Justified Season 6, Episode 9 recap. 

Wynn Duffy is the rat! OF COURSE HE IS. In retrospect, who else could it be? He mentioned being around back when Grady Hale was killed, and sure enough, the unsealed files from Simon Poole’s original investigation reveal that Wynn was his CI. With Ava’s loyalty wavering, Raylan, Brooks, and Art visit Wynn and flip him to their side. With his information in their back pocket, either Ava comes through and remains in the Justice Department’s good graces or else she goes down for conspiracy alongside Boyd. Things are getting very tense in Harlan.

Which is the theme of this episode—tension. Loretta McCready returns, being threatened by a new gun thug brought in by Avery Markham, Boon. He’s creepy and has a gunslinger fetish that puts him squarely in Raylan’s path. That’s only going to end one way and I am not betting on Boon. He also threatens Loretta, in another top-notch confrontation scene. Seeking protection, Loretta throws in with Boyd, then she crashes the worst engagement party in history to pitch her own weed operation as an alternative to Avery’s. Because she’s local and is backed by Mags Bennett’s cash and land, she instantly undercuts Avery. I continue to have the sneaking suspicion that Justified is really just the prologue to Loretta McCready: Harlan County Crime Boss.

This all goes down while Avery is throwing a party for Katherine—at his pizza parlor, which I find hilarious—and Boyd and Ava show up, along with Raylan and Loretta. There’s so much scheming and double-crossing in the room it could practically serve as the main course. The finale season so far is the tightest, best plotted season since #2, and throughout this episode everything that’s been building up so far winds tighter and tighter until it simply has to explode. Which it does, literally, when Boyd makes an attempt on Avery’s vault during the party.

Raylan intended to arrest Boyd at that point, catching him red-handed, but Zachariah throws a spanner in the works by chaining Boyd in the mine shaft and leaving him to be buried in the rubble, because remember, he hates the Crowders and in Harlan County, no one ever forgets a grudge. So the robbery attempt fails and Boyd barely escapes with his life—Zachariah is F*CKED when Boyd catches up to him—and the Marshals are left holding an empty bag. Worse, Avery is now officially pissed at Raylan for yanking his chain to get to Boyd, and Brooks is pissed because their big RICO investigation still hasn’t produced results. Raylan is laying his ghosts to rest and finally moving on from his past in Harlan, but he’s under an enormous amount of pressure to catch Boyd once and for all.

But Boyd won’t give up on stealing Avery’s money, and with Loretta posing a legitimate threat to his potential weed business, Avery is on the brink of real desperation. And Boyd IS desperate, since his bid to finally leave Harlan with Ava and a bag of cash didn’t pan out. Boyd’s plans never quite pay off, and it looks like Ava’s loyalty may be wavering again. After all, Boyd failed to get her out of prison, which is how she ended up snitching to the Marshals in the first place. Might be time for her to make another deal. The explosion in the old mine is literal, but it’s also the metaphorical release the show needed at this point. Avery’s money is on the move, Boyd is desperate, the Marshals are out of patience, and everything is in free fall. Boyd and Raylan are never more dangerous than when they’re improvising on the fly. It’s just a matter of which one of them lands on his feet first.

Raylan’s body count so far: 2/21

Attached – Timothy Olyphant at the Desert Smash last week. Barefoot.