TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 3, Episode 4: “Wolves”
Directed by James Hanlon
Written by Bradley Paul
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Center Will Hold” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Prey” – click here
The relationship between J (Finn Cole) and Nicky (Molly Gordon) continues, though it’s clear to her things have changed significantly. We’ve already seen him falling for Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez), who’s also now staying at the house with the rest of them. The everyday-ness of life sort of kills the romance J and Nicky once had— things used to be based on having fun, partying, not giving a fuck, and now it’s turned into a domesticated, safe existence, at least to a degree.
Meanwhile, Smurf (Ellen Barkin) is going through the shit in prison. She isn’t hearing what she wants in terms of her defence. Detective Pearce (Gil Birmingham) is still giving her trouble, which is no surprise. The man’s got it out for her after all these years.
The family’s off balance, as usual. J won’t admit to the rest of them why Mia’s kicking around. And you know Pope (Shawn Hatosy) is asking, whereas Deran (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson) aren’t as concerned. They’re also down to discussing the next job, so they can prevent themselves from going bankrupt and all their lives going down the shitter with Smurf’s legal troubles. Deran realises this “job is bullshit” because J’s got a tail on him and there are plenty of other risky problems. It’s definitely not perfect. Neither is Pope’s inability to stop being paranoid. Nevertheless, he’s putting his trust in his nephew, which could mean bad things if this job goes sideways.
Something interesting: Nicky goes snooping in Mia’s purse, finding a pay stub, which tells us Mia’s last name is legally Benitez. Not sure if that’ll come in handy later. Worth noting, maybe. The stub itself is for a place called Little Pete’s, that does auto body repair.
The lads are working on the tail situation. Deran and J wind up in a car together, talking about Mia. The uncle scolds about “relationship problems” and the business they’re in, how it can fuck things up. Funny, how it’d be a normal conversation in some other life. In this one, the life of the Cody Gang, it’s such a weird, messed up conversation. Basically, uncle Deran means he oughta find a good girl, y’know— the sort who are good for living a life of perpetual bank robbery and other assorted crime(s)!
Pope heads in under the vents at their target. Simultaneously, they call in a fake bank robbery across the street while Deran purposely crashes into an old man outside the bank, drawing the security guard from the shop. While Pope starts doing his work, the guys running the shop call in backup, only the backup won’t head in because cops are on the scene at the bank. It’s a mess of chaos everywhere out on the street. The perfect storm for the Cody Gang to get their work done undercover. Craig backs a garbage truck in behind the shop to pull the cage so they’re able to get the safe out properly.
After the fact, Dt. Pearce is called in. Not long until he starts questioning all the security at the supplement store where the real robbery occurred. He and the tail head over to check the place out. They find the place being renovated out back, a hole cut in the floor. A “pill mill.” And Pearce knows it was the Cody family. At that moment, the guys are splitting the safe apart with the garbage truck so they can get inside. Nearly $100K. Mostly to pay off the bills they owe, to keep the ship from sinking.
Nicky goes stalking Mia. She gets caught. So, the two women go out for drinks together, talk, get to know one another better. They get real, somewhat. Nicky tells her new friend about her relationship with J. She also gets a bit too loose lipped about previous Cody robberies. Uh oh. Later, Nicky bangs some guy she meets at the bar, too.
Back at the house, the guys are surprised to find a man named Billy (Denis Leary)— Deran’s dear old dad. What a fucking reunion, no? Especially seeing as how Billy’s outside in the car with his lady Frankie (Dichen Lachman). Quite the weird moment. Not to mention Pope has to tell Deran that’s his father. The family is messed up. They all have a bit of a chat, though it’s not really like a warm homecoming. Billy tries to ingratiate himself to Deran, but his estranged son wants no part of that.
At the bar, Deran finds Clark Lincoln (Damon Williams), from the hospital, who brought a hat for Craig. They eventually start talking after Deran acts like a dick, then confesses his daddy issues. The two men bond quickly, and it’s clear there’s more than just a friendly conversation in the works. It was easy to see the first time they met Lincoln had a bit of an eye for Deran. Sexy.
Pope is beyond pissed to find Billy and his girlfriend still at the house. He’s more pissed Craig has pills from the place they robbed, after he explicitly said not to take any. This sends Pope checking through Billy’s things, finding all kinds of mess, some likely stolen jewellery, and the registration of his car shows it’s not even his car.
In prison, Smurf gets a visit from J. They talk about everything. She’s happy about the job. She’s not happy to hear that Billy turned up at the house. She orders her grandson to “get him out” and tells him “the wolves will come” if he isn’t careful about protecting what belongs to the family.
One thing I know? Bad things are about to happen. Many bad things.
Man, the tension is getting tighter and tighter all the time. Season 3 came out the gate swinging, hasn’t let up yet. Excited for more. Looking forward to seeing how Leary’s character plays into the whole dynamic, as well as to finding out more of his past relationship with Smurf. Getting wild!
“Prey” is next time.