TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 3: “Man Vs. Rock”
Directed by Solvan Naim
Written by Bradley Paul
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Angela” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Tank” – click here
More flashbacks to the younger Janine (Leila George), having a bite of Manny’s (Rigo Sanchez) “secret recipe” brownies. Things between the crew are slightly tense, given she and Colin (Grant Harvey) have been sleeping together. Cut to the present— through music that takes Smurf back to her old days— and she’s getting scanned at the hospital so doctors can figure out what’s wrong.
Craig (Ben Robson) and Deran (Jake Weary) are with Frankie (Dichen Lachman) to check out the new job. They’re supposed to break into a plaza to steal a $5-million sculpture that weighs “3 tonnes.” Not to mention there’s cameras and security guards. They’ll need a truck. How will they manage to pull it off?
Meanwhile, J (Finn Cole) is out looking for “extra discretion” in terms of finances. He claims his grandmother died and left him all kinds of stuff. He knows about this lawyer previously working with shady characters. The guy turns him down. Is J out doing this with Smurf’s knowledge? Doubtful. Probably working harder to make sure he has control whenever grandma croaks. Or before she fucks him over first.
“I don’t belong to anybody”
At home, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) and Angela (Emily Deschanel) eat together. She keeps trying to figure out why he sticks around, sure he’d want to be rid of Smurf’s influence. He’s reluctant to talk. She wonders about J. She worried about him before Julia died, even so far as getting abused by her friend for trying to care about the kid.
Something compelling about Smurf potentially getting seriously ill is a loss of control. For so long, this woman’s controlled everything about her life, as well as the lives of those around her— in many cases, she’s affected the lives of people not that close to her, adjacent to her family. An illness is taking all that way. Great moment when she tries to get the results immediately. She comes up solid against legal medical procedure. One of the first instances of control slipping away.
Paralleled with this is more of her younger self. Her spurned lover tried to warn her Colin was possessive. Maybe her new lover turned out bad for her. Maybe that’ll give us more insight into why she’s become such a cold, hard person.
Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) has a creepy guy from her past showing up, not to mention Tupi (Eddie Ramos) already kicking around. On top of everything, there’s the question of whether she’s fucking J over. The way she is with J, how she resents him, it suggests she may be actively working against him. Oh, and she shoots down the creep in the street. Did he rape her when she was underage? That’s what the convo suggested earlier. (We find out she was only twelve. Statutory rape.) J doesn’t dig her “ghetto ass” scene. Yet he’s asked her to do brutal stuff. Scratching each other’s backs, right?
Finally, Craig’s able to talk Deran into letting Pope work at the bar. Little brother goes to big brother, asking if he’ll work there and do maintenance. It’d keep him out of the reach of their mother, at least at certain points in the day / night. Soon as Pope gets working he’s already finding heinous uncleanliness. “Everything is corrupted,” he says, ranting to himself while scrubbing caked grease off the kitchen appliances.
Creepy scene when Smurf pays for a fish just to watch it die on the pier. What a freak! Something poignant about watching younger Janine is she clearly had a death wish. She didn’t plan to live past 30. She purposefully took her hands off the wheel joyriding and crashed a car. What’s so poignant is, now that she’s older and she may be about to die, she doesn’t want to anymore.
J gets back to the house and sees Angela for the first time in a very long time. They catch up. She reminds him of Julia, obviously. And those aren’t easy memories. He lived with junkies, experiencing a far different life from those his uncles lived at Smurf’s place, so it can’t be easy to reunite with Angela. He had to shoot her up. That’s fucked. J’s starting to resent Pope, who seems willing to help his old friend but wasn’t willing enough to help his own sister.
Craig vandalises the plaza with the sculpture.
Later, he explains to Frankie that whoever owns the thing will put it away in storage after it getting vandalised— only with spray chalk— giving the crew a better chance at snatching the sculpture while it’s being moved. Smart fucking plan.
Back in the day, Colin pulled a gun on Janine claiming she was stealing from him. He nearly shot her. “You do want to live,” he told her. They found “true love” in their shared psychopathy. This dude is DEFINITELY Pope’s father— veteran with PTSD, before it was called PTSD, who led a life of violent crime.
Mia committing murder could come back to bite her in the ass. Or get J killed.
And in the meantime, Smurf discovers she has skin cancer. It’s already spread everywhere. Chances are, she’s going to die. This will change so many things.
A wild, heavy one. Many emotions going on, and we’re seeing so much of Smurf’s character flesh out, right as she’s finding out she has cancer. Crazy stuff about go happen when we get on the other side of this diagnosis. Look out.
“Tank” is next time.