Episode Title: "Money Trap"
Writer: Chris Provenzano
Director: Don Kurt
The beginning of “Money Trap” says that the events of “Justified” Season 4 haven’t even taken place over a full week yet. Really? Seven episodes of this show only covered six days in the timeline?
The flashback at the top of the hour brought us back to the day of the fourth season premiere when U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) handed over the fugitive, Jody Adair (Chris Chalk) to Raylan’s former lover, Sharon Edmunds (Aja Evans) on the side of a road. Somewhat improbably from there, Jody makes his escape and he bides his time before attempting to get payback from Raylan.
Full spoilers from “Money Trap” are ahead, so if you’re not up to date with “Justified” you should probably skip this review or else Tim won’t remember your birthday.
As sharply written as this episode was, I have to call B.S. on Jody’s escape plan. Somehow, Jody’s wannabe filmmaker friend, Kenneth (Michael Gladis) was able to puncture the tire on Sharon’s van and put himself in the right place to pick up Jody after he dispatched Sharon’s partner. But how exactly was Jody supposed to have set this up when he spent most of the season premiere in Raylan’s trunk? Not to mention that Jody had no knowledge of where he was being handed off or access to a phone.
However, we’re just going to have to roll with that shaky script logic. Jody killing Sharon’s partner was kind of typical, but at least Sharon got a memorable exit. That woman must have had great cop instincts. Sharon knew that Jody was a threat before she even turned and shot him, but his shot was better aimed. That’s a shame. Sharon seemed like a good romantic foil for Raylan.
But goodbye Sharon and hello Jackie Nevada (Shelley Hennig)! Jackie is apparently a friend of Jody’s ex and she spends most of the episode hanging out with Raylan and flirting with him. Sure, Jackie’s about half his age... but Winona who? Lindsey who? But Raylan doesn’t seem to be that interested in pursuing Jackie, possibly because of the age difference, her somewhat transparent attempts to sneak one by him and the fact that Lindsey ran out on him a few days before. So when Jackie is stripping down for a shower, Raylan barely looks in her direction while he’s on the phone with his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy). And Art’s line, “has she fallen in love with you yet?” may be the funniest joke this season.
It’s impressive that Jody was convincingly a threat to Raylan while also being a bit of a joke himself. Jody was never physically the same after jumping out of a window to avoid Raylan, but it only made him funnier when he took the time to make a 30 second short film to threaten Raylan; which Kenneth proudly showed off and plastered his name all over.
For whatever reason, Jody never understood that Raylan absolutely would gun him down if necessary. So Jody doesn’t even get the chance to be surprised when his sloppy ambush fails and he’s dead on the floor. There was something like an old west showdown about the way that Raylan cleared the bar and the quiet wariness in his demeanor as he called in the shooting.
Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) is still wrapped up in his own storylines which just took a very interesting turn. This season has only given Raylan and Boyd a few scenes to play against each other; which would be a mistake on any other show. But it helps to think of Boyd as the co-protagonist of “Justified,” rather than simply Raylan’s eternal nemesis.
Alongside Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), Boyd ventured into a swinger party for the rich where a few of the wealthy and powerful men were happy to see him. And this could be a turning point for Boyd. Because what he thought was an opportunity turned into an object lesson in power. There’s a growing expression of horror on Goggins’ face as Boyd realizes how little power and control he really has as these wealthy men order him to kill someone who stands in their way of bilking the government for disaster relief funds.
I think one of the reasons that “Justified” fans like Boyd so much is that he’s not a psychopath or a remorseless killer. Boyd has killed people that were a threat to him and he even showed some remorse for tricking Billy St. Cyr (Joe Mazzello) into handling a poisonous snake. But Boyd clearly balks at killing a man he doesn’t know at the behest of these rich old men. It’s telling that Boyd’s first question isn’t “what’s in it for me?” Instead, Boyd asks “what if I say no?”
The old men claim that they’ve already allowed Boyd to take control of Harlan’s underworld; with the implication that they can take that away from him if he doesn’t go along with their wishes. It also had to sting to hear that his father, Bo Crowder was also under the heel of these men.
There’s a little bit of movement on the Colton Rhodes (Ron Eldard) and Ellen May (Abby Miller) story as Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) figures out that it was Colt who beat up one of his working girls because he let Ellen May get away. That information could turn Boyd against Colt, whose addictions are rapidly spiralling out of control. But Johnny may also decide that it’s the perfect leverage to use against Colt to make him back his play against Boyd.
And just when it looks like the episode was going to skip over an important part of the Drew Thompson story, the closing scenes get back to Raylan visiting his father, Arlo Givens (Raymond J. Barry) to make a deal. Or to make a s***y deal, as Raylan’s best offer would only give Arlo a country club jail to spend the rest of his days in. Arlo refuses the offer, but if Raylan is reading Arlo’s expression correctly then he may not be able hold out for a better deal.
It will be interesting to see if Boyd’s new story somehow intersects with the Drew Thompson plotline. It would be a little too convenient if the man that Boyd is expected to kill turns out to be Thompson himself, but I do think that Thompson will turn out to be a character whom we’ve already met this season... possibly at the swinger party in this episode.