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Animal Kingdom - Low Man/Incoming - Double Review



Boy, what a ride we've had these past two weeks, am I right? In these episodes, we got a moment we've all been waiting for (and possibly two, depending on how that other things turns out), and there's bound to be loads of great scenes coming up. I've gotta tell you, I am absolutely giddy to see what happens next. I expect apple pie and plenty of vodka crans. Though, she may not continue to be in a baking mood for long. Definitely a vodka cran mood though. This needs alcohol. So, let's remember two weeks ago, and get down to what happened here.

Keys to the Kingdom
Craig learned of a new Brazilian group in town looking to take over the Cody territory and took it upon himself have the family send a message to them. He also found out Deran and Linc have been boinking, because he's actually a lot more perceptive than you would think.

Deran got to spend a little more time with Linc, and a whole lot more time with Billy. Billy's been scouting out a weed dispensary, and he filled Deran in on all the details he had

J had a rough time. After starting to fix things with Nicky, he got a task from Smurf that involved talking to the two mean who beat him up not too long ago. He was ready to give up and silently considered running away with Nicky when the family called to help him out with the Brazilian group and he caved under the pressure, unintentionally and (probably) irreparably damaging his relationship with Nicky.

Nicky gets a spot this time because she shot herself in the leg. She took a loaded gun with her while she drank and did drugs, then danced with the gun and shot herself (probably). She was last seen being left outside of the hospital door by J, who quickly drove away.

Pope continued his uphill battle with parenting Lena, and things became a little harder when DCFS showed up to start asking questions.

Smurf continued to give orders from jail while her relationship with her protector became a little more strained.


This Week's Prey

Low Man
While J finishes scrubbing Nicky's blood off of the nice, white car in the garage, Craig, Pope, Deran and Billy do some recon work following a couple armored cars from the dispensary. Rather than keeping his mind on the job, Billy instead focuses on trying to get into Deran's head. He starts by saying how unfair it is for J to have so much power and how rude J is being by not showing up for the recon, then shifts to talking about how little Smurf must think of him and insisting he start thinking about what happens if Smurf never gets out of jail. On the Craig/Pope recon team, Craig offers potential reasons for J's absence before transitioning to his reservations about how quickly Billy's job is progressing. Pope assures him that as long as Billy doesn't get into Deran's head--you know, that thing that's happening right now--then they have nothing to worry about. They follow the cars to an airfield where they determine they'll have to sneak onto the plane and parachute out with the money. Wonderful plan! They meet up at Deran's bar to discuss the plan more, which Billy turns into an opportunity to attempt to kick J out of the job and take his spot. Deran and Pope quickly shut this down before Pope kicks Billy out of the room via Deran. When he's gone, Pope throws a fit about Billy having any part in the job, but Deran calms him down by mentioning that the only alternative is to leave Billy alone at the house.

Shortly after, Pope gets a call from another one of his least favorite people, Lucy, who says she's got information at Baz that he needs to hear about in Mexico. It's a bit of an inconvenience, but he agrees in order to get Baz's killer. Before leaving, he heads back into Deran's bar to make sure Deran's head is on this job, and not whatever side job he must have going on since he just saw Colby outside. He tells Deran he'll walk away from the job unless Deran gets rid of Colby, then departs for his trip to Mexico. It turns out to be pretty worth the trip as Lucy's people reveal they've heard that a mother in Oceanside paid to have her son killed because he stole from her, which, of course, just screams Smurf. As Pope and Lucy walk away, Pope yells about his doubts that this information is legit, wondering why this guy would bother talking about this, or if Lucy hired him to draw suspicion from herself. Lucy manages to mildly pacify Pope's suspicions and leaves after telling him he knows Smurf killed Baz.

Having thoroughly cleaned the car, J decides it's a good time to clean himself as well. When he gets out of the shower, he finds a very unhappy Nicky's dad at the door. Sure, he's got a name, but he hasn't been relevant or shown a modicum of decency since the first season, so he doesn't get to have it mentioned. He storms in and yells at J for the way his daughter ended up, even though she tried to call her dad for help and was met with "Oh, we don't have a lot of space." It's ok, they have space now since Nicky shot herself. He screams at J about the fact that Nicky is still protecting him even after he just left her outside a hospital and all J can do is listen. While he's yelling at J and packing Nicky's clothes, Mia walks in and brings her impeccable timing along with her. She listens for a bit before stepping in as Nicky's dad gets in J's face to tell him he can never see Nicky again. Naturally, he thinks J has already moved on to his next girl and storms out, leaving J to ask Mia to leave as well. While J meets with Smurf's attorney later, Billy returns home and asks where he was for the recon, which J then remembers he completely forgot about. The attorney then insists that J start treating Smurf better again since he's the only one who isn't her son, and therefore the most expendable. He later goes to help Deran with some calculations for the weed job and transitions into asking Deran if he thinks Smurf would ever sell any of them out. Deran said Baz would be the only one that needed to worry, so it looks like there's no problem here. Despite this, J still decides it's time to stand up for himself. After telling Mia he's not paying for Smurf's protection anymore, he visits her and is greeted with a poor attitude and more demands. J then reminds her that he's been the only one showing any sort of concern for her well-being and tells her that she will die if he doesn't keep visiting her. That's probably not gonna go to well for him later.

While Craig was spending some time with Billy and flirting/making out with Billy's girlfriend (whose name I have now learned is Frankie), Deran had a pretty packed day as well. After cooling down the Colby situation and meeting with J, Deran goes out on a date with Linc and I continue to complain about Linc not being Adrian. Though Linc does gain some points when he brings up the fact that he heard Deran's mom is in jail and asks about it because he felt weird about knowing and not saying anything. I was worried I would actually start liking him for Deran, but then Adrian showed up to make things wonderfully awkward. He introduces Adrian as "a surfer that I sponsor"--which I yell at him for--which quickly leads to Adrian ending the exchange by saying that he'll be around. Linc jokes around with Deran about the situation on the way home, clearly able to tell there was more to the relationship, but he says he's cool with it. He probably wouldn't be too thrilled with Deran's later choices, but I am completely for it. Deran heads over to Adrian's and chat for a bit, with Adrian of course giving him a hard time. Adrian mentions that their timing has always been awful and Deran talks just a bit longer before they move in for the kiss they've known was coming since Deran knocked on the door. I may or may not have cheered.

Smurf has been spending her jail time having to watch her back since the girl whose job she stole has returned. Smurf's protector offers her a shiv to defend herself, and she initially declines to avoid jeopardizing her court date the next day. She rethinks this later when it turns out that the girl is not only back, but she's also Smurf's new cell mate. Sporting a black eye later, she has a meeting with Pearce where she accuses him of making this happen. He plays coy, but there's no way he had no hand in this. She then tries to make a deal to do 3 years in a minimum-security facility Lena could easily access in exchange for handing over her boys. After her meeting with J, however, her tune changes a bit. Pearce returns later with counteroffer of 8-10 years, but Smurf is not as cooperative this time. She tells him he wouldn't dream of offering something like this if he had a solid case against her, but he asks if she's sure about that. When she makes it clear she is, he makes it clear that he will see her in court tomorrow. As tomorrow rolls around, though, things seem a bit off. When they come to get her from her cell, they haven't brought her anything nice to wear to court. They sit her down as she asks all sorts of questions about her clothes and her court date, only to be greeted with a dream come true: discharge papers and everything she came into jail with. As the boys get set up for the weed heist they're about to pull, Smurf strolls out of jail, greeted by Pearce himself, ready to give her a ride. She's back.




Incoming
As Pearce drives Smurf home and uses the opportunity to try and get into Smurf's head, the boys and Frankie put the weed heist into full gear. It may seem like J and Deran have drawn the short straws in this job since they have to cram themselves into corpse boxes and wait in a plane for a while, but Craig and Pope have to ride around with Billy all day, so that might be worse. In fact, I'll go ahead and say it's much worse. At least there's peace and quiet in the corpse box. Though the job ends up being another success, all sides of it are met with a few complications. First up, J and Deran hit a bit of a snag when J can't initially get eyes outside of the box to make sure they're clear, eating into the short amount of time they have before they need to jump. They eventually overcome this obstacle and quickly go about dealing with the pilot and the guard, and securing the money from the weed dispensary bags. When they finally make the jump, they end up 48 miles away from where they need to be, which is bad enough on its own, but they're also on the opposite side of mountain so there's no straight path. Uh-oh. The two of them eventually find a house with a mother who is willing to help them out and forget about them if they give her $10,000. Honestly, they should be her friend, cause she seems like someone who could hold their own in the field.

Our ground team has also had a couple of issues. Well, really just one: Billy. After a car ride that saw Billy attempting to turn on the radio against Pope's wishes, they arrive at the designated spot and wait for J and Deran. Billy, who is equipped with a low attention span, little patience, and a lowering high, isn't too keen on sitting still and staying quiet. He instead attempts to have a conversation with Pope, leading to Pope confronting Billy for some past awfulness, such as locking Pope in the closet for 3 days as a child. Billy makes sure to point out to Pope that it was only 1.5 days, though, which is apparently supposed to make it better. They soon discover J and Deran have landed quite far away from the planned destination, inciting whines and complaints from Billy about how long the job is taking. On the way to rendezvous with the sky team, Billy continues to complain and says he'll calm down if they can get to a drunk stop and get him some drugs and/or hookers. Pope communicates that this will not be happening. Billy then decides (for some reason) that the best thing to do at his point is to try and get under Pope's skin about his incestuous mommy issues. Of course, this doesn't sit well with Pope and the exchange ends with Pope pulling Billy out of the car, tossing him into the desert, and driving off without him. When the boys eventually meet up, Deran is a little upset about Billy getting thrown out, but they convince him to get over it so they can go count up what this job has earned them. J has picked out a storage unit for the meeting/to store the money. It has plenty of cameras and is only accessible via an app on their phones that alerts all of them when the door is opening, making it an ideal place for this kind of stuff. After counting, they determine that they've just stolen $790,000 and really couldn't be happier with themselves. They will of course split the money evenly, but J insists that they hold on to Billy's money for a while to avoid him spending it irresponsibly and getting them caught, and Pope makes it clear that Lena is to get an even cut as well because she is family. With those two things agreed upon, they head out to enjoy the rest of their nights. Or so they thought.

Frankie initially had the easiest part in this job, as all she had to do was drop of J and Deran's boxes at the plane site, then go rest at home until they return. Mostly. Instead of resting, however, she got to meet a newly freed Smurf and ended up spending her day bending over backwards to make Smurf comfortable and avoid being kicked out. She goes to do a bit of laundry at one point while Smurf starts preparing dinner and leaves her cellphone on the table. Soon, Billy calls to ask for a ride and is floored to hear Smurf on the other end of the phone. They have a very fun exchange that ends with Smurf saying she can't wait to see him. Smurf goes back to preparing dinner for the rest of the day until Craig, J, and Pope return and are rendered speechless when they see her standing in the kitchen. After a pretty tense reunion in the kitchen, Pope asks Smurf about her tattoo, J finds his stuff in his old room, and Craig has phone call with Deran about the situation. Deran already knows about Smurf thanks to a visit with Billy (who had the audacity to ask if Deran could ever call him Dad) and is mildly freaking out because he never visited her. Later, Billy offers more lame reasons about why he never got in contact with Deran, while the rest of the family enjoy a nice, Smurf-cooked meal at home. After catching up on everyone's lives and telling J it's fine that Nicky is gone because he was never in love with her, she tries to ask about how their job went. They're all tight-lipped about the situation, forcing Smurf to move on to Baz's memorial site. When she learns they never got one, she tells them that's going to change because they all need a place to go and visit Baz, especially Lena. As she finishes this declaration, she calls for a toast to Baz, then sips away at her drink until we cut to black.


Animal Instincts
She's out, everyone! Smurf is officially out, which brings so many levels of trouble and excitement. Mostly just excitement brought on by all the trouble. Let's just take a second to remember that none of them went to visit her for anything that wasn't money/threat related for the duration of her stay, and that the last time J was there he had some pretty strong words for her. That's pretty terrifying. Not to mention, they've been allowing Billy to stay in her house, whom she has very strong feelings towards. All of these things are bound to see fun payoffs before the season ends and I most certainly cannot wait.

Let's also take a moment to celebrate a couple potential victories. First, Deran and Adrian very clearly mean a lot to each other, and Adrian is totally cool about the fact that Deran has started something with Linc while he was gone. And they certainly didn't let the Linc thing stop them from having some fun together. It just needs to happen officially already. Second, Nicky has been absent for two episodes in a row. Could she really be gone forever? Did we finally do it? Also, it's crazy how not too long ago Nicky's dad told her that there just wasn't any room for her in Guam, but now that she shot herself in the leg because he didn't welcome her home like a forgiving father should, they seem to have found a spot for her. It's amazing how much having your daughter shoot her leg really opens up the space in your home.

Finally, let's talk about Lena. Is DCFS really about to rip her away from the only family she's ever known? But also, is it really best for her to continue to be around this family? It's such a tough thing for me to figure out how I feel. The family is absolutely toxic, but if Pope is able to keep up what he's been doing with a few adjustments, I think she would be ok. Of course, Smurf is back out of jail now and there's a strong possibility she could start having some negative influences on Lena as she gets older. I'll just let the show tell me what they want to do and I'll decide how I feel about it then.

Favorite Sights
No Nicky!
Deran and Adrian!!
The middle-of-nowhere mom
Smurf's release
Literally everyone's reaction to Smurf's release

What are you most excited for now that Smurf is out? What do you think should happen to Lena? Can Adrian and Deran just make it official already and stop playing around? Sound off in the comments below!

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