TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 3, Episode 11: “Jackpot”
Directed by Shawn Hatosy
Written by Matt Kester
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Off the Tit” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Homecoming” – click here
Marco (Joseph Julian Soria) was left in pretty awful shape by Smurf (Ellen Barkin). She’s busy going to “run an errand” with J (Finn Cole)— not before ogling him in the shower and remarking: “Look at you, you‘re all grown up.” Jesus, girl. She is such a corrupt human, but I’m sure part of that has to do with her insane, lawless upbringing.
Over at the bar, Deran (Jake Weary) is reeling after the loss of his money to deadbeat dad Billy (Denis Leary). At least he and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark) have one another. They’re a comfort to each other, it works both ways, though no doubt Deran leans hardest on Adrian in times of need.
Meanwhile, Pope (Shawn Hatosy, who also directed this episode!) is obsessing over Lena being put into a foster home. Craig (Ben Robson) goes with him to look at the house where Lena’s staying. He’s now got to trying talking his brother – currently on “parole” – down from kidnapping their niece. In the middle of it all, mama texts them 911, so they all go to meet at the appointed place.
Waiting for them is Pete (Reynaldo Gallegos). Smurf pays him off, then he leaves. That’s when Smurf tells them her intentions have always been good, despite how it seems. She lets them know she’s taken measures to get back what Lucy (Carolina Guerra) took from them. They see Marco and the painful, bloody state in which he currently exists. Uh oh. Her boys don’t like any of that shit.
The lads talk amongst themselves. Pope realises Lucy will think they were all in on it anyway. That means they’ve got to devise a plan. Number one priority = get Marco back to Lucy before things get worse. Certainly doesn’t help Smurf wants to keep putting J in the line of fire. He’s starting to see being the head of the family in the interim while grandma was in prison isn’t worth any of the fucked up shit happening currently. He’s now the most expendable to Smurf, which is why he goes to Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) to ask her to watch his back.
Afterwards, Smurf calls Lucy direct with vague threats, letting her nemesis know she’s got her brother held until the Cody family gets “restitution.” Thus, the games begin. No telling how this will all go down. Nothing for the Codys ever goes perfectly well, and it’s not making things easier having Lucy and her connections involved.
All the brothers feel differently about Baz getting involved with Lucy. Craig feels bad about it, whereas Deran and mom know Baz was weak with women and “got himself killed.” Either way, they’re putting up a united front, if only to get things handled and over with, else they’ll be in a cartel war before they know it. Sketchy when everyone else gets a bulletproof vest and Smurf insists J not wear one, to make sure Lucy isn’t sceptical. That’s some devious shit.
The meet is on at an unsuspecting restaurant. Lucy meets J at a table. He tells her honestly grandma doesn’t care if he gets killed or taken. They level a bit. Particularly when Lucy talks about Smurf having Baz murdered. After they’re done chatting, the next step of the plan goes ahead, and J leads Lucy and her guys back to the warehouse for the meet with Smurf. After Lucy gives over what she took, she tries to wedge more of a divide between the family, bringing up nasty shit for all to hear. Pope urges mom to take what’s been brought to her. And luckily, Smurf listens. At the same time, Marco grabs a gun, shooting Pope. J dives on top of Smurf to protect her. Bullets spray everywhere. One of Lucy’s men pulls out an automatic, while Craig and Deran return fire. The vests covered most everybody. Except when the family regroups, they can’t find Pope— he’s gone.
The Codys are all gone mad. Craig is absolutely pissed, raging against mom. She’s trying to keep calm. But her boys are not pleased, they blame her – rightfully – for getting them all in this situation. Deran screams into her face, telling his mother if Pope dies: “It‘s on you.” Then Craig starts losing it on J for knowing Pete, so Deran has to break it up. The divide has set in, though. Once more, and like always. J’s played a part in some shitty stuff for Smurf. Not like her other boys haven’t done the same. Can’t blame him.
While they argue, Marco is dying. For retribution, Lucy has Pope on his knees, and she’s ready to put a gun between his eyes, just as he seems, in some way, ready to accept it. She doesn’t. She forces him to look at her brother’s corpse once Marco finally passes. Then Lucy has a raw talk with Pope— about Baz, about the relationship with his mother, about all sorts of painful things.
The kidnappers put a black bag over their captive’s head. Lucy calls up Smurf, looking to arrange a meeting. Mom’s worried sick about her boy, so she agrees to whatever will maybe get him back safely. Makes things worse with Marco dead. The boys don’t want Smurf going alone, though she insists.
The two women meet alone. Smurf asks if Pope’s still alive, which Lucy refuses to fully confirm. She tries to smooth things over, but death’s not easy to smooth over, especially not when it’s a violent one. Lucy keeps pushing about Baz’s death. The older woman has quite a long memory bringing up the first time Lucy came to her place, which resulted in Baz stealing money to buy the girl a necklace. There’s so much history between them. Lucy refuses to give over Pope until she hears an admission to killing Baz— Smurf plainly confesses: “I had Baz killed.”
Smurf’s given a key to a house where they’ve left Pope for her to find. Thankfully, she finds him in one piece. Mom frees her oldest boy, then they return home. However, it doesn’t mean things will be the same. He knows she was the one who murdered Baz. This will forever alter their relationship, further than it’s ever been affected in their sad history as mother and son.
Goddamn. What an episode!! One of the best of the whole series, let alone Season 3. I just can never get enough. “Homecoming” is next time. Only two episode remain before we’re into a Season 4.