TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 5: “Reap”
Directed by Matt Kester
Written by Cherie Nowlan
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Tank” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Into the Black” – click here
Young Janine (Leila George) and Colin (Grant Harvey) were doing some driving. She took him for a nice spin in a parking lot— literally, she did donuts like crazy. They were preparing for more heists, so Janine could learn to “drive faster” when the chips were down and cops were hot on their tail.
In present day, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) finds out about the “aggressive and advanced melanoma” with which Smurf (Ellen Barkin) has been diagnosed. Much as he hates his mother he’s stunned. And maybe, just maybe, this illness might sucker him back into her arms. She might even use it to that end, knowing her.
J (Finn Cole) confronts Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez). She’s threatening to blackmail him. She suggests grandma won’t help her grandson if she knows all the stuff he does behind the family’s back. Their situation is rapidly becoming more tense and, potentially, very scary.
Meanwhile, Renn (Christina Ochoa) is back, pregnant, in Craig’s (Ben Robson) life. At the beach, Deran (Jake Weary) goes to see Jack (Brendan Miller) re: Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark) working with him. This rubs the drug dealer the wrong way. Again, a situation gets sketchier for one of the Cody boys.
All the while, Smurf holds onto her cancer secret, with only Pope to keep her confidence.
Back in the day, things with Smurf’s crew were getting rough. Manny (Rigo Sanchez) had to put his foot down with some of the guys who found Colin tough to work with, explaining the Vietnam vet’s brand of crazy was what they needed. He was also questioning why Janine was around, trying to determine her purpose.
Everybody at the bar watches Adrian on TV finally do great at a competition. Deran watches on proudly, yet he’s concerned. His boyfriend’s into much deeper shit than he ever could’ve imagined. He’s already worried because of the drugs. He’s got NO CLUE his man is on the hook with the DEA. Neither does he realise he’s slowly being pulled into the orbit of the federal government inadvertently.
Things are difficult for Pope, balancing his mother’s secrets and trying to stop her from kicking Angela (Emily Deschanel) out of the house. It isn’t an easy balancing act, either. He struggles in many ways. Pope’s the best character, apart from Smurf, on Animal Kingdom. He’s an immoral man. He’s done horrible things. Behind all that’s a wounded animal, a tortured soul. It’s compelling to watch his journey.
Craig meets Frankie (Dichen Lachman) and she tells him they’re not going to get as much as was promised for the job. She says her guy needed more time to pull together the cash, so she negotiated another job. Doesn’t sit right with Craig, obviously. She patronises him, warning not to “step over dollars to pick up dimes.” Not good enough.
“Nothing’s where it’s supposed to be”
While Pope is waiting for his mother to die he’s climbing into bed with Angela. Smurf stands outside the door listening. She’s such an unsettling person. Not to mention there’s a sea of things behind those eyes we don’t know yet. Like the true, disturbing extent of her relationship with her oldest son, and the recent mention, via Angela, that Mama Smurf did something unforgivable to her daughter, too.
More of younger Janine’s days with the gang. Colin and Janine tried to tell Manny about a job at a “hippie commune” they could pull for lots of cash. The leader didn’t want to move away from hitting banks. Manny wasn’t willing to trust a woman, passing it off on the fact she was new to the crew. Macho bank robbing dudes aren’t exactly the types to defer to female judgement.
At home, Smurf gets a visit from Frankie, who’s brought money. Mama knows her boys are doing things on their own, not telling her. She’s not telling them things, too. Pope is at the bar working, trying to keep her secrets from Deran and Deran’s wondering why mom is partying so hard lately. They’re interrupted when Adrian turns up. Deran asks him about the drugs and he says he’s trying to make his own money. His man only wants to keep him safe. He just doesn’t know the whole extent of Adrian’s problem.
Later, Smurf reveals to the rest of the boys what’s going on with Frankie. They’re not happy to hear Craig hasn’t told them. She’s pissed at “jobs with outsiders.” There’s an interesting parallel between her and Manny back in the day. She’s acting similar to him— probably for good reason. In the meantime, the boys are imploding. Craig goes hard at Pope for “living with mommy” and this starts a fist fight between the two, though Deran and J break them up.
At the DEA, Adrian finds out he has to give a deposition in court. He’s got talk to a detective. This isn’t what he originally agreed upon. The worst part? The detective is a familiar face from the Cody family’s recent past. Detective Pearce (Gil Birmingham) is still gunning for Smurf and the boys. This is a juicy get for him.
The Cody lads are tracking down the rich prick who’s stiffed them on the latest job. They chase him on motorcycle and hold a gun on him: “Pay your bill, shithead.” Craig takes the guy’s watch for good measure, hoping the message gets across to him. That evening, J gets attacked by Tupi outside the bowling alley, nearly getting killed before grabbing his gun. But Tupi runs off. J’s not safe. Just ANOTHER headache to handle.
Great episode! Season 4 is clipping along. The flashbacks to Smurf’s younger days are great context, as we figure out more about her. Also, her illness adds a whole new dynamic to the family. For a while, things were okay between the brothers, but everything happening now is tearing them apart, and the waters are choppier than ever.
“Into the Black” is next time.