Animal Kingdom 5×08: “Gladiators”

TNT’s Animal Kingdom
5×08: “Gladiators”
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Heath Corson

* For a recap & review of 5×07, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×09, click here.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Lord of the FliesA flashback shows us young Janine at a jewellery shop, picking out a few extravagances for herself. It was just a ruse for Jake and the gang to slip in with bug spray, choking the customers out. Jake, Pam, and Manny took charge when Janine walked out, and they got their hands on lots of goodies they’d be able to fence for cash later. But the manager hit the alarm, so the lads and Pam got out of there quick, though with plenty of pricey items.
Cut to current day. Pope’s trying to do Cassandra a solid, I guess. He’s back at Liam’s place where they were swimming recently, where he saw Liam treating Cassandra like a piece of shit. So he pulls his gun on Liam, who’s swimming in the pool blissfully. He orders the guy out of the water at gunpoint while Henry’s inside reading William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. (Funny, Smurf’s house feels like Lord of the Flies since she’s been gone.) Pope subdues the dad and goes inside to see the kid, but Henry’s already worried, even before he sees his dad tied up.

Back at Smurf’s place, J looks for Deran but can’t find him. He calls his uncle, getting no answer, either. At the cop shop, Renn’s picking Craig up after his foolish, drunken, high stunt the night prior. She isn’t happy with him, and he doesn’t make it any easier, starting to not give a shit about being a dad as much as he should. When Craig gets home his nephew’s waiting. J tells Craig about Agent Livengood looking for Deran, only to find his uncle already knows about it. Uncle Craig tells J about Adrian going off to Indonesia. Then J explains the coke problem with Pete. Craig’s not happy with his nephew, and his nephew isn’t happy about Adrian becoming a family problem rather than just a Deran issue.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - J & Uncle CraigThe whole Cody family’s going off the rails, both as a whole and individually. On the beach, Deran’s getting back to the surf, though he almost seems reluctant, probably thinking of Adrian. We later see J at the beach, where he gets a call from Lark about legal documents; she wants him to come meet her in San Diego. Across town, Craig’s back at Smurf’s house post party, drinking near empties and scooping up every last little crumb of cocaine left lying around. He goes for his stash in a hollowed out football when he can’t find anything more. Then he starts drinking full beers from the fridge. An absolute mess. A great time to go for a ride on the bike, man! Excellent idea, Craig.

On a road somewhere, Pope’s driving with Henry in the front seat and the kid’s dad in the back. He insists he’s not being paid, and that he’s not going to do anything to Henry. Liam keeps on pleading that he’ll pay to get himself out of this situation. But that’s not stopping Pope. He stops eventually, ordering Liam out of the vehicle to start walking. He marches Liam out a ways, forcing the man onto his knees. He doesn’t shoot Liam. He leaves the guy there with a bottle of water, and tosses a knife in the grass nearby. Then he gets in his truck and drives off with Henry. Pope thinks he’s somehow helping, when he’s really just traumatising a new generation the way he was similarly traumatised by Smurf’s life of crime.

At the bar, Deran gets a visit from an angry Craig. He hears about Pete getting rid of the coke, and Agent Livengood asking questions, freaking Pete out. Things are crumbling, faster and faster. Craig blames Deran because of the DEA agent, resulting in J taking the coke out of the house. They’re both angry at J, but Craig’s angry at his brother and his nephew. There’s nothing keeping all the Cody men together as a unit since Smurf’s death. She was the glue, and now they’re coming apart at the seams. When Craig leaves the bar he gets back on the bike, does more coke, and heads into a store to pull a quick robbery. He gets cash from the drawer and takes off, as the store’s cashier calls the cops. Craig goes from there to another robbery, hitting another bump before heading inside. He repeats this again, and again, moving across the city like a fucking menace, desperate for cash. Jesus. One store owner starts firing on Craig, putting a bullet in the bike. Craig’s no worse for wear and jets out of there before cops turn up.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - Pope and LiamJ meets with Lark to sign more papers. He’s hanging onto the supposed “family business.” He’s also asking about what it’d take to divide things up, y’know, if things… change. Lark says it’d be easier if J’s uncles bought him ought. That’s not something he’s going to be able to sell to them.
So, what might J do next?
Flashback to Janine and the gang, after their latest job. They got back to her place, where Jake’s wife was waiting, along with a baseball bat. Janine thought it hilarious. But the jilted wife started smashing things up and Janine got serious. Janine sent her off, and Jake went running, too. Nasty stuff that didn’t need to happen that way.
Yet that was Janine, forever and ever, amen.

Cassandra gets a knock at her door, finding Pope there with Henry. Pope says they’ve got to go. He’s going to get Cassandra and the boy across the border into Canada, so the mother and son can be together again. He isn’t going with them, just sending the pair off with cash in hand. Cassandra goes along with it all. She thanks Pope for what he’s done, in spite of how things were left with them previously. Regardless of how Pope handled things with Henry he’s actually trying to help Cassandra, and maybe that’s a good thing; maybe. At the same time, Deran goes to see Pete about the coke, and Pete makes clear he’s never dealing with the Codys again. Plus, Pete says if any of them come back they’re not going to leave. Whoa.

When Craig’s finished his robbery spree he heads to a bar, sitting down for a drink inside. Little celebration with the good tequila. Craig downs shot after shot, before pulling out a load of cash to keep the booze flowing. This will definitely end well, judging from previous behaviour. At home, Craig tells Deran they should be pulling robberies like he did all day. When J gets back he and Deran get into an argument; he goes so far as to suggest Deran should’ve shot Adrian, and Uncle Craig doesn’t exactly disagree. J gets a punch in the face from Uncle Deran, and Craig tries to stop his brother, getting punched too, tossed into a beer bottle. J and Deran fight until Craig tosses J into the pool, and Craig nearly kills his nephew, forcing Deran to jump in and stop his brother. Holy fucking shit! What an absolute breakdown. Easily the worst the family’s ever been.
Perfect time for Pope to get home. Although he’s home for good.
Inside the beat up uncles repair themselves. It’s basically if toxic masculinity were an entire family. Pope goes to see J, finding his nephew packing up to get out of there. He won’t have that, though. It seems like Pope’s determined to keep the family together, even if it means keeping them in line, too. Has his time in the desert changed him? Or, just made him crazier? Only time will tell.
Father Son Holy Gore - Animal Kingdom - J's Black Eye

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