TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Season 4, Episode 8: “Ambo”
Directed by David Rodriguez
Written by Bradley Paul
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Know Thy Enemy” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “SHTF” – click here
Deran (Jake Weary) talks to Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark) about Agent Livengood (David DeSantos). He figures the only way out is to get dirt on him. He hasn’t come clean about everything in which he’s involved. “I don‘t kill people,” he tells Adrian, knowing full well what he’s done to protect them already.
At the airport, J (Finn Cole) tracks down Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) car. He’s got no idea where she’s gone. At home, Pope (Shawn Hatosy) has no idea either. He hears about his mother leaving when Angela (Emily Deschanel) suggests a movie night. He has things to do. She’s trying to keep him connected to their past with a “horror fest” on VHS, yet he resists getting too close.
More of younger Smurf (Leila George) and the crew. They were looking for Pam (Milauna Jackson) after she robbed their $8,000. They found a place where she was staying in a trailer court. She’d already fled. Smurf was sick of letting the men lead after the latest fiasco. She got talking to a little boy, trying to find info on where Pam went.
For the latest job, Deran steals a paramedic vehicle. They’ve got uniforms and everything needed to infiltrate the stadium appropriately. The uncles and their nephew have a meeting, in Smurf’s absence, running things over so the plan is concrete. Craig (Ben Robson) worries about who’ll “bake the pie” after the job, due to its symbolism— tradition runs strong in this family of thieves.
The job must go ahead, regardless of whether Smurf is around.
While the uncles start doing their thing, J goes with Olivia (Kelli Berglund) into the belly of the beast with her mother. He gets a nice look at all the security, as well as the procedures they follow, the times of their patrols, so on. He texts his uncles to let them know how long they have to get things done, setting Craig and Deran / Pope off on their respective tasks. Deran and Pope start stealing equipment while Craig hooks up a party bus with nitrous oxide so he can rob money+jewellery off the knocked out guests. After that, the Cody boys get a clean exit due to their vehicle and disguises.
Everything gets fucked up when they’re crashed into by a transport truck. A man in a mask gets out, followed by another masked person in a car. They hold the brothers at gunpoint, stealing their stolen goods. “Tell your nephew I said hi,” one of them says. Clearly it’s Tupi (Eddie Ramos). Shit’s about to get REAL! Not only have they lost their score, they’ve got to get out of their before the cops show. They take what they can, bleaching everything else. They barely make it away before sirens arrive.
At the bar, the boys clean up and ice their wounds. They try to figure out who it was that hit them. J eventually turns up. They’ve got to cover their asses so nothing looks suspicious. After Craig and Deran leave, Pope confronts J. He thinks something’s fishy. Across town, Tupi and Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez) count their take, oblivious to how bad things are going to get for them.
Back in the day, Smurf and her crew finally caught up with Pam, who suggested they work together. Pam knew about the baby, wondering what Smurf was going to do and if she’d tell Colin. Janine offered not to tell the men where she was, if she got the van and whatever money was left. She wasn’t interested in talking about motherhood, or confronting the realities of her situation.
J goes to see Pete (Reynaldo Gallegos) about the heist. Mia and Tupi are questioned about it. Things don’t go as well as Tupi expected. He’s quickly put down with a bullet to the back of the head. Mia gets a second chance to come clean before she becomes more “addition by subtraction” to make the whole thing easier on Pete.
It’s J who’s left with that decision. He listens to Mia talk a good game. She reveals to him: “I killed Baz.” She explains Pete had her do it, paid by Smurf. And J kills her. In the aftermath, he pays Pete to get rid of the corpses, telling him about grandma’s cancer. He’s going to take charge, whether his uncles like it or not.
After younger Smurf got back from her solo trip to find Pam the men wanted answers. She told them a lie and kept the remaining cash for herself, too. This was the beginning of her power. She started to realise what she brought to the table. She cut Colin in behind the rest of the crew’s back. Perfect image of Janine’s feminism in the criminal world as she stuffed a wad of bills down her man’s pants, subverting the typical stripper image.
“They’re all I’ve got”
An intense chapter of Season 4. Going to be interesting to watch how all these altered dynamics continue to play out, from J’s quest for power and his fully warped morality, to Adrian feeling he’s in over his head even with Deran.
“SHTF” is next time.