"Just because you've got a plan, doesn't mean it's a good one."
Raylan's little jab at his father after spending the day chasing down a murderous bail jumper, an amateur filmmaker who looks suspiciously like Paul Kinsey and enjoying the company of a young poker-playing woman who narrowly missed being named Sierra Nevada, pretty much sums up where Justified is going with 'Money Trap' (and quite possibly the rest of the season, now that the proverbial walls are closing in on Drew Thompson).
In many ways, Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has seen his fair share of plans go down the toilet in recent days. The Lindsey Salazar debacle ended with the $20k he'd intended for the future Givens being invested in fighting chickens – which isn't exactly going to send the kid to college – and that's saying nothing about Lindsey's other deception, which has the deputy marshal thinking twice when it comes to young women giving him that look.
But most of all, Raylan couldn't have foreseen that his plan to provide a little extra for Winona and the bundle of joy would end with Jody Adair (Chris Chalk) killing Sharon Edmunds (Aja Evans) and her partner before returning to collect his secret stash and, hopefully, kill the marshal while he's at it. Sure, it's a plan, but like Raylan tells Arlo (Raymond J. Barry): having one doesn't mean it's going to work. Of course, as Raylan tells Jackie Nevada (Shellie Henning) after learning of Sharon's untimely end, Jody's "armed and dangerous, and an a**hole," so chances are his plan isn't exactly up to snuff to begin with.
The inconvenient unraveling of plans is a staple of good drama, so naturally, after Boyd (Walton Goggins) spent the final moments of last week's episode proposing to Ava (Joelle Carter) and telling her about how future Crowders would be living up in a place like Clover Hill and no one would associate the Crowder name with drug dealers, pimps and murderers, the harsh reality of his situation came crashing down upon him.
The folks at Napier's party are exclusionary, weary of outsiders and prone to looking at new faces with the kind of cockeyed glance one grants a trespasser before throwing them out. Fine houses and all the trappings that come with them aside, the swinging residents of Clover Hill weren't too dissimilar from the hill people Boyd and Raylan encountered in 'Kin.' And if anything separated them it might be that the hill people could be relied upon to simply kill a trespasser (maybe introduce them to Sanderson B?), while the Clover Hill crew tend to see what value can be squeezed from the person before ultimately doing away with them.
Moreover, the party puts Harlan County's class structure firmly on display, as the future Mrs. Boyd Crowder is hit with lines like "If this fine flower is what's growing on the dung heaps of Harlan, maybe we ought to relax our admission policy." Still, despite his earlier trepidations, Boyd initially appears to have things well under control – including his propensity for violence, which rears its head only once when an overgrown frat boy named Abel doesn't respect the Napier house rule of "no means no."
Although they don't exactly put a face to the name Drew Thompson, it's not an entirely unsuccessful event, as he and Ava manage to question some previously hard-to-reach folks about their time in Harlan. While Ava's chatting up a semi-lecherous fella with a good memory named Sam (Grainger Hines, who played Doc Whitehead on Hell on Wheels), Boyd lets his guard down momentarily and begins to think perhaps he's found some common ground with a funeral director named Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson, who regrettably doesn't mention his love for Fonzie) and Gerald Johns, whose windfall came in the form of a lucrative car dealership won off a poker bet.
The trouble is, before the night is through, Boyd comes to realize just how out of place he is, and that he's been sipping the devil's water with what amounts to the Harlan Illuminati. Thinking he's found a way inside their inner-circle, Paxton takes the time to explain that however large Boyd thinks he's become, when it comes to the men on the hill, "Crowders do what we say."
In essence, the search for Drew Thompson requires a lot of digging into Harlan and its past – which means digging into the pasts of Boyd and Raylan. After all, Drew's shenanigans with Theo Tonin and the stolen drugs would basically go on to make Bo and Arlo's criminal careers. While Raylan did his best to break free from that past, and has done everything in his power to forget it (up to and including ensuring his father rots in prison for the rest of his days), Boyd may have assumed his ticket out was through upward mobility. Well, that was his plan, anyway. Now, that plan seems to have been (at least temporarily) foiled by a bond and legacy stronger than the one that comes with a name like Crowder and Givens.
As for Jody Adair and his filmmaking friend Kenny (Michael Gladis), well, they clearly had plans, too. And while it fits into the theme of the hour, frankly, the whole Jody plotline wound up feeling a tad underdeveloped. Jumping from Raylan enjoying an ice cream to meeting Jackie Nevada, and, after a few turns and a hilariously awful video by Kenny that likely made Paul Kinsey's Star Trek script look like pure gold, Jody and Raylan are suddenly facing off on the floor of the High Point. It's all very entertaining stuff, but it also came off as the kind of perfunctory narrative that Justified normally rises above.
Still, any episode that ends with Raylan and Arlo in the same room comes up a huge winner. The final scene, in which Raylan asks his father "For once in our lives, let’s work together, huh?” only to have Arlo tell his son to "Eat s***" is powerful stuff. And it only gets worse after Raylan informs his father that Theo Tonin has Boyd Crowder, "the son you never had," looking to ruin the old man's deal by finding Drew Thompson before anyone else. Through it all, Arlo remains stone-faced – which only confirms that the news of Boyd has, in fact, struck a nerve far deeper than when Raylan tells his father he'll be glad when he receives the news of Arlo's demise.
- It's Nelson Dunlop's birthday, everybody! Be sure to sign the card that's going around the office.
- The writers of the episode, Chris Provenzano (Mad Men, Archer) and Elmore Leonard himself, know that one great way to quickly get to know a new character is through his drug-addled ramblings in front of the mirror. Michael Gladis is as funny as he's ever been in that scene.
- Speaking of drug-addled, Colt (Ron Eldard) now looks like he's headed for a battle of the Boyd Crowder henchmen with Cousin Johnny (David Meunier), who is now fairly certain Ellen May (Abby Miller) is not at the bottom of a slurry pond.
Justified continues next Tuesday with 'Outlaw' @10pm on FX. Check out a preview below: