Tonight, Animal Kingdom season 3 episode 12 served as a nice reminder of at least one thing: Some of these people have hearts. Or, at least we know that Pope does.
At this moment, we’re 100% convinced that Pope is the series’ best character, mostly because he is a completely-broken individual trying to just overcome his pain. We don’t think that he’s trying to necessarily avoid a life of crime per se, but he was at least aware enough that Billy was a terrible person, Lena has a better home somewhere else, and that Smurf is horrible and manipulative. That’s why he made the big sacrifice tonight, after Smurf brought Lena back from the foster home, to give her up for adoption. After speaking with Lena he realized that this was the best move for her — and, as sad as he was to not have her, Lena pointed out he was sad all of the time anyway. this is at least a move to help ensure that she finds more happiness down the line.
Or … will she? Is Smurf still going to fight for custody of her? It’s still something to think about, as is whether or not he is going to kill Smurf to keep her from trying to control every aspect of her life. She sees Lena as a way to control him and reel him in.
Pope’s problem when it comes to avoiding Smurf’s control is that he’s so overt about it. The other boys are a little more sneaky. Take, for example, J doing his impression of Dexter out in the middle of the ocean (he just avoided the step of the kill room and tried to just dump his target instead). Or, take Craig working with Frankie on what seems to be her own version of an undercover sting operation. With her multiple accents and ability to come up with fake personalities, we almost wonder if she the brains of the operation with Billy all along.
As we move now into the finale, we do think that there are multiple characters on a swivel, with Pope clearly in the most danger due to him accusing Smurf of killing Baz right to her face. That’s a little bit different than her saying it last week, potentially just to get out of a bind with Lucy and with very little other motive in mind.
When it comes to establishing the tension within the Cody family and seeing Pope try to make a big decision for the future of Lena, tonight’s Animal Kingdom was important. Yet, we’re also pretty aware that moving forward, we know that Smurf is smart and resourceful enough to keep herself safe and also her family restrained. While the pressure is on her, we do think that she has enough influence to make it through the rest of the season.
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