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Animal Kingdom - Cry Havoc - Review: "Keep Your Guns Close"



Well, it's Thursday and we all know what that means: once again I was unable to produce a review by Wednesday. Will I ever change? My family and friends are hopeful, but this won't be the first time I've let them down! But enough about me, we're all here for that intense episode of Animal Kingdom. There was a lot going on in one of the strongest episodes yet, so let's dive on in.

Keys to the Kingdom
Last week, our boys struck it big in their long-awaited megachurch heist. In addition to the complete destruction of any moral values they may have had, they also came out of the job with quite a hefty sum. Minus Craig. He decided he wasn't going to do it because he was mad at Baz, so he got completely wasted, crashed his motorcycle onto the beach and wound up in jail. Classic Craig. Awesome Alliteration.

During the heist, J's leg was torn open by the air duct, and Nicky later helped him dress his wound, which was freshly stapled by Baz. Did I mention she did this while he was naked and that there was a 100% probability of them rekindling their romance? Especially after Nicky began openly expressing her displeasure to Craig.

Former murderer/current family man, Pope, had a mixed bag of things going on last week. He was definitely excited to get some money. He was less excited to be stealing it from the church that his girlfriend Amy attends, especially because she was so excited about the money the church saved up for a mission drive. And he was clearly devastated listening to her find out about the heist over the phone. On the upside, they had some weird non-sex sex that night so he broke even for the evening.

Smurf had less of a good time last week due to the fact that she was captured by Javi and brought out into the middle of nowhere. He discovered that Smurf and Manny (that dead dude) definitely killed his father on an old heist, then spread a lie about him running off with the take from the job. Needless to say, Javi was not happy about his father being murdered, but somehow everything is going to be ok if Smurf pays him $300K the next day. Somehow, I don't believe that will be the end of it. She eventually made her way home just in time to wake J up in the middle of the night to yell at him about keeping his gun near him. Good advice. Would have been pretty useful this week.

This Week's Prey
Turns out Smurf wasn't the only one to get a visit from Javi. Jake, who worked with her and Manny on the last job Javi's dad ever did, was also visited even though he was "just the driver that night." While Smurf had played coy about the heist, Jake spilled everything after a bit of torture and is now asking Smurf to pay Javi whatever he wants.

Meanwhile, J is taking care of his leg while watching Nicky on the phone in her pajamas when Lena comes in asking where Smurf is. She just lives here now because Baz doesn't know how to be a father. J goes to Make Lena some breakfast while Nicky goes to bail Craig out of jail and drop him off at his ruined motorcycle, which somehow was not stolen. Smurf comes back when Lena's all done with her breakfast and tells her to get ready because her dad wants to take her to school today. What? Is the world ending?! Lena apparently has the same thought process as she simply asks "Why?" which honestly broke my heart. This little girl actually asked why her dad would want to take her to school, because he's shown so little interest in her lately. That's a sign of girl who is starting to give up on her father and I'm gonna need Baz to step up here. As she gets ready, Smurf tells J she needs him for something. She assures him that it's nothing serious, but also tells him to bring his gun in the same breath.

She brings him along to drop of Lena, and Baz tries to give her "her cut" of the church heist, but she refuses it. She tells him that she doesn't need a cut of their heists, and Baz assures her that they are perfectly fine with that. The rift grows wider. Afterwards, Smurf trains J to watch for tails while they drive to her super-secret storage unit that none of the boys knows about. At the unit, she tells him to keep a lookout for her. They return home later, and Smurf tells J to get out of the car. J refuses at first and deduces that she took money out her storage unit for some sort of situation with Javi. Smurf explains everything, then tells him again to get out of the car and that she doesn't need him for this.

While this excursion is happening, we see Deran attend a business association meeting, after which he discovers an "optional" monthly fee, which he refuses to pay despite warnings from other members that the man in charge will make his life hell. Also during this time, Pope comforts a distraught Amy outside of the police station after she was questioned about the accident. She felt as though she was being treated as a suspect, though Pope assured her that's just what cops do. After he drops her off, he and Baz have a talk at the bar. Baz says that Pope did a great job earning Amy's trust for the heist and that he only need to keep it up for a couple more weeks. Pope, however, admits that this is a real relationship now. Baz scolds him for letting her get so close and worries that she and the cops are going to put the pieces together, but Pope is finished with the conversation. Baz, Deran, and Pope meet up at the bar later and talk about the money while waiting for J, who never shows due to Smurf's morning adventures. They try to discuss ways to clean the money, and it is suggested that Deran launder the money through his bar. Deran vehemently turns down this idea because he doesn't want to lose his bar. He finally has something good and legal happening for him and he desperately wants to hold onto that.

Also doing positive things with his life? Pope! If ever there was doubt about Pope truly having feelings for Amy and pondering a change of heart about the megachurch, that is all flushed away this episode. Sometime after the group meeting is over, Pope spends some time on the beach in front of a fire pit. He stares at it for a few moments before deciding on his next action. He throws every single check he has from the church heist into the fire pit! All of those people who would have lost money when the checks went through have been spared! Unless they somehow cashed those checks already and he's just burning the evidence. But I'm hardcore supporting that first option.

Back to Smurf, she is probably wishing that she hadn't left J at home. While her and Jake prepare in a hotel room, Jake decides to be mad at Smurf. She paid Manny and his boys money for years to keep quiet about the murder, and Jake never got a dime. He thinks now is a good time to be mad about that, so he holds a gun to Smurf and ties her to the wall with some ripped out TV cables before stealing the money and bailing. Oh, he also expresses some bitterness for Smurf never telling Craig about his father. You see, Jake is Craig's father! This was new, right? I didn't miss this in an earlier episode did I? I hope not! Anyways, Smurf uses a bit of ingenuity and manages to drag the hotel room phone towards her in order to ring up Pope for some much needed assistance. When he arrives, the rescue is done wordlessly, and the tension in the air is palpable.

Baz is driving and on the phone scolding J about missing the money meeting when sirens go off and he gets pulled over. We see Patrick, the cop who has been looking into Catherine's murder disappearance, pull Baz out of the car and frisk him. Apparently, Catherine has an account with $22,000 in it that hasn't been touched in the two and a half months since she's been gone, which obviously means she's dead. Baz is very calm throughout the whole exchange, and even asks for a lawyer if he's being arrested. He is not arrested, but Patrick swears that he will find out what Baz did to Catherine. Which is nothing. But he'll probably figure out that Pope did it, and then Baz will know and all will not be well.

Craig ends up making some semi-positive headway this week. After being looked down upon by Deran for needing food from the bar, he interviews for a job with a catering service. Of course, before the interview he does a bit of drugs. Common practice before an important interview, really. Unsurprisingly, he is asked to supply a urine sample so they can drug test it for the job. No need to worry though. This is nothing that forcing a man to pee in a cup at gunpoint in the bathroom can't solve! Craig secures the job, and tells Deran that he's now got a perfect in to pull off that wedding yacht heist he brought up as an alternative to the church heist. Looks like we have another heist in our future!

Back a Smurf's house, J is helping Nicky study chemistry while their physical chemistry is quite prevalent. Nicky says she knows about the church heist, and that she knows J only broke up with her to keep her out of the dangerous lifestyle he is now a part of. She poses the question, "What if I want to get sucked in?" and the two begin an official rekindling of at least their physical relationship. It doesn't last long, however. After spending the entire day waiting for the meeting with Smurf, Javi finally decides that she's not showing up and takes the party to her house. J and Nicky hear them approaching and quickly turn out the lights in their section of the house. J has foolishly not listened to Smurf's advice about keeping his gun close and sees it in his backpack on the patio. He tells Nicky to stay put in the closet and runs hobbles out to his gun. Obviously, this doesn't work very well. The men descend upon him before he can do any damage and immediately begin to ask if he's alone. He of course says that he is, and Javi moves on to asking him about Smurf's money stashes in the house. By asking, I mean he asks J the question and then does some fun things, such as beating him up and holding him underwater in the pool. As the men search for the money, Nicky remembers the gun she found a few weeks ago and takes some initiative. For the first time I ever, I began rooting for Nicky as she loaded the gun in secret before being discovered. Then I stopped. She held the gun towards them and said she wasn't afraid to shoot, though she clearly was. She also didn't have the bolt pulled back, which the men were quick to point out before grabbing her. After many beatings and half-drownings, and with Nicky's life on the line, J tells them about Smurf's storage unit. They take Nicky with them and head out to grab some money from the unit.

A short while later, Smurf and Pope arrive back at the house, and they clearly know something is wrong. They make their way through the trashed house, and Smurf finds J out on the balcony, lucky to be alive after being thrown into the pool with his hands tied behind his back and a bad leg. He tells Smurf everything that happened (minus the storage unit bit), and that Javi took Nicky. Pope seems shocked to hear about Javi being around, but the discussion is tabled for another time. Nicky is thrown out of a van with a phone that she uses to call Smurf. Smurf asks where she is, and Nicky tells her she is in a neighborhood somewhere. She relays the first street corner sign she finds, and Smurf's blood runs cold. Nicky is in the place they buried Javi's father all those years ago. Determined and shaken, Smurf heads out to take care of things. And we are left with this for an entire week.

Animal Instincts
Wow. What an episode. I truly feel that each episode this season has been an improvement on the last. At this point, I'm actually terrified for the finale because I'm not sure if my heart will be able to handle it. But, back to this episode. One thing has happened his week that I didn't think was ever going to happen. I'm still not sure it's fully happening, but just the possibility is exciting. So, here's the confession: I think I'm actually starting to like Nicky. Yes, she irreparably failed her attempt to take these guys down, but the fact that she tried made me root for her. I honestly believe that the helpless feeling she is bound to have after this failure is going to propel her towards some great things in the future. If she goes to Smurf for some guidance like she did a while ago, it's over for everyone. Nicky is going to take charge of everything if Smurf is helping her. Maybe Smurf could see this in her from the beginning? Perhaps her invitation to Nicky was an invitation into the business from the beginning! We'll see how all of that goes in the future, though.

I also can't express how happy I was to watch Pope throw those checks into the fire. I was hoping he'd donate whatever cash he got from the heist right back to the church to help them out, but I actually like this much better. That other way probably would have gotten him caught, honestly. I'm still shocked by how much I am rooting for Pope this season. Last season, I had Baz pegged as my favorite (minus the adultery) and Pope as my least. This season has seen a complete 180. I adore absolutely every Pope scene I see, despite the fact that I know he completely and utterly murdered Catherine. As far as Baz goes, if it wasn't for my hope that he'll someday step up and be a father to Lena, I would hope for his death every episode. I would not have thought these things possible last year, but, alas, here we are. It just goes to show what the power of good television can do to a person. I'm beyond excited to see the journey the rest of this season is going to take us on!

Favorite Sights
Baz maybe, possibly, hopefully starting to be a dad.
Deran defending the legality of his bar.
J and Nicky's momentary rekindling.
Smurf's mega improvisational phone acquisition.
Pope burning the checks!
Nicky trying to be helpful!

Tell me all the thoughts and feels you had this episode! Is Nicky finally going to start doing awesome things? Or is she just going to go right back to being annoying in helpless? And how did we feel about that intense home invasion?! Sound off in the comments below!

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