The episode may be called ‘Money Trap’ but it could just as easily be ‘Game On’ considering how many references we get to extracurricular activities. The real question is who’s shown their hand?
Let’s bitch it out…There’s a great deal of talk about game playing in ‘Money Trap’ – much of it courtesy of the backstory to Elmore Leonard character Jackie Nevada (a welcome Shelley Hennig, freed from the confines of her goody two-shoes character on The Secret Circle). That name is classic Leonard – or possibly a Bond girl – and Hennig clearly has a hoot playing the flirty, bad sorority sister Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) protects throughout the episode. Considering he’s still recovering from being burned by ex-Lindsay (Jenn Lyon), it’s brave of the series to introduce a potentially recurring love interest. (Side Note: in case you were wondering if the two do, in fact, hook up in the shower at the end of the episode, check out EW.com’s interview with Justified EP Graham Yost).
I have a feeling that those individuals who have felt that Justified is spinning its wheels with the season-long mystery arc concerning Drew Thompson didn’t love the episode. Aside from Raylan’s chat with his imprisoned surly pop, Arlo (Raymond J Barry), much of the episode skirts the mystery in favour of yet another split narrative. Rayland spends much of the hour chasing down escaped fugitive Jody (Homeland‘s Chris Chalk, returning from the premiere 4×01’s ‘Hole In The Wall’) while Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Ava (Joelle Carter) hit up the Clover Hill swingers’ party they wrangled an invitation to last week.
The Jody storyline is frivolous fun. In his introduction, Jody seemed more like an afterthought – someone that Raylan needed to recover before his car was crushed for scrap. In his second appearance, Jody is significantly more enjoyable, though hardly threatening. He continues Justified‘s run of stupid “loud bark, small bite” criminals that think they have the cojones to go up against Raylan and wind up shot to death. That Jody ends up as a chalk outline by episode’s end seems inevitable in hindsight given that Raylan only last week mentioned how long it’s been since he shot a man (Alan Sepinwall at Hitflix was frustrated by this development).
The Boyd/Ava storyline is more interesting, if only because it’s sure to have longer lasting effects. Although the recently engaged couple attend the bourgeois evening with the intention of scouring information on Thompson’s whereabouts, they end up discovering that the rich white folk from the burbs are just as corrupt as the Wild Turkey swilling, dung-mouthed residents of Harlan County.
The men of Clover Hill expect Boyd to continue the Crowder family tradition of doing their dirty work, which is an unexpected development. Admittedly this feels also like a deviation (one that again sidelines progress on the Thompson mystery), but it should be fun to watch Boyd school these gentlemen in all the ways he is not his father. Watching Goggins bristle (“I believe the word you’re looking for is pacify”) is exciting and I can’t wait to watch Boyd bring his own brand of justice down on their heads in the remaining episodes of the season.
- Just in case you didn’t know the dirty bits were happening upstairs at the party, they’re filmed in swatches of red light. Either someone got a little too inspired by a certain distict in Amsterdam or the Justified crew eschewed subtlety in favour of “mallet to the head” symbolism
- Having not watched Mad Men, I didn’t recognize actor Michael Gladis. I did, however, like Kenneth’s exasperated “down the rabbit hole” tag-along with Jody. Also: the video message the pair create, complete with credits (!), is hilarious
- Although it took me a moment to recognize him, I may have exclaimed with glee when I realized threatening Clover Hills’ resident Lee Paxton is played by Sam Anderson (Lost‘s Bernard). It’s a testament to that show how much I love seeing its cast turn up on other shows, though hopefully Anderson will get more to do than Maggie Grace did in The Following
- RIP bail bondsman Sharon (Aja Evans). Like many supporting characters on the show, Sharon has just enough backstory/wit to ensure it sucks when she is killed, even though in reality we know very little about her. It’s just another example of how well the show introduces/uses its characters. Other semi-procedural shows (cough *Elementary* cough) could learn a thing or two from this practice
- Finally, the game’s afoot for Colt (Ron Eldard) as Boyd’s cousin Johnny (David Meunier) closes a snare around him. Now that prostitute Teri (Cathy Baron) has spilled the beans about Colt’s attack last week and its relationship to Ellen May (an unseen Abby Miller), it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out. Last week I asked who would die first – Colt or Johnny. This week I’m placing my bet on Colt.
- Sharon (referring to Raylan): “That man’s an emotional disaster.” She’s not wrong, but it seemingly keeps him alive, doesn’t it?
- Ava (to Boyd): “Well we’re going to a rich person’s sex party tonight. Who would have thought?” I liked this one as much as everyone else’s favourite: “Baby, you give as many handjobs as you need to”
- Former Sheriff Napier (to Boyd): “You’re about as welcome here as a case of the clap.”
- Raylan (staring at the chair): “I’ll probably just sleep on the couch.”
- Raylan (reaffirming his anticipation of his father’s death): “I’m going to be glad when I hear the news.” Feel the family love!
Your turn: how are you feeling about the Drew Thompson case (or its lack of development)? Did you enjoy the swingers party? Do you hope to see Jackie Nevada return? And admit it: you chuckled during Jody’s video, didn’t you?
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX