Is a new era of the Cody family finally falling into place?
Tensions were incredibly high on Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 6, as Deran continued to assert himself as the leader and mastermind of the family to both Craig and J's chagrin.
And the hour had a nerve-wracking job, potential power shifts, and Pope running away from a desert cult with a death-defying woman who isn't afraid of his darkness and reminds him of Cath. Maybe?
I mean, I don't know how to process all of this, but let's give it a go and delve into everything. There is plenty to discuss about this hour.
At this point, Deran has become the most polarizing of the Cody boys.
Are we supposed to conclude that he's the man now after going through with the job and boxing Pamela into a corner, or is he just an impulsive asshole who got lucky this time despite his dickish behavior?
Craig: You don't think it's bad enough that I have to worry about my own ass on these jobs but now I have to worry about Renn too?
Deran: Since when do you worry about anything? Renn can take care of herself, man.
Craig: You should've asked me on principle.
Deran: So now you have principles?
Deran's "get'er done" attitude, no matter the costs or the risks, was very Smurf-like but also disturbing. The job could've gone bad six ways from Sunday, but all Deran could focus on was completing it to negotiate with Pamela.
Oddly, Deran and Pamela, in some moments, seem like they have this power struggle. At other times, it seems like Pamela does and says things just to see how he'll react, and she's perpetually amused by him.
Deran ran point on this job, and it had more than its fair share of hiccups.
For someone who got pissy about J doing things without communicating with them, like a hypocrite, he did the exact same thing for the whole job.
What is the truth, Deran?
He was dead wrong for not telling Craig that he roped Renn into the job. But it's another point with nuance.
Was it a dick move to do that to his brother, or was he incorporating Renn as a reminder of who Craig should focus on rather than the messy thing with Frankie?
Deran was the one who suspected Craig fooled around with Frankie, and he wasn't a fan of it.
Craig: When we say we're burned, we're burned. Alright?
Deran: We did it, we got the safe.
Craig: Yeah, we almost got busted.
Deran: You know I made the call, and I would've made it again.
Craig: Yeah, you know who you sound like, right? We make the calls, alright? Together, not just you.
If those were his intentions as a way of meddling, then it isn't that bad. It also could've worked if Deran picked up Craig's hypocrisy about Renn's lifestyle choices as a parent when Craig's aren't much better.
Deran was disturbingly callous and indifferent about endangering Renn on this job and her safety, as well as how it would affect Craig, though. How does he not see why Craig's priorities have changed and why having a kid makes him think of things differently?
Goodness knows if something were to happen to him and Renn, grumpy Uncle Deran isn't taking over baby duty.
And Deran, of all people, bringing up to Craig that somehow he should care about Renn less because of that time she had her cousins harass Craig after HE screwed Renn over by stealing her drugs and leaving her for dead is absurd.
Deran's lack of consideration for the simple fact that acts have consequences and every action has a reaction -- it's ridiculous and makes him look like an entitled jerk.
Deran is exclusively focused on the estate and getting it back at any cost, and it could easily screw him in the end.
Phoenix warned them about Marion and who they were going after, so there's no way they got through this messy job without some impeding consequences from it.
If the job went as it was supposed to, no one would've ever seen or remembered their faces, and they never would've drawn any attention to themselves.
As it stands now, Marion has seen their faces, will probably figure out who they are and possibly their connection to Pam and Phoenix, and he'll act accordingly.
Hell, the way the final scene played out with Deran walking into the Cody house alone, I thought someone would jump him or something.
The job was a mess. Marion's employee was suspicious of J from the second he saw him, which didn't do them any favors at all. They didn't spend enough time getting to know their mark. If they did, they would've known about Marion's arrangement with Warren, the owner next door.
And for whatever reason, the schematics were all messed up when after all of that drilling, they ended up in a freaking storage room.
Renn: I had fun. I get why you do it now.
Craig: I do it for the money.
Renn: Yeah, sure.
Renn was great, quick on her feet, and handy with that knife, but some of her moves were risky, too.
She stood out too much by going up on stage to slip the DJ money and ask him to raise the music higher. She wasn't even dancing around enough to sell it.
Flirting with Marion became useful and gave Renn more information quicker that she, in turn, could communicate with the boys, but she stood out too much, and it made her a target as soon as Marion figured out what was happening.
If Marion had more guys going after her or something, then it could've gone worse. And who is to say that more doesn't come from her stabbing that one guy in the leg repeatedly?
Pam: Soon as this is finished we can sit down and talk about next steps.
Craig: The next step is you giving us our shit back.
Pam: That's what we'll discuss.
J: We don't want to drag this out.
Pam: Neither do I. So let's just see how this goes.
The whole job was nerve-wracking, and Deran didn't bat an eye at the danger he put them all in. And he used the success to negotiate terms with Pamela by himself.
Pamela's phrasing naturally gave the impression that she wouldn't hand them over everything after that job and would keep stringing them along in exchange for services. Pamela and Phoenix claimed they would've held their word if Deran didn't keep them safe until he signed something.
And her comments to Deran about Smurf's potential intentions make sense. In her absence, she wanted the boys to have someone in her likeness to turn to when in need.
And let's be honest, Deran's hard-edge, when he's trying to act like a boss in front of Pamela, is textbook Mommy issues on display. It's like Deran is trying to impress this woman and earn her respect in a way he couldn't with Smurf.
And since the flashbacks typically align with the present in some way, maybe there's something read in Manny's assertion that everyone has a boss. They keep toying with the idea that Pamela can be that person for the Codys.
She seemed genuine in stating she's someone they could turn to, especially when Deran brought up that Smurf taught them only to trust family (something that they still don't do).
Baz was considered their family, after all. And in Pamela's mind, as aunt Birdie, maybe she thinks that still applies to her on some level. But something tells me that with the unusual connection Deran cultivated with her, he'll turn to her about this thing with Adrian and the DEA or something.
Pamela: So much for trust.
Deran: You know Smurf. She told us not to trust anyone but family.
Pamela: That's a hard way to live your life. You know what I think? I think your mother did this because she wanted us to meet. I think she wanted you to know that there's someone you could turn to if you ever needed help.
Deran: Yeah. It was nice to meet you.
Pamela: Nice to meet you, too.
Deran: We good?
Pamela: Yeah, we're good.
In this new Cody era, post-Smurf, they do need to cultivate some bonds of their own. Deran did it to an extent with Renn and maybe Pamela. J bringing Frankie into the fold is another way, but it also applies to him taking Officer Chadwick on his offer.
Chadwick was meandering around, and it should've been apparent that he was attempting something. From the sounds of it, his former partner is gone, and his move when he told J about Pope was the first step toward offering to be on the take.
It's odd since he seemed like more of a do-gooder cop. I imagine those scenes with Chadwick would've fit in better during Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 5 when we saw those flashbacks of how Smurf arranged things with Jerry.
J asked Chadwick for the files the cops have on him and his family. I'm eager to know what's there. So as much as Deran dominated the hour with his moves, J is still giving him a run for his money in alternative ways.
They have yet to do anything democratically and decide as a group what they're doing and how they're doing it, despite Craig's statements.
Wait, is there a file on Smurf? On our family? I want to see it.J
The hour did better with giving us a blend of action with all of the angsty, psychologically, emo stuff, but as one of the biggest fans of the latter this season, this hour of Pope's isolated grief arc even bugged me.
My heart broke for Pope when he was driving around the desert, talking to Smurf, and contemplating killing himself, pissed at her for not telling him about his father, the lies, and her attempt to have him die with her.
It seemed he was almost ready to give her what he wanted, but then he veered off the road and started some bizarre Alice in Wonderland quest of following signs to some desert cult.
Pope always had a whole religious thing going on with his character. But this almost felt like a rehash of when he found love and when he temporarily found God or absolution or whatever with his church girlfriend, Amy.
Once again, he was seeking truth and answers, and he thought he could find them with Micky and his desert cult with the spiked tea that had everyone tripping balls.
Pope, of all people, taking an unknown drug in the middle of the desert with a bunch of random people and potentially thinking about his past seemed risky as hell, and he gets an F for decision-making skills on that one.
But then tweaker Brian started calling Pope out for having "her darkness" inside of him and spazzing that they were in the presence of the devil because of Pope, and while the guy wasn't totally off-base, what the hell?
You would think the precise purpose of a God-fearing Jesus freak cult church in the middle of the desert is to appeal to all sorts of incredibly lost, damaged, and f**ked up souls, so unless everyone there was already a saint, then who else would be there in the first place?
Cassandra: Hey, what do you see?
Pope: I see someone that I used to know. I'm sorry. She made me do it.
But Pope did connect with Cassandra, who clearly reminds him of Catherine. He damn near apologized to her directly for killing Catherine, stating that Smurf made him do it, and when Cassandra asked if she should be afraid of him "because a lot of people are," he seemed relieved when she wasn't.
Pope even confided in her a bit about his relationship with Baz, who interestingly, he still considers his brother, and how when it came to them, he was always the one at fault or to blame.
Their high antics of laying in the middle of the road and darting across the highway were stressful AF, but Cassandra appeared to evade death when the car barreling down the highway didn't hit her, and Pope seemed amused by that, or something.
I can't pretend to dissect what was going on in Pope's head during his final scenes in the hour, whether he thought Cassandra was a sign or whatever else.
Cassandra: Brian was scared of you.
Pope: A lot of people are.
Cassandra: Should I be?
Hell, she may have just been another hallucination or something, for all we know, since she didn't seem to interact with anyone outside of Pope for the most part. I wouldn't put it past the series.
All I know is the Pope portion of this hour took the hardest left into "WTF-ville" yet, and they've even lost me with this one. But hey, as per usual, Shawn Hatosy did wonders with the material.
Inquiring minds want to know when he's returning to his brother and nephew and if he's taking his new infallible desert (dream?) girlfriend with him.
It was no love lost between young Pope and Jake, and it speaks to how Pope felt about him that he didn't even attempt to defend Jake when Max beat Jake's ass.
Unsurprisingly, despite settling down in Oceanside in a nice beachside mobile home, Smurf didn't look into who was running the town before she ran wild within it.
Or maybe she did, and this was her way of getting Max's attention. You could already tell that her flashiness and boldness were getting on Manny's nerves, and he was annoyed that Smurf never considered that there was a big boss.
Smurf's confrontation with Max was interesting enough that it made you wonder how she took him down and reigned supreme over Oceanside.
She was too quick to accept that 30% of her job earnings had to go to him and that she had to inform him when she was pulling something.
But Smurf showed how ballsy she was, and she expressed a protective streak when she threatened him over her kids.
- Again, the running theme with Pope and water is fascinating. Smurf said it was good to be by the water because the ocean calms Pope. And so far, from what we've seen, it does. It's also something he uses as a tool and weapon, something he uses to wash away his sins and absolve himself, and so forth.
- Deran is testing every last one of my nerves. He's officially the king of doing the absolute most right now. Just throw the whole Deran away.
- Max told JAKE to get Smurf in line. Ha!
- J's undercover demeanor is so underrated. He doesn't mind playing submissively. He doesn't stand out; he blends in well and comes across forgettable. J doesn't get enough credit for how he works everything, from his appearance and physicality to his language during jobs.
If you would've asked about this guy two weeks ago instead of two hours ago we wouldn't have this problem. Everybody's got a boss, Janine. It's about time you figure out who yours is.Manny
- They went through all that trouble to get that safe, and Deran bargained using it, and they didn't even open it to see what all was inside? Come on!
- When deceptively nice, creepy old white guys insist you drink Jesus juice, the answer is always a resounding no.
- Renn found a new high running the job with the boys, and boy did she reward Craig for it. Does this mean she's part of the crew?
- Smurf's agitation with Julia and the difference in how she treated her compared to Andrew is so blatant. The average child who saw what Julia saw would cry and be emotional about it, but Smurf's nitpicking and criticizing Julia has increased tenfold.
- We're at the halfway point of the season, and I genuinely don't know what to expect for the remainder. Will the Codys still be working toward getting the estate?
- Will Pamela stick around and become a more pivotal role? Will Adrian come back, or will the DEA keep harassing Deran but not actually doing anything? When will there be blowback from this cartel job?
Over to you, Animal Kindom Fanatics. Was Deran a Boss or an asshole for how he ran the job? Do you think they'll get everything back now?
What did you make of Pope's grief journey in the desert and Cassandra? What are your thoughts on the flashbacks? Were you surprised by Officer Chadwick's offer? Hit the comments below.
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Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.