TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 6: “Know Thy Enemy”
Directed by Laura Belsey
Written by Vanessa Baden Kelly
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Into the Black” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Ambo” – click here
In bed, Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark) tells Deran (Jake Weary) about getting caught while running drugs for Jack. He tells his boyfriend all about the DEA’s offer. He lays everything out on the table, including the fact the DEA were starting to ask about the Cody family. A huge wedge between two criminals in love.
Pope (Shawn Hatosy) got in late the night prior. Angela (Emily Deschanel) was left at home with sick Smurf (Ellen Barkin), who’s only getting worse. The oldest boy isn’t prepared to think about the next step, when “it gets bad.” Across town, Craig (Ben Robson) is sniffing coke, building a crib, and reading “mom websites” for when Renn (Christina Ochoa) has her baby. He seems almost excited, whereas she’s actually got to carry it. But is she holding anything back? She runs away from whatever relationship it is they have together, and Craig can’t figure her out.
More flashback to younger Janine (Leila George). She was like a shark, always on the move, never wanting to sit back too long and do nothing. She was always suspicious of outsiders, as well. And vindictive. Not exactly news to us. In present day, Smurf is withering away in bed, stuck in one place. She offers Angela thousands of dollars to get out of their lives— “fifteen–thousand,” in fact. But she’s refused.
J (Finn Cole) and Angela have a chat about whatever money grandma may leave behind when she dies. He warns to be wary of Smurf. Afterwards, he and his grandmother have a talk about a prospective job he might have lined up at a big music festival, with an angle via the bougie girl he’s banging. There could be upwards to $70K as a payout, on top of cash and jewellery from people on busses. Smurf also confides in J the name of her fence, Gia. Not like she wanted to, though. Not to mention Gia doesn’t quite play nice with J. Until she gets wind of Smurf’s cancer.
Pope attempts an honest chat with his mother, who’s less than forthright about her health. She doesn’t want to have those tough conversations. She keeps making guacamole and margaritas, feeding her boys as if nothing’s changed. She shoos Angela away for a “family meeting” and then J tells his uncles about the Chronic Dread Festival. The nephew proposes they’ll scout everything out that same afternoon.
Ironic to see younger Smurf juxtaposed with the older version of herself. “Why would you let your kid sleep in a house with a bunch of thieves?” is an almost laugh-out-loud moment, albeit a dark one, coming from a woman who goes on to raise a whole family of not only thieves but cold-blooded murderers— some of them, at least.
“No one’s harmless”
Smurf finds her cop buddy Dt. Neil Andre (James Remar) at a driving range. He’s not thrilled she showed up where other police could see them meeting. She wants info. She knows “someone is talking.” Things are getting INCREDIBLY SKETCHY! What if she finds out about Adrian? Oh, my. Everything for him and Deran is tough enough.
At the festival venue, J and his uncles scout. Much to plan in a short time. In a motel, Smurf is looking to buy “heavy artillery” from her gun contact. She loads up on gear. What’s she planning? Is this like a fail-safe for her in some way, for when the law closes in? Or, does she have something more disturbing in mind?
Adrian is getting ready to leave. He gets a visit from Pope, wondering why he’s going and what happened between him and Deran. Of course he’s paranoid. He worries maybe the big bro is there to kill him or something. This only prompts Pope to go to the bar, asking little bro what the hell’s happening. He’s concerned about loose ends.
Deran lashes out in frustration: “I‘m not you.”
That night, Deran goes to find Adrian. They try facing the difficult road laid out before them. Deran tells his boyfriend that Pope can “never know” about what’s going on. He won’t abandon their relationship. Rather, he’ll protect it at any cost.
And we’ve seen the lengths to which he’ll go to do that.
An intense episode. Things will only get more intense from here on in.
“Ambo” is next time.