TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Directed by Batan Silva
Written by Shukree Hassan Tilghman
* For a recap & review of 5×03, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×05, click here.
Deran’s finishing up a morning surf when he finds Agent Livengood lurking around his car. The agent talks about Adrian using an “internet cafe,” talking to his sister and also, somehow, receiving money. Naturally the whole money piques the interest of Livengood. He’s waiting for Adrian to crack and sneak back into the US. He’s pushing for Deran to “play ball” with the DEA. Elsewhere, Craig’s at home playing dad in the middle of rolling up a joint, trying to take care of things while Renn’s away. He soon receives a visit from Uncle Deran, who wants to discuss the coke situation from the plane. Deran is obviously sick of things getting run by their nephew, so what’s he going to do about it? Later on we find Craig at the surf shop, getting advice from a young guy at the counter about how to take care of his baby boy. What I notice, more and more, is that Craig—in spite of his lingering habits—
Meanwhile we see Pope’s in trouble. He has a bloody head and he’s cuffed by police. He’s disoriented and won’t, or can’t, tell the police his identity. The cops know him as the legendary Pope Cody, though this isn’t going to get Pope out of trouble. He’s put in a cop car and taken away, despite not even knowing what’s going on. Back at Smurf’s old house, J and Natalie have had a night together. But they’re interrupted. Deran wants to talk with J about Pete and the drugs, though J doesn’t have many answers for him. He’s concerned about the cocaine at the house, particularly with a DEA agent sniffing around him. He’s likewise concerned about the money. And things are getting very tense between members of the Cody family. Then Deran tells J it’s time for the truth to come out.
So J and Deran head down to the bowling alley. His uncle also suggests to sell the condo and they can split the money. In back, Deran makes J open up the safe and give him the combination, too. In the safe are Smurf’s legal papers and other things, such as “petty cash” for the business—Deran demands his cut immediately. Deran further explains that J has to move the coke there to stash. Hmm. Is it possible that Deran would give up his own nephew in order to satisfy Agent Livengood with a bust? After he goes to see J, he heads to meet Pete. He wants to be the one in charge, to hear things first. But he realises J’s already been there, and they’re each working against one another. Pete tells Deran he’s waiting for a single buyer. Not great. Unless they use Frankie like J propositioned. It’s either that or the bills keep piling up. Craig also wants to be the one to deal with Frankie, not J.
A flashback shows young Janine hooking up with Jake again, while little Pope spies on them fucking. Little Julia pulls her brother away and explains the rules, that they have to keep out when mom has company. She’s weirded out by him standing there, watching their mother naked. Early realisations of Pope’s warped psyche. Jump forward to Pope in a hospital, coming to and realising where he is for the first time. He gets up to leave when a woman named Dr. Franklin asks him to stay. He’s able to tell the doc his name. He finds out he didn’t hurt anybody, but he was wandering around, bleeding, mumbling, and knocking on random doors. Now he’s on an “involuntary psychiatric hold” and he can’t just walk out of there.
J’s busy gathering up all the coke he’s stashed around Smurf’s place when an officer drops by, one who was at the scene where Pope was found. The cop tells J about Pope being in the hospital and how they found him. Certainly a concern for J and the entire family. Across town, Craig’s employing the dude from the surf shop, Blaise, to babysit his kid a while so he can go take care of business. Craig goes to see Frankie, upset about the “shitty deal” on the table. He’s also not sure he can genuinely trust Frankie, considering what happened between the two of them the last time. It becomes a hard negotiation as they battle over percentages, settling on 2% for Frankie. Craig warns Frankie to stay away from his nephew. Back at the bowling alley, Deran’s dipping back into the safe and grabbing money, as well as a document that has a picture of Pam in it. Oh, my.
At the hospital, Pope’s being examined by Dr. Franklin, as she asks him about his blackouts. He then tells the doc Smurf used to give him “medicine,” yet he doesn’t know what it was, nor does he know what it was meant to treat. He talks of his mother’s sudden death, taking him back to when J shot her in the head. The doc says Pope needs to get away from what triggers his trauma, believing he’s suffering from a “dissociative fugue” in the wake of his mother’s death. Pope actually agrees to being held for another 24 hours. Perhaps he’s discovering the value of therapy. However, soon J shows up to ask Pope what’s been happening and it’s clear that J has become a new corrupting influence in his uncle’s life, in the absence of Smurf. It’s compelling to see J go from innocence to corrosive criminality over the course of five seasons.Back in the day, Janine was trying to get a job going to rob ATMs. She was pushing Jake and Manny into helping he pull it off, even though Manny was very hesitant. Manny didn’t think there was any way to properly rob the ATMs without destroying the money. But, ever the optimist, Janine had someone who was able to solve that problem for them. Jake was already onboard, and it seems as if Manny was leaning that way, too. In current day, Pope makes J bring him back to a familiar location, the old trailer where we earlier saw his young self spying on his mother and Jake in bed. He starts to feel his mother’s presence. Then he locates his vehicle again. Not before a woman asks “Did you find her?” Turns out that Pope was looking for his sister…
What is Deran doing? He’s found Pam after all these years, and she knows right off the bat it’s one of the Cody brothers. She’s heard someone’s been snooping around, as well. She knew it was one of Janine’s “bad ass kids“—as if they had any other choice in life but to become someone like their mother. A convenient flashback shows us Janine and her crew backing a truck up to Apex America Bank, preparing to pull one of the ATMs right out of the wall. Everything’s hooked up and Janine puts the pedal down, hauling the ATM through the bank doors. After that the plan to get the money actually worked.
In present day, Pam and Deran have a chat. He gets straight to asking about Smurf’s will. Though he really doesn’t know anything about his mother and Pam’s history, either. Pam isn’t afraid of Deran, though, even when she notices he brought his gun. She does make clear he won’t take “a goddamned thing” from her. But she says the Codys have a chance to earn what they believes is theirs to own. This should get interesting! At the garage, Pete’s visited by J, the latter finding out Deran’s been there. Pete says he doesn’t want anything to do with Cody family squabbles. J wants to get rid of the coke now, so Pete wants another 20% on the deal; he tries going down to 10%, but Pete won’t budge. That probably won’t go over well with Deran, who’s expecting a certain amount of cash to come back on the deal.
“You see, power can be taken, or it can be earned.”
While Craig’s destroying all the scooters on the beachfront, J and Natalie are banging one out at home while there’s a small party going on outside. Not quite the place for Pope, especially when it likely reminds him of the days when Smurf would throw parties; he’s not able to escape anything that reminds him of her. He finds Deran in the living room, searching for the cocaine. He also guilts his brother for not being there when things were bad. Afterwards, Deran asks J about the coke, the nephew explaining “it‘s gone.” J says things will be fine. Yet just the way he and Deran are interacting lately, we know that’s not the truth.
And, really, how long more can Pope’s sanity hold out? Not much longer.
Pope’s already lashing out at J for shooting his mother. Shit.