Justified’’s 6th and final season takes aim with its second 2015 installment in “Cash Game,” as Boyd grapples with Ava and attempts to uncover the significance of his latest heist, while Raylan brushes up against the new players in town mysteriously buying up Harlan land.

Last year’s ‘Justified’ premiere, “Fate’s Right Hand,” saw Raylan pressing Ava and a freed Dewey Crowe to turn on Boyd, while the man himself planned a daring bank robbery for his new employers, so what does the second episode of ‘Justified’ season 6 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Justified’ season 6, episode 2 “Cash Game!”

Last week’s premiere saw ‘Justified’ putting in something of a quieter hour, primarily aimed at refreshing the major characters and conflicts, and ultimately throwing in a surprise twist to shove off the gentle momentum. That’s certainly fine for ‘Justified,’ which has long established itself in slow-burn seasons, and we’ll take all the time we can get with only 13 episodes remaining. Accordingly, tonight’s “Cash Game” somewhat seamlessly rolled off its predecessor, shifting focus to flesh out some of the newer threats to Harlan we’ll explore over the brunt of the final season.

So while Ava remains under Boyd’s suspicion and Raylan only manages to catch a whiff of his nemesis’ criminal activity, the bulk of “Cash Game” felt designed to expand upon last week’s introduction of invading “peacock” Ty Walker (Garret Dillahunt), as well as the men above and below him. Walker in particular seems like a charismatic brand of menace, as Dillahunt tends to bring in his sleep, though his various appearance and threat felt like a familiar riff on outsiders underestimating Harlan’s resolve, Raylan’s in particular.

Underneath Ty brought some strong Elmore Leonard characterizations to the simplistic “Choo-Choo” and his Tigerhawk Security overseer Sean (the always welcome Scott Grimes), both of which allowed Tim and Raylan some fun scenes to get one over on the bad guy. Season 6 represents the last opportunity showrunner Graham Yost has to fulfill his promise of keeping Tim and Rachel around in regular roles, and “Cash Game” is certainly a strong start, by the satisfaction of Tim picking up the very thug who’d followed him, and later wryly announcing himself as a Marshal at their hideout.

Elsewhere, tonight’s hour also saw our introduction to legendary Harlan gangster Avery Markham (Sam Elliott), though his admittedly charming bedside banter with Katherine didn’t offer up much insight into his presence as a feared criminal. Still, Sam Elliott fits into the ‘Justified’ world about as easily as you’d expect, and mustache or no, the character is bound to share some intense showdowns with Raylan and Boyd in the future.

Also, more Mary Steenburgen sassing Boyd Crowder, please and thank you.

Likely the stronger turns of the hour came from Ava, as she deftly managed to cover the theft of Boyd’s stolen documents, even if she underestimated their significance to Raylan. Sharing with Boyd her discovery of the Pizza Portal’s history as a bank clearly indicates her willingness to play both sides until a clear victor emerges, but considering how many balls ‘Justified’ season 6 has in the air at this point, it’s tough to say which of the series’ main men provides a greater threat.

Again, not the most eventful of ‘Justified’ episodes, even if Raylan and Boyd’s pre-showdown over the realtor’s stolen documents proved as electric as ever, and a fine preview of things to come, though the final season seems to be settling into a good rhythm, and laying the groundwork for its major villains. If nothing else, the humor remains as sharp as ever, and the Boyd-Tim pairing made for some strongly witty face-offs with respective branches of the enigmatic Tigerhawk.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Looks like poor Dewey’s death won’t go unanswered after all, at least if Boyd’s underling doesn’t stop wearing the fallen Crowe’s necklace.
  • “You’re kind of a dick, aren’t you, guy?”
  • So, what do we think Tigerhawk actually wants with Harlan?

Well, what say you? Did you feel that ‘Justified’ hit the mark with its sixth and final season’s latest? Has Boyd truly gone to the dark side for good? Give us your reactions in the comments, and join us again next week for an all-new ‘Justified’ review of season 6's third installment, “Noblesse Oblige” on FX!