The Codys have picked an ambitious job for their first score as a unit where everyone is on the same page.
The hawala job was hard enough when it was the union hall, but by the end of Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 11, the hour revealed that their score requires the infiltration of a highly secure shipping dock.
The Codys think they can pull this off and that it's too late to back out now, but can they?
We got many treats with this one, including Shawn Hatosy taking a spin in the director chair again. Naturally, he always excels at that, too.
The hour picked up where Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 10 left off with the boys staring at a dead Fed on the floor of Deran's bar.
Chadwick left them in a hell of a bind, and he has to know it, too. Deran was spiraling at the thought of what happened, and he almost couldn't keep it together.
He came to the same conclusion that many of us did that if Livengood's peers find out about his disappearance or death, Deran is a primary suspect.
They even have cameras that show Livengood was in the vicinity of Deran's bar, and I wonder if that's something that will come up later.
Livengood was harassing Deran for some time, so the favor Chadwick claimed he was doing put more pressure on Deran. Kudos to the grump Cody for realizing how he's the one who got them in this mess with Livengood and feeling guilty about that.
We're a family and we stick together, so get that shit out of your head!Craig
Craig had to remind him that they're family, and they stick together. Before, Deran behaved as if his actions and other things had no bearing on some of the misfortunes that befell them.
Funnily enough, it was J who went into clean-up mode instantly, and the others didn't mind listening to every order he barked out.
It was the first sign of the hour that signified what J has become over the years. He didn't bat an eye at a man's head getting blown off in front of him.
He went into clean-up mode with everything they needed to do in such an unbothered tone; you would think this was a regular occurrence for him.
OK, so we need to get rid of his car, but we can't be seen driving it.J
It carried over throughout the night and day as he strategized how to find Livengood's car, then remove it with drawing attention. He made sure to tell Deran and Craig what lights to avoid -- so they weren't caught on camera and reminded them to burn their bloody shirts.
He was the one who came up with the idea of transporting the car in a truck and finding an underground doctor. The kid told Pope he doesn't watch television much. Is he googling how to be a gangster or some shit?
Does he take trips down the dark web in his free time? What gives, mate? Because J is 100% a G, more than at least two of his uncles. He's about that life.
J and Pope being the ones to transport the body made the most sense, and that was before the hour utilized it to draw some parallels between the two of them.
They do the dirty work like that, and they're also the ones who have killed with intent before. Nothing fazes them that much, and we saw evidence of that on their journey.
J: There's no upside in offing a cop, Pope.
Pope: Sometimes things have to be done. Doesn't matter who it is.
The Doctor was wary of disposing of a federal agent's body, and you can't blame him for that. But hell, 25K sounds like a steal for what they were asking, didn't it? It's hard to believe that's what the result was -- they started at ten grand.
Given the nature of what they were doing, you'd expect that there would be sketchiness. However, the two of them having to connect with some random men who barely spoke English, chop off a hand, and dump a car on Rez territory was wild.
I guess the idea was that Pope and J got involved in the dirty work with the body, too, so it wasn't only on the two guys. What other reason would you make someone chop off the dead person's hand? J looking unfazed and only mildly inconvenienced by the gesure was as disturbing as it was hysterical, including Pope's reaction to him.
As far as plans go, it was smart when you think about it. Whether local law enforcement or federal, they aren't stepping foot on Indigenous territory without permission.
It's a decent way to use the bureaucracy and red tape against them, and with Livengood's car and hand turning up close to the border and his particular job, it's not unsurprising that he'd be a victim of a hit.
The other guys taking the body underneath the border is icing on the cake.
But this newer, more reflective, and aware version of Pope noticed and seemed visibly perturbed by how unfeeling his nephew came across during the ordeal.
With every moment, you could see Pope, of all people, wondering if J was a sociopath or something.
He always speaks around his point, but you can read through the lines. And he mentioned how he and Julia never had a childhood and had to grow up fast.
Their rough life with Smurf robbed them of their innocence since the day they were born. And he's not wrong about that; however, it was presumptuous as hell for him to imply that J got a chance to be a kid and that J's behavior is somehow dictated by him trying to be like Pope.
J isn't some mini-Pope, and his backstory is of a kid who also grew up too fast and had to take care of his mom more than she did him because of her addiction.
The other Codys weren't around for any of that. So J got robbed of a childhood, too, and then he got thrown in the deep end with the Codys. Hell, Pope himself could take some accountability for that since he was one of the first attempting to harangue him into jobs.
we were, uh, never really kids. Me and your mom. But you were, for a while anyway. You and me, we're not the same, J. Not like that.Pope
Pope spent most of the season coming to grips with the "monster" his mother created in him, and now he sees what kind J has become over the years he's spent living with the Codys.
They paralleled this nicely with the flashbacks of Janine trying to take out Max and eventually succeeding.
Smurf was determined to take Max out, figured it was the best way to protect her kids after his threat. And her plan may have worked, too.
I loved the shots of her entering the strip club. The hour had so many great power shots, presumably a testament to Hatosy's direction. Smurf owned the space and was on a mission in the worst wig I've ever seen short of a bargain bin.
Linda, Baz's mother, screwed her over, though. Do you think this was a step toward how Smurf ended up with Baz?
Linda seemed as if she was overwhelmed with her wild-child son.
The confrontation at her trailer was intense. We don't often see Janine rattled or terrified.
Max was a monster, and he intended to kill Janine right there in front of the twins. Credit where it's due, she was quick to run some game on him talk him down, but it wasn't with success.
Smurf: Hey, did you close your eyes when I asked you to? Why not?
Andrew: Because you didn't close yours.
Max severely underestimated baby Pope, though. He already picked up that little Andrew was super protective of the women in his life and was an observant and odd child.
Finally, we got to see baby Pope use that knife he's always playing with to good use. He didn't hesitate, stabbing Max to save his mother, and he didn't blink nor turn away when Janine shot Max, even though she told him to.
His reason for not doing so was simple enough, but what an incredibly traumatizing thing for any kid to have to experience. could sense that moment was a critical point in forming who Pope and Julia became. Pope's matter-of-fact reaction to the whole thing seemed to delight Smurf.
Julia was an utter wreck after what happened. But, instead of offering her any comfort, Smurf was checking in on Andrew and proud of him for how unfazed he was that his mommy killed a bad man and that he attacked someone for her. Houston Towe has seriously impressed this season!
Neither kid stood a chance, and it's heartbreaking that so much of what they endured shaped their entire lives.
Deran was reconsidering what his life would be like if they needed to get ahead of any heat from Livengood, and he was willing to take Craig and Frankie up on the hawala job to do it.
They need quick cash, and it would give them a lot of it.
Deran's impressive set of skills with putting together a tracker and making it discreet enough not to garner attention was a rad surprise. Of course, you do expect that type of thing from J, so it's cool that the others are expanding their skill-sets.
We don't know the full extent of what's happening with Frankie, and you'd expect this Russian guy she's afraid of to pop up in some fashion or something.
They left that hanging out there as a loose thread and haven't pulled on it since. All we get from Frankie is that she's ready to get out of the game, and she's all prepared to head to Central America for the rest of her days.
She needs an equal cut in this job to do it, and while Craig and Deran both appeared to have reservations about that, she was right.
They burned her last time, and that's how she ended up in such a rut in the first place. If she's the one who gave them the hawala connection, and she used her 30k to get them in with the hawala and all the intel they need, then it's fair.
It's the least they can do, and they can all sympathize with her wanting a fresh start somewhere else.
Something about the Frankie angle of this feels foreboding, though. Do you think she'll make it to Central America?
Part of the reason they're still going through with this plan despite the risk is because of Frankie. They can't back out now when she put her money on the line.
It's her shot at freedom; she said as much in a way with her interactions with the hawala.
I was looking for a way out, and then you showed up.Frankie
And it's a chance for the boys to get some earnings, too. Pope seems the wariest of this job, though.
Recon at the hall revealed that breaking in and holding them up would be hard enough. But with a job at the shipping/loading docks, they're dealing with way too many factors.
I genuinely don't see how they're going to pull this one off without a hitch. And what's the timeline for it?
It seems like they pulled this hawala thing out of nowhere seconds ago, and now they're risking it all with this. It seems the days of plotting and planning half a season for a big job are long gone.
And these days, Craig, with his impulsivity, recklessness, and recurring coke problem, is starting to seem like a liability.
Over to you, Animal Kingdom Fanatics!
What did you think of J and Pope's road trip? Are you content with Max's demise? Do you think something bigger is going on with Frankie?
Hit the comments below!
Meanwhile, you can always watch Animal Kingdom online here via TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.