From Animal Kingdom‘s pilot, one thing has been very evident about Pope: No one can predict what he’s going to do at any given moment. Over the years, he’s gotten his life back under control, but seeing as how the most recent episode saw him saying goodbye to Lena (and hello to once again living under Smurf’s roof), he’s potentially in the worst place he’s been since he got out of prison in the show’s early days.
“It is the lowest point because in season 1, he talked a lot about how he was in jail and how he had a fantasy life with Cath — that she was his wife and that Lena was his daughter — and that’s how he got through prison,” star Shawn Hatosy tells EW. “In Pope’s own disturbing way, Catherine became his anchor and he’s always needed an anchor in order to not completely fall apart. So Catherine was it for season 1. Season 2, Baz really stepped up and became his anchor and then in season 3, it would be Lena, and now that that is gone, he’s literally out of options. Smurf has him right where she wants him. She can control and manipulate and gaslight him to do whatever it is she needs him to do.”
And it doesn’t help that the Cody boys are currently fractured, with Craig (Ben Robson) off looking for potential jobs on his own and J (Finn Cole) trying to figure out his next move with Smurf (Ellen Barkin). “To watch the family really fall apart without Smurf was a journey, and now that she’s back, it’s gotten to a point where this family has been pushed to a place that they’ve never been pushed,” Hatosy says. “In the animal kingdom, the lone wolf doesn’t survive so I believe that they need to come together. Will they? I don’t know. My sense, particularly with Pope and Smurf, is that it’s at like Code Nuclear as far as toxicity.”
Let’s not forget that Pope knows something his brothers don’t: He knows, or at least he believes, that Smurf is the one who had Baz (Scott Speedman) killed. That information, if shared, could change everything for the family. “That is pushing the character in a new direction,” Hatosy says, adding, “But the big question is: What is J going to do? It feels as though it’s heading in a direction where there’s another division. The lines are drawn and people are going to have to make decisions in this family in order to see the Codys survive. Smurf seems to be the queen right now, but it’s up for grabs.”
Animal Kingdom airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.