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Animal Kingdom - Karma - Review: "Losing My Religion"

Hello all! Second time out and I'm already a day late, and way more than a dollar short, but that second part isn't your problem. Don't worry, you're all in for the same quality review you have come to expect after just one week. This week's episode was full of exciting new developments and "are you serious?" moments, but before we dive into that, a quick note. For those of you jumping into the show after last week's objectively amazing review, or those just looking for a reminder of what's happened, I have an amendment to make from last week. The woman towards the end of last week's episode whom Baz met with was not named Gemma. Her name is Luci, and the two of them had an affair before Baz's wife, Catherine, "skipped town" (Was brutally murdered by Pope). That was some pretty important stuff. My bad. And now, let's have a hopefully more accurate quick refresher of the important facts!

Keys to the Kingdom
Last week, the boys (Baz, Craig, Deran and Pope) decided they were splitting off from Smurf to pursue their own adventures, and J decided to tag along. Smart kid. They had their first semi-successful "No Smurfs Allowed" meeting (NSA) and debated whether to rob a wedding yacht or a megachurch. Because what are morals?

Smurf got a friendly visit from a scary looking dude telling her some guy named Manny is dying, which meant something to Smurf, but currently nothing to us.

Deran owes money to a bar owner for things, but he wasn't coming through on the payments and consequences are bound to arise if he doesn't get it together.

Baz was doubting if Catherine really would have left him and Lena all alone, but lied to Luci when she came back to town and said Catherine was definitely gone for good so he could get some. Also, he was struggling with being a single parent to Lena. And by struggling I mean he basically just yelled at her to tell her he wasn't taking her to the beach or the park.

Nicky, J's ex-girlfriend/Craig's current girlfriend, was hounding Craig with texts. Craig attempted to push her away, but instead she showed up with her stuff and told him she was moving in.

Pope was struggling with the fact the he 100% murdered his ex-lover/Baz's wife, Catherine. As he should. Murder is bad. He was being a great uncle for Lena, though, so he can't be all bad. Unless he's just making up for the murder thing. No, I'm not letting that go.

This Week's Prey
This week opens with us quickly checking in on what our boys are up to, excluding J because he's just kind of around when they need him. We begin with Craig and Nicky doing drugs together, and then leaving a lit joint on the couch while they go off to have sex. Classic Cricky! I wonder if that's going to have consequences. Next, we see Baz and Luci flirting and making out in the house he shared with his (dead)wife. Deran is then seen arguing with the bar owner woman he owes money to (for something that is apparently getting other offers, perhaps a mansion?), promising to get it to her before she leaves for Hawaii to spread some ashes into a volcano. Lastly, we check in on Pope staring at a sleeping Lena (no doubt remembering that time he killed her mother) before waking her up for school. She is apparently staying at Smurf's currently, and Smurf and Pope have a brief exchange about Baz needing to step up more as a father.

Heading back to our lit joint on the couch, while Nicky is looking at herself in the mirror she notices that couch has somehow caught fire. Who knows how that could have happened, right? We then watch as Nicky proves multiple times that she should never be a member of a fire department.

She starts by half-heartedly calling out Craig's name as begins lightly hitting the fire with a pillow made out of a fabric that I'm sure is not fire-retardant. Logically, step two for Nicky is to walk into Craig's room and attempt to wake him up by shaking him slightly and whispering, "Craig. There's a fire." Somehow, this doesn't work either. Now 0 for 2 on fire solutions, Nicky's next step is to call Smurf, interrupting an egg and toast breakfast lovingly made by J. While on the phone, she attempts to throw a bucket of water onto the fire, which only spreads it more. Fire: 3; Nicky: 0. Smurf has the outlandish idea to call 911 for assistance and puts J on the job. Smurf then walks Nicky through disposing drugs, hiding a gun, and waking Craig up. She's the one you want in a crisis.

While the fire is being dealt with, Pope brings Lena to Baz's house so she can change her shirt. While there, Pope notices some women's clothing on the floor and tries to quickly get Lena out of the house, but Luci giggles from Baz's room and it's game over. Having not heard a female voice in the house since her mother, Lena quickly shouts "Mommy?" and runs down the hallway as Baz and Luci are walking out. Lena looks hurt, Luci looks upset and confused, Baz looks flustered, and Pope looks judge-y.

At the scene of the fire, Craig is scolded by Smurf and told that he has to pay for every cent of damage, and that moving back home in the meantime is not an option she is giving him. She's also upset that he is still with Nicky. Craig rides away, leaving Nicky standing alone outside. Smurf takes Nicky in her car to drive her to an unspecified location that we will never know because Smurf offers her a place to stay at the house. Also during this productive car ride, Nicky tells Smurf that Craig and Deran are heading to fix some air conditioning "at a church or something?" which piques Smurf's interest.

We learn that the NSA group decided their first heist without Smurf would be the megachurch, and the boys all go to scope it out, J included. Pope sits inside the service hall listening to a band, pretending to read church literature, and looking kind of creepy as the only audience member in a dimly lit room. Amazingly, he is spotted by a woman who seems to think creepy guys in dark auditoriums are cute and flashes him a big smile.
In the entrance hall, she finds him and introduces herself as Amy. She seems to be just as socially awkward as Pope, which means I'm definitely rooting for the murderer to unite with this very religious woman. They talk briefly about the church, Amy mentions a bible study group she hosts three times a week, and Pope finds out about an upcoming charity fundraiser that netted $300,000 last year. During the entire exchange, they look like the two most uncomfortable people on the planet, yet somehow manage to look like they're attracted to each other. I wasn't aware this was possible.

Pope shares the fundraiser information at this week's NSA meeting and he and Baz decide to wait to rob God until after the charity fundraiser. This upsets Deran because he needs money, like, yesterday, and he storms out with plans of pulling a job on his own. Pope and Baz have a private meeting, with Baz saying the two of them need to be a united front. Baz also informs Pope that they'll need four guys for this job and he doesn't think that J is ready. Pope goes to talk to Deran about his money problems and offers up a quick job they can pull.

On her way to a storage unit, Smurf calls to have the locks on an apartment and a warehouse changed, insisting that it happen today. She also calls to get the entry codes and passwords of thirteen properties changed. She is locking her boys out of everything. At the storage facility, she enters her unit, which has at least a couple safes inside, and makes a withdrawal: a few stacks of bills and a nice ring. She later meets with a woman and tells her to sell the ring as insurance while her business is being "restructured." She tells the woman to take an extra 5% of the profits and then mentions that Baz will be by to see her and that she should be careful when considering doing business with him.

Baz, at home looking over plans for the megachurch, gets a visit from a very upset Luci. They argue about Lena living there, and Baz admits that he has absolutely no idea where Catherine is. Luci decides that the two of them only work as a night time thing and leaves, telling him to find her if he's ever in Tijuana. Baz then goes to meet up with a private investigator he's hired to look for Catherine. Baz is told that there are no traces of Catherine anywhere and that she's not definitely dead, but she's also not definitely alive. Basically, Baz still has nothing.

Pope, Deran, and Craig get ready for Pope's quick and easy job: robbing a food truck. They sit and watch as customers flock to the truck with nothing under $10 on the menu and prepare for their heist. The truck eventually pulls away and they begin to follow. Once they are on a more remote road, they make their move. They stop the truck and walk up to it with guns and commands, only to be greeted with guns from the food truck. Apparently when everything you sell is over $10, you take precautions with your earnings. There's a decent shoot-out that continues even after the boys manage to flip the food truck on its side. Pope settles things with a nice flash bang, and the boys finish their unexpectedly complicated heist. Craig and Pope offer their shares to Deran, solving his money problems. We later find out that this money is for the purchase of a bar. Exciting times.

Back at Smurf's house, Nicky bumps into J in the kitchen (while she's wearing his pants) and the two share a fairly pleasant conversation and catch up for a bit. There was even a chemistry flow between them. Perhaps a rekindling is in their future? Perhaps Smurf was planning this?

Pope and Baz meet at Baz's to talk about the church job while Lena sits in the living room watching Powerpuff Girls. That gives her points in my book. Gotta love a kid who loves '90s cartoons. During the meeting, Baz yells at Lena a few times about the TV volume before storming over and chucking the remote into the wall after muting it. Again, not handling the single parent thing well. Pope tells her to go get dressed for a walk, then tells Baz he needs to step up. Baz rebuttals with "No one will ever have a baby with you" which feels a little harsh. And that's without Baz even knowing Pope killed his wife. Pope then takes Lena to meet Amy at the church, who asks if the two of them would like to join her group for some ice cream. Amy will have babies with him. It's ok. Baz, meanwhile, drives down to Tijuana to smooth things over with Luci, and it works.

Back at Smurf's house, Smurf apologizes for not asking J about Nicky staying at the house, and asks if he still plans to stay despite his uncles insisting that he move out. J says he would like to stay, then answers a very important phone call for Smurf. This mysterious Manny guy has died and there will be a wake on Thursday. Smurf asks J if he'd like to come with her and he agrees. That is where we leave the Codys for the week.

Animal Instincts
I felt this episode was a definite improvement from the premiere. There seemed to be much more going on this week, and several new developments. We got to see a very different Smurf than the one we saw last episode. Aside from one scene, she spent almost no time this week mourning over the fact that her boys have moved on from her. She also only had one or two Vodka Crans this week! Smurf is now in full-on "with me or against me" mode. She's decided that if her boys aren't going to work with her, they won't have access to anything of hers, from apartments to warehouses. We got to see a lot more of the manipulating Smurf this week, which I was certainly missing last week. I'm 100% on board with Pope and Amy, and 100% on board with Nicky becoming smarter and not as easily manipulated, though I'm not holding my breath for that one. If this episode had aired with the first as part of a two hour premiere, I would have been much more excited for the season last week. While this week, of course, didn't really answer any questions, we now know exactly what questions we should be asking in the first place, which is something that wasn't entirely fleshed out last week. I can't wait to figure out who this mysterious Manny person from Smurf's past is. Well done, Animal Kingdom! You've got me hungry for more. I'm also actually hungry now, but Animal Kingdom doesn't get the props for that one.

Favorite Sights
Nicky, the useless firefighter!
Deran breastfed until he was nine!
Shout-out to the food truck drivers who came prepared!
Special shout-out to Amy for seeing the not-so-bad person inside of the creepy looking parishioner in her church!

And that wraps up another week! How did you feel? Should Nicky pursue her firefighter passion? Would you like to scold me for my tardiness? Anything (within reason) goes! Sound off in the comments below!

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