TV Recap: Justified, ‘Cash Game’

Written by Ryan DeMarco

JUSTIFIED -- Key Art

Cash Game Plot Summary:

“Cash Game” focuses on the aftermath of Boyd’s (Walton Goggins) botched bank robbery and introduced the mark of the heist, Daltry Calhoun (Brad Leland), a real estate tycoon that is known for moving around large pieces of land in a timely fashion. Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) and Tim (Jacob Pitts) try to figure out more about the bank robbery while Ava (Joelle Carter) continues to walk the tightrope trying to help Raylan and not get caught by Boyd.

To be fair, not a lot happened on last night’s episode, ‘Cash Game.’  All talk and no action, a formula that doesn’t work for many series, but it fits perfectly for Justified. While it was a little light on substance this week it was still a fantastic episode, slightly better than the premiere even. More pieces of the puzzle were revealed in great fashion and we were granted the introduction of some memorable characters that will surely end this show on a high note. The dialogue was razor sharp this episode and surprisingly funny as hell. Each scene generated a genuine laugh.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

The episode picks up with Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen) and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) who are apparently disappointed with Boyd at how the bank robbery went with only land deeds to show for it. The fact there’s no money, made Hale skeptical that Boyd might be hiding the money. That aside, we learn that the target for Hale and Duffy is a big shot relator named Calhoun (Leland).

This is where the story begins its slow move.

Calhoun is connected to the stranger from last week’s episode who showed up to Raylan’s house offering an obscene amount of money in cash to buy Arlo’s (Raymond J. Barry) property. That stranger is now named Ty Walker (played by Garrett Dillahunt). He begins this episode up to the same game, trying to buy land from an old farming couple. Turned down again, he gets into some words with the landowner who proceeds to call Walker a “peacock”. Walker’s reaction is priceless as he seems annoyed and confused at the same time.
This week also introduced Sam Elliot’s character “Markham”, who appears to be a crook of some sort and Katherine’s lover. His talk about how to handle untrustworthy employees was ‘meh,’ but it was merely an introduction. I’m expecting more to come from Mr. Elliot, who is unfortunately without his signature mustache here. I suppose the writers felt he’d resemble too much like the stranger in The Big Lebowski or Virgil Earp from Tombstone.

No real room of growth from Ava and Boyd this week, besides the same elements from the premiere. Ava is walking the tightrope, not trying to tip the scale to either Team Raylan or Team Boyd. She has yet to make up her mind. She just doesn’t want to be on Team Dead.
Raylan had some good stuff to work with this week. When he is given scenes with Tim, you know it’s going to be a memorable scene. The banter between the two is brilliant while they act more they’re dating than U.S. Marshals. Raylan stopping the hulking dullard named “Choo Choo” that was following him resulted in another entertaining exchange. Choo Choo is a character I don’t foresee having wonderful depth but the way he mutters like Buffalo Bill and is just dumber than a pair of bedroom slippers offers great fun which I’m okay with.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

And then we have our first scene with Raylan and Boyd which I didn’t expect to happen so soon but I’m happy it did. After a usual awesome exchange of lines with one another, Boyd asks whether having a child “changes you”. This season seems to be playing at the element that everyone changes. Has Raylan gone softer? Maybe he has and maybe he hasn’t. Boyd has changed more times than a tree changes leaves but could they somehow find a solution to their problems before venturing any further down their destructive paths? This is a theme that if the writers play with carefully and smart we can have an intriguing season on our hands.

Overall, the episode offered plenty of great moments with Raylan and Boyd meeting, Ty Walker, and Choo Choo. I have a sneaking suspicion that Walker will go down as one of my favorite baddies on the show. There wasn’t a great amount of things that happened but we were offered more pieces of the puzzle regarding new characters and how they fit with one another. I’m only concerned that with this being the last season and all with only 11 episodes I would have expected some more material. In any event with the limited time we have left I’m looking forward to know more.

Rating: 9/10

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