We must give the Justified villains their due this year: they have done their homework. Our protagonists need to step up their game!
Let’s bitch it out…
The bad guys of Harlan County continue to dominate the agenda as Justified‘s sixth season presses on. This week is comprised of a series of meetings in which what is explicitly stated is rarely, if ever, what is actually being said.
The most interesting of the week is Katherine’s (Mary Steenburgen) impromptu day long visit with Ava (Joelle Carter). Ava remains a completely unhinged character as her dual role continues to take a toll on her mental stability: her decision to sleep with Boyd (Walton Goggins) at the end of last week suggested that she was taking some measure of control over her situation, and yet this week she takes a step back. When Ava randomly discovers Katherine lunching in her room at the hotel, Ava unquestioningly goes along with the crime matriarch’s series of bizarre activities, including a dessert of pharmaceutical grade cocaine, a brazen mid-day jewelry theft and then girl talk back in the room. It’s a funny/scary performance from Steenburgen, whose every line suggests double meanings. Is she confiding the truth behind her plans for Avery (Sam Elliott) or is she angling to find out Ava’s secret? Steenburgen plays it both ways, so even a move as obvious as suggesting the hows and whys of Ava’s early release from prison could be taken either way (For the record: I think Katherine is too smart not to investigate/learn everything about everyone who could hypothetically affect her plans).
Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) is also reacting to the plans unfolding around him. It has taken this long for he and Tim (Jacob Pitts) to uncover the details of Avery’s plan to gobble up valuable land plots around Harlan in order to initiate a large grow-op. Their latest mark: Dickie Bennett (Jeremy Davies), who is currently languishing in jail and acting even nuttier than usual. The mocking conversation between Raylan, Tim and Dickie is one of the few purely comedic moments in an episode that plays a lot of interactions with an understated hint of malice. I especially liked Dickie’s reaction upon learning that his mysterious female land buyer was none other than Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever)!
The visit to Loretta (and the brief conversation with Nick Searcy’s Art) reminds us of what’s at stake for Raylan. With Winona and baby out of the picture since the premiere, it’s important for the writers to reassert that Raylan is trying to get back to his family without getting himself murdered in the process. As Art helpfully (and pointedly) clarifies, “There’s always another snake” and although Avery and his bearded henchman, Ty Walker (Garret Dillahunt) are clearly quite bad, they’re simply the latest in a string of criminals that Harlan never ceases to attract.With Boyd’s suggestion that he’ll not only rob Avery, but steal his plans, Harlan’s criminal future has never been so certain. It’s just a question of who is at the top of the heap when the dust settles.
If Raylan has his way, it won’t be either Avery or Boyd. Although he would be wise to follow Art’s advice and look for the nearest exit, it’s hard not to admire Raylan’s dedication to eliminating both problems. If the endgame is, in fact, Boyd vs Raylan, that means that Avery should be the first to go. The tense discussion between the men in Loretta’s home suggests that we won’t have too many more encounters of this kind before someone makes a decisive move. This is Avery’s game to lose (we know what Raylan is capable), but thus far, it has been quite the ride.
- While I’ll admit that I’m a little disappointed at how Avery’s arrival has driven Walker into the background, the jet white villain certainly makes an impression. I guess I’m hoping that we’ll get a few more beautiful, eloquent soliloquies from Walker before he is inevitably put down.
- Leave it to Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) to know a man so stupid he blows himself up because he forgets to turn off his phone while working with explosives. RIP Whiz (Jake Busey) – you were a gem.
- Tim and Raylan zero in on Avery’s plans thanks to a confessional Calhoun (Brad Leland). I wasn’t sure whether we were meant to assume that the room was bugged or not, but Calhoun acted like it was, which made his last minute reveal about the nature of the eulogy he was preparing baffling. He’s clearly revealing details that he ought not to. Something tells me these actions will land him in some (potentially fatal) trouble.
- Wynn (celebrating his own wit with Boyd): “Hence mercenaries guiding a pizza place full of dough. See what I did there?”
- Katherine (after Ava jokes about the bling in the jewelry store): “OK he gets it.”
- Raylan (mocking Dickie’s prison situation): “Maybe I should make jokes about the wheelchair? I get confused when I see you.”
Your turn: are Katherine and Avery driving the plot? Does Ava have any idea what she’s doing? Is Boyd’s plan to steal both money and plans from Avery brilliant or stupid? Were you excited to see Dickie and Loretta again? And who will be the first one to die? Sound off below.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on FX