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Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 3, ‘Noblesse Oblige’: Boyd’s Girl

Review: 'Justified' Season 6, Episode 3, 'Noblesse Oblige': Boyd's Girl

PREVIOUSLY: Review: ‘Justified’ Season 6, Episode 2, ‘Cash Game’: All Aboard the Choo-Choo Train

“I know for a woman to survive in this line of work,
she’s got to be harder than the men. Ready to do the things they won’t. I know women
who have that in them. My question is are you that kind of woman, Ava? Because
if you ain’t, then you’ll never be more than a token. Something that can be
threatened or hurt just to keep your man in line.” – Avery Markahm, to Ava

Ava’s in a tight spot. The problem is that Boyd isn’t one of
the many dumb hick criminals peppering “Justified’s” landscape: He’s
devastatingly smart and has a monstrous survival instinct. Ava’s one advantage
is that Boyd loves her, which means he has a blind spot — albeit one that he can
recognize. Since Ava got out, Boyd’s been testing her, bit by bit, to confirm
her loyalty. But Ava’s smart, too. I wasn’t as mad at last season’s “Ava in
prison” story line as some, but it might have been the necessary means to
ensure that Ava has the sand to stand up to Boyd’s scrutiny. And she plays her
biggest card at the end of the episode, offering herself to Boyd right after he
expresses doubts about her loyalty. She was tough and capable before, but she’s
harder now.

On the other side, she’s got Raylan and the other marshals
breathing down her neck. Rachel and Vasquez pick the worst possible time to put
the fear of God in Ava, as she’s just getting home from an all-night gab-fest
with Boyd. It might be because she’s fed up or it might be because she’s drunk
(or both), but Ava gives the marshals a royal telling-off, maintaining that
she’s on top of the situation and she needs more time. “Now if you’ll
excuse me, I have to go throw up,” she concludes, revealing another level
of vulnerability she was able to conceal from Boyd. 

Of course, in order to get on Boyd’s good side, she’s got to
do some things the marshals likely wouldn’t approve of, like scoping out Pizza
Portal on Boyd’s behalf. She’s interrupted by Choo-Choo, who gets an immediate
crush and starts blabbing about the bank safe in the basement. I understand
that muscle is required in criminal enterprises, but Choo-Choo’s garrulousness
seems to make him a liability in an otherwise tight organization. Does Ty ever
let Markham know how much Choo-Choo runs his mouth?

I called Ty a “carpetbagger” the other week
other week, and while big city invaders have been the primary
villains in several seasons of “Justified,” it turns out Avery Markham,
revealed as both the man behind Ty and the man Boyd is truly trying to rob, was
born and raised in Kentucky. This gives him an intimacy with the setting (hell, he even met Boyd when Boyd was just 10 years old) but time has turned
him into an interloper. What kind of true Kentucky gangster doesn’t like the
taste of bourbon? Markham has seen that Harlan is dying and has come to pick
the bones like the scavenger he is.

I haven’t even mentioned Raylan’s story yet, but that’s
because his plotline is pretty standard stuff this episode. The sad saga of
Luther, his son Tyler, and Tyler’s no-good friend Earl (the young hothead in
Boyd’s gang) is another nice example of Harlan as a lived-in world where people form connections over time. But the plot doesn’t have much meat to it and
relies heavily on Earl and Tyler being almost piteously dumb. Granted, dumb,
low-level criminals are all over “Justified,” but these two are a particularly sorry
pair, and their material doesn’t even have much levity to make up for it. Dewey
Crowe, you are sorely missed.

PS: I couldn’t find a way to casually bring up Wynn Duffy’s
banana hammock this episode, but I also couldn’t leave it unmentioned. Way to
banana hammock, Jere Burns.

Grade: B

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