TNT’s Animal Kingdom
Directed by Nick Copus
Written by Daniele Nathanson
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of 6×02, click here.
Pope’s still caught up in the ghosts of the past. He’s spent a whole life living under the thumb of Smurf. We get a glimpse of young Baz and young Pope pulling a robbery at school, grabbing up computers from the library to steal. Meanwhile, young Julia runs into a teacher in the halls. She pretends she’s there for honourable purposes while Baz and her brother sneak out with the equipment. (Great use of “Territorial Pissings” by Nirvana here.) Pope protected his sister, getting her out of the school, then escaped doing a few skate tricks along the way, as Julia met up with Baz in the van. Unfortunately Pope got caught after beating a man with a skateboard, that familiar rage coming out. Not a whole lot has changed, only the stakes.
J’s at home in bed with Lark, using his downtime to look at purchasing new properties. He’s also talking about more jobs, though has to keep a tighter lip around Lark, now that she isn’t the family lawyer anymore. Across town, Deran’s taking care of bar business, attempting to launder his dirty money without too much suspicion. He also talks to an old guy, Tre, who mentions people coming to Oceanside to “make life shitty for the rest of us.” Almost as if Tre’s talking about Smurf and the Cody family. Because Oceanside was a relatively quiet place before Smurf blew into town. It’d be a far different place without the Codys. But really, it’s Tre hoping the Cody family will do something about trouble in the neighbourhood.
At home, Pope is attempting to be homemaker like Smurf, making sandwiches for him and J. He then has a bit of a tense conversation with his nephew about the lot; J wants to sell it and make money off it, whereas Smurf has memories connected to the place and he tells his nephew: “Not everything‘s about money.” Flashback to Mama Smurf going to school, where her kids were in trouble. Janine took them home without any fuss, threatening legal action against the principal. Y’know, rather than try teaching any appropriate life lessons to her children.
Renn and Craig have their baby out at the beach. They’re trying to repair their relationship with her cousins keeping an eye on them while they spend time together. Not exactly a comfortable situation. Renn soon has to rush off to work and though Craig wants to spend more time with his child, she insists the baby’s going with her. Good on Craig for trying. He doesn’t come from good parenting, but he’s trying, albeit after fucking up a ton. Another flashback shows Janine ‘disciplining’ her kids, which is more just talking shit than anything significant. The major takeaway in this scene: Smurf let Julia drink openly in high school, setting the stage for later addiction issues in the girl’s future. Plus, Smurf had a strange relationship with both Baz and Pope, making that house/family a chaotic mess.
Current day, things with the Cody family are no less messy without Smurf. At the house, Pope and J receive a visit from Gia, who’s showed up on their doorstep to have a chat. Nobody’s happy to see each other. But suddenly Gia claims to have a job for the Codys to pull off. She’s heard they’ve been “laying low, staying out of trouble,” and now she might want to do business again. Pope isn’t ready to jump in bed with Gia just yet, and J certainly isn’t, either. Yet it might be worth their time, if the take is worth the effort. Later, J goes to see Gia, telling her they’re up for the job. She can tell he’s holding onto a grudge. It doesn’t much matter to J; the job, as of now, sounds good. We’ll see, though.
Flashback to Janine and Gia back in the day. Smurf traded the computers her children stole for some wardrobe additions from Gia, which Julia overhead, deeply unimpressed. It was never about just providing for the family, it was always about status and material possessions for Smurf.
Craig and Deran are scoping out the job, posing as city workers taking measurements on the street outside. Craig appears to be confident about the job while Deran’s not quite as excited. At home, J’s looking over plans for the building as he, Pope, and Craig try to figure out how to best get inside. There’s really NO job the Codys can’t do, especially with the criminal mind of Pope working overtime, finally seeming to take up the mantle of family leader in the wake of his mother’s death.
The influencer house Tre’s been complaining about is constant music and yelling and nonsense all night. Soon, Deran turns up to speak with Carson, the douchebag who apparently runs the house. He tells them to wrap up the party, but Carson and friends laugh, calling him a “boomer” (which has lost all of its literal meaning at this point and time in our ridiculous Western culture). Other folks at the party take off, obviously recognising Deran, however, things don’t go as smoothly for Carson, getting a bottle in the face. Nasty business. But it makes Tre happy.
Later that night, the Cody boys are putting their latest plan into action. It’s a bit of a loud plan, yet an effective one, as J sends up a bunch of fireworks to distract from the loudness of Pope’s entry through the building’s roof. Clever, clever lads. Cops turn up looking for the fireworks culprit, sending J off running, while the uncles are sneaking through the hole in the roof to steal all the valuables they can manage to carry out with them. Not long and the Codys have made it out, back into the van with the goods, and, as always, they make sure to leave the scene absolutely destroyed to wipe any physical evidence of their crime, as well as to piss off Gia this time. When Gia shows up angry at Pope she’s told: “You burned the bridges, not us.”
Craig and Deran are at each other’s throats. Neither of them are thinking straight. Deran keeps pushing his brother about Renn and the kid, calling him “whipped like a little bitch.” It’s sad to see the brothers not supporting each other, after getting no emotional support from Smurf most of their lives; then again, that’s probably why they’re like this now. Part of me thinks Deran’s just angry because his own life is in shambles, so he’s lashing out at Craig, who’s trying hard to keep his life together.
Flashback to Pope, watching Julia and Baz in the pool together. He looks hurt. Almost like Janine, who seemed to loathe her daughter for being younger and smarter. She shut down the topless swimming fast, immediately talking her daughter down as a “little drowned rat.” Then she brought up the school visit, lying to Julia, saying her daughter’s being expelled when the school actually believed Julia was smart and needed more encouragement. More proof that Smurf deliberately sabotaged her children’s lives to keep them dependent on her.
Great shots of J and Julia paralleled in the mirror, each of them feeling out of place in their own family, neither of them quite able to escape the Cody shackles. This final season is going to be a doozy.