When Raylan drops Jackie off at her apartment complex, she tries to invite him into her place for a beer, or maybe a conversation, and he declines. That's not good for her, because Jody's in her living room when she walks inside, wanting the security code to his ex-wife's house. A struggle ensues, and the only thing that keeps her alive is that Raylan's suspicions are raised on his way home. The resulting confrontation ends when Jody awkwardly escapes through a window and ends up on top of his buddy's ride, in an unconventional way to use a getaway car. Jody vows revenge but sounds completely non-threatening when he does it. Anyone who mentions Girl Scout cookies in a death threat needs to learn to make better death threats.
At the swingers' party, while everyone else is otherwise occupied, Ava fights off advances from an aggressive suitor before she finds Boyd. The two confer and realize that while they're not that much closer to finding out who Drew Thompson is, they may have been invited to the party for Boyd to hear a business proposition.
With Jackie waiting in his car, Raylan pays a visit to Jody's buddy, along with several of his armed colleagues. Kenny tells him that Jody made a movie that he wants Raylan to see. Raylan is not impressed by the flick, which is another of Jody's rants set to really bad music. He leaves Kenny's place and heads back to the bar, setting off the fire alarm in order to clear the place out. Why bother? Because Jody's hanging out in the corner, ready for round three. When Jody does the stupidest thing one can do on this show - pull on Raylan Givens - our hero puts several bullets into him without hesitation, then calmly holsters his weapon and reaches for his phone. (Somewhere, Art Mullen feels a headache developing.)
Johnny is waiting for Colt when he returns to the bar, looking like he's been hit by a truck. While the two are having terse words, Boyd is hearing a business pitch from Napier's friends. They want his help with a "problem" named Frank Browning, and in fact they believe they've earned it. Either he kills Frank, or they come after Boyd himself.
Raylan confronts Jackie about why Jody returned to Lexington. "It was for the money," he says, and he's very sure that she has it, but he implies that he'd let it slide if the cash finds its way to Jody's ex-wife and kids. Art cuts this conversation off in typical Art fashion. Mercifully, before things between Raylan and Jackie get awkward, skip ahead to something more awkward - Raylan having another chat with his father Arlo (guest star Raymond J. Barry). As usual, the two Givens men want nothing to do with each other, so Raylan leaves his father to what he presumes is a death in prison that he will not mourn.
There's really no such thing as a bad episode of Justified, but for obvious reasons, those that Elmore Leonard has a hand in are the finest, and "Money Trap" is no exception. Although he didn't write the script (that's Chris Provenzano, who also shares "story by" credit with Leonard), you can't beat the master steering characters that he created. The episode has plenty of wit - Leonard is probably one of the rare folks alive who could name characters like 'Reno Nevada' and not induce snickering - but underneath the verve is some great storytelling, too. Who'd have thought, watching the season premiere, that Jody Adair was going to be someone whose story we were going to get to know, and not just the one-off perp Raylan stuffed in a trunk for comic relief? But that's one of the strengths of Elmore Leonard and the Justified writing staff. There's really no such thing as empty space, or a throwaway character. Everything just might be significant later on.
That doesn't simply mean to the season's ongoing storyline, either. Another show might only weave a plot thread through when it has a payoff in whatever's going on that cycle or with the overall mythology. Justified is willing to spend an episode like this one on fleshing out a character like Jody Adair - who has nothing to do with the mystery of Drew Thompson - just to tell his tale and enrich the universe of the show. All of the characters have identities and stories, and that makes the series come alive...just like one of those great Elmore Leonard page-turners.
For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my official website and follow me on Twitter (@tvbrittanyf).
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.