Justified 'Trust' recap: Almost made the county line

Justified 'Trust' recap: Almost made the county line
After the events of "Trust," this might be the last friendly conversation we see between Raylan Givens and Ava Crowder. (FX)
If you've ever run a long-distance race, you know that feeling that shoots through you near the finish line. Arms pumping, legs driving, knowing the faster you move, the sooner the pain stops. You shut out everything around you, bare your teeth and just go.

Problem is, when you're that focused on what's in front of you, you tend to lose sight of what's coming up behind.

In "Trust," Raylan, Markham, Wynn Duffy and especially Boyd Crowder are all closing in on the thing they've spent weeks or years chasing, and one by one, they all suffer figurative (or in Boyd's case literal) wounds from something they should've seen in their periphery.

Boyd and Raylan's inability to step out of who they are within Harlan has long foretold their doom, and it's Boyd whose devils seem to catch up with him first, as Ava cuts him down right after he pulls the big score he's been chasing since we met him as a white supremacist with a talent for explosions way back in the series' pilot.

There is something sad about Boyd's lack of self-awareness. "He's so smart, he's stupid," as Tim puts it. The last Crowder standing seems to catch onto the theme that put him on a collision course with a bullet as he's talking to Limehouse, muttering how he went back to something that's always caused him trouble. He was referring to the mine shaft incident with Zachariah, but his need to cast himself as the baddest man in Harlan, to outmaneuver someone like Markham, has led him to disaster time and time again.

It was Boyd's need to get over on Harlan's criminal elite that sent Ava to prison at the end of Season 4, and he's had multiple chances to make himself a rich and carefree man this season, whether he chose to take Raylan's reward money and flee in exchange for Ty Walker, or partner up with Loretta as the godfather of Kentucky's eventual legal weed enterprise. 

It's a crime series trope sure, but it's a trope because it works. We all knew Boyd's desire for one last score was going to get him seriously injured or worse. We just all thought it would be by Markham or Raylan's hand, not Ava's.

Speaking of Ava ... poor Ava.

I know the woman’s been less than an angel in the years we’ve known her, but it took a lot of outside forces and a host of manipulations to make her fall this far. Sure, she set herself on this path by throwing in with Boyd long ago, but it was his folly that sent her to prison and Vasquez’s impatience that boxes her into this awful decision. Maybe she shot Boyd out of frustration, out of a need to protect herself because she felt it was only a matter of time before he turned his gun on her, but she should have never been caught between a rock and Raylan’s gun to begin with. I honestly didn’t see that gunshot coming, but with almost no other chance to avoid a lengthy stay in a federal penitentiary, can you blame her?
Ava’s a fox, and even though she gambles on a lot of steps to set up her robbery and escape (she has no control over whether or not Boyd pulls off the heist, whether or not Raylan will buy her charade about getting Boyd to confess long enough), this is a masterful moment for the cheerleader turned outlaw. Ava’s been on the wrong end of manipulations for far too long, and it’s nice to see her pulling the strings for once.
I apologize if I’ve spent the entire review focusing on what happened in the last 60 seconds but, I mean, can you blame me? Ava shot Boyd in front of Raylan, made off with $10 million in Dixie Mafia money and even taunted our cowboy in the process. Let’s just wait here a second and consider how impressive that is.
I said last week I was not ready to let this show go. Now I’m actually afraid of what happens when it’s over, because this is going to result in me sitting on my couch and watching the whole series over again. Help?

Stray Rounds:

  • My finish line theory extends to a whole host of characters' major missteps in “Trust.” Wynn, who generally chooses his words very carefully, lets slip to Mikey that he’s been a rat before because he’s too busy hoping this second round of snitching will lead him to safety. An on-his-game Wynn would’ve seen through Mikey’s snark right away and known something was coming. Now what’s gonna happen when Katherine Hale checks her voicemail?
  • Finish Line Theory Example No. 2: Vasquez. Again, he’s an idiot. With a capital idiot. If he doesn’t pull Ava’s deal, Raylan catches Boyd with Markham’s money, Hale and Markham are smart enough to file kidnapping charges, the Marshals get their man and Raylan rides off to Florida. All he did here was contribute to, at best, a robbery and an attempted murder.
  • I like this Boone character, but I feel like we met him a little too late. Watching him torment the poor waiter at the diner counter was fun and all, but do we really have time to set up a new adversary for Raylan with just three episodes left in the series? Maybe Tim or even Art will have to dispose of the Coloradan who seems a little too “buckaroo” for his own good.
  • I’m not playing the “Is Boyd dead?” game. If he is dead, this is a great way for the character to go out, felled by the big score he had long chased, that we always knew would kill him, uttering that confused “Baby?” as the woman he failed to honor and cherish well enough stood over his bloodied frame. (This is also a nice callback for "Shield" fans, to a stunned Lem uttering that last “Shane?”). If he’s alive, well that’s fine too, because I need more Walton Goggins in my life.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for more obscure references to "The Shield" and fan-fiction that involves Choo-Choo punching Vasquez to death over and over again in a "Groundhog Day" situation ... and breaking news in the real world.