TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 2: “Angela”
Directed by John Wells
Written by Daniele Nathanson

* For a recap & review of the Season 4 premiere, “Janine” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Man Vs. Rock” – click here
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Shawn HatosySmurf (Ellen Barkin) and her boys sit around the table counting cash from their latest haul. Pope (Shawn Hatosy) looks especially angry. J (Finn Cole) finds himself coming up against Smurf a little. He takes charge, and she seems to admire it. Doesn’t mean she’s happy with her grandson.
Deran (Jake Weary) only wants to be finished. Craig (Ben Robson), too. They’re ready to head off soon as the money’s counted. Although Craig hangs back to talk to Pope, worried for his big brother. He wants to know if Pope’s “trying to die.” He gets nothing. He doesn’t want Pope to die, neither does he want any of them to die because of him.

We see more of a younger Smurf on the road with her crew. She’d chopped off her hair. Her man was acting like she was his property. Definitely not the way to play things with her, even then. There was an argument in the other room. A couple of the guys were fighting. One— Colin (Grant Harvey)— beat the other into a pulp as everybody watched.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Ellen BarkinAdrian (Spencer Treat Clark) keeps trying to put a distance between his business with the DEA and Deran. It’ll only get tougher. He has to play things off like he’s focusing on his surf career. He acts like he’s got to practise and keep his mind on things, when it’s only him attempting to juggle his fractured life.
Eventually it’s going to fall apart.

Frankie (Dichen Lachman) and Craig have another job they’re going to pull. He doesn’t quite know much. Only that it involves a suit and stealing from another rich dickhead. Elsewhere, J’s getting a visit from Detective Andre (James Remar). The cop’s looking into Morgan’s death as a “possible homicide.” J’s in her appointment book, obviously. He explains that away. But he was caught on a camera at the harbour, where Morgan was known to swim in the morning. J claims to have been fishing. Not good.
Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) is the one who rented the boat with cash. Not the only thing going on with her. She’s got that crazy ex, Tupi (Eddie Ramos), hanging around. She calls him her foster brother. Makes everything twice as complicated. That dude’s going to make some TROUBLE. Count on it.

Craig talks to Deran about their brother. He wants to get Pope out of Smurf’s place, even if only during the day. He suggests a job. Deran knows big bro is “scary as shit” and isn’t made for working normal jobs. Craig suggests having him work at the bar. Not something Deran wants to entertain right away.
Pope’s busy hitting the punching bag at home. His mother’s using “lady troubles” as a pretence to get Craig to give her pills from his stash. Is she an addict? Or, is she getting sick? Mama Smurf don’t look good. And she’s dealing with her oldest boy crumbling psychologically more and more each day.

Theory: Is Colin— the dude sneaking around with younger Smurf— Pope’s father?
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Ben Robson and Dichen LachmanSmurf’s contacted by the cops in relation to Morgan’s murder. She’s curious why J would’ve been contacted, too. Everything falls into place. She knows her grandson’s done something. She’ll try to use that to keep him under her thumb a little longer. She’s already realising those properties she assumed Morgan stole were the work of her grandson. In a twisted way, she’s “proud.”
Plus, she actually has Dt. Andre on the payroll doing her dirty work. Sneaky!

So many things are happening. They’re ALL devious.
Adrian has more drug smuggling planned, passing on info to the DEA while trying to make sure Deran’s kept out of it all. Except he gives his contact Deran’s name. Holy. Shit. Over at the bowling alley, Mia’s with Tupia, making out with him in J’s office and plotting against her boss / lover. This is devolving into a real shitshow.

At the house, Smurf gets a visit from Angela (Emily Deschanel), an old friend of Julia who’s got no idea her friend died. Angela’s shocked. She’d like to check in with Pope. Smurf doesn’t want her around, offering $100 to get her off the doorstep. Maybe an influence from the past might not be so bad for Pope.
Later, Angela turns up after Smurf is gone, looking for Pope. He seems shook by her arrival. He’s glad to see her, all the same. They sit and talk. Angela was in jail for “three years” until now. She and Pope can relate— maybe the first time since Julia died he has someone to relate to, in any kind of genuine way not predicated on a lie. They’re both damaged people. She wonders about J, and Pope, for the first time, shows unease about his nephew being in that house under the influence of the Cody family.

There’s another job with Frankie on the horizon. Craig tells the boys, who act reluctant at first. They worry about Smurf, who’s “not gonna like that“— typical, right? Adrian keeps excusing himself when the Cody lads are talking business, so he doesn’t have to lie if the DEA starts asking more questions.
The dudes are on the beach partying when Smurf gets home to see Angela in the kitchen laughing with Pope. She’s not thrilled. She’s playing nice, disguising the rage simmering inside. It isn’t long and they’re heading to bed. That’s when Smurf, not looking well, again, collapses in the hallway.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Shawn HatosyWhoa, this episode was heavy!
There’s new stuff coming up, as well as old things coming through we haven’t seen totally as of yet. Animal Kingdom‘s a fantastic show. There’s a lot going on underneath the macho-type exterior. Such a creepy, intense mother-son dynamic, a complex and problematic woman at the head of a crime family, and a beautifully portrayed, complicated gay relationship, among lots of other stuff.

“Man Vs. Rock” is next time.

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