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Animal Kingdom - Broke from the Box - Review: "Oh, Nicky"

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I just want to hate her so bad, but they keep getting in my way. Every time she does something stupid lately, it turns out extra bad for her, so I can't despise her the way I want to. I want her gone, but I don't want her dead. Obviously, I'm talking about Nicky, because after what just happened, how could you not?

Keys to the Kingdom
Craig realized Smurf had been sponsoring a surf competition run by a friend's disabled friend, who is only disabled because of Craig, and spent most of his time trying to get the money for it from J.

Deran spent a little time bonding with his father before being pulled away to spend a little bonding time with J as they dropped a confused old woman off on a bench in the middle of nowhere so she wouldn't get them in trouble with the police.

J was tasked with making sure all of Smurf tenants remembered the fake amount they were supposed say they paid if they were ever asked by police and ran into a bit of a problem with the aforementioned old woman.

Pope continued to attempt the journey of fatherhood with Lena and ran into a bit of a snag when she cut off a girl's ponytail at school, prompting the principal to recommend getting a therapist.

Smurf continued to be in jail and hand out tasks for J to accomplish.

This Week's Prey
This week we start with J and Nicky having an adult conversation that actually makes me like the relationship a little bit for the first time in a while. Nicky acknowledges that she hasn't been the most helpful person since Smurf was sent to jail, but she also lets him know that she's been going through some things as well. She even tells J that she was going to leave but that her dad didn't want her except for maybe a week around Christmas. Maybe. J lets her know that he does want her there, then heads out to meet up with Mia and tell her that their hooking up is over. She says that's cool, but that Nicky absolutely doesn't belong there and whatever ends up happening to her is completely on J. Though, to be fair, a decent amount of what happens to her later is on herself. We'll complain about that later, though. J later gets a text from a phone Smurf had smuggled into jail telling him he needs to visit her immediately. She's a little on edge at the moment because she found out there's going to be a surprise witness at her hearing who could possibly testify that she paid someone to kill Javi. She tasks J with finding the two men who attacked him at Smurf's house to take care of them, but he's getting a bit tired of all the demands and simply says he'll try. This doesn't work for Smurf, and she reminds him how generous she was to take him in when his mother died. When he returns home, Billy's girlfriend is ready with some money for J as payment for J to allow them to sleep in the house. He told her earlier he'd need permission from Smurf, but he's done with her at the moment and takes the money, allowing them to take Deran's old room. He returns to Nicky and talks about how manipulative Smurf is, prompting Nicky to suggest they take the rest of Smurf's money and just run away. It's enticing, but he tells her it's not that simple.

Craig and Deran start their day with some surf time at the beach with their friend and, much to Deran's disapproval, Linc. Their fun day is hindered by a new group of guys who try to hog the waves and are terribly rude and disrespectful. They've even beat up kid who is a family friend of the Codys. But it's ok, because Craig has a small fix for it. When everyone is heading home, Craig backs up a bit more than needed and runs over the men's surf boards before speeding away. That'll show 'em, right? Later, while Billy give Deran the details about a job he wants to pull at a weed dispensary, Craig does some investigating to find out who this new group is. Turns out, they're from Brazil and have a strong coke connection over there that they are planning on using to take over the area. Craig is not a fan of this at all and goes to do some recon on where they live.

Pope's day has been a bit troubling as well. It starts with Lena not eating the breakfast she promised to eat, which leads into Pope trying to explain to her that he needs to find her a therapist. We also get to watch him try to explain why she needs to talk to a doctor even though he admits it didn't work for him at all. Not putting her in a great mindset, but at least she'll be getting some help. They go for some ice cream later and are greeted by DCFS agents when they return. They send Lena inside to play for a bit while they explain to Pope that they are following up on concerns that her school had about her well-being. In the course of this conversation, Pope admits that he and Baz are not brothers by blood, which has me more nervous that they are going to take Lena away from him. He talks to Lena alone later and tells her that if people like that ask her how she's doing, she just needs to say that she's happy and everything's ok, which she agrees to. Always good to coach a kid to lie. He then gets a 911 text from Craig to meet at the bar for something that I'm positive will have a negative impact on this Lena thing.

Pope shows up at the bar to meet the other guys, with Lena in tow (noooooooooo). Pope tells them he's not joining them to take care of these guys inside the house because he needs to take care of Lena, but he's perfectly fine being the driver. J's face clearly shows that he's not terribly thrilled about this plan either, but he agrees to it anyway. Once there, the boys head inside while Pope waits in the car. With Lena. Her presence is such a bad idea. The plan goes off perfectly, though. The men inside are quickly subdued, and our boys leave the place with the men's stash of coke and money. Craig tells them to stay away from their turf before knocking out one of their guys and leaving. Things are cool for now, but there's no way these guys won't retaliate. They don't look like the type to just take things lying down.

Now, for the Nicky thing. While J was meeting with Mia, Nicky did a bit of cleaning before running into Billy prepping to shoot up again. He teaches her a little of the ins and outs of the prep before describing why it's so much better to shoot it up than smoke it. He ends the conversation by saying he's not giving her any in order to avoid J's wrath, but Nicky says she doesn't like needles anyways. Later, Nicky tries to stop J from joining his uncles on the raid of the new guys without her before switching to trying to stop him completely. She brings up the plan to run away again and he reiterates that it isn't that simple before going off on her. He yells that it isn't his fault her family doesn't want her, which is already far enough, but then he adds "Can you blame them?" Look, man. I get it. You're stressed. We all say things we don't mean. And, you know, you actually do have a semblance of a point with the way she treated them, but still. That wasn't right. She didn't need that right now, and she very clearly doesn't handle it well. When he leaves, she storms away from the couch and grabs a gun, so she can...I don't know. Have a gun, I guess? I'm really not sure what her plan was for the gun. She and her gun are laying by the pool for a bit until she decides to rifle through Billy and his girlfriend's stuff. She stumbles onto Billy's stash and quickly decides that she no longer hates needles. While she's high, she dances around for bit, feeling the bliss of not feeling. Which is nice and harmless, except for the fact that she's playing with her loaded gun as well. Of course, this goes south, and she ends up shooting herself in the thigh. She must hit a pretty big artery, too because the blood is just pouring out of there. To be fair, we don't actually see the gun in her hand at this point, so there's a real possibility that Billy or his girlfriend just decided to shoot Nicky, but for now I'll continue to believe she shot herself. She springs into action and heads to the kitchen where her phone and keys are sitting on the counter. Clearly, she's going to pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 or something, right? Nah, she's gonna pick up her keys and try to drive herself to the hospital. She's losing a lot of blood, though, and she doesn't quite make it to the car before passing out, which left a very confusing scene for J to return to. As he rushes her to the hospital, she keeps apologizing and asking him to promise not to let her die. When they finally get to hospital, he rushes her up the door...and leaves her there. Well, he kisses her forehead first, but then he leaves her there, no doubt because he knows hospitals are legally obligated to report all gunshot wounds and he can't be around for that.

Animal Instincts
Man, what a great episode! I'm liking the promise of seeing another job soon. In the meantime, it was fun to see the mini-job with these guys trying to take over. Despite all their differences and problems, these guys always work fantastically together, and this was no exception. There was barely any planning involved either, but it still went great! I'm interested to see how the dynamic will be disrupted if Billy works with them on the weed job. I have a feeling it'll cause problems, but you never know!

I also really enjoyed seeing Nicky and J attempting to fix things between them. I've recently introduced someone to the show and seeing how decent their relationship was in the beginning has softened me a bit on them. I mean, it still wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better than it is now and I didn't hate it. Or her. I really hope we'll end up finding out Nicky's gunshot wound isn't self-inflicted, but the only way they'd look at it in that much detail is if she dies, which I hope doesn't happen. Again, I don't like her, but I don't want her dead. But I can totally see Billy coming back and saying, "This girl totally stole my drugs" and just shooting her. That feels like a very Billy thing to do.

As for Pope, I'm a bit disappointed in his handling of Lena currently. He knows people are suspicious about her well-being, but he still thought bringing her to a bar was a good idea. He could have just told Craig he wasn't coming. What would Craig possibly do to Pope? Nothing. I would have forgiven this bar trip, though, but then he not only agreed to drive the boys on their job, he took Lena with them. Points for not leaving her alone somewhere, but those points are negated by the fact that she's sitting in a getaway vehicle. I really hope he doesn't lose her, but also it probably would be in her best interest to be put somewhere else. I'm so torn.

Lastly, J's finally beginning to see the cracks. He's always been a little suspicious of everything, but now he is finally questioning his loyalty to Smurf, while also realizing he's already a little too far in to back out of everything now. He has too strong of a sense of owing something to this family now, which is a shame. He clearly thought about Nicky's getaway plan, he may have even been down for it for a second, but he ultimately fell back on his sense of obligation. Such a shame really, but hopefully it will all work out.

Favorite Sights
J's realizations
J and Nicky's momentary rekindling
The house raid

How are you feeling? Will Pope get to keep Lena? Did Nicky actually just shoot herself, or does Billy/Billy's girlfriend just have really good aim? Sound off in the comments below!

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