TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 4: “Tank”
Directed by Megan Griffiths
Written by Addison McQuigg
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Man Vs. Rock” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Reap” – click here
After her diagnosis, Smurf (Ellen Barkin) isn’t interested in more doctor appointments. She needs to start some form of treatment, or have surgery, or both. She sleeps by the pool all night smoking weed. Angela (Emily Deschanel) is curious but told to let it go by Pope (Shawn Hatosy), who’s trying to ignore his mother. He can’t help but ask Smurf what’s wrong. Mom talks about “Tank the cat” from back when Pope and his sister were little. Julia thought he killed it. Pope denies it, unsure why Smurf would ever bring it up. Even in her wounded state she’s dangerous. Like a snake. And what about Angela’s comment? What did Mama Smurf do to her own daughter?
Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) goes home to find she’s locked out of the apartment. All her stuff is tossed onto the sidewalk. Elsewhere, J (Finn Cole) is trying to get rid of his truck after Mia gunned a man down in the street, getting a mechanic to sell him another vehicle on the sly. Back with the gang, the nephew and his uncles plot how to steal the sculpture for Frankie (Dichen Lachman). J’s not happy going solely on what “Frankie said.” Later we see Pope’s having a change of heart. He tells his nephew he didn’t do enough for Julia, finally understanding Smurf’s lied to him his entire life.
Deran (Jake Weary) has Pope going Maniac Mr. Clean on the kitchen equipment at the bar. He has to talk seriously with J about the job when his nephew turns up worried about “the risks.” The uncle shuts him down, fairly gently but also kind of harsh. Deran has his own troubles with the other crew he’s used to pull jobs— cops are snooping around about their friend’s death. Not to mention there’s Adrian and his whole DEA mess. He gets an unexpected visit from Smurf. She tells him “You‘re a very bad liar,” and that resonates deeply, considering he’s going to have to tell really good lies the deeper he gets in shit with the DEA.
More younger Janine (Leila George) and her dude Colin (Grant Harvey). They were off in the van together when he woke her up, quickly explaining they had to run. They ran into the dark woods. After a while they stopped and hid. They slept out there. Colin found a dead rabbit to eat, avoiding the subject of why they were fleeing into the forest while he skins it. They talked about their upbringings, learning to fend for themselves. Smurf told him she lived “in a car for five years” while her mother did sex work.
Soundtrack note: “Machine Gun” (Live at the Fillmore East) by Jimi Hendrix
In present day, Smurf snorts coke with Craig (Ben Robson) until he passes out. She and Frankie chat about kids, the latter unable to have them because of a hysterectomy. Hard to tell if Janine can recognise a “good mother” in another woman, or if her concept of motherhood’s so warped she has no idea what constitutes a good one.
“Just don’t act like I’m soft.
Because I’m not.”
On the day of the job, Deran starts to think maybe J’s right. He’s shushed by Craig, who wants to believe in his lady. Might prove to be trouble. Can she actually be trusted? This is the least of their troubles. Smurf is having Lena’s room painted over. Hard to gauge how her eldest son will react after trying to hold onto a piece of his niece.
The job’s set. The boys setup a roud detour. They get the truck hauling the sculpture separated from their security, holding up the two men inside at gunpoint. They take the GPS off and rig the sculpture with a tarp, changing the sign on back to say HAZARDOUS MATERIALS. They’re done in time as security rushes off in the wrong direction with Pope and Deran leading the GPS away from the truck. J leaves on dirt bike, tossing a “bleach bomb” in the construction truck. Craig takes the sculpture to Frankie’s driver.
Easy. Like. Sunday. Morning.
Except Frankie doesn’t have any money for Craig, who wasn’t under the impression they’d have to wait for the cash. She gets $40K to tide the Cody family over, for now. Oh, and Craig has Renn (Christina Ochoa) showing up at his door later. That’s complicated.
More younger Janine, chastising her crew of “twitchy assholes with guns” for making fun of Colin’s obvious shell shock from Vietnam while he wasn’t around. She knew what it was like to be damaged, and recognised another shattered soul.
Current day. Pope gets home to see Lena’s room painted and angrily goes to find Smurf, seeing she’s passed out on the bathroom floor. Poor mom is extremely ill. She can’t ignore her deteriorating health forever. She isn’t only throwing up, she’s got a bloody mouth from brushing her teeth.
An intense chapter of Season 4. Animal Kingdom is always winding itself up tight for a massive blowout. This time around, everything’s that much tighter, and, in turn, more dangerous, too. It’s going to be fun to watch how the downward spiral this season goes. Judging by how things developed in this episode, the rest of them will be crazy.
“Reap” is next time.