Animal Kingdom recap: Flesh Is Weak
If you haven’t noticed, Smurf’s collection of “sons” consists of mostly man-babies. Sure, they have adult bodies and even pseudo-adult lives, but when it comes to standing up to their mother and asserting their independence, they’re seriously lacking. At least Deran is doing his best to separate from Smurf, holing up at his own place and refusing to come home even as she puts her boys back to work.
Their next job is to rob some shipping containers, but Pope isn’t too happy about it. He wants to go bigger and better, but he can’t convince the rest of the family. With Deran gone and Baz unable to bring him back, Pope is certainly outnumbered, more prone to the whims and control of Smurf and Baz than before.
For awhile, it doesn’t look like Deran is coming home anytime soon. He’s surfing and hanging out with Adrian — and as Smurf points out, he has a history of just taking off, even disappearing to Belize for five weeks at some point in the past. With Baz unable to get the job done and bring Deran back, Pope decides to step in. He goes to Deran’s apartment, cleans it up a bit, and waits all night for him. Alas, he never shows.
That’s because Deran is too busy being a total creep. First he teases Adrian’s friend, who’s clearly more than just a friend, and then breaks into his apartment and has sex with him to assert his dominance. Adrian tries to break things off and say they can’t keep going on like this, with Deran hating himself and hiding his sexuality, but it doesn’t look like anything is going to change. Also, that Belize trip? That’s right, Deran went there with Adrian.
Back at the Cody house, Smurf has invited Nicky’s parents over for dinner. It’s a way to make them feel comfortable with Nicky spending so much time there, but also to make sure Nicky’s father stays out of their business. The dinner is a success, but J takes off shortly after and immediately raises Smurf’s suspicions.
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J’s secret plans are attending the surf-photo exhibit his teacher, Alexa Anderson, invited him to in the previous episode. The two spend the night discussing the meaning of the photos and then head back to her place for a drink. When Alexa gets close to J, putting her hand on his leg, he panics and decides it’s best he take off. Clearly, there’s something going on there beyond the typical student-teacher relationship.
Meanwhile, Baz, frustrated with how everything is going, visits his other woman, Lucy, to blow off a little steam. The two end up talking about Smurf and the hold she has on her boys, and Lucy insists Baz needs to get back to doing jobs on his own, like he used to do with her brother, Marco. Baz seems to think it’s not such a bad idea, but the question is, can he really disentangle himself from the Cody family and Smurf’s control? The odds are certainly against him.
NEXT: Momma’s boy
Smurf finds out about J’s visit to the photo exhibit when she finds a flier in his jeans. She looks taken aback when she sees a photo of a man, barely visible, taken against the backdrop of the setting sun. That sends Smurf to the gallery where she tries to get information about the man from the photographer, Lila Cole. Lila initially refuses, but as the two get a little intimate — it’s kind of Smurf’s go-to tactic — she opens up a bit about the photo’s subject, saying he had an airplane hanger filled with cars and a “hustler vibe.” Smurf obviously knows this guy, but how she does is still unclear.
After Pope fails to find Deran at his apartment, he finds him surfing the next morning. Deran says he has no interest in coming home, but he will if Pope agrees to do something for him without asking any questions. Sure enough, Pope agrees, and ends up kidnapping Adrian’s new boyfriend, tying up his legs, and throwing him into the ocean to nearly drown. That doesn’t make Adrian too happy, but Deran doesn’t seem to care. He’s going to continue with the whole self-hating, gay-man-with-mommy-issues thing.
Meanwhile, Smurf sends J to collect the rent at one of her buildings, where he runs into a bit of trouble. One tenant gives him a hard time, but J keeps his cool and manages to get the rent. It gives him a sense of purpose and confidence, and that sends him to Alexa’s door. He kisses her forcefully before she puts a stop to his advances, but it’s clear J thinks he has everything under control now, running around with newfound confidence. As it turns out, that confidence is warranted. Smurf told her tenant to give J a hard time, and J passed the test with flying colors.
In the episode’s least-interesting storyline, Craig continues to cover up the fact that he stole Ren’s stuff while she was overdosing, even going so far as to beat the hell out of the guy she suspects did it. She pays him back with some coke and the two of them continue their terrible relationship. In related news, we’re all still wondering what this has to do with anything.
By the end of the episode, it looks like the Codys are finally coming back together. Deran is back home after Pope did what he was told, and Baz seems to have another job in mind, perhaps something involving a military base and Nicky’s father. But, as “Flesh Is Weak” comes to a close, Animal Kingdom drops a huge bomb. We see Alexa, J’s teacher, walking on the pier. She’s there to visit someone. That someone turns out to be a detective who has Alexa in her pocket as some sort of informant or undercover agent. Finally, this story gets a little more interesting.