Organized crime is built off of loyalty, trust, and respect. Any great crime family you have ever seen fall apart is because of the absence of those three elements. No matter the race, ethnicity, religion, or creed, those are the mainstays. In Animal Kingdom, the only way the Codys can survive is through maintaining their loyalty and trust. Also, they must maintain relationships Smurf (Leila George) has built throughout her life to get them this far, or new ones to replace those.
Last we saw the Codys, J (Finn Cole) had a brawl with his uncles Deran (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson). Pope (Shawn Hatosy) had finally come home after a long journey that helped him realize he belonged at home. The boys seem to come together and work for the greater good of the family. Deran and J no longer have a penis swinging contest, as they are working as a unit. They all meet at the beer run, an annual event held every year in Oceanside. After the beer run, they run into Parker Freeman (Trent Garrett), owner of Son of a Beach. He invites them to the bar for a special event, and they decline while burning his merchandise.
When leaving the event, J and Pope are pulled over by an officer (Elliot Knight). They discuss a prior deal and he tells them where they can find their police files. Deran and J go find their police files and bring them home. Craig meanwhile talks to Carlos (Anthony Fernandez) and tells him to bring the Carnitas to Deran’s bar. He then finds out that Renn (Christina Ochoa) has still been selling drugs. This leads to a very bad argument where Renn packs up and takes Nick, possibly for good.
The deal with the officer and the Codys is made, and Deran goes searching for who has been sending Adrian money. Turns out his sister Jess (Lily Rains) was the person sending Adrian money. Deran warns her to stop because the DEA is trying to bust whoever is sending Adrian money, and it may fall back on him as well. J also goes back to Lark (Chelsea Tavares) to retain her as a lawyer, and look for a new criminal attorney for the family – since he killed the last one. Parker comes to Deran’s bar and starts a brawl with him and a very pissed-off Craig. Surely, this will have some crazy implications to end the season.
In our flashback, we see the origin of the Trujillo and Cody partnership. Manny (Rigo Sanchez) gets beat up by Big Pete and his gang after owing him $10,000. Smurf takes Jake and goes to fix the situation. After a long talk with Big Pete and Jr, Smurf creates a partnership with Big Pete and pays off Manny’s debt. Basically owning Manny for the remainder and withholding him from gambling.
Loren S. Yacconelli is back directing her second episode of Animal Kingdom. Bill Balas is the screenwriter for the episode. Yacconelli is back, and as usual, has her female characters thriving. George and Ochoa thrived during this episode. The few scenes they were in showed how powerful female characters are in this universe. Balas lends to that with his writing. He shows the manipulative nature of Janine/Smurf and her prowess as a boss. He also shows how Renn wants to be independent and not a stay-at-home mom. Does Craig really care for her or does he have a power complex?
This episode definitely kicked up the heat for the season finale that is coming soon. We see Parker and Deran’s beef turn physical. Craig and Renn almost have a domestic incident. Pope getting rid of everything that reminds him of Smurf. J possibly finding a new romantic/sexual relationship. There’s a lot going on here and it looks like it’s going to turn crazy soon. – Rascal F. Kennedy
Rating – 8.5/10
Animal Kingdom premieres Sundays at 10pm/9c on TNT!