Justified “The Trash and the Snake” Review (6×04)

10 Feb


“I’m telling you not to get your ass bit.”

I’m not sure there’s a show on air right now that is better at building up tension just by sitting characters down in a room and letting them talk. “The Trash and the Snake” is full of those moments, whether it be the marvelous Raylan-Ty-Avery-Tim-Loretta scene or the Katherine-Ava exchanges or even the Boyd-Ava talks. This final season of Justified is allowing the tension to simmer, to progressively build up until what will presumably be its explosive conclusion, and it’s on a roll right now as a result. At the same time, the show also doesn’t lose its comedic sensibilities, and it creates a delicate balancing act that is rarely matched on television.

This is an episode–and a season–all about the past, but it seems as if the past isn’t merely something that lingers at the backs of these peoples’ minds anymore; now, it’s being actively used against them by the likes of Avery Markham and Katherine Hale, and it’s beginning to create a very uncertain future. Throughout the episode, we get discussions of who these characters were in the past, and it’s no coincidence that this is the hour in which we get the returns of Dickie Bennett and Loretta McCready. After all, these are the two people who got out of “Bloody Harlan” unscathed, and the ideas about history brought up in that season are continuing to leave indelible marks on the fabric of present-day Harlan. Plus, it’s just plain awesome to get a reference to Mags’s apple pie again, and the fact that Avery is well aware of it speaks volumes about his presence and his mindset.

Anyway, as I was mentioning above, the episode is filled with references to the past, and I’d like to focus on the Ava-Katherine conversations surrounding that idea. Katherine asks about Bowman and talks about Ava’s cheerleading past and mentions Albert Fekus, and throughout, we see just how cunning she can be behind that smile. She’s taking Ava’s past and using it against her, and Ava’s continuing to feel boxed in on all sides because she’s dealing with so many difficult situations right now. It’s understandable why she’d break down in tears at the end, but we can also see that she has to push those feelings away immediately because she can’t show signs of weakness moving forward. It’s simply too dangerous to let your guard down. Fantastic work by Joelle Carter, as always, who has especially been hitting it out of the park this season.

In the end, this episode is summed up well by the title, which refers to a conversation Raylan and Art have near the beginning of the hour. “You stray from the trail, Raylan,” Art tells him. “Something’s pullin’ you away from nailin’ Boyd and going down to Florida.” Essentially, just as it’s difficult to run from your past, it’s difficult for Raylan to avoid conflict with people like Avery Markham and Katherine Hale. Raylan’s “taking out the trash”, but if he spots a copperhead in the form of those two individuals, he’s going to have to stray from the trail. We get reminder of Raylan’s parenthood in the form of Art here, and we get another later on in the form of Loretta McCready; Raylan’s always been a bit of a surrogate father to her, but now, she’s definitely growing up and definitely wants to make her own life. What Raylan needs to remember is that he has a few people down in Florida who need him, and he’d do well by trying not to get bit on the way there.



– “It’s how I want to go. I’m kidding. I want Sigourney Weaver to choke me to death with her thighs.” Oh, Tim.

-Nice to see Loretta again! Kaitlyn Dever is one of the best young actresses today.

-Katherine mentions that her husband was the face, but she did all the work. Really interesting ideas about power and appearances here, and once again, it’s a discussion of the past. Mary Steenburgen is impeccable throughout this episode, and she can be extremely terrifying at times. Same with Sam Elliott.

-I thought Ty might’ve been done for there with the apple pie.

– “Occam’s Razor, Thor’s Hammer. Who gives a shit?”

-The several mentions of the teacher, Betty Hutchins, also tie in with the idea of the past, specifically Raylan’s.

-That’s Jake Busey as Lewis “The Wiz” Mago. It’s a brilliant piece of dark comedy here, especially when the camera lingers on the reactions from Boyd and Duffy.

-I hope this isn’t the last we see of Dickie Bennett. Jeremy Davies is just so damn fun to watch in the role, especially when he has actors like Timothy Olyphant to play off of.

Photo credit: Justified, FX


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