TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 3, Episode 9: “Libertad”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Bradley Paul
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Incoming” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Off the Tit” – click here
Things are getting back to some kind of normal after Smurf (Ellen Barkin) got out of prison. Well, normal for the Cody Gang, at least! She’s at home cleaning, stocking the fridge. Meanwhile, J (Finn Cole) is dealing with the fact he’s now in a worse position than ever, after he “came at the Queen” and “missed.” Although grandma’s not exactly pissed— not outright. She’s much more sly, a lot more subtle, as usual. She’s already asking about money from the latest job, too. Not to mention she bought a plot for Baz at the cemetery and wants the boys all together to go visit.
Out in the pits, Linc (Damon Erik Williams) is doing some serious biking with Craig (Ben Robson) and Deran (Jake Weary). Soon enough Deran is letting his fling go, being cold. Craig knows why his brother’s doing what he’s doing. It’s because of Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark).
More trouble elsewhere. Lucy (Carolina Guerra) goes to see Pope (Shawn Hatosy), worried about Smurf being out and that she might come after him because she blames him for Baz. And while Pope says he’s got things covered, it’s gonna get nasty, you can bet your ass.
As Deran’s trying to navigate his feelings for Linc and banging Adrian on the side, Billy (Denis Leary) turns up right after his son just pulled out of the latter. Amazing timing! Especially when dad talks about his son’s dick. So perfect with Leary as Billy cracking jokes. But afterwards, the deadbeat father is pushing again about their cut from the job, continually driving a wedge between his son and J and everyone else.
Smurf calls a meeting. She wants to launder the money for the boys, asking for 20%. When Pope pushes back she mentions their money being stolen, before Baz was killed. Of course it’s all their money that she was stashing— “seven million dollars” in fact. She offers them all a cut of the money if they get it back. Who does she blame? Lucy. None of thrills the lads, either.
At home, Smurf finds Billy crawling over the gate. Long time no see for these two! They have a drink and catch up. It’s playfully antagonistic, nothing too heated. They chat about Deran, Frankie (Dichen Lachman), and more, though Smurf keeps her guard up, sure Billy’s playing an angle. Then the old lovers head for the bedroom. Yowzahs! Get it, girl. Smurf could do better than that dirty junkie, though. Remember: everything she does has a purpose, she’ll use this to some advantage.
Back at his bar, Deran finds a brutal scene. His other robber buddies are there, one of them bleeding from a bad gunshot wound. They hit a junkyard that was planned for their heist, but did it in broad daylight. Deran’s stuck feeling guilty, taking responsibility for whatever happens next. Craig goes ahead and gets Linc to come help. Makes Linc feel betrayed when he sees it wasn’t a speargun accident. Really does nothing to help the relationship between him and Deran. Neither does it sit well between the brothers.
“Thinking & knowing— not the same thing”
Pope finds himself in a tense moment when DCFS comes to remove Lena from his home, police officer and all. It almost drives him to do something drastic which he’d only regret later. Then all he asks for is “a couple seconds” to say goodbye. Such a strange emotional situation with Pope. He’s a murderer, yet his mother is the one who’s damaged him beyond repair and the paradoxical relationship he has with Lena – daughter of the woman he loved, the woman he murdered – is heartbreaking.
At the beach, Deran gets blindsided by his mom. She calmly asks why he didn’t go see her in prison. She misses him. Her son says he doesn’t hate her. It’s just got to be a confusing, tough life for him under Smurf’s thumb. All he wants is to be his own man, in all ways. He’s perpetually dragged back towards mother.
Things with J and Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) are strange, too. She’s in a bad place. She’s told not to make any further collections from the young man, and she’s told to keep away, as well. At the same time, Smurf meets with Pete Trujillo (Reynaldo Gallegos), toasting to “libertad” (aka freedom), and finding another way for the “Lucy job” to get done.
Next morning, all the boys go to meet Smurf at the plot for Baz. Smurf talks about being in prison, thinking of them every night. She also tells them she’s bought them a family of plots. Somewhere they can all rest. Even one for where they’ll move J’s mom. She wants the boys to tell each other what they want for arrangements. Y’know, in case she might kill one of them, or if they just die. Yikes.
Dig it, the stakes are always getting higher.
“Off the Tit” is next time. Gonna get wild!