Tuesday, August 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Animal Kingdom' - Smurf Deals with Tragedy in the Past While Angela Is Honest With Pope in 'Julia'

TNT's Animal Kingdom - Episode 4.11 "Julia"

Pope grows suspicious of J when Angela reveals the circumstances of her disappearance. As the threats against Adrian loom larger, Deran scrambles to find a way out. Craig navigates new complications in his relationship with Renn. Janine takes on a different role in the crew's latest heist as she plans for her future with Colin.

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.

"Julia" was written by Daniele Nathanson and directed by Shawn Hatosy

The crews are starting to fracture. That is absolutely significant especially as they continue to embark on more jobs together. Pope no longer feels that he can trust J. He knows exactly what he did to Angela in the hopes of getting her out of their lives. J has been angling to become the leader of this family after Smurf is gone. And yet, Smurf's presence may be irresponsible. This family may be destined to fall apart without her. That's how it has always been structured. She was at the top and demanded to be kept in the loop and in control over absolutely everything. She beat her own children into submission so that they would always adhere to her rules. Only in adulthood did they start lashing out at her because of the twisted mind games she played on them. The flashbacks this season have showcased how she came to run her criminal operation this way. There is the element of it all feeling inevitable and predictable. As such, it teases that Smurf gets pregnant and that she envisions herself living in the house that the audience already knows is the Cody family home. Those are just plot points that help everyone connect the dots with this particular story. That also meant it was likely that something would happen to Colin along the way. He has never been seen or mentioned before. Manny, Jake and Jed have all been seen in the present day. Smurf has still had relationships with them. They may not have always been the healthiest. In fact, all of them essentially ends with her wanting to kill them. She succeeded when it came to Manny and Jake. With Jed, she may just be hoping that he kills her before the cancer does. She doesn't really care what the consequences will be for her sons. Those are problems that they will have to deal with without her there to fix everything. Of course, she still exerts her influence. She demands that Deran kill Adrian because of the possibility of him talking to the police about what the Cody family actually does. The audience has long known just how serious Smurf can be with these threats. But that's what makes it so compelling to see her so emotional and devastated after Colin dies in a shootout with two police officers. He and Smurf were on the top of the world believing they had found a new groove in which to pull off these jobs. But Smurf hasn't learned all of the lessons yet that allowed her to stay safe and protected for as long as she has. They are found out because they used the same car as the getaway vehicle with each diner robbery. Her being pregnant also allowed her to be recognized more easily. She may be envisioning her future life. A lot of it does ultimately come true. Having a family doesn't prevent her from continuing with this line of work. She just has to do so without Colin. She may leave Manny and Jake on the side of the road as she flees to Jed. And yet, the audience already knows that she continues to have complicated relationships with all of them for a long time. That means part of this story can feel redundant. And yet, it's all crucial to understanding just how things are crumbling as a result of Smurf's uncertain fate. Her sons never know where she is or if she'll return to them. They operate with the confidence that she will until she won't. She isn't died yet until they get that confirmation. But Craig is fully embracing his new role as a father, Deran is plotting to go on the run with Adrian, Pope remains committed to his relationship with Angela, and J is open to hearing about a new job opportunity from Frankie even though Pope wants him out of the family for good. Everything is intensifying in a really interesting way at the moment. The show just has to follow through on a number of these teases to secure the most dramatic ending possible.