Avery Markham starts to suspect Katherine Hale, while Ava makes a shocking move on Boyd.

By Kyle Fowle
March 25, 2015 at 03:28 AM EDT
Prashant Gupta/FX

At some point, it was going to have to come down to this, to Raylan, Boyd, and Ava tangled in a web of lies, misdirection, and miscommunication, stumbling along just trying to survive while hopefully having time to save the people that they care about. We’re not completely there yet—there are still three episodes to go in the series—but in many ways, “Trust” is the season’s story lines coming to a head.

The catalyst for the eventual convergence of these storylines, including a huge moment with implications for the relationship between Katherine Hale and Avery Markham, is Dewey’s necklace, the one that’s been hanging off a stuffed squirrel (or something very closely resembling a squirrel) since the beginning of the season. Ava finds it while Boyd is having a meeting with Limehouse in order to procure his identity-changing service, giving him the $100,000 reward that Markham was forced to hand over after Boyd “turned in” Walker.

On a practical level, the necklace is tangential proof that Boyd killed Dewey. There’s blood on the necklace, and Ava is smart enough to understand what really happened to him; she knows what happens to the most disposable of Boyd’s associates. On a more figurative level though, and this is perhaps more important in driving the plot in this episode, the necklace is a symbol of Boyd’s manipulation. It shows Ava that Boyd will never be truly honest with her, and that if she’s to ever make it out of Harlan alive and live a life where she’s not always looking over her shoulder, that she needs to take matters into her own hands.

Still, she’s convinced that the necklace could be useful otherwise, especially after Raylan comes to her house and tells her that Vasquez won’t be honoring her C.I. contract anymore because she hasn’t substantially held up her end of the bargain. Much of this episode boils down to an exploration of Ava’s toxic relationships with the two men in her life, Boyd and Raylan. This scene on the porch of her house is one of the more heartbreaking ones to witness in a season (and episode) full of them.

Raylan is loyal to the law, but it breaks his heart to tell Ava that she’ll be going back to prison. He practically begs Vasquez to find a way out for her, but he knows he can’t show that kind of loyalty to her, not so transparently at least. So when he tells Ava that her C.I. contract is no longer valid, there’s real devastation on his face. Notice the way Timothy Olyphant plays the scene too, shifting around much more than usual and rarely making eye contact with Ava. That’s not the cool and collected lawman we know; this is Raylan Givens, not Deputy U.S. Marshal Givens, the man who has a history with Ava, knowing that he’s let her down.

It’s possible though that being let down is exactly what Ava needs. She now fully understands that, despite putting her trust in Boyd and Raylan to find a way out for her, she has nobody to rely on but herself. As much as the botched C.I. contract isn’t Raylan’s fault, he’s certainly been manipulating her to his advantage throughout the season. With that knowledge, and with the newly-discovered necklace as a symbol of Boyd’s own manipulative and secretive behavior, Ava finally has the motivation she needs to make a move for her own survival.

NEXT: Ava draws down on both Boyd and Raylan

Before Ava can make her move though, she has to get Raylan to trust her and get Boyd in place with Markham’s money. Boyd thinks he finally has a plan that will work: he’s going to pretend to take the bait that Raylan and the Marshals have set up for him—which involves a tip from Duffy that Markham is moving the money to Charlotte—and instead kidnap Katherine Hale and use her as a bargaining chip against Markham.

For maybe the first time this season, things go Boyd’s way. After he kidnaps Hale, he makes a call to Markham and tells him that he wants his $10 million, and that he should pack up a truck with the money, start driving north, and then Boyd will call him with a meeting place. While Markham is suspicious of Katherine at this point—Raylan planted that seed, essentially telling him that Katherine is working behind his back—he still cares for her and will do anything to get her back.

That’s largely because, at this point, Markham’s running out of options in Harlan. While his henchman Boon—played a little too over-the-top by Jonathan Tucker—is intimidating hipsters and executing grandmas in order to try and secure Loretta’s land, Markham is wondering if it’s all worth it. All the lives that are being lost in this battle for legal marijuana is taking its toll on Markham.

That’s clearest during the scene where Markham visits the only living relative of Loretta’s, and after some stubborn negotiation, orders Boon to kill her. The camera initially follows Boon as he walks around the car and heads inside, but then turns and follows Markham from behind as he walks away from the house and lights up a smoke, eventually moving around him and focusing on his face as a gunshot goes off inside the house. The way Adam Arkin—a Justified veteran behind the camera—films this scene suggests that Markham will always live with the knowledge that he is responsible for the deaths of many, many people. The camera literally follows Markham, just as those lost lives will for the rest of Avery Markham’s days.

That brings us to the final climactic scene, and it’s a genuinely shocking one. With Boyd having successfully extorted the money from Markham, and ratting out Katherine Hale and her role in the vault job in the process, he believes he’s on his way to freedom with Ava. Ava has other plans though, as she’s convinced Raylan, by using her sexuality and their shared past, that she can get Boyd to confess to Dewey’s murder.

It’s a ludicrous plan, which makes sense, because it was never really Ava’s real plan. The idea of a murder confession was just a way to get Raylan to trust her, to give her a bit more time before throwing her back in jail. With that done, she waits outside her car for Boyd while Raylan hides in the bushes, ready to jump out as soon as he hears a confession.

When Boyd shows up, Ava goes in for a hug and apologizes to him, grabbing the gun holstered in the back of his pants and shooting him in the chest. Surely this isn’t the end for Boyd Crowder, but it’s certainly the end of Boyd Crowder as we understand him. Incapacitated at the end of the episode, Boyd is left practically alone—I don’t think the presence of Raylan Givens will provide him much comfort. While threatening to shoot Raylan as well, Ava hops in the truck and speeds off with Markham’s money. Raylan promises to come for her, because that’s all he knows.

And that’s it; no big speeches or expositional dive into motivation. Instead, the scene is simple, and all the more evocative because of that. The episode cuts to the credits with Raylan, Ava, and Boyd all in new places, their situations having drastically changes, yet sharing one commonality: their lives continuing to spiral out of control.