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Animal Kingdom - Prey - Review + Poll: "There Was an Old Lady Who Sat on a Bench"

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Another week, another jaunt with the Cody family. We saw several poor decisions this week in an episode that mostly gives us a bunch of set-up for things to come. It also acted as a way to tear up my heart with a plot regarding a sweet old lady, but we don't need to talk about that yet. Let's remember where we last left the Cody Clan before getting into this heinous act.

Keys to the Kingdom
Craig, after accidentally dropping a guy from a roof and dislocating his shoulder trying to scrounge up some money, found out that Renn didn't want to move into a place with him and is stuck living at Smurf's house

Deran met his father, Billy, for the first time ever and got drunk with an ER nurse/former sports star named Linc.

J planned out a job with minimal help from Pope and the boys executed it without a hitch. Good job J!

Pope was still trying to figure out this fatherhood thing. He also was extremely peeved by Billy's arrival and wants him gone as soon as possible.

Smurf found out she's only being kept in jail while Pearce looks for evidence of other crimes against her, but there's really nothing she can do about that. She also found out about Billy's arrival and it's hard to tell between her and Pope who was more upset about it.

This Week's Prey
We open up with Pope, still very unhappy that Billy hasn't left yet. He asks J about it and J passes the buck by saying, "Craig said they could stay." Also, Lena still doesn't want to go to school, even though it's the school she picked. She's going through some stuff. As Lena waits in the car, Pope chats with Billy himself to try and figure out his intentions. He claims he's only here for Deran, so Pope tells him that Deran hates him. Billy isn't convinced, however, and simply dives into the pool naked. Billy-1, Pope-0.

Speaking of naked, Deran is currently naked as well. Along with Linc. They're naked together, and they're going at it. You know who isn't there? Adrian. Deran, no!! Way to meet my expectations though, I guess. And, I mean, Adrian and Deran never really said they were officially back together, so I won't be too mad just yet. I'll wait and see what happens next with those crazy kids. When they're done doing the deed, they chat for a bit about Linc's various injuries in the sports world until Linc stumbles upon a picture of Deran surfing. The way Deran says a friend took the picture makes me think that friend was Adrian, and maybe Deran is starting to feel a little bad? That's the story I told myself at least. Deran shuts down further when Linc asks if he wants to grab some food, and Deran makes it clear he's not interested in having a meal with Linc in a public setting.

J and Nicky still aren't on very positive terms, as evidenced by Nicky literally begging for J to talk to her and explaining how alone he was making her feel. The conversation ends with Nicky asking if J is sleeping with Mia, which is just answered with more silence from J. As J runs all over the place grabbing money orders from various locations (and is followed by Pearce), Nicky does some laundry to clear her mind. It doesn't help at all, and Mia stumbles upon her later getting ready for a bath wearing a full bathrobe, upset because nothing is the way she though it would be. Join the club! Later, Nicky leaves her dad a voicemail telling him she wants to go home. Before hearing back from him, she packs a couple bags and heads over to the trains station to purchase herself a ticket. She's waiting around for the train when she finally gets a call back from her dad, during which he asks about J, whether she has a job, and if she's in school, the answers to which just make Nicky feel worse about herself. She reiterates that she wants to go home, which is when her dad tells her space is a little tight and basically that there's no room for her with him. This doesn't make Nicky feel great at all, so when she returns to Smurf's to find Billy shooting up on the couch and inviting her to join, it looks like she probably went for it.

After surfing a bit, Craig learns that Smurf had been sponsoring a surf contest for kids started by his (ex)friend Carter's brother, who is now permanently disable because of Craig, but J has opted out of it this time. Craig is a bit floored by this revelation and heads home to talk to J about the $5k for contest and runs into Billy instead who puts him up to visiting Smurf in jail for the first time since her initial imprisonment. After she realizes J hasn't sent him, she finds out that the visit is about the surf competition. Smurf reminds Craig that he's the reason Carter's brother can't walk, and that Carter stayed at the accident with the drugs while Craig ran away, but Carter never said anything. Smurf tells him the hospital bills were $100k, and that a mere $5k a year is nothing, and that they will continue paying it until Carter's brother can walk. So, forever. After she assures him J will put up the money, Craig asks why J is in charge. Smurf simply responds with "What makes you think J is in charge?" Craig returns home later to find the money in an envelope on his bed and immediately takes it to Carter. He tries to make some verbal amends, but Carter just tells him to make sure the money is paid on time.

Pope and Mia spend some time together when Pope tells her he's driving her to work. On the way, he asks who she is, and calls out her lie when she says she's a friend of J's. She says she just needed a place to crash and tells her she needs to find somewhere else to crash while he drops her off. Pope's next stop is to pay a visit to Smurf''s hired bodyguard in prison. He tells her that the money is coming in on, so she needs to call off Mia. She says Mia doesn't work for her though, and that she can't do anything about Mia because Mia does whatever Mia wants. She does warn Pope to watch out, though, because Mia is dangerous. That was nice of her. Lena, meanwhile, has a pair of scissors in her hands and is getting ready to approach a girl in the hallway. I was legitimately terrified that she was going to stab this girl, but she just cut off her ponytail. Still not cool, but at least our little Lena isn't a murderer yet. Pope chats with the principal who strongly recommends that Lena should be talking to someone, but Pope insists that Lena doesn't need a shrink. The principal and I both respond with "She does." Pope then has a meltdown in the car and yells that Lena needs to help him because he's all alone and doesn't know what he's doing. She eventually responds with an "I'm sorry."

J and Deran have spent a lot of the day together fixing a problem in a way that absolutely broke my heart. More on that shortly. After Deran gets a visit about a former employee seeking an unemployment claim, he pays a visit to J to attempt to sort out what he needs to be doing. J is shocked that he doesn't have unemployment insurance, and then reveals that Smurf has previously been handling his finances, realizing that Deran has no idea what he's doing. The conversation is interrupted by a call from Smurf strongly requesting his presence after a meeting with Pearce regarding J's recent money order spree. Once there, she gives him some very specific instructions: give Craig $5k, get Billy out of the house, watch his surroundings, and make sure their tenants "remember" how much they're paying. While Deran gets a chance to talk to/come out to his dad at his bar, J drives around to make sure the tenants know to say they pay a much higher rent than they actually pay. Things are fine until he chats with an older woman who is definitely having some memory issues. It becomes very clear that she would be a huge problem if the police ever ask about her rental agreement, so J goes to Deran to ask for some guidance. He breaks up a Deran/Billy conversation to bring Deran outside, where J has brought the old woman's car, complete with the old woman and her cat in the backseat. J explains the problem, and Deran has him get in the car while they take a drive. On the drive, they ask her a bunch of questions and quickly find out she doesn't exactly know where or when she is. She's just a helpless, clueless old woman holding a cat. Deran's final solution? Leave her on a remote park bench with her stuff and tell her they're getting her food. This really is one of the saddest things I've seen on this show. Catherine's murder? Crazy. Baz's death? Pretty. Old woman with dementia and a cat left alone in the middle of nowhere? I'll never recover. At least she has her cat to keep her company.

Craig picks up Deran and J while they finish ridding the woman's car of identifying markers and they return home. In the kitchen, Pope intercepts J to have a quick conversation. He assures J that he doesn't want Smurf dead, but that he also knows Mia is on the payroll and wants to know if that is where all their money is going. J does his classic walk-away-in-silence move. Pope then mopes as he watches Craig and Deran hang out with Billy and his girlfriend and sees Mia walk in as he wakes a sleeping Lena to take her home. Later, J declines a call from Smurf before crawling into bed to cuddle Nicky, who really needed that today. She even starts crying as she holds his arm. It's kind of a sweet moment. Not so sweet is Billy creepily sitting out by the pool, wide awake and staring into the house as Mia walks through and prepares to go to bed.

Animal Instincts
Nothing terribly exciting happened this week, but I still enjoyed the ride. I feel this episode has served as a way to set up some things to come. It was nice to learn a little more about Billy this week and to hear his side of why he hasn't been around for Deran. Not that I trust him or like him in any way, but it was still nice. It did look a little like Deran was warming up to him, though, which worries me. They need to kick him out before they end up coming home to find everything cleaned out.

Speaking of Deran, he is responsible for so many of my negative feelings this week. First off, pretty mad at him for Linc thing. He better tell Adrian about it, and they better officially decide what their relationship is so I can make sure being mad at him is the right call. Second, he needs to not stupidly fall for Billy's fake attempts at reconnecting. It's obviously a ploy, and I really hope Deran is smarter than that. Lastly, that poor lady! Again, so glad they didn't kill her, and I fully understand how necessary it is to keep their criminal empire on track, but it was such a pitiful sight. This old lady sitting on a bench with her cat, no idea where she is, no idea what's going on, and being promised food before watching the two men that brought her drive away. I'm just going to stay upset about this for a while.

Hopefully this latest string of events in Nicky's life will have her making some more positive decisions in her life. She chose to knowingly be part of a criminal family. She threw a fit when her dad was moving to Guam and decided she was staying with the Cody family. She put herself in this awful situation that turned out to, in fact, have awful effects on her life. Shooting up is not the answer, and I really hope she walked away from that situation, but I'm fairly confident she didn't. I suppose we'll see in the episodes to come. While I've always disliked her, I still hope she finds a way to do better for herself.

Favorite Sights
Daddy/Deran time
Pope's Lena frustrations
Nicky's realizations

What did you think of the episode? Do you trust Billy as far as you can throw him? Will Deran ever realize that Adrian is the best thing that's going to happen to him? Sound off in the comments below!

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