TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 2, Episode 12: “You Will Be Gutted”
Directed by Larry Teng
Written by Jonathan Lisco
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Leopard” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, “Betrayal” – click here
Smurf (Ellen Barkin) is now in the custody of the police, processed, fingerprinted, the whole works. She does the whole bit as if it’s all old hand to her. I mean, she’s definitely done time before, right? At least a bit. Yet under the hard exterior is a softer side, one that’s terrified, never believing she’d find herself in this position.
So what’s her next move?
Well, at home the boys party like the kingdom is now theirs, and Baz (Scott Speedman), he’s king of the castle. He doesn’t tell Deran (Jake Weary) or the others why Smurf won’t be “coming back tonight.” J (Finn Cole) finds it strange grandma only told Baz she was leaving town. Kid is very perceptive, nothing much gets by him. At the same time, Lucy (Carolina Guerra) is kicking around, freaking Deran and Craig (Ben Robson) out after what went down with Marco; she’s a bad motherfucker. And she’s also pushing Baz further and further towards the throne.
What about Pope (Shawn Hatosy)? He’s not well. He has a gun, contemplating what looks to be suicide. Oh, my, lord.
The wildest thing is that when Baz goes looking for Pope, he winds up at Amy’s (Jennifer Landon) place: the one who’s recently discovered the dark secret of what happened to Catherine. Certainly, she doesn’t know the name. But just seeing these two in one frame is enough to set off wild fireworks of imagination.
Then there’s poor little Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles). Dad forgot about her; again. She’s left at her uncles place with a party raging around her, orgies going on in Smurf’s bed. When she plays on her fake ATV, someone nearly runs her over in the driveway, before another quick thinker saves the day. Jesus. Of course uncle J is there to take care of her, along with Nicky (Molly Gordon). When he calls Pope, this is the thing that stops him from putting a bullet in his head. What a mess, the whole thing’s fucked up.
This sends Pope, pissed as hell, back home. Thing is, so much of this anger is self-righteous. He’s the one who killed Lena’s mom. Sure, Baz is a shit dad. But if mom didn’t get murdered the girl wouldn’t be in this situation. Shotgun in hand Pope sends everyone home, just as Baz arrives to break the news about Smurf.
In the light of day he shows the rest of the lads all the stashed cash, jewellery, et cetera, which Smurf filched on them. Likewise, he tells them about what he believes happened to Catherine, Javi getting shot in the head, so on. All out on the table. Outside, Lucy schools Nicky on being “more powerful” by remaining on the outside of the Cody brothers and Baz, rather than fighting to be within the inner circle.
What are the boys to do? They’ve got two decades of shit to sell off, to divide between them. Baz is moving to Mexico. He suggests they all do, together. Things are tense, tenuous. No telling exactly how everyone’s going to take things going forward.
Later on, J gets a call from Smurf in jail. Oh, shit. He plays along like a “good boy” for grandma. He gives her the scoop about who was and wasn’t in on everything. Now she wants him to get the surveillance footage of the house. Young man’s caught between a rock and a hard place. Only when he goes to get shit done he finds there’s no files where he’d hoped they’d be. Gonna be a bit tougher than that. And Baz is no slouch, he knows something’s wrong. Gets no better once he figures out he has no power of attorney anymore, either.
We see that Pope doesn’t want to die until he’s taken care of Lena financially, for college and after that, to help her have a start in life. He cares, but it’s more so out of guilt for what he’s done. He has to make sure she’s okay before he can kill himself, maybe go out in a blaze of glory. Nicely set to “Less Than” by Nine Inch Nails, we’re privy to a montage of Pope going around stealing cars, robbing banks, stacking cash fast as he knows how.
Once he’s done he goes back to press his inside man from a former job, he works at a bank. He’s gonna have to deposit Mr. Cody’s cash. If he doesn’t they may have problems. Violent ones.
Smurf laments having taken Barry in all those years ago, though her lawyer (Laura San Giacomo) presses her on the more important issues. Like proving Baz is trying to frame her for murder. It’s either that, or she’s up shit’s creek. On the outside, Deran and Craig are wondering about the next step in their new lives; the former has other dreams in life than being a thief, the latter wonders if mom is “working an angle.” One thing’s for sure: they’ve gotta go visit her, if not she’ll believe they’re against her.
While Nicky’s falling down a rabbit hole of prescription pills and cocaine, J is trying to cope with his fragile position of power in the family, caught between Smurf and Baz. He goes to see grandma in jail. She has other things for him to do. Although he can’t help worrying about what Baz is gonna do now that he’s lost his own power. Smurf keeps playing the game when her other boys come to see her, sowing seeds of distrust against ole Barry. Making it seem like he’s out to fuck them all over. They’re not happy when they find out J’s got power of attorney, but they’ve also got to keep him safe for things to go well. HOLY SHIT! A tangle goddamn web.
Lucy is still sniffing around, keeping an eye on Nicky, J, too. She also drops a bit of a hint, as if to say that Baz might in fact be J’s dad. That one’s still a mystery, officially. I’ve always thought it was the case. There’s never any sure bets, though. Not when the Codys are the subject of discussion.
When Pope takes Lena to see grandma, he says she won’t be around. For a long, long time. This, naturally, upsets the little girl. Her uncle says to say “goodbye” and she does. Most of all we see the heavy weight of guilt on Pope’s shoulders. Usually I’d say a parent isn’t fully to blame. Yet… in this case, I’m gonna say Smurf is very much to blame. She poisoned him from a young age.
Nothing’s right. The whole gang is more divided than ever before. Craig is depressed, feeling he’ll be left behind now because he has nothing except their life of crime; he can’t even have all his money around for fear he’ll blow it up his nose. Deran can buy his bar, try to live the proper life to some extent. At least they love each other.
Now Baz wants to go to the lawyer, settle things. J says he’ll play along. But will he?
Great penultimate episode for Season 2. God fucking damn I love this series! So much happening, especially now that things are twisted beyond repair. Many tragedies are perched, waiting to happen. Can’t help but wonder if we’ll see one of those happen in the finale. “Betrayal” is next week.