Animal Kingdom recap: Goddamn Animals
The Cody family really wouldn’t be the Cody family without a few lies. Their whole dynamic involves lying to one another, lying to themselves, and lying to other people. It’s what they do. Sure enough, “Goddamn Animals” begins with a lie, and it’s one that leads to an enlightening episode for the character of Smurf.
You see, Smurf is going away to Vegas for the weekend with her beau Toby, leaving the boys to do whatever they please. She gives them $1,000, some mediocre paychecks, and tells them to keep an eye on a work phone while she’s gone. While J is spilling a few details to Alexa about his messed up family, Craig and Deran are planning to throw a party while Smurf’s in Vegas.
Here’s where the lies come in. When Craig catches up with Deran and Adrian on the beach, inviting the latter to his party, he tells them that he just saw Toby and that he has no clue what this whole Vegas trip is. So, why is Smurf really gone for the weekend, and why didn’t she tell the boys about it?
The first clues we get to Smurf’s real plans involve her seeing a man from her past. We don’t get to know much about him, but Smurf has paid him to mess with some cameras at an auto shop. “Stealing cars now?” he asks before asking about Craig. “Does he still look like me?” he asks. This is the first time we’ve seen one of the boys’ fathers, but the interesting thing is, he’s hardly relevant to the story. Smurf didn’t leave town to see him.
Instead, we see Smurf at an auto body shop, using the name “Rachel” and showing interest in buying a classic muscle car. Smurf and the older salesman spend some time talking about the car and drawing up the paperwork. Then, Smurf sees an old photo of him hanging in his office; it’s the same sunny surf photo from last week, the one where Smurf clearly recognized who was in the picture.
Meanwhile, back at home, Pope’s old prison buddy Vin is once again hitting him up for a job. He’s pissed about Pope stealing the last one, so now he wants in. He brings Pope to a bank job but he refuses to go through with it, saying that it’s clear they’ll get caught. Vin’s not too happy about the rejection, even going so far as to threaten Pope by revealing his love for Catherine to Baz, and then threatening Baz himself if he doesn’t get a cut of a job sometime in the future.
Vin won’t have much of a claim at all if Baz can’t rope Paul in for the job though. He’s the one variable. So, Baz spends much of the episode buttering him up, making sure that he’ll be receptive to the plan when the phone Smurf gave them finally rings. He lets Paul use the Charger and gives him $5,000 as a “thank you” when he takes some not-so-legal financial advice.
NEXT: The Origin of Smurf
So, what about Alexa and J? While the Cody family is suspicious of J’s absence, he’s really not giving much to Alexa. Their relationship is getting pretty messed up, but that just means Alexa is getting closer to him and starting to betray Detective Yates. In “Goddamn Animals,” J not only takes care of Alexa when she comes close to overdosing — he has a lot of experience with that — he also sleeps with her after she recovers. Then, she secretly tells him about the wire she’s wearing for Yates. Alexa has chosen a side, and because this show is filled with creepy relationships, that side is with a 17-year-old kid who’s also her student.
At the Cody house a full-on pool party is underway, and since Craig invited Adrian along, there’s of course tension between him and Deran. The two still haven’t sorted out their differences — namely, that Deran hates himself and takes it out on Adrian — but there might still be time for Deran to turn things around, at least for himself. Craig takes him aside and says that he knows about his sexuality and that he couldn’t care less, but that he needs to stop being an asshole to Adrian because he’s a nice guy. Deran takes the advice to heart and tries to make up with Adrian, but he’s having none of it.
When the party is coming to a close, Craig gets a call on the phone Smurf told her boys to keep an eye on. It’s from a guy they have who works at a 7-Eleven near the military base. He says he’s sold a crazy amount of phone cards lately, and that’s always a sign that a deployment is on the way. That sends Baz to Paul in a hurry. He wanted more time to work him, but he needs to get him on his side now because the job is going down this week. Paul seems reluctant at first, but Baz says they’re good to go when he comes back home.
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So, “Goddamn Animals” sees Baz’s plan start to come together, but really the episode is all about providing some insight into Smurf. As it turns out, the man in the picture who she’s now pretending to buy a car from is the former boyfriend of her mother, and it looks like he left her to die in a robbery gone wrong. Smurf is here for revenge, putting a loaded gun into her purse, but when they go back to the auto shop after dinner, things change. The man tells “Rachel” all about his past in the car, and how he inherited from a woman he loved. More than that though, he loved her kid. She would swim all day until she turned blue, so he chose to call her “Smurf.”
The story shakes Smurf, and it’s clear she can’t go through with her revenge plot. When the man goes inside to get some champagne so they can celebrate her new purchase, Smurf takes off and heads home. There are ghosts haunting this whole family, from Smurf’s dead mother to Pope’s dead sister Julia, who’s also apparently Baz’s former lover. This family is a mess of incestuous and intimate relationships, and they’re going to need to get it together if they’re to have any chance of pulling off this next job.