Animal Kingdom season 3 episode 5 was an installment full of desperation for a number of different people, but with Nicky high up on the list.
Going into this episode, she had recently cheated on J and was starting to wonder if she really belonged in this family at all. That’s why for most of the episode, she did her part in order to try and escape … only for her father to not really want her. This is what puts her in a pretty dangerous spot where she feels largely unwanted and questioning her very purpose. Given the number of very bad influences around the Cody household at the moment, there are some reasons to be afraid. That’s especially true when it comes to Billy, given that this guy’s real motives are still not exactly clear. Why is he there, what’s the deal with his lady-friend, and why is there never the need to wear any clothes? These two characters are so incredibly bizarre, but judging from the way that Smurf talks about him, you know that he’s trouble. We can’t be fooled by him trying to bond with Deran and awkwardly discuss sex after learning that his son is gay.
In general, Animal Kingdom season 3 episode 5 was full of unusual moments as characters acted in full self-preservation mode. Take, for example, J and Deran figuring out what to do with an elderly woman who couldn’t lie about her rent in the midst of an investigation into some of Smurf’s various operations. What they did to this poor woman, basically ditching her on a bench with her cat, and then doing away with her car, has to be one of the saddest things that we’ve seen on this show.
Meanwhile, Pope ended up being in a situation here where Lena cut off another girl’s hair at school, which served as yet another reminder that he is completely incapable of being a proper parent. It’s especially clear when you see him begging Lena, the person who is acting up, for some degree of help rather than actually trying to give some real discipline. Pope also is at odds with J and Deran over their errands and what’s happening with Smurf behind bars — he doesn’t care that much about her, but also doesn’t want her to die in prison.
Where we are at the moment with Animal Kingdom is a situation where all the sharks are circling around, smelling a little bit of blood in the water, but not knowing how to strike. J knows that something’s up with Smurf, just as everyone knows that something is up with Billy. The Cody men are being watched and yet, nobody is making the game-changing move. Instead, it still feels like we’re watching all of these guys trying to find their footing and still feeling Baz’s death in a big way.
Is it compelling? Absolutely, but we’re still waiting for Animal Kingdom to take the next major leap forward to episodes after Denis Leary first arrived on the scene. On a musical note, the Wye Oak song that played near the end of the episode with Nicky and Billy brought us back to the season 4 finale of Longmire — plus also an episode of The Walking Dead season 4 featuring Hershel’s farm.
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