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Animal Kingdom - Grace - Review: "Broody Pope, Sleuthy Baz"



Today was a great day for me. I finally got to watch this week's episode of Animal Kingdom, they announced that it's been renewed, AND I just realized that we have 13 episodes this season rather than 10, which I am through the roof about. The icing on the cake is that this week's episode set up a lot of fun stuff for the future.

Keys to the Kingdom
After J's brutal attack and Nicky's abduction, Smurf brought the boys together to deal with the Javi situation once and for all. While everyone believed it was as simple as moving a body and paying off Javi, Smurf had other plans. Instead of paying Javi, she paid a member of Javi's crew to kill him for her, much to the disapproval of Baz, who was a front row witness to the endeavor. Another secret of Smurf's? She's got a storage unit with a ton of money in it, and Smurf's cash flow leaves Baz suspicious about where the money comes from.

Craig is now posing as a man named Eric to work for a yacht company so he can plan his own heist, which I'm ready to watch implode.

Speaking of heists, let's not forget about that church heist the boys did. Pope's girlfriend, Amy, is completely distraught over the entire ordeal, which gets to bad a little bit because he, like, loves her or something. To correct a previous review, Pope did not burn the checks stolen from the church to protect the money for those people, he was actually supposed to burn them to get rid of the evidence. He really didn't even do that though, because I apparently missed the fact that he held on to them instead of putting them into the fire. Oops.

Also important to note is that Baz is now the prime suspect in, as far as the cops know, the assumed murder of his wife Catherine. We all know that it is far beyond assumption, but indeed pure fact. We also know the crime was perpetrated by Pope sort of under Smurf's command. He 100% killed her and hid the body in the desert. But, like I said, they're just treating it as an assumed murder for now.

This Week's Prey

Our weekly adventure begins with Pope being extra broody sitting in his dark house alone. He decides he's done brooding in solitude, though, and heads over to brood at Smurf's place while he watches her sleep. The millisecond she opens her eyes, Pope tells her that he won't let Baz take the heat for murdering Catherine when Pope is actually the one who did the murdering. He's trying really hard to be a good guy most of the time now, but he's really bad at it. Smurf dismisses his concerns and tells him to hop in and take a nap, but he responds by quickly leaving in a sour mood.

Also waking up to a sour mood is J. After telling Nicky that Javi is dead ("but don't tell the others I told you") in their shared bathroom the two kiss for a bit while Craig sleeps in Nicky's bed until Nicky tells J they can't do it anymore. She'll regret that later. In the meantime, J just makes his way out of the room, making sure to bring his gun with him. He's learned. When Smurf sees that he has his gun, she offers to teach him how to make his own loads after school, which he complacently agrees to.

Pope makes his second stop of the morning at Baz's house, where he arrives to Lucy and Baz having breakfast. We are quickly reminded that Pope and Lucy do not get along, which is perhaps why Baz makes a huge point of kissing her a bunch before she heads out. When she's gone, Pope asks if Baz has heard from the cops about Catherine again, then quickly segues into telling him that the cops aren't onto him about the church heist. Baz double checks that Pope burned the checks, and Pope insinuates strongly that he did, though he never gives an explicit yes or no answer. Clever Pope.

Deran is having the best morning out of all of them. He's been spending some naked storeroom time with Mark, the man in charge of the business association Deran is now a part of. They have good time, then get dressed and talk about that monthly membership fee Deran doesn't want to pay. He figures now that sex is payment enough, and Mark gives him a tender kiss before leaving. We'll see how long that goes on for.

Craig's morning goes just fine, but he makes a ridiculous mistake. While driving Nicky to school, Craig is grilled by her about why he's dressed up and what he's doing with his life. She lets him know that he can trust her because she didn't call the cops after she was kidnapped. Pretty thin argument in my opinion, but my opinion doesn't matter because Craig thinks that's enough for some reason. Despite the fact that he insisted to Deran that nobody else find out about the job until he's completely planned it, he tells Nicky everything and makes sure she knows to keep it a secret. Has Nicky ever kept a secret in her life? Because from everything I've seen of her, she runs her mouth off about secrets like no one else on this planet. Was I quick to judge her in this moment without giving her a chance to prove herself? Maybe. But she proved me right anyways. We'll get to that later, though. While at work, Craig makes friends with a lady staff member named Dana who gives him information on the down low about how to figure out which yachts are going to have the richest people on board. There also may be a tingle of a spark between them, but if there is it's nowhere near the Amy/Pope spark. Craig also takes some time to check out the engine room for further heist planning. At least he's giving it his all!

Baz shows up to Smurf's while she's preparing to teach J about bullets and they have a quick chat about the past. After promising to pay Baz back tomorrow, Smurf brings up a time when Pope tore every phone out of the house because he thought they were bugged, and he would have climbed a telephone pole and pulled out those wires if Baz hadn't stopped him. Baz asks if his ability to look out for Pope was why she took him in, but she spews out some probable nonsense about loving him from the minute she saw him. Baz goes into the house under the guise of making sure the new motion sensors are compatible with their security system, then inserts a GPS tracker in her purse before leaving.

While Smurf teaches J how to make his loads, they have a nice talk about why Javi had to die, and why Smurf did it the way she did. She explicitly tells him that any time you can get anyone to do a job for you, that will always be the best way to proceed. She then segues into finding out exactly how upset his uncles are with her, which he responds to by telling her about a time when his mom made him so mad that he almost ran away, but he changed his mind when she apologized, giving Smurf pause for thought.

Over at the church, Amy is leading her nice Bible study when the lead detective on the church heist makes her way in. They have a silent chat, which prompts Amy to end Bible study early when the talk is over. She lets Pope know that they suspect Leon, another member of the Bible study group, of being involved in the robbery. She firmly believes that there is no way Leon can be involved because of his activity within the group and insists he's only hiding from the detectives because he's scared. She persuades Pope to go with her to Leon's job to talk some sense into him. Once they find Leon, he confesses that he was doing drugs the night of the robbery and if they drug test him and find out, he'll be in violation of his parole. But it's ok, Pope tells him to say he was sick and take some Sudafed PE because those influence urine tests. Thanks to Pope, Leon feels safer and agrees to talk to the detective later.

Baz is sitting around at home the following morning waiting for the GPS tracker to start moving when Lena's babysitter, Ally, brings her home from Disney and has her go into her room while she tells Baz that Patrick showed up to talk to Lena. Lena already knew Patrick and very openly answered questions about Baz. Before leaving, Ally tells Baz that if anything ever happens to him, she will happily be there for Lena. That's good, cause I'm sure things are going to get sticky. Baz fixes Lena some cereal and starts asking her about how she knew Patrick and how often Catherine saw him. She lets him know that Patrick never came to the house, but that he bought her ice cream. After the mini interrogation, Baz gets an alert that the GPS is on the move and tells Lena to finish her cereal so he can take her to school. At least he's acknowledging that he has a daughter now. Baz shows up after Smurf has made a "withdrawal" from her storage unit, and he bribes the man in charge to tell him which storage unit belonged to her. He shoves a camera through the bottom of the unit's door and finds the safe inside, which he is positive confirms his suspicions that she's been stealing money from their jobs since she bought the unit in 2004.

Over at Smurf's, Nicky comes home from school to find J by the swimming pool with another girl from school. Nicky is clearly upset and J is clearly enjoying it after Nicky stopped their kissing because of Craig. Later on, Nicky walks into the bathroom while J is peeing to tell him he was being childish. Classic. J lets her know that who he's with is none of her business while she's with "the dumbest of my uncles" and she immediately jumps to Craig's defense. How? BY TELLING HIM THAT CRAIG IS PLANNING HIS OWN SECRET HEIST! I knew it was coming at some point, and the words "Of course she did" audibly escaped by lips. Never trust Nicky with a secret.

Pope gets a visit from the detective on the church case, and his house and car are both searched for connections to the church. They find nothing and leave, at which point Pope retrieves the checks he did not burn from under a boardwalk behind his house. Pope then proceeds to go to Leon's work, break into his truck, and plant the checks in his glove compartment. Pope, no! The checks were found and Leon was arrested, which completely devastated Amy because of how much she believed in Leon. I'm still holding out some sort of hope for Pope though. I don't know why, but I can't shake it.

Craig and Deran go on what I think is the first surfing trip I've seen this season and talk about some more ins and outs of the yacht job. Deran's board gets a bit scuffed, so he brings it to the best surf board guy in town: Adrian! Adrian says he'll take care of it, but refuses to take any money from Deran. Instead Adrian proposes that they meet for drinks at Deran's bar and catch up in exchange for surf board fix-up. At the catch-up meeting, Deran mentions Mark, who we find out Adrian has very negative opinions about. Deran also admits that as soon as he has enough money to buy the building completely, he's going to get out of the crime business. However, Adrian poses an interesting question: "Do you think your brothers will let you?"

The boys all gather at Smurf's to help install her new sliding glass doors in the back, and Baz sneaks the GPS tracker out of Smurf's bag. Smurf gathers them all and tells J that she's not good at apologies, then produces $20K for each one of them and says all she wants from them is to launder their money through her buildings so that they both benefit. She assures them that any jobs they do are still none of her business, and Baz says that they'll consider it. Baz casually asks J later what he plans to do with his free money, to which J smartly replies, "Nothing's free, man."

Baz is visited by the PI he uses, and is told that Patrick was using Catherine as a Confidential Informant against the Cody Clan. Baz is sitting on his porch later when Pope comes over to inform him that Leon was arrested for the church robbery. Baz tells Pope about his discovery that Smurf has been stealing from them, and what he was told about Catherine. He believes that there is no way Catherine would ever have been an informant, so he theorizes that Smurf paid off her inside man with the cops to tell his PI they were using her as a CI, and decides that Smurf is responsible for Catherine's death, leaving Pope (and myself) speechless.

Animal Instincts
I wish this was a Netflix show so I could knock it all out at once. Every week I'm left wanting more, and waiting a week kills me. Do I even need to bother saying this was another solid episode? Just in case, this was another solid episode. My biggest complaint? Nicky. I was shocked during the past two episodes when I was actually starting to like her, but this episode completely hit the reset button on that. I think what upset me the most was the fact that every single thing I predicted she would do this episode actually happened, which is bad because all of these predictions were based on the Nicky I've hated for most of the season. Hopefully after she attempts her first heist participation she'll propel herself forward again. I truly believe there's an awesome character in her waiting to be discovered, but someone needs to just yank it out of her.

One of the most intriguing moments of this episode for me was J telling Baz that nothing is free. I was worried J was going to start being blinded by all the things Smurf does for/with him, but that comment made it very clear that he doesn't fully trust her. He's clearly expecting something to come next from Smurf, as am I now.

I'm still very much rooting for the Amy/Pope thing to last, but there's no way she's going to be ok with everything he's done, and there's no way she's not going to find out. The most I'm realistically hoping for at this point is Pope admitting everything to her, apologizing, giving her a ton of money, and turning himself in. I think the main endgame I want for all of them is to find a way to turn their lives around and live legally. They all have good in them, it's just very well hidden currently.

Favorite Sights
Craig telling a customer to do body shots off of him instead of Dana
Baz semi out-Smurfing Smurf the whole episode
Deran's plans for the future
J purposely making Nicky upset


With the promise of a third season already in place, the future of Animal Kingdom is looking bright. How excited are you for the season three pick-up? Are you slowly starting to dislike Nicky again? How do you think the yacht job is going to go? Sound off in the comments below!

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