Spoiler alert: This post contains plot points from the Aug. 9 season finale of Animal Kingdom.
After a shocking penultimate episode, Animal Kingdom‘s season 1 finale ended with J completing his Cody transformation, Pope finally speaking his mind to Smurf, and Smurf getting the revenge she’d been thinking about for years.
Speaking to Pope’s big confrontation with Smurf, Shawn Hatosy tells EW, “As much as Pope wants to climb the ladder in the hierarchy of the Cody family business, I think that this act and previous acts — taking out Catherine’s parents — they’re going to have an effect on Pope. They’re going to weigh on him. Pope comes to the realization that Smurf uses him and he doesn’t like how it feels. She needs Pope for [the things] nobody else can do, including herself.”
Hatosy continues, “The evolution of Pope is heading in a direction that’s totally unexpected for Smurf and for Pope. Pope was such a passive victim and this is finally his moment to not only say what Pope has been saying but what the audience has been dying to hear. Nobody’s ever talked to her like that.”
Hatosy, of course, is referring to the scene in which Pope tells Smurf that he’s going to get his own place before informing her that she’s the sickest of them all. That speech then ignites something within Smurf that leads to her murdering the man who, years ago, killed her mother.
And by the time Smurf returns home, she looks around at all her boys and realizes that things have shifted. “I think [that final scene is] beautifully written because of the contrast of now that Catherine is gone, we have these other characters: We have J, we have Lena, and we have Nicky,” Hatosy says. “There’s these three new characters that are going to be brought into this world, the Cody family empire, and to watch the corruption take place and to see where they go and how they’re affected going forward. When we performed the scene, surrounded by all of those characters and looking at Smurf and sort of thinking about what’s next, what have you done, and what’s going to happen now that we’re taking care of Lena. That’s what I felt when we were doing it, anyway.”
As for Pope’s decision to let Vin live, Hatosy says it was a “noble” move “because he’s paying back his debt,” but he doesn’t disagree that it could’ve also been a very dumb move. “All of these circumstances could come back in a major way and affect Baz and Pope. It just feels like they’re heading into a huge explosion, and I hope that Pope survives,” he says, laughing.
Animal Kingdom has been renewed for a second season, which is expected to drop in 2017.