Justified, Season 4
Boyd is hiding money from Ava. What gives?
The Season 4 premiere of Justified was full of big moments: a body falling from the sky, an exploding car, a near-shootout between Raylan and a couple of teenagers, a firebrand preacher. But it was a pair of small moments toward the end that has me wondering what other mysteries might be in store this season.
After a long couple of days dealing with break-ins and bail jumpers and Arlo, Raylan retreats to his apartment above the bar and, while talking to his girlfriend, tucks away the bounty he got for turning in Jody Adair, the double-homicide suspect from Knoxville. Then the show cuts to Boyd, who’s moving a ceiling tile to toss a large stack of bills into a hiding place. The money came from Hiram, the Oxy dealer who was holding out on Boyd and who ended up being killed by Colt. As Boyd and Colt were leaving Hiram’s, Boyd said, “For the record, this money doesn’t exist. Ava asks—anyone does—it wasn’t there.”
The show frequently plays Raylan and Boyd off each other to highlight the ways in which they are not that different. We know that Raylan is trying to save up money for his unborn child. But why is Boyd stockpiling cash, and why is he hiding it from Ava? While it’s not surprising that criminals would hide money from their partners, Ava is his girlfriend. I’ve never quite understood that relationship—Ava seems way too hot and way too smart for Boyd—but they had just earlier in the episode shared a genuine tender and romantic moment. Boyd had been scolding Cousin Johnny for something, and Johnny complained that Ava was worse because her prostitute had shot at a client. Boyd said he’d “deal with Ava’s failings later,” but when Johnny left, he dropped it and made googly eyes with Ava.
So what is so important that Boyd is sneaking around? When he reaches up to throw the money up into the ceiling, there are other stacks there, so this isn’t the first time. The dwindling market for Oxy—thanks to Preacher Billy and the Last Chance Holiness Church—is a new development, so it’s unlikely he’s merely saving up to tide things over during a slow business week.
Is he mounting a legal defense fund for Arlo? Concocting a plan to bust him out of jail? Saving up to have a family with Ava? He’s up to something, that’s for sure.
Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.