Animal Kingdom Recap: Blame Game — Now With 200 Percent More Punching

In Sunday’s Animal Kingdom, while J, Craig and Deran played an extreme (and extremely violent) version of hot potato with the blame for the loss of the stolen coke that was going to put them back in the black, Pope put his own spin on doing a good deed (which, to his credit, wasn’t quite as bad as I expected). And by the time all was said and done, it appeared that Cody Central had a new man of the house. Which of Smurf’s boys took charge (or appeared to)? Read on…

‘JUST LET THIS HAPPEN’ | In the ‘80s flashbacks in “Gladiator,” Pam was back to running the occasional job with Janine, Manny and Jake, and her friendship with the future Smurf seemed to be altogether repaired (if it had ever truly been broken in the first place). As you might expect, the gal pals couldn’t contain their amusement when Jake’s wife Cheryl showed up at the trailer pissed that he was raising his mistress’ kids instead of having one with her. Meaner still, Janine later admitted to her confidante — as if her recent romp with Billy hadn’t underscored this point — she didn’t much care one way or the other whether Jake ran back to her or she never saw him again. So remember well, folks, if they say romance is dead, Janine is probably why.

In the present day, Pope stole into Liam’s house, scared the bejesus out of Henry and kidnapped his father at gunpoint — right out of the swimming pool. (Dude was fit, but still… #awkward.) From there, Andrew drove the duo to the desert, where he had a terrified Liam get out. Pope didn’t off him as I feared he might, though; no, he simply left him with a warning, tied hands, a knife in the weeds (with which to untie his hands) and a bottle of water to get him back to civilization. When Henry asked why Pope pulling all this cray-cray, he replied, “’Cause kids need their mothers — I mean, if their mothers are good.” With that, he delivered the boy to Cassandra and gave her a wad of cash with which to make a mad dash for the Canadian border. Guess it was too last-minute for him to throw in season tickets to the Maple Leafs.

‘THIS IS ON YOU’ | Elsewhere, J showed up at Craig’s because he couldn’t find Deran to discuss the fact that Livengood’s card had made it into Pete’s hands. (Take it slowly; I know that’s a lotta dots to connect — and we’re about to get even dottier.) In no time, Craig had shocked J by revealing that Deran had “dealt with” the Adrian sitch by shipping off his boyfriend to Indonesia, and J had shocked Craig by revealing that Deran had made him move the coke, which Pete subsequently flushed. “This is on you!” huffed Craig in the first of many rounds of the blame game. Yeah, replied J, well, “Adrian was Deran’s problem, but now he’s all of our problem.” Good volleying, gentlemen.

Off that tense interaction, Craig dove into whatever coke he could still find at the Codys’, wasted a perfectly good beer on a fit of pique, then picked a fight upon discovering Deran at his bar. “You and J gotta go around measuring d—ks,” he hollered, when what they really needed was cash. Which he subsequently scored a bit of by going on a coke-fueled robbery spree up and down the highway. And they say it never snows in California. At a meeting with Lark, J was instructed to sign along with his uncles an addendum giving them all equal shares and control of Smurf’s estate. “It’s an unusual situation,” noted the attorney, “because most families want to divide things up and go their separate ways.” About that, J said. If things were to change and the Codys didn’t want to remain in cahoots, how long would it take to divvy up the loot? It would be easiest, Lark advised, if J’s uncles just bought him out.

‘YOU EXPECT ME TO SAY SORRY?’ | Having just learned that J hadn’t stashed the coke at his bowling alley but with Pete — and that Pete had supposedly sent it swirling down the john — Deran paid a visit to Smurf’s old cohort to accuse him of lying or being a wuss. In response, Pete drew a line in the sand. “Next time you, your nephew, your crazy brother or your coked-out brother come around here,” he warned, “you ain’t leaving.” When finally, Deran, Craig and J wound up back at Cody HQ at the same time, all hell broke loose. As the blame game began anew, Deran pointed out to J that “I said move the coke, not move it to Pete’s.” J’s pointed reply: “We’re here because you didn’t have the balls to shoot your boyfriend.” When Craig kinda silently agreed, Deran took a swing at J, then a full-on fracas erupted.

“Smurf said you weren’t strong enough to deal with Adrian,” spat J at Deran between punches, “and she was right!” Before all was said and done, Craig had damn near drowned J (with Deran, ironically, saving him). As any sane person would after that (or long ago), J then started packing his bags… just in time for Pope to return. When Deran asked if he was gonna keep acting like a psycho and taking off all the time, Andrew just hugged his brother. Shortly, Deran and Craig kinda made up when the latter fixed the former’s broken nose. (However, Craig added, it was “still hideous.”) When Pope found J preparing to vamoose, he informed his nephew that nah, he wasn’t going anywhere. “You leave,” said Andrew, “and I’ll find you.” And suddenly, the least stable of the Codys seemed to have taken charge.

Is that how you read it? And who do you think is really to blame — or most to blame — for the fix in which the Codys find themselves? Hit the comments with your answers and observations.

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