Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3 Review: The Center Will Hold

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Were you shocked?

The reveal of Baz's killer on Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3, proved to be the last person ever expected.

There's a lot to discuss, so let's dig in.

J and Nicky

Mia has a lot of balls which is probably why J is so interested in her, though he could be yanking her chain to buy himself some time until he gets a stash of cash. But my gut tells me that he is starting to develop feelings for her because she is a badass.

The fact that she was the one who murdered Baz was shocking, but it puts Smurf in the guilty column.

There's no way that Mia and the gangster guy (I still don't know his name) killed Baz of their own doing. There would be no reason for it, so they had to have been working under Smurf's direction.

Related: Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 2 Review: In the Red

His visit with Smurf on Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 1 when he told her he didn't find anything at his house makes perfect sense now.

She was trying to protect not only herself but her boys as well. She also was tired of Baz and his bullshit. AND she was pissed beyond belief that he cleaned her out.

There's a part of me that thinks perhaps J knows Smurf was behind Baz's killing and that's why he wasn't as shocked about it as he should have been.

He and Smurf are sharing a lot more information than we are privy to having.

Checking Out the Action - Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3

J got the information on the new job from Smurf. Who knows what else they're doing or planning?

If Smurf was behind Baz's killing, then I'm going to go out on a ledge and say that she told J Mia was the one who did it.

If that's the case, then it makes sense that J is all into (in more ways than one) Mia. He needs to keep his enemies close, and she's enemy number one.

But I also think that he's genuinely attracted to her because, as I said earlier, she's a badass.

He also may be working under Smurf's direction, but I don't want to believe that. I want to believe that J has his own agenda going.

I don't' want him to only be Smurf's puppet. It would be a complete letdown if that were true.

Related: Get Comic Con HQ via Prime Video Channels to Stream Original Series, Past Comic-Con Panels & More!

I'm very curious as to why Smurf owes this gangster so much money and how much exactly she owes.

I have to wonder if this guy helped her start her business. I'm also curious as to how Mia is related to him. Is she his sister? His daughter?

J needs to be careful because this guy doesn't strike me as someone who is going to be too thrilled if he finds out about J and Mia.

As much as I dislike Nicky, I almost felt sorry for her. She's too naive. 

No More Time - Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3

She didn't even bat an eyelash when Mia showed up with J. I would've been asking all sorts of questions about who she was and why she was with him. 

Nicky just introduced herself to Mia and got in the car. She can't be that stupid, can she?

So now there are two people in danger (Nancy and Nicky), and J is ridiculously oblivious.

Does J even know what he's doing? He's playing a dangerous game, and someone is going to get hurt.

Craig: What the hell happened to your hair?
Deran: Just wanted a change.
Craig: A change to what? Looking like the produce manager at some Safeway?

J still loves Nicky otherwise he wouldn't have saved her from the drug dealer, but he's not thinking straight. And she is entirely devoted to him.

It was a sad sight to see her at the pool all by herself. Her so-called friend was apparently using her, and her boyfriend was preoccupied.

She's completely alone -- more than she even realizes.

I also felt sorry for the other loser in the family -- Craig. He was so excited about getting a place with Renn and was utterly crushed when she told him she had no intention of moving in with him.

Craig needs to get his shit together because the world is passing him by, and he keeps screwing up. Everything he touches turns into a disaster.

Craig is a Loser - Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3

Deran changed his hair and is trying to change his life, so much so that Pope had to have a serious talk with him about family. 

Deran has to realize he is never going to get out of the family business because there will always be something that ends up pulling him back in. And he'd be a fool to turn his back on Pope.

Pope loves his brothers, but we all know what he's capable of doing to those he loves. He'll have no problem taking care of Deran if he continues to defy family.

So if shit goes sideways instead of coming together we fall apart? Is that what you think? We are a family, and you're in it so step the hell up.

Pope [to Deran]

I know I've said this before, but I love Pope more and more every hour. He was willing to sit outside Lena's school to wait for her because he promised her he would.

Related: Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 1 Review: The Killing

The scene with the crossing guard was hilarious. Pope isn't to be trifled with, but he realized she was right when she told him it's creepy for a grown man to be sitting outside a school.

Crossing Guard: Is there a problem, sir?
Pope: [shakes head no]
Crossing Guard: Okay, then you need to move along.
Pope: My niece goes to this school, and this is her first day her and I promised her I'd be right here when she got out.
Crossing Guard: I appreciate that, sir, but you need to go now and come back after school's done.
Pope: Why?
Crossing Guard: Because a grown man sitting outside an elementary school is creepy.

Leaving the school gave him an opportunity to check out Smurf's job. Pope isn't stupid. He has to know that Smurf is behind it. I wonder if he's only playing along to get a good whiff of what J's up to lately.

Pope doesn't trust J. I don't even think he likes J, but Pope knows that he needs to protect the family business so he's going to go along with things until he can gain a better understanding of what's really happening.

He's also protecting Lena. Everything he's doing he is doing for her. 

The Look - Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3

I didn't quite get why he cleaned Baz's car only to burn it later. I thought he was serious about saving it for Lena, so torching it was a surprise.

Lucy isn't out of the woods either. Someone's going to find out she took all the money. Wouldn't it be something if she was working with the gangster? It's possible.

"The Center Will Hold" was one of the best episodes of Animal Kingdom yet. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda (except for Nicky and Craig.) I can't wait to see how all the pieces fall into place, can you?

So what did you think?

Were surprised that Mia was the one who pulled the trigger? What's her game?

Is J just a puppet?

Did you feel sorry for Craig?

What's Pope's plan?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts! If you need to catch up, you can watch Animal Kingdom online right here via TV Fanatic!

The Center Will Hold Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Animal Kingdom Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

Craig: What the hell happened to your hair?
Deran: Just wanted a change.
Craig: A change to what? Looking like the produce manager at some Safeway?

Crossing Guard: Is there a problem, sir?
Pope: [shakes head no]
Crossing Guard: Okay, then you need to move along.
Pope: My niece goes to this school, and this is her first day her and I promised her I'd be right here when she got out.
Crossing Guard: I appreciate that, sir, but you need to go now and come back after school's done.
Pope: Why?
Crossing Guard: Because a grown man sitting outside an elementary school is creepy.