Through much of Animal Kingdom season 4 episode 8 on TNT Tuesday night, something felt off. This was one of the season’s strangest episodes, as evidenced by the fact that Smurf was MIA for all of the show’s present. Ellen Barkin’s character took off in an airplane at the end of last week and we still have to wait and see some of what unfolds with her.
By the end of this episode there was another notable female character who was getting time in the spotlight: Mia. After being under the radar for the past couple of weeks, we saw her rise to the occasion tonight in the midst of one of the show’s most elaborate heists. If there’s ever been a time in which this show felt like Grand Theft Auto V, we’re pretty sure that this was it. J, Deran, and Craig took charge in order to figure out how to rob concert-goers — first, they got some valuable sound equipment. Then, they gassed up some partygoers in a trailer before going in and taking their valuables.
J was determined within this episode to prove that he could run a job when Smurf wasn’t around. He thought he’d figured out every little detail of the job, including making the proper distraction and then making sure Craig and Deran had the room to escape in the ambulance that they used as cover. What they didn’t expect was that Mia and Tupi had been watching them the whole time. They rammed the ambo (ambulance) with a truck, causing carnage on the street and putting the two in enough peril to where they were bleeding out.
All of the Codys were a little bit battered and bruised going into the episode, but they all found a way to make it out in one piece. J, meanwhile, recognized who was likely responsible for what happened and wanted revenge soon after. That’s why he infiltrated Mia’s compound and, in the closing minutes, why he had to atone for what happened. After Mia proclaimed that she killed Baz and told him not to trust his family, he killed her. Mia is gone and J now thinks that he can make amends. He’s also stressing to some of Smurf’s business contacts that she is dying and, because of that, he’s going to be running point now.
For J it was a big step forward, but then also realization that trying to find a way to be King wasn’t going to be so easy. Mia told him that he wasn’t set out to kill like she was and, after he fired away at her, we started to believe her. He may act tough, but he was struggling with this.
The Smurf flashbacks continued in this episode and we do remain every bit as confused as ever as to where we’re going with them. We knew a long time ago that she was capable of causing carnage so nothing that we’re seeing here comes as a surprise — other than that maybe her story back then somewhat mirrors J’s now.
Maybe this episode was meant to be a good what-if scenario if in the end that Ellen Barkin ever does leave the show and while we missed her, “Ambo” did still bring a lot of carnage. The heist stuff was some of the best we’ve seen and in the aftermath of it, we witnessed quite possibly J’s biggest trial by fire we’ve had a chance to behold.
Also, let’s say goodbye to Sohvi Rodriguez — while the show didn’t do a close-up on Mia’s dead body, we don’t think there’s any other way to take what happened to the character at the end of the episode.
What did you think about Animal Kingdom season 4 episode 8?
Be sure to share in the comments, and let us know what you think happens with J from here. (Photo: TNT.)