Justified’’s 6th and final season takes aim at its fourth 2015 installment in “The Trash and the Snake,” as Raylan's pursuit of the mysterious Avery Markham (Sam Elliott) crosses paths with an old friend, while Boyd attempts an explosive solution to his banking problems, and Ava bristles under Katherine Hale (Mary Steenburgen)'s watchful eye.

Last week’s ‘Justified’ installment, “Noblesse Oblige,” saw Raylan and the Marshals pressuring Ava to deliver more substantial intel, while Boyd learned the truth behind Tiger Hawk Security and their employer Avery Markham, so what does the fourth episode of ‘Justified’ season 6 bring?

Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Justified’ season 6, episode 4, “The Trash and the Snake!”

It’s too early to say whether ‘Justified’’s final season ends up the strongest of the six, as even last year’s Crowe-centric beginnings had their moments, but darn it all if “The Trash and the Snake” wasn’t a highlight of the four episodes thus far, one that cracked the endgame wide open, and had plenty of fun doing it. Not only was the nostalgia factor present, in seeing Dickie Bennett or Loretta McCready returning to the main stage, but so too were our new villains at their most imposing yet, and we even had an explosion for good measure.

Raylan and Art’s discussion about the snake dovetails neatly with the former’s confrontation of Avery Markham over Loretta’s land, as Markham reveals his intimate familiarity with the many Harlan clans, as well as Raylan’s spotted law enforcement reputation. In that way, the coolly homespun Sam Elliott makes Markham the proverbial snake in Harlan’ grass, having slithered unseen through the ranks over the years, and only now rising from the grass to be seen as a threat. The potential legalization of weed in Kentucky also brings a surprisingly modern conflict to ‘Justified’’s final bow, albeit one presented through Raylan’s old “Black Hat” lens of Markham muscling his way into real estate monopoly.

And where Boyd becomes immediately blindsided by Ava’s duplicity with the realization of Harlan’s next potential gold rush, Raylan sees only the snake in need of whacking, whether or not marijuana makes Loretta a legally rich woman in only a few years’ time. He may parrot wisdom about Loretta’s absentee father wanting only to see her out of harm’s way, yet Raylan’s vision of keeping his own baby girl from harm involves less direct parenting, and more the endless pursuit of any snake that might threaten someone. As Art puts it, Raylan’s concern should lie in the inevitable bite, not the next crusade in need of a white hat.

Poor Garret Dillahunt doesn't even get a hat.

More than anything, “The Trash and the Snake” brought with it the fun DGAF attitude that makes ‘Justified’ its unpredictable best, whether by the explosion of poor Jake Busey eliciting zero reaction from a blood-spattered Wynn Duffy and Boyd, or Dickie and Raylan’s insult trade providing a GIF gold mine all its own. Mary Steenburgen too gets to display some spectacular colors as the imposing, yet affable Katherine Hale, switching on a dime from regret, to empowerment, to intimidation in her afternoon with Ava. In a relatively short span, we’re provided the sense that Katherine Hale had few f—s to give at the height of her husband’s power, and now affords precisely zero f—s to giving zero f—s, whomever she drags down with her.

It’s a nice bit of wild card menace that neatly compliments Sam Elliott’s more reserved brand of villainy, and both let just the right amount of cards show to promise some hefty confrontations in the weeks to come. Good thing, considering how far the final season seems willing to stretch Ava’s anxiety over feeding information to Raylan, and the need for an imminent turn. So too could Raylan use a bit of reflection on his own arc across the first few episodes of the season, but good golly, if ‘Justified’ was figuratively, and literally on fire with its most exciting final season hour yet.

AND ANOTHER THING…

  • Still hoping to see Art recovered enough to return to the office at some point. And can we not fit Rachel and Tim in the same episode?
  • So, what exactly happened with the safe? It was never made clear whose cell phone set off the detonator, and the explosion didn't come up again throughout the hour.
  • Additionally, Wynn Duffy, surfing champion from the mean streets of Hawaii. Of course.
  • We should all be so lucky, as to die by Sigourney Weaver choking us out with her thighs.
  • Having a terrible feeling that Avery Markham’s drinking motif, Mags’ Apple Pie and Loretta will circle back to something incredibly dark later in the season.

Well, did ‘Justified’ hit the mark with its sixth and final season’s latest? Join us again next week for an all-new ‘Justified’ review of season 6's fourth installment, “Sounding” on FX!