art, who tells Raylan about how Grady Hale, Katherine’s dead husband, and Avery Markham made a pile of money selling weed. Art believes Markham was the snitch who sent Grady Hale to prison, though the only person who knew for sure was a US Attorney who got his head blown off. Raylan muses that this is a new twist in his mission to get Boyd Crowder, to which Art remarks that it’s another way for Raylan to delay leaving Kentucky and moving to Florida near his daughter.

“Your mama asks you to take out the trash,” Raylan says, “you do as she says. But if you see a copperhead on the way out, you don’t go back inside, say you didn’t do nothing, because all she asked was take out the trash. You take out the trash and the snake.” That’s Raylan’s philosophy in a nutshell, the thing that makes him such a good Marshal and such a bad husband/father/etc.; there will, as Art tells him, always be another snake, and no one person can be the garbage-man/snake exterminator of all them.

Raylan asks whether Art is telling him not to do his job. “No,” Art says. “I’m telling you not to get bit.” And now I’m getting a little nervous about all of Art’s warnings to Raylan not to die. Even if it is the final season, I really don’t want Raylan to die at the end of it!

Jacob Pitts as Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson, Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens
Jacob Pitts as Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson, Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.

He’s not dead yet, though! Raylan and Tim (Jacob Pitts) go visit Calhoun Schreier (Brad Leland) to get some explanation of the codes in the ledger Boyd stole from the bank and that Raylan so expertly confiscated from Boyd a couple of episodes ago. Calhoun explains that the symbols can mean either that the sellers accepted Markham’s first offer for their land, or accepted his second offer, or accepted neither offer. This makes our Marshals wonder what happened to those who didn’t accept the second offer: one guy escaped with his life, but his entire house burned down, and Calhoun reveals that he’s off to eulogize Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins, none other than the elderly couple who refused Ty Walker’s (Garret Dillahunt) offer for their house (and further insulted Ty by calling him a “peacock.”) It seems they died of carbon monoxide poisoning when their furnace “failed” not long after their meeting with Ty. Tim and Raylan exchange a telling glance. It seems that no one says “no” to Avery for long.

Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) proves that she too can be a snake.

Meanwhile, Katherine Hale is entertaining Ava to lunch, and being both threatening and sisterly at the same time. She tells Ava about her own case of cheerleader envy and reveals how much digging she’s done about Ava’s past as a cheerleader and husband-killer. She asks Ava what it felt like just before she pulled the trigger on Bowman Crowder. “I have to think it felt great.” Uh oh, I feel a bit of Thelma and Louise coming on! As the piece de resistance of the meal, Katherine lifts a metal dish cover to reveal several lines of cocaine, which she tells Ava they’ll need for the rest of the afternoon’s activity. Well, that can’t possibly be a good thing!

Boyd and Wynn visit a safe-cracker who’s going to help them get the vast quantities of money that Avery is hiding in the vault at the Portal (or, as Wynn wisecracks, “the pizza parlor full of dough.”) Wynn explains that Avery believes marijuana will soon be legal in Kentucky and that he’s planning to buy up lots of good growing land. He also warns Boyd that the safe-cracker is really irritating and that Boyd will want to punch him, but he really is a whiz.

The Whiz is, in fact, extremely annoying and also extremely full of himself saying that he has access ot the latest in military explosives, which is the only stuff that will work on the brand of safe at the Portal. The Whiz, Boyd and Wynn drive to the warehouse

Boyd, Wynn and the nutty safecracker go to an abandoned warehouse where there is a duplicate of the safe that’s in the basement of the pizza joint to practice blowing it up. The Whiz confiscates Boyd’s and Wynn’s cell-phones.

Ava and Katherine do a little criminal activity of their own: Katherine takes Ava to a fancy jewelry store owned by a guy named Winston (no doubt a tribute to Harry Winston!) , where they pull a scam on the owner that ends with Katherine pocketing a diamond tennis bracelet. Ava is high on the life of crime (and cocaine), though she’s slightly worried about the many cameras in the store. Katherine assures her that Winston (David Brisbin) won’t move against her because he’s still scared that Katherine has enough juice to kill him or his family. She’s bitter because when Grady Hale was still alive, she had a charge account at Winston’s store and was greeted by champagne, and now she’s reduced to having to steal tennis bracelets. Poor Katherine!

Raylan and Tim drive to the Hutchins family home, where Tim banters with Raylan about his attachment (or lack thereof) to his former English teacher, Mrs. Hutchins. Tim says he doesn’t want to die a peaceful death, but prefers that Sigourney Weaver choke him out with her thighs. Well … that was almost as revealing as Wynn Duffy in the tanning bed last week! Raylan says it’s hard to prove murder considering that the house is old and it would be easy to argue that the furnace failed, but clever Tim finds adhesive on the window frames that shows someone taped plastic over the windows.

Boyd and Wynn watch The Whiz do his thing, and Wynn reveals a bit of his backstory about growing up in Hawaii. (So, I would totally watch a show about a young Wynn Duffy navigating the Mean Streets of Maui; it could be the Justified version of Better Call Saul.) Boyd asks whether Wynn will surf away once he has his share of Avery’s money, while Wynn asks if that’s Boyd’s plan, to run somewhere far away. Their reveries are interrupted by the Whiz’s phone going off, which sets off the bomb he’s been working on, and Wynn and Boyd end up with faces full of blood and other things. Although gruesome, I was vastly amused by how much Wynn and Boyd took the shower of Whiz-bits in stride, like it was just another day at the Dixie Mafia office.

Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett
Jeremy Davies as Dickie Bennett
Raylan and Tim continue their trip down Raylan’s memory lane by visiting Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies) in prison. Alas, Dickie’s magnificent porcupine-inspired hairdo has been tamed by his time in prison, so that now he looks merely unkempt. Raylan and Tim try to bribe Dickie with visions of sugarplums (or their contemporary equivalents), but Dickie tells them he’ll never cooperate with them, but then proceeds to reveal that his land was purchased by a corporation called LM Consolidated. Raylan figures out that LM stands for none other than Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever), who apparently used the money she earned selling weed and/or inherited from Mags Bennett to buy the Bennett land. I’m so excited that we’re going to see Loretta again!!

Kaitlyn Dever as Loretta McCready
Kaitlyn Dever as Loretta McCready
Unfortunately, when we see her, she’s in the company of Ty Walker. As usual, Loretta is singularly unimpressed by the older man trying to sweet-talk her (in this case, into selling the Bennett land to Avery Markham.) Instead, she offers Ty some “apple pie.” Uh oh!! Raylan and Tim interrupt her tete a tete with Ty; Loretta continues to be unimpressed.

Ty steps out to haul in the big guns: Avery himself. It turns out that Avery knew Loretta’s parents, the Bennett clan, and Mags Bennett’s apple-pie tricks, because he asks Loretta to sample some of what’s in the glass before he drinks it. Clever man!

Raylan tells Avery that he can’t have the Givens’ land, and that he’s adding Loretta’s land to the list of things Avery can’t buy as well. Avery doesn’t take kindly to the idea that anyone feels entitled to tell him no, but he’s very suavely threatening, just like that copperhead that Raylan was talking about earlier. Now I’m a bit scared for Loretta too!!

Katherine and Ava hang out at the hotel after their afternoon of grand theft; Katherine tells Ava she was the power behind Grady Hale, and that she wants that position back again. She knows it was Avery who ratted out Grady, and made sure Grady died in prison. We’re about to find out more, when Katherine’s phone rings for what she tells Ava is a massage appointment. Ava thinks she’s weathered the storm but just as she’s leaving, Katherine asks some very pointed questions about the prison guard who changed his story so Ava could get out of jail. I think there might be more than one human-faced copperhead in this story!

Raylan tries to parent Loretta and curb her precocious criminal brilliance. Loretta really seems like the true daughter of Raylan’s heart, because he sees so much of himself in her, and because of the dramatic ways in which their paths have intersected. Loretta dismisses Raylan’s concerns, and while he’s arguing with her, he gets a panicked phone call from Ava.

“She knows, she knows!” Ava gasps into the phone, frantically packing her bags. Raylan tries to talk her down, but just as he’s given her a meeting point, Boyd returns (having apparently cleaned himself of The Whiz). Ava’s all set to confess and throw herself on Boyd’s (non-existent) mercy, but Boyd is thankfully too full of his own plans to listen to her. He tells Ava that they’re going to stay in Harlan for the upcoming marijuana boom (once again, Boyd reveals his messianic streak, wanting to be the savior/benefactor of the place he grew up.) Ava goes along with Boyd, biting back the confession she nearly made, but once he goes to take a shower, she breaks down and who can blame her? The tightrope she’s on keeps getting more slippery and the chasm below her is darker and deeper than ever before.

And this fantastic final season of Justified with all its twists and turns just keeps getting better and better!

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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