TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 3, Episode 3: “The Center Will Hold”
Directed by Alex Zakrzewski
Written by Daniele Nathanson
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “In the Red” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Wolves” – click here
We see a flashback – Baz (Scott Speedman) and Lucy (Carolina Guerra) leave the house, heading for the SUV, then the hooded figure, who slips down around the side of the house, fires several shots into the windshield, into Baz’s chest. The hooded figure gets away.
And who is it, exactly? Mia Trujillo (Sohvi Rodriguez). Oh, yes— sent by Smurf (Ellen Barkin). So, J (Finn Cole) didn’t do it after all. But he’s been at the very least inadvertently involved in paying off the murderer of his possible father. Typical dysfunctional shit for the Cody Gang.
In jail, Smurf is looking into maybe helping her new friend do a job to get hold of a bunch of money from another robbery. This young woman is pushing it, the way she talks to Smurf. All the same, grandma Cody is on desperate times.
And on the outside, J has to try and corral the tenuous ties of his uncles in order to do their own job, so that they might avoid the financial ruin they’re all heading for if they don’t make a big score FAST.
Elsewhere, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) is trying to look after Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles), sending her to a different school, a private one, where she can get the education she needs and hopefully not be bullied mercilessly for having a criminal father who got gunned down in the street. Of course private education = a big bill. Means Pope needs money aside from what the family does, too. It’s always money troubles, for the whole family— both individually and as one.
Speaking of, Craig (Ben Robson), like always, is struggling. He needs cash to start paying on a new place with Renn (Christian Ochoa). Instead of trying to do anything legitimate he’s just looking for scraps, trying to find someone else to bail him out. Of all the Cody boys he’s perhaps the most pitiful in terms of personal responsibility. Few options left, he starts looking to collect on old debts. That turns into a rooftop chase with one guy, resulting in Craig fucking up his shoulder + dropping the guy to the pavement in an alley below. Later, Craig gets fixed up. He also finds out Renn was never planning to move in with him. A real sucker punch for him.
Nicky (Molly Gordon) isn’t having a great time being part of the whole Cody Gang. Constant descent into depression and addiction. She meets an old face from school, who presents a juxtaposition in lifestyles. Maybe Nicky will start seeing “mounds of coke” and a “fully–stocked bar” isn’t all there is to life. Not yet, anyway. Right now she’s inviting people over, spending more money to party she shouldn’t be spending.
In the meantime, J suggests a new robbery plot at a pill shop. He and Pope start doing reconnaissance. He lies, though— can’t tell uncle Pope the plan’s coming from Smurf. They look at the layout of the store, involving reinforced doors, “a lot of cameras,” and a big, old safe. They’re gonna need to blow out a wall, unless there’s a basement, which could provide new options. Either way it’s a rough one.
Late on payments, J has to go with Mia to get “an extension.” He goes to see Pedro (Reynaldo Gallegos), who’s not quite as hard as expected. He makes clear that these extensions can’t go on forever, but allows it for the time being. Simultaneously, J and Mia keep on getting closer, too. Darkly funny to see them both have to pull out and lay down their guns to have sex.
Then there’s Nicky, trying to get more coke from Dylan (Shea Buckner), her dealer. She already owes $1,000. He doesn’t want to keep shelling out free drugs. So, he tells her to pay up, or give him a blowjob. And when she refuses he gets scary. This forces her to call J. Perfect timing!
He goes over to see Dylan. But he’s got no money to pay, only his “word.” That’s when J uses the Cody name to settle things. This doesn’t thrill J to have to do, though he does. Things are fine for a minute, then Dylan comes out with a baseball bat. Mia sees this and pistol whips the guy before anything can happen. Shiiiiiiiiiiieet.
At the bar, Deran (Jake Weary) gets a visit from Pope, wanting to talk about the latest Cody robbery. The conversation doesn’t go as planned for the older brother. He doesn’t like how Deran’s been going off with other people outside the family. He wants them to come back together, through thick and thin.
“We are a family, and you’re in it. So step the hell up.”
Another exciting episode of Animal Kingdom, ramping up new tensions and expanding on old relationships. All the while Smurf is continually peddling her lies and deceit and manipulating people wherever possible. And plans are coming together for the Cody Gang, hoping to stave off losing income, and in turn to keep from the law crawling any further up Smurf’s ass affecting the entire family.
“Wolves” is up next.