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Animal Kingdom - Custody - Review: "The No-Safe Room"

It's been an unusually busy week, but I've finally managed to fit in some quality TV time to get this review out. I've already delayed you enough, so let's get to it!

Keys to the Kingdom
After a lot of brooding, Pope attempted to confront the murdered Catherine issue with Smurf, who quickly shot him down, as Smurf does. He also managed to get himself and the boys out of trouble for the church heist by framing an ex-con from bible study whom Amy had high hopes for. Needless to say, she was crushed.

Craig took a few steps forward in planning his yacht heist, and one giant step backwards by including Nicky in the job.

Deran had some fun times with Mark, as well as a nice not-date with Adrian. Seems like he's got two viable options, though Adrian is probably the best choice.

J spent most of his time giving Smurf some advice while learning how to make loads, and pining over Nicky/attempting to make Nicky jealous.

After scoping out her storage unit, Baz decided with 100% confidence that Smurf has been skimming money from their jobs all along, and later decided that she is responsible for Catherine's death.

Also, quick reminder that Smurf got royally screwed over by Craig's dad, Jake, when he stole all of the money she was going to use to pay off Javi.

This Week's Prey

Brotherly bonding (or Uncle-y in J's case) gets us started off this week as the boys, minus Baz, jet ski out to stare at the yacht they're going to rip off once the plan come together. When they return, Deran is upset that Baz didn't show up, because they need someone to interpret Spanish. Baz does show up for the meeting at the bar later, but all he does is upset everybody there as he shoots down practically every aspect of the job, albeit with good reason. Baz completely has it when J brings up Nicky's involvement (that thing he knows because Nicky can't keep a secret), and he completely withdraws from the job. He brings Pope outside with him when he goes and the have a quick talk about Baz's concerns regarding Catherine's death. Baz swears he won't let Smurf get away with it, and has Pope swear that he's with him, which Pope does.

When J gets home from the meeting, Smurf sends him on an errand to send in the money she needs to launder through her properties after a test that J passes with flying colors. While J is on his journey, Baz pulls up in a car equipped with tools provided by Lucy (who now knows about Smurf's money skimming, and that "Smurf" murdered Catherine). He makes some quick small talk with J, then asks if he wants to pull off a job, just the two of them. Eager to prove himself, J quickly joins the crusade. Of course, he doesn't know they're about to rob Smurf, but he certainly gets suspicious as they pull up to the storage location. He tries to get details about the job from Baz, but Baz insists it's not important. Baz has rented the unit behind Smurf's, and they saw through the back of the unit and pull all of her safes into Baz's unit. During the job, Baz offers up some advice to J, telling him not to think that Smurf actually cares. Probably some very sound advice. As they finish up, Baz tells J that they're keeping this job just between them. When J gets home later, Smurf interrogates him about how the laundering went, and she's quite upset to discover he didn't finish. She insists that J give her the money so she can finish up herself, but then gets a call and sternly tells him to get it done.

On the road, Deran and Craig get into a squabble over Nicky's involvement, as well as what to do now that Pope has dropped out of the job. Craig suggests Lucy's brother, Marco, but Deran refuses because he doesn't want to get dragged into Marco's heroin trade. Craig's other suggestions include a man who's in jail for the next five years, and a Brazilian friend of theirs because he doesn't realize Brazilians don't speak Spanish. They decide to try an old friend of Deran's who used to steal cars with him. They make a quick pit stop at Smurf's to take her up on her offer to launder money for them. She of course jumps at the opportunity, then offers them some beef stew, which very much excites Craig. While eating his beef stew by the pool, Nicky approaches him about the one thing I trust her with less than a secret: a gun. Craig smartly refuses and tells her she can't handle it, to which she poutingly responds to herself, "Yes I can, I'm getting one." Craig and Deran head off for their meeting with Deran's friend, only to find that he is a father and has gone completely legit. Clearly, he will not be up for helping, so they are forced to move to their last resort: Marco. They propose the job to him at Deran's bar, but he doesn't want to get his hands dirty in a theft. Heroin is good enough for him. They decide to approach the problem by liquoring him up. After they're satisfied that he's drunk enough, they attempt to segue into the proposal again, but Marco tries to turn it down again. They agree that if Marco helps out, Deran will run some heroin through the bar one time. Just one time.

Pope's been having an interesting journey. After his conversation with Baz, he gives Smurf a hug at her house (much to her surprise and delight) and heads to the police station, seemingly ready to turn himself in. Instead, he sits at a fountain outside of the megachurch, where he and Amy talk a little bit about him. He tells her he's a coward, and that his family is going to fall apart, but he can stop it. He insists that it's all happening because he "hurt someone", because he's not ready to tell his girlfriend that he flat-out murdered his brother's wife. Amy tells him that they've all hurt people, and that she knows he is a good person. Pope drives her home to discover a man standing in her driveway. Pope watches as Amy and the man begin a confrontation, and Pope comes over, ready to beat the man up until Amy tell him it's her brother. We learn that he's been taking care of her son since her drunk driving accident, and he has come to return a dog she bought for her son without consulting her brother. He reminds her of the rules of their arrangement and drives away. Amy picks up the dog, stares at Pope, and walks into her house. Pope tries to offer some advice about the dog, but Amy quickly tells him to just go. Instead, he hugs her from behind, they kiss, and Amy steals a condom from her roommate so she and Pope can have actual sex instead of staring at each other naked. Afterwards, Pope plays with the puppy as Amy joins him in the living room. He asks if she's going to be ok, and she thanks him for being a good person.

Smurf's earlier phone call was from a man she hired to look for Jake, and he's just been spotted at a motel. She shows up to the room while Jake is in the shower and tells the girl in his room to get out. When the girl is gone, Smurf walks into the bathroom, opens the shower curtain, and greets Jake with a taser to the chest. She ties him up, and demands the combo for the safe in the room. She gives it to him and is appalled by how little of her money is left. He swears he's not hiding any more of it, because it won't be any use to him after she kills him. Smurf shows a little mercy, though, and says she's not going to kill him, but that he's definitely done running. She forces him to pick a leg for her to shoot, then shoots to opposite of the one he picked, leaving him suffer alone.

Baz later returns to his unit to cut all of the money out of the safes to take back home with him for himself and Lucy. As he leaves, we see that J has been hiding out and spying on Baz's activities. Baz returns home to Lucy, and they celebrate their stolen money, while J sips a beer by the pool and takes over for Pope on the brooding front. To end this semi-eventful week, Smurf heads to her storage unit to return what's left of her stolen money, only to find a completely empty room, devoid of all safes. She is clearly less than pleased, but we unfortunately will have to wait to see what she does next.

Animal Instincts
This show continues to amaze me. Compared to recent episodes, this was a relatively slow episode, but it managed to keep my attention 100% of the time. I think what makes these slow episodes great is that even though there aren't a ton of things happening on the surface, there's a million different things happening underneath each character's actions. Trying to analyze exactly why these people are doing the things their doing adds a new level of engagement in the audience, and gives the characters a richness that many shows are lacking these days.

One of the stand-out moments from this episode was Pope giving Smurf a hug. There were so many things going on with him internally, and it brought about a simple child hugging mother moment that is not seen often on this show. Pope needed to be held by his mother for just moment, and Smurf needed this hug more than I think she realized. The shock and joy on her face was so clear, and it took her slightly longer than usual to compose herself in this moment. This just reiterates that she truly does love her children, she just is completely awful at showing it. I still think she'd throw them under the bus to save her own skin, but it would probably hurt her to do so, which I guess is a good thing, right?

Pope had many humanizing moments this episode. His guilt has been building all season, and he's extremely close to a breaking point this episode. The fact that he was even considering turning himself in says so much about him. I honestly believe Pope is turning into a good person, and has the ability to be an amazing person. Sure, it took a murder to get him down this path, but change has to start somewhere! I think if he manages to get away from his family and just run off with Amy, we could see a complete turnaround in his life. Really, if they all just broke apart from each other, I think they would be better off.

Favorite Sights
Smurf's joy from Pope's hug
Craig actually refusing to get Nicky a gun
Deran's friend's parenting skills. What a good dad!
Pope's guilt
J's spying

I am totally thrilled to watch how Smurf handles this latest theft. What do you think she'd be willing to do? How will she react when she finds out it was Baz? Does anybody want to start a club to keep America safer by keeping guns out of Nicky's hands? Sound off in the comments below!