If there was an overriding lesson to be learned in the adrenaline-filled, violent first season of TNT’s “Animal Kingdom,” it was this: As long as the Cody clan sticks together, there’s nothing they can’t pull off.
Which made Tuesday’s (Aug, 9) season finale all the more intriguing. In the middle of all the double-crosses, murder and police intervention, it became clear that Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) tight grip was slipping, and this was a family coming apart at the seams.
Read on for all the details, and where things stand as the hit show heads to Season 2 — but beware, spoilers lie ahead. And we all know how dangerous it can be to discuss the Cody family’s secrets.
The episode title, “What Have You Done?,” seemed to imply a moment of confrontation between Scott Speedman’s Baz and Shawn Hatosy’s Pope — but surprisingly, the season ended without any revelation that Pope killed Catherine (Daniella Alonso). Instead, Baz spends most of the episode seemingly going crazy, beating and screaming at anyone he can find, desperately trying to get answers on her whereabouts.
The season finale is interesting in that all the “Kingdom” characters make major strides in their storylines, and virtually all of them shoot in different directions. Baz leads his one-man crusade, unaware that the “brother” assisting him is the killer he seeks; Craig (Ben Robson) and Deran (Jake Weary) are largely cut out of the loop, even staging their own half-hearted attempt to double-cross the family by stealing money.
Young J (Finn Cole), ironically enough, may be the most loyal of the group at this point. Although he walked a fine line as a near-informant, he eventually chooses the family over the law, and in the end that choice is what saves the Codys. Then again, the new gun in his hand at the end of the episode seems to indicate that the 17-year-old is about to walk down a dark path.
Nobody’s road is darker at the moment, however, than the one belonging to Smurf. In between making meatloafs, the Cody matriarch watched as her boys revolted one by one.
The most telling moment, however, wasn’t the Cody boys slipping around in french fry grease or the cops coming up empty-handed. Instead, it came when the Lady Macbeth-like Smurf finally got blood on her hands.
Like Christopher Walken in “True Romance,” it was a moment where her strength indicated weakness. Through murder, Smurf showed that she was just as on-edge as her boys heading into the would-be chaos of Season 2.