Tuesday, July 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Animal Kingdom' - Smurf Throws an Epic Party Before Doing One Last Job in 'Exit Strategy'

TNT's Animal Kingdom - Episode 4.10 "Exit Strategy"

Smurf orders the Cody boys to plan a dangerous job while she orchestrates an elaborate party at the house. J tries to ally himself with Pope, but learns he's in way over his head. Craig responds to a challenge to his newly formed family with Renn.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of TNT's Animal Kingdom.

"Exit Strategy" was written by Matt Kester and directed by Nick Copus

Craig is approaching life as a changed man now. Sure, he is still all in on pulling jobs with his brothers and J. The bonds of family are still strong within him. And yet, he also aspires to be a good and supportive father. He can imagine a future in which he has his own family with Renn. This hour spends a portion of time on them discussing what to name their son. It also features them having to fight to be his parents. Renn's mother doesn't think she has the aptitude for it. It should be fascinating to see if Craig is the member of the Cody family capable of being a parent. Right now, he simply has the desire to do so. Of course, Baz and Pope felt that same impulse. Pope still wants to know if Lena is safe and happy. He always feels that way. It just may be inappropriate for him to act on it. He is still a very violent and disturbed man. And yet, the strength of this family comes from them closing ranks in order to defeat any kind of outside threat. However, Smurf's cancer isn't something that can easily be defeated. At this point, the only way she survives this season is if it was a complete misdiagnosis. That seems unlikely simply because the show has invested so much into it. The season has depicted her early career as a criminal and her making the choices that led to her current life. And now, she wants to have one last epic party before she goes out in a blaze of glory. She believes it will be easy to steal from Jed because his compound isn't as secure as he wants to believe it is. Of course, that's her souring a relationship right before she dies. She's fully expecting that fatal moment to happen at any moment now. She wishes to be in control of it. Her sons may see it as pure denial though. When they want to have a conversation with her about the cancer, she completely ignores them. It's not a debate she wants to have. Instead, she only offers teases about how her boys will have to be smart in order for them to survive and thrive without her leading them. This season started with the idea that J was coming after Smurf because of the actions she has taken. It hasn't really followed through on that promise. Instead, J is mostly distracted here. Pope is following the trail of clues that indicate that J allowed Angela to relapse simply because he wanted her out of his life once more. And yes, it's very likely that she could be sent back to prison after being fired from her job for missing a shift. She is using again. That is destructive to Pope but it's so sickening to watch him drag her through the house and trap her inside a bathroom. He may believe he's doing that out of love. And yet, this is just an extremely twisted family in which no one can ever truly have a happy and healthy relationship. There remains the hope that Deran and Adrian could have that. They could achieve what everyone else has failed to do. But Adrian's future is now in complete limbo. He is facing fifteen years in prison because he refuses to cooperate by providing evidence against the Cody family. Smurf also knows that he is the person talking with the police. Her source comes through for her. She still has allies who will reliably do work for her. Her boys don't have the same connections. That will be the most immediate danger regarding life without Smurf. And yet, that depends entirely on whether or not they will continue to embrace this criminal lifestyle. It seems likely for some. J and Pope are still operating under that apparent certainty. But Craig may have different aspirations now considering he can no longer just think about himself. His actions have an impact on other people now.