TNT’s Animal Kingdom
5×11: “Trust the Process”
Directed by Shawn Hatosy
Written by Shukree Hassan Tilghman
* For a recap & review of 5×10, click here.
* For a recap & review of 5×12, click here.
The Codys now have a dead DEA agent on their hands, right on the floor of Deran’s bar. Shit is about to go south real quick. Pope calmly starts digging the bullet out of the wall, and J takes control of the clean job, telling his uncles they’re going to “bleach everything” from the floor to the ceiling. They’ve also got to get rid of Livengood’s car, not to mention his corpse. The nephew and his uncles get to work quick.
We’re given another flashback—not quite sure what the point of these flashbacks are at this point in the series, if I’m honest, especially when they’re solely focused on Smurf—of young Janine keeping her eye on Max. All these flashbacks are doing at this point is chopping up episodes. Kind of annoying. Like, we know Smurf is a badass. Show us more of how she messed the kids up, because that’s ultimately all that matters now when it comes to Smurf.
J, Deran, Pope, and Craig prepare to be rid of Livengood’s car. They take every precaution possible to stay invisible while they do it. However, they’re still in bed with a cop now, and they’ve kinda got to play by his rules for the time being until they can figure out a way to get leverage on him. They have the bullet that killed Livengood, so that’s something. But cops are greasy, and a dirty cop is even greasier. Can’t be trusted. J and Pope take the truck to get rid of the car, having a conversation about potentially “offing a cop.” J sees no upside to doing that, whereas his Uncle Pope thinks differently. They drop off the dead DEA agent and the vehicle, but the guy they meet finds out who it is he’s disposing of and gets cold feet, wanting $25K now to get the job done. Plus, J and Pope have to do more driving, too.
Another flashback, again, shows us a bit more of the kids. Little Pope is off by himself, not talking to anybody, while little Baz and Julia hang out on the swing set. Janine was there to talk with Baz’s mom, an exotic dancer, who gives her a bit of info on Max. What’s her plan here? Is she going to murder Max? Big jump from robbery to executions.
In current day, Deran and Craig keep waiting on word from Pope and J. They also get a visit from Frankie, to hopefully start setting up the next job. She has a guy who does money transfers for “big players.” A big operation, moving a “quarter of a million on any given day.” Lots of cash to pillage. Though the timing’s got to be right. Things aren’t exactly running smoothly for the Cody family at the moment.
In the desert, J and Pope come to an isolated house where they’re meant to meet somebody. They soon see a couple dudes waiting. They get the body out for the men and bring it inside. The men want J and Pope to cut off one of Livengood’s hands; a kind of “calling card” that’ll throw people off the trail, probably signifying cartel involvement. The nephew has to do the deed. He gets more instruction from the men, about what to do with the hand and everything else. Then the men take the body to a tunnel below the house that will lead them across the border underground.
Everything’s setup with Frankie for the next job, after Deran decides he’s ready to rock. She then tells them she wants to be cut in on the job for half the take. That’s a big payday. But Frankie knows she’ll be a suspect after the job, so she wants to get out “for good.” And the Codys are the ones actually doing the job. So Deran comes up with an agreement.
Flashback to Janine, slipping undercover into the strip club wearing a nice outfit and a blonde wig while “Edge of Seventeen” plays on the speakers. Not long and Max turns up to take a seat on pervert row by the stage. Except eventually Max leaves, and Baz’s mom Linda slips out of there, trying to avoid Janine. That’s when Smurf finds out Linda spilled the beans to Max.
In the desert, J and Pope finish wiping off their prints and leaving the vehicle out there with Livengood’s hand. Weird to see Pope looking hesitant and gloomy while J’s the one acting cold and disconnected. Maybe the uncle’s beginning to see how he’s carrying on the family trauma, helping to rot the younger generation of the Codys to the core, similar to how Smurf once rotted him from the inside out.
At the bar, Deran and Craig are prepping tools for the latest job, as the former does a little “MacGyvering” to rig up a tracking device to a packet of cash. Frankie’s all ready to go do her thing now, too. She heads over to the union office, where she’s going to see the Wizard (Peter Murnik). The guys there look less like tradesmen in a union, more like white supremacists; a name like the Wizard doesn’t help, either. Yet things seem okay. Frankie goes upstairs to meet the Wizard, discussing getting herself to Costa Rica. She has to come up with a secret password, choosing “freedom.” Done deal.
Things in the desert are finished, as well. Pope mentions that he and Julia were “never really kids.” He’s trying to tell J they’re different, in a fundamental way. J had time to be a kid, before Smurf came along, and even though his mother was a heroin addict he wasn’t as corrupted then as he was when grandma became part of his life. Proper time for a flashback when young Janine rushed home to find Max waiting with the kids. She tried to shield her son and daughter, taking time to talk quietly with Max, but he began slapping her around. Max grabbed her gun, tossing it aside, and pulled his own. So little Pope stabbed Max in the leg, getting punched for it. This gave Janine time to grab the gun and shoot Max dead in front of her children, telling them to “look away.”
THIS set of flashbacks did what the rest of them should have done, showing us how deeply Smurf traumatised her children. Also a perfect parallel with Janine needing to dispose of Max’s corpse, similar to how her boys and her grandson have been getting rid of Livengood.
The Codys are working on the rest of the new job’s plans when they see the GPS tracker on the money moving. So they set out to discover where it’s being moved. And they get to a shipping yard, a massive one. It’s locked down, obviously, especially “since 9/11.” Goddamn.