[WARNING: THIS REVIEW/RECAP WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM SEASON 4, EPISODE 4 – ‘Tank” OF TNT’S ANIMAL KINGDOM]

Tuesday’s episode saw the return of familiar faces, an overall smooth job, and Smurf’s spiral into madness, regret, and ultimately: fear.

Smurf had been sleeping—and drinking—all night out by the pool. Not long afterwards, Angela confronted Pope and told him that Smurf wanted to see him. When he went to talk to her she asked if he remembered Tank, a cat that he and Julia shared as children. She then basically gets under his skin by telling him that Julia thought he did something to it, even when Smurf had told her Tank just went missing. Again, Smurf’s motivations are very unclear. Why exactly is she doing this? The parallel of animals is striking, too. Why, in the last episode, did she buy a fish that she ultimately throws on the ground to watch it suffer and die and why is she calling Pope out for possibly doing the same in this episode?

Angela questions Smurf after attempting to make some peace. “Did you ever tell your boys what you did to Julia?” That’s sure to stir the pot a little more. Speaking of causing trouble, Smurf lets herself into Deran and Adrian’s house. She has a conversation with Adrian about her supposed upcoming birthday, though Deran confesses later on that her birthday isn’t until November. She did, however, bake them some tasty lasagna. Of course, Smurf has been getting increasingly sick, spitting up blood while brushing her teeth and consistently vomiting. At the end of the episode, Angela tells Pope that Smurf had painters over and then discovers that Lena’s room had been finished already. When he goes to confront her, she’s passed out on the floor with a small pool of blood beside her.

Still from “Tank”

In the flashbacks, Janine and Colin grow closer; she learns of his paranoia and how the rest of the gang views him. “Show some damn respect.” She informs the crew that they all act hard, but without Colin they are nothing. To her, Colin is what makes them threatening. Through conversations between the two, we get more information into Janine’s life as a child which was mostly spent in poverty. As she explains, her mom only had two things worth selling: her car (that they were living out of) and herself. Ultimately she was a sex worker to make money and there was no where her daughter could go.

Before the main job, Colby shows his face to tell Deran that Ox’s body had ben identified. He also wants a job, otherwise he will spill some information. Will Deran let him in on a few of the family jobs or lead another crew on the side again? Not only did Colby turn up but Adrian is in hot water for not informing the agent that Deran is his boyfriend—not just a roommate—and that he has a record; obviously they have his last name. Big uh-oh. J goes to Deran with concerns over the job they are about to pull as Pope presses him to close his grill down because of the filth. Deran dismisses his brothers, telling J that he’s not hot shit just because he did Smurf’s taxes while she was in prison and shutting Pope down completely. Deran explains that if he wants to be in charge, he needs to bring them jobs

Pope did apologize to J for not taking care of his mom better before she died and recognized that Angela poses a potential threat, though I’m not sure he’s completely sincere. In other news, J changed the locks on his house and put Mia’s stuff outside. He also reported his car stolen and took it into a shop where he then bought another junk car under the table. Later on, Mia called Tupi in to wreck his house. When he goes for the vault containing the papers that potentially incriminate J for ripping off Smurf’s properties, Mia tells him to forget it. Later on J finally takes some time off “school” to hang out with Olivia and her friends. They are at an insanely nice house, which J begins to prod around about. “How much money does your dad make,” he asks one of Olivia’s friends. She tells him that they don’t talk about their parents’ income. Could this be the next job? I think so.

Still from “Tank”

Oh yeah! Renn also returned to Craig’s door to crash for the night. She’s still carrying her child. I’m not entirely sure where the writers are taking this, but I’m excited to see how the Frankie/Renn/Craig triangle is dished out. This occurred after the heist, as the episode was ending, but nonetheless still important to discuss. Speaking of the heist:

It went extremely well; almost too well. The Cody Crew created a pretty clever construction distraction to snag the piece from the guards. The job itself wasn’t the issue, however, Frankie tells Craig that she’s not able to pay the full 400k right then but she did give Craig 40k to take home until she can bring him the rest. Do we trust her? After all, she did pay up for their last job. Before Smurf’s legendary pass-out, she pays Craig and Frankie a visit for some coke. After Craig falls asleep, she tells Frankie not to have children. “They never turn out the way you want them to.” As she strokes his hair, I began to feel very sad. You can see the fear of death in her eyes. What’s next for her and the rest of the family? She’s highly unpredictable and I just couldn’t imagine Animal Kingdom without Ellen Barkin.

Overall this was a solid episode and now we are able to see a very limited trajectory of some crucial plot points. After all, this isn’t a show that avoids tropes: it just executes them very well.

My final rating: B. Stay tuned for another recap next week.

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