Tuesday, June 6, 2017

REVIEW: 'Animal Kingdom' - The Brothers' Actions Could Ruin Their New Operation in 'Karma'

TNT's Animal Kingdom - Episode 2.02 "Karma"

As Smurf adjusts to being sidelined, the boys scope out their next job. Deran needs quick cash, and Pope and Craig lend him a hand. Baz investigates Catherine's disappearance.

The Cody family pulled jobs independent of Smurf in the first season. Some went well and some didn't. And now, the boys are striking out on their own because they no longer believe they need Smurf. It's an exciting time for them because they believe they can finally do the jobs they want to do. In the premiere, it was a debate over what their first job should be. It was a choice between robbing a yacht and robbing a megachurch. Baz and Pope were united and Deran and Craig were united. J was seemingly the deciding vote. And yet, his opinion doesn't really mean much at the moment. He's just along for the ride. The family trust him to help them in the field. But they are also weary of him because he is still living at Smurf's house and could be reporting back to her. So, they are essentially keeping him at arm's lengths right now. He's family but he may not be ready or trustworthy enough for the big decisions and jobs. As such, the show is still just formulating its story for the season. It's a fascinating start so far. The family is coming off the high of the Pendleton job. But the pressure is still high because the brothers still need money and need to make quite a bust for their first job away from Smurf. They need to prove they don't need her in order to be successful in this business.

And so, it's been decided that the family is going to rob a megachurch. Right now, they are staking out the place. It's this massive operation. It comes with the added risk of the family knowing people who attend the services. That's why Smurf didn't want to do it in the first place. She thought it was too dangerous. If someone knows them, then they'll be able to spot them and how they suddenly appear and disappear after money is stolen. All it takes is for one of them to be recognized for this entire job to go awry. And yet, Baz is still determined to hit the place. He's focused almost entirely on the mission. He needs this to go well to prove that his ideas are always the best. They are certainly the most elaborate and difficult. But those kinds of jobs come with the best payoff. It's also learned that if the family waits just a couple of weeks the money they'll steal will be even greater. In a month, the church is having their massive fundraiser for the year. It would mean stealing money from an underprivileged hospital somewhere. But it would help all of these guys live the very lavish lives they've come to enjoy - especially since Smurf cut them off financially and changed all of the locks on her properties.

However, things may be taking a personal twist with the megachurch as well. When Pope is looking the place over, he runs into one of the volunteers, Amy. There is definitely a spark there that will more than likely develop into something more meaningful. That could be a very important complication in this story. Right now, she's a source of information. She's the one who tells Pope about when the church will have the most money. That helps the brothers out during their planning. And yet, it's a church program that brings stability and comfort to Pope and Lena at the end of the episode. Right now, Baz simply isn't a great father. He's ruining things with Lucy as well. It seems like the only thing he's good at is this business. He's good at planning when it comes to robbing places but he sucks at being there for either his daughter or his girlfriend. Pope has been more paternal to Lena this season. That's weird and twisted considering he killed Catherine. But he's still there for her. He's the comforting voice when Baz is growing more and more frustrated. Baz learns that there is literally no leads on Catherine. So now, he's actually thinking she's dead. That's a key thought. One that will eventually destroy family. And with everything going on, that could be a fatal blow to the operation.

Another potential complication to the current plan is Deran's desire to own and operate a bar. It's him pursuing a legitimate business. This is a family that runs on crime. It's all about where they can find the next big score. And now, Deran is looking at something new and exciting. This bar isn't that great. It's just a dive bar where the locals hang out. The woman who owns it is desperate to move on. She's growing frustrated that Deran isn't able to produce the money he said he would. She likes him and wants the sale to be quick and easy. But it's ultimately up to Pope and Craig to get the remaining money for Deran. He wants to rob anything that has a ton of cash right now because this sale means so much to him. He was being reckless. It took Pope to see that something more was going on. So instead, he suggests a different robbery. It's a keen observation that food trucks must carry around a ton of money with only limited security. Of course, the three brothers rob the truck that also happens to be selling drugs. That gun shootout was a very intense scene. One that could have caused a ton of complications should one of them have gotten hit. None of them do but things were precarious for awhile. It's all in service of this greater goal. But managing a bar will take up more time, energy and money than Deran probably releases. Being in charge of that place could limit the time he has for pulling jobs with his brothers. With these big operations, that could be a severe problem.

Or perhaps everything will fall apart because of Craig's latest careless action. He's the brother always getting high and running into trouble. And now, he almost burns his apartment down and doesn't even realize it. He left a lit joint on his couch because he was too distracted with Nicky. More importantly, she's the one left to deal with this disastrous situation. He's asleep during the actual event and then leaves right away after everything is done. He's not that worried about what happened nor does he care how Nicky is doing with all of it. It's incredibly telling that Nicky called Smurf to deal with the problem. She doesn't know about the fallout that has happened within the family. She still believes that everything is exactly as it was. She doesn't know any better because she's not important enough to Craig to tell her the full truth. To him, she's just a sexual object. She is slightly more important in the grand scheme of the show. She is now a resident of Smurf's house as well. She moves in and it's only later on that everyone remembers that she and J used to date. He claims not to care about Craig dating Nicky or her moving into the house. But he's still quick to boast about his plans to get his own place. Even that though is a suggestion from his uncles. He's still caught in the middle of all of this. He simply does things that the rest of the family want him to do. His own original thoughts are rare so far this season. So, things with this new business arrangement are still too tenuous and could go wrong at any possible moment.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Karma" was written by Eliza Clark and directed by Thomas Carter.
  • Smurf gets the phone call that her old friend, Manny, has died. And now, she and J are planning on attending his wake. That will likely be the premise for the next episode. As such, it should begin to be more fleshed out then. It's intriguing to explore more of Smurf's past. But right now, it's still just full of cryptic teases.
  • Smurf is still in transition regarding everything she used to own with the rest of the family. She canceled their credit cards last week. And now, she's changing locks and pushing for things to be done by the end of the day. She also reaches out to her diamond seller to make sure she stays loyal to her and not to Baz.
  • There is an awkward story about Lena falsely believing Lucy to be her mother. She's hears a woman's laughter in the apartment and is horrified that Baz is already with another woman. This season is already scaring this poor kid for life. Baz and Pope claim she'll be fine and is already over it. Except they may not be the best at determining how she's feeling.
  • Cracks are starting to form in Baz and Pope's partnership as well. Baz is getting increasingly frustrated with Pope because he's not giving him a heads up regarding impending changes. He shows up at the house with Lena unannounced and then doesn't mention the changed time table with the church until the entire family is assembled.
  • So far, I'm just not feeling anything towards Baz and Lucy as a couple. They are getting more focus and attention this season. He's lying to her about why Catherine left. He has no definitive answers regarding that. But Lucy still seems too much of one-note archetype instead of a character who feels like a part of this world.