TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Carla Frankenbach
* For a recap & review of 5×06, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×08, click here.
More flashbacks to Janine back in the day, making a home of her own in Oceanside. She had help from Uncle Manny while they also tackled figuring out their next job. They talk about young Pope seeing Jake get beat up brutally. Janine didn’t seem to think it was a big deal or that it affected her boy, yet it was plain to see the kid was messed up, for a number of reasons. She left the kids with Manny to go meet with Max and give the guy his cut. Uncle Manny got caught up worrying about his gambling debts while he babysat little Pope and Julia. He decided it was more important to go deal with that, leaving Julia to look after her brother.
Jump to present day. Pope’s teaching his new friend Cassandra how to shoot a gun. He asks her to shoot him: “I deserve it.” He remembers his mother pointing the gun at him before J shot her. He realises that Smurf wanted him to die in that moment. Pope puts Cassandra’s hand holding the gun against his chest. He says Smurf wanted him dead because “she knew what I was.” But Cassandra won’t hurt him.
At home, Craig’s getting suggestions about potential heists from Renn. She suggests a place nearby and he tells her doing things close to home is stupid. She’s hooked on the lifestyle now after a single job. She wonders “what‘s next.” Craig would rather push her towards becoming a realtor. What’s funny is that in other situations men are trying to control women, pushing them not to pursue new things or new careers, and Craig’s here doing everything he can to try getting Renn out of a criminal lifestyle. Granted, he’s still a criminal, too. Guess it’s the thought that counts. We see Craig go out looking for rent, not taking nicely to people bringing up his mother’s name and any deals they had with her. He’s taking out those problems at home on others and it’s not good. At Smurf’s house, J tells Deran about the cop who came around, suggesting they can forget a good working relationship. Deran’s hesitant at first, but agrees with his nephew, it’d help them get an idea about if they might be targets for the cops.
Flashback to Janine on the beach meeting with Max, handing over money. He wanted her to step up her game, and she wasn’t used to living life on other peoples’ terms. This is also when she met Billy (Anthony Konechny) for the first time, eventually leading to Deran’s conception at some point down the road. Cut to the present, Craig and Deran are finishing up a surf. Deran’s trying to talk to his brother, who’s being a dick. Craig’s mad at him over Renn, as well as the way Deran keeps attempting to run things. They’re both mad at each other but they need each other, now more than ever. In the wake of Smurf, the Cody family only continues to fall apart.
Elsewhere, Cassandra takes Pope to a house and they head out back to the pool. She takes off most her clothes and gets in the water, as Pope just walks in with his clothes on, before he falls headfirst in, floating happily under the surface a moment. They’re still feeling the drugs they took up at the farm, surely. But it’s also generally the happiest we’ve seen Pope. Yet he also still believes he’s a horrible person, and though I feel bad for him in certain ways he actually is a horrible person who’s done horrible things.
We see Renn back looking for product. Except her usual guy won’t let her back into the game. Hmm. Not good. Because then she goes out and kicks the shit out of a young dealer, taking product for herself.
The legal stuff with the Codys and Pamela are being worked out. J’s trying to get the paperwork finished along with Lark. He then hands over the evidence taken from the safe, telling Lark the other stuff found in it is their “finder‘s fee.” At the store, Craig runs into local kids who know him, asking for him to buy them beer. He decides to throw a party at Smurf’s place instead. At the same time, Deran gets Pope on the phone, asking where he’s been and letting him know they have the house back in their name. He wants to know when his brother will come home, but Pope isn’t ready to give answers. We see Cassandra talking to a kid when a guy comes out and yells at her. It’s her ex, Liam; he owns that pool. And the boy’s their son.
Poor Cassandra’s got her own secrets and difficulties, like anybody else.
“I am the Devil”
At the bar, Deran meets the owner of a new place, Son of Beach. The guy’s name is Parker (Trent Garrett). He’s there to look for missing product that Deran demanded the supply guys leave there as part of the usual order. Parker isn’t playing around, he tries to get forceful. That’s when Deran makes clear the dude needs to leave. That’ll obviously be more trouble for Deran and the bar. But for now Parker leaves. Afterwards, J comes by with the paperwork from the house. He talks about the crazy party at the house and Craig. They don’t talk long. J’s going to see Pete, hoping there’s a buyer for the drugs they’re holding. Back at the house, Craig’s railing coke and watching the party get crazier around him. He’s unsatisfied though and takes the party someplace else.
Flashback to young Janine arriving home, unable to find her kids. So she went out looking everywhere frantically.
In current day, Pope tries to ask Cassandra about her boy, but the words don’t come out so well. She gets angry, telling him to leave. But everything Pope knows, and says, is shaded by the experiences of having a mother like Smurf. Even when he tries to be good he’s bad. There’s also a rumour Deran hears at the bar. People say that the Cody family “took care of Adrian.” People are questioning why Adrian left, and where he’s been. Lots of talk in the community of Oceanside since Smurf died. No good for the family, or their business(es). While Deran’s at the bar, Craig’s brought his young friends out to the pier. He crawls up on top of one of the structures while everyone looks on with a mixture of concern and excitement. Then the cops show up, too. Even the Coast Guard come by. Then Craig takes a leap into the water below.
Another flashback and Janine found her kids again. Little Pope had called Pam from a payphone somewhere. He and Julia were out looking for their mom. Pope was worried Max might’ve done something to Smurf. Just another wild day in the life of Janine Cody and her children. Yet another reason for Pam to think her friend was out of control. She didn’t try to lecture her friend this time. She was only there to provide a little comfort. She told Janine she’d ultimately always be there for her, no matter what happened.
Soundtrack: “Bad Feeling” by Reuben and the Dark plays as Deran arrives back at the house.
Big problems when J goes to see Pete, getting accused of trying to set Pete up.
Agent Livengood’s been there. That caused Pete to get rid of the drugs; oh, fuck.
And J’s finally discovering the DEA agent is obsessed with getting Deran.
I love this series and, somehow, it continues to get more complex, in a good way, since Smurf’s death.
Smurf was a huge, central part of the show, and her shadow keeps looming large over her boys.