Being an outlaw must be exhausting. On the one hand, you
have to have people in your inner circle who you can rely on to some degree in
order to pull off your criminal misdeeds. On the other hand, those same allies
can turn on you at the drop of a hat in order to save their skin, or cut
themselves a bigger piece of the pie. It’s an endless tightrope walk, and you
can’t let your guard down for a second. Constantly looking over your shoulder
is a lonely life, so when an outlaw finds someone they can truly trust, it must
be a great relief. And for Boyd and Markham, whose partners they not only
trust, but love, it must hurt all the more when those partners betray them.
At this point in the season, nearly all of the various
criminals on “Justified” are keeping secrets from one another, and
obviously these secrets had to be revealed eventually. What’s so impressive
about “Trust” is that nearly all of the secrets are revealed in a
single episode, without any of them feeling unmotivated or out of left field.
The episode piles double-cross onto double-cross, but never feels too
convoluted. Everything that happens feels inevitable. By the end of this episode,
everyone’s cards are on the table, and now it’s a race to the endgame.
So who betrays whom this episode? Wynn Duffy, of course, is
betraying everyone in sight, since he’s once again agreed to become a CI for
the Marshals Service. The more interesting wrinkle of this episode is that his
henchman Mikey has had all he can stands and can’t stands no more. Mikey,
showing more initiative than we’ve ever seen from him, gets Wynn to admit he
was the original snitch in the Hale case, then knocks him out and calls Katherine
to let her know he’s finally found the man she’s been looking for. It’s always
welcome when a one-note comedy character like Mikey shows some extra dimension
(which isn’t a slam on Mikey; he’s been consistently hilarious over the course
of the series).
Speaking of henchmen, probably the saddest betrayal in the
episode is Boyd selling out Carl and Earl almost as an afterthought. Boyd needs
to distract the Marshals while he make his real play for Markham’s money, and
in order to do that, he feeds them Earl and Carl. We’ve seen Boyd’s
subordinates turn on him before in an effort to usurp his throne, but this is
Boyd wiping out his entire support structure to ensure he can get away clean.
It lends an air of finality to his actions, as well as making him an even
It also points to how Boyd and Raylan perceive each other,
and how that warps their perception of everyone around them. When Ava questions
Boyd about his betrayal of Carl and Earl, he’s preoccupied with trying to
outwit Raylan. Both Raylan and Boyd know that it’s a chess game between the two
of them and everyone else around them are just pieces to be moved against one
another. It’s funny how both Boyd and Raylan barely take Markham seriously
anymore. For Raylan, he’s someone to mess with, sowing seeds of doubt about
Katherine while throwing suspicion off of Wynn. For Boyd, Markham’s just a
means to the fortune Boyd feels he so richly deserves. Raylan and Boyd only
really have eyes for one another.
That tunnel vision is what leads both of them to
underestimate Ava. Boyd loves her and trusts her, especially after she admitted she
was Raylan’s CI. What he doesn’t know is that Raylan figured out that
she’d been burned, and she’s still feeding him information. Raylan’s also got a
soft spot for Ava, which leads him to confess to her that Vasquez is
terminating her CI deal; even if she leads them to Boyd and Markham’s money,
she’s still going back to jail. Raylan admits this because he feels bad for
her, or maybe he’s seeing if there isn’t some extra information that can be
squeezed out of her if her back’s to the wall. What he doesn’t seem to realize
is how desperate this revelation makes her, and what exactly she might do.
She’s worked so hard and risked so much, and now the marshals are going to just
throw her back into prison? She may love Boyd, but she doesn’t love him enough
to go back there. Which really leaves her one option: she needs to betray them
It’s a fantastic moment when Ava’s plan is revealed. She
steals Boyd’s gun and puts a slug in his shoulder, then tells Raylan he’s going
to have to shoot her or let her go. Raylan chooses the latter. I guess he likes
Ava more than he likes shooting people, which is saying something. So now Ava’s
got Markham’s $10 million and Raylan’s got Boyd. Boyd and Raylan were so
consumed with one-upping one another, neither of them considered the
possibility that Ava could betray them both. That’s what they get for letting
someone in close.