TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 3, Episode 6: “Broke From the Box”
Directed by Mark Strand
Written by Matt Kester
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Prey” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Low Man” – click here
Life’s not really getting any better for Nicky (Molly Gordon). She’s not feeling good about cheating on J (Finn Cole), even if she suspects – rightfully – that her man’s been sleeping with Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez). They try to talk in the morning. She tells him about talking to her dad and his shitty response to her wanting to visit. J does seem as if he wants to make things work. Then there’s still Frankie (Dichen Lachman) and Billy (Denis Leary), the former offering money if they can stay. The money’s tempting, but J has to run it by Smurf (Ellen Barkin)— not fucking likely grandma’s gonna approve that!
Little Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles) still has nobody except for Uncle Pope (Shawn Hatosy), who’s trying to find a doctor for his niece “to talk to.” It’s the only way she can go back to school after the incident with the hair cutting. Wise beyond her years, the little girl almost understands.
In prison, Smurf is sweating it out. She fits in with the rest of the ladies, but they like to talk shit. And it’s questionable how long she’s going to last in there. I wonder if she’ll start thinking escape.
“Anything that feels this good you gotta earn”
Meanwhile, Nicky keeps running into Billy and his drug habit, escalating from a joint laced with heroin to seeing him shoot some into his veins. He advises her against trying the stuff. Although he doesn’t particularly make it look unappealing. He slowly planting awful seeds in her head, even if inadvertently. At the same time, Mia’s warning J about having Nicky around all that whole lifestyle, between the drugs and the robbery. She makes clear to him: “Whatever happens to her is on you.” Ominous foreshadowing.
At the beach, Craig (Ben Robson) and Deran (Jake Weary) meet up with Lincoln (Damon Williams) for some surfing. Linc and Deran clearly want more of what they recently enjoyed together. For now, it’s time to head out on the waves. There winds up being a lot of guys out there. Things get a bit nasty, too.
At the bar, Billy shows up trying to convince Deran into doing a job with him. The endgame of his visit is surely money, one way or another. He offers an “equal split” if his son comes on, even if he wants to bring his brothers. Tempting. The job’s a heist on a licensed grow factory for medical marijuana. Not exactly an easy one, considering there’s pretty decent security.
Smurf finds out there’s a witness against her. She calls J, asking her grandson to visit. She talks about the party they want to in the desert with her old pals. She needs him to track people down for her. She slyly lets him know who to find— they’re the guys who assaulted J that night at the house a while ago. More and more, J is discovering the hard end of being Smurf’s favourite, because she’s getting harsher as time passes and things become more desperate.
Pope has to speak with people from CFS (Child and Family Services) about Lena. They ask him about things at school, the “situation at home.” They want to talk alone with Lena, as well. There’s such a conflicted persona in Pope. At once he’s a murderer, the man who killed that little girl’s mother, and also her only protector at the moment. Later, he tries to tell Lena how they have to act to people outside of the family, seeing as how most of the aren’t really looking out for their best interests. Sad as it is, it’s probably true. Foster care is no place for a child all too often.
Out on the town, Craig is seeking information on the assholes who’ve showed up at the beach causing trouble. A guy he knows at a board shop tells him they’re “rich kids,” but they’re connected in the drug world. Craig doesn’t seem willing to back down, despite all the Cody family has going on for themselves. That evening, he gets the gang together. He fears their “public relations” are going in the toilet. People expect the family to take care of things around town.
The lads are going to go out and put a scare in the new guys causing trouble. They gear up and head inside the guys’ house, jumping them all with guns and cable ties, plus a few kicks in the testicles. Outside, Pope waits with Lena in the getaway vehicle. The Codys have a little trouble, though overall it goes pretty well. They put a fright into everybody, and they find a nice stash of money, some drugs, then it’s time to leave.
Left at home by herself, Nicky wallows in self pity. That’s when she goes looking, digging up Billy’s heroin. She shoots up, cries by the pool, and gets strung out. And always a good idea: she plays with a gun. Leading to her shooting herself in the thigh. The blood starts pumping, so she tries to get herself to the car, passing out in the garage. OH, FUCK. A while afterwards J gets back, discovering her there in a pool of blood. He ties off her thigh, trying to rush her to the hospital.
Will she live? Or will this be the catalyst to finally make J see his so-called family’s only served to bring him down into the gutter? Or, will Nicky finally see that she comes second to Cody family interests after J leaves her outside an ER instead of taking her in? Jesus christ.
Man, Animal Kingdom is always on point. The moral quandaries of the characters are the best part. To see J in a spot where he’s being beyond corrupted is new, because before it was always a sympathetic place where he landed. Now, it’s gone too far. “Low Man” is next time. Lots of big things coming up!