TV Club: Justified: “Cash Game”

What makes a good Justified villain? It would be going a touch too far to say that the show’s seasons have always lived and died on the strength of their villains—Mike O’Malley did some great work as Nicky Augustine, but the fourth season was far more about the Drew Thompson mystery than the latest chapter in the Detroit mafia wars—but the villains are what tend to give the season-long narratives their shape. The conflict between Raylan and Boyd—and, by extension, Ava—operates on a far vaster narrative scale, unfolding across all six seasons. And while “Cash Game” does take us another tiny step closer to that long-awaited final showdown between the show’s leads, the more short-term concerns revolve around the latest gang of interlopers who seek to use Harlan and its people for their own ends. That notion of interloping is crucial, because the …

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