Justified “Cash Game” Review (Season 6 Episode 2)

Justified Cash Game Season 6 Episode 2 05

This week’s Justified gave us a good idea of where we’re heading this season. There is more to the Harlan land grab than meets the eye. If Boyd thinks that he’s going to be able to pull off his next bank job, he’s going to have to go through the Tigerhawk Security guys and the U.S. Marshals, while sidestepping Ava and his business partners’ backstabbing. This may be too much even for Boyd.

We find out early on that Boyd is still in league with his buddies from last season, Wynn Duffy and Katherine Hale. I like the Wynn Duffy character, so I’m glad to see he’s back. Hale is still like one of those snakes that’s pretty to look at, but you don’t want to get too close. She is down right sinister thanks to the great performance of Mary Steenburgen. Every time Hale starts talking, I long for Boyd to take her out Dewey-style.

There are cracks forming in this merry band of criminals. Duffy and Hale don’t trust Boyd and wonder if he’s double-crossing them. Hale also makes the not too subtle allusion to Ava’s release from prison. Boyd is no fool. He undoubtedly has the same suspicion regarding Ava, but he refuses to discuss it. I like that Boyd shuts Hale down on this point, but I don’t think that means Hale will drop it. I’m wondering if Hale and Duffy will try to go around Boyd and confront Ava themselves. That would, of course, be foolish.

As we saw in last week’s final moments, Boyd has his own concerns about Ava. To test her loyalty, he sets her up to find the land deeds in her barn. Ava doesn’t see the trap and takes the documents to Raylan. Fortunately, Raylan does see what Boyd’s done and warns her. Raylan should have at least copied the documents. If Boyd went to all the trouble of stealing them, there must be a reason. When Ava realizes the problem she now has, I am almost tempted to feel sorry for her. That’s kind of the beauty of this character and Joelle Carter’s performance—you almost feel sorry for Ava. I then remind myself that Ava is a lying murderer and she may yet get what’s coming to her. If she wants to keep her wits about her, she may want to lay off the Bourbon with the cornflakes.

When Boyd confronts Ava, presumably after discovering the documents are gone, Ava puts on the performance of her life. She knows she’s busted, so she comes out blazing mad that Boyd is putting her at risk by hiding his stolen goods on her property. It’s so ballsy that it appears to have fooled Boyd. She knows, though, that she has to go further to convince Boyd. She shows up later at his bar and demands to be let in on the scheme if they’re going to have a life together. She gives Boyd a big tip on what’s in the land deeds. I would’ve hoped that Raylan noticed the same thing Ava did in the deeds, but it looks like he missed that one. Raylan may be so focused on the end result that he’s not paying enough attention to the means of getting there.

It looks like all the drama in Harlan is somehow connected to the land. Creepy beard guy, Ty Walker, continues his efforts to buy up Harlan property on behalf of his boss. The scene where Walker goes to the farmers really captures the spirit of the show. Even in the face of Harlan’s decline, there are still people who are tied to the land and not interested in cashing out. This is what will ultimately make it interesting on whether Raylan can actually leave Harlan. He protests that he does not like the place, but there also is something that keeps him tied to it.

At the center of the real estate brouhaha is a local realtor, Calhoun Schrier, who is also the owner of the purloined safe-deposit box. When Raylan and Gutterson arrive in Schrier’s office, they find him meeting with Walker. I was confused why the marshals would talk about anything in front of Walker. When Walker tries to participate in the conversation, Gutterson hits the brakes with a hilarious smackdown, “[W]e don’t discuss open cases with every Joe dipshit we meet on the street.” I really enjoy Gutterson and am glad we’re seeing so much of him this season.

Naturally, Raylan is skeptical as to Schrier’s denial that there was anything in the safe-deposit box of value and he returns later in the evening. The best part of this confrontation is the woman who is paying Schrier a “special visit.” She unloads the whole scheme on Raylan with hardly a nudge. Schrier is buying up property for Walker, he’s kept a set a ledger that he can use later to protect himself, but now the ledger has been stolen (by Boyd) and the thief is trying to blackmail him. You’ve just got to love the simplicity of the hillbilly hooker. I couldn’t help but laugh when she asked Shrier, “Do you have the cancer?”

So this is a tangled web of blackmail. We’ve seen sometimes in the past on Justified where the web becomes a little too convoluted and it makes it hard to follow all the twists and turns. This is especially true when key players are minor characters that only sporadically appear. I hope we are not heading down that path. I’m staying optimistic.

We got so many great scenes with Gutterson this episode. I loved the conversation between him and Raylan in the office where they’re discussing Neo-Nazi sympathizers while watching a video of Raylan’s daughter crawling. I also loved how later in the episode, Gutterson said that he Googled at what age babies start to walk and that Raylan’s daughter isn’t there yet.

I also enjoyed the comic relief provided by Choo Choo. Raylan and Gutterson easily figure out this numbskull is following them. It’s hilarious when Raylan is standing in the middle of the road and admonishes him, “Now you’re going to sling foul utterances in my direction?” It’s always a treat to watch Raylan interrogate idiots. Stealing the guy’s car was icing on that cake.

The best part of the episode, though, is the confrontation between Raylan and Boyd in the hallway. These scenes are the real hook for me in this series. There’s something about these two men coming head to head that is TV gold. There is a different tenor to this conversation than some of the ones we’ve seen in other seasons. Raylan is more relaxed, but on his guard. Boyd seems more dangerous. Is Boyd becoming less sympathetic so it will be easier to see him taken down?

At the end of the episode, we find out that one of the properties in the deed stack is a pizza joint that used to be a bank. It almost feels like one of those Wild West “land runs.” Everyone is going to be heading to the hot spot when they all figure it out. The big question is who will get there first.