Justified, Ep. 6.10: “Trust” shifts the rules of the game

Justified, season 6, episode 10: "Trust"

Justified, season 6, episode 10: "Trust"

Justified, Season 6, Episode 10: “Trust”
Written by Benjamin Cavell
Directed by Adam Arkin
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on FX

By far the most pleasing aspect of “Trust,” the fourth-to-last (!) episode of Justified, is the way it destabilizes the season’s (and the series’) final act. The most frustrating aspect of the season’s design so far has been its tendency to reduce Ava Crowder to a pawn or a bargaining chip, at times even approaching a scatterbrained damsel in distress. The closing moments of the episode, in which she gets a pretty good shot in on Boyd before fleeing with Markham’s millions, shifts the playing field: yes, it’s still the Ava/Boyd/Raylan dance-off, but now it’s not just the boys doing the leading. The capper doesn’t quite atone for all the bits of unpleasantness and forced parallelism we’ve had to deal with (especially the revisiting of the Raylan/Ava dynamic from season one), but it’s a start.

That sense that the rules of the game are being rewritten on the fly is the key to most good Justified stories: lots of moving parts, no clear destination, yet the energy never flags. The scenes featuring Jonathan Tucker’s Boon serve this idea by contributing little to nothing to the overarching plot of the episode, instead becoming superlatively entertaining, self-contained dramas of their own. Why, for instance, do we get a five-minute, History of Violence-esque sequence in which Boon torments a poor hipster for his overpriced Louisville-sourced hat? It serves no real plot function, which might seem odd, considering we’re very much nearing the endgame now and there’s a whole lot of plot to be gotten to. Yet the sequence does so much for our understanding of the character that it will likely prove indispensable. “Trust” showcases Boon as a young man who’s keen to ally himself with imagery and ideas he finds appealing (eg Raylan Givens and his cowboy chic), but is at heart really just a psychotic prick. Boon is the sort of guy for whom life didn’t truly begin until the first time he made someone else’s life hell. That explains his obsession with Loretta, who’s likely the first woman he’s ever met who can match him for sheer gall. (This week, he nabs her some kind of prize, courtesy of the hipster’s justifiably terrified girlfriend, which means Loretta and Boon are due for a fateful meeting next week.)

Markham, meanwhile, would seem to be very nearly out of moves, resorting to simply murdering his opponents, which this week means Loretta’s last remaining kin, her predictably feisty great aunt (who refuses his offer, but not his single-malt whiskey). Having lost any trust Harlan’s citizens might have had in him, and having been stripped of the vast majority of his capital, he would seem to be in Robert Quarles territory now, albeit without the rampaging mania: a would-be ruler-of-the-hillbillies lost in the holler. Between Markham, Katherine, Wynn Duffy (who gets amusingly knocked out and offered up on a platter to Katherine by his henchman Mikey this week), Limehouse (back in the mix again this week), Zachariah (presumed dead, definitely not dead), Boon, and any other unsavory types left in the Justified universe, time is running short, and I doubt the season wraps with more than a couple of them still standing. It’s at junctures like these, where nothing is left but to watch laid plans fall to disrepair, that Justified tends to be at its swiftest and most enjoyable. Or, as Boyd puts it: “You never give up before the miracle happens!”

Other thoughts:

Zing of the week goes to Loretta’s great aunt (RIP), who describes Markham as a “no-account peckerwood” to his face, while downing his pricey liquor.

Another sign that Justified is honoring its better impulses at the moment: Ava finds Dewey Crowe’s gator-tooth necklace and thinks it’ll be a smoking gun, until Raylan explains that it’s not nearly conclusive enough to be of any use. So much for that!

Apologies for keeping it a bit short this week; external constraints. Expect considerably more words next week; I anticipate big things.

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