In Tuesday’s Season 2 premiere of Animal Kingdom, the unthinkable happened. No, the Codys didn’t go straight — not that unthinkable. But they did at last, for lack of a better word, fire Smurf as the mastermind of their crimes. And how did that work out for them? Read on and find out…
‘LET’S GO EAT THAT PIE’ | “Eat What You Kill” opened with a brewery heist gone wrong in just about every possible way that didn’t involve one of the robbers being apprehended or shot. First, watch-out J had to start a trash fire to keep Baz and Pope from getting caught stealing the vault; then, the crew’s getaway was nearly foiled by an unexpected homeless man in their path; and finally, it turned out that the haul — which was supposed to have been north of 90k — was less than $500. They didn’t even make off with a case of beer! So when the boys arrived at Smurf’s, they were in no mood for her traditional post-heist pie. Since Pope immediately tried to pin the blame for the disaster on Mommie Dearest — in particular, on her increased drinking — and the other guys made their usual, usually empty threats to walk, Smurf angrily excused herself to pick up Lena, whom, throughout the hour, Baz seemed to alternately forget and wish he could forget was his daughter.
Granddaughter in tow, Smurf then paid a visit to the source of her brewery intel and was stunned to realize that oops, maybe her drinking actually had caused the screw-up: The guy had told her that the vault was full to overflowing the first Thursday of every month, not the first Tuesday. Later, she attended a meeting with her boys — except for Pope, who’d spent the rest of the day visiting the spot in the desert where he’d buried Catherine. The gist? “Making family decisions in a different way,” Baz said. After all, since they took all the risks, why should Smurf be the one picking the jobs? Because, she retorted, they were all such big screw-ups that, if she wasn’t in charge, they’d be in prison or graves — and she didn’t have any trouble citing examples of their dangerous idiocy! Finally, after she threw in Baz’s face, as she often did, how she’d taken him in as a kid, the boys made good on their threats and quit. Which was fine with her, she lied. “Let’s see how long you all last!”
‘NO MORE SUCKING MOMMY’S D—’ | After cutting the cord, Deran and Craig were riding high. Especially Craig since, well, there’s not a second that the druggie isn’t high. Deran did have one concern, however: Baz and Pope becoming the new Smurf. To see that that didn’t happen, he suggested recruiting J. But how? Uh, by being nice to him for a change — duh. Meanwhile, Pope and Baz were hanging at a bar, downing beers and plotting their next move. Baz’s brainstorm? Rescout a job they’d already planned with Smurf. (Way to show her you can pick your own heists, dude!) When Pope asked if Baz had told his spare girlfriend Luci about Catherine yet, he said hell no. “She’d be up here with a U-Haul in two minutes.” Instead, he killed time picking up a random girl at the bar.
That evening, Smurf arrived home with Lena, only to be surprised by a vaguely menacing young man named Javier, who was displeased that she hadn’t returned any of his 10 voicemail messages, assuming they’d been from someone named Manny. “He wants to see you,” Javier said, “so I’m here to take you.” Smurf, as she tends to, tried to play tough, insisting that Manny wasn’t getting more than his usual 5k per month. So Javier blurted out that Manny — his father? — was dying, and he wanted her to come and say goodbye. She would, she finally agreed. But not then and there. “On my own terms.” Before leaving, Javier asked whose kid Lena was and wondered aloud whether Smurf was going to sing her to sleep the way she once had him.
‘RESPONSIBILITY!’ | While Deran revealed to Craig that he needed cash fast to take over the lease on a bar he hoped to run, J asked Smurf if he could still live at her place. “Of course, baby,” she replied. He could even run jobs with his uncles if he wanted to. But he couldn’t be a spy — or at least he couldn’t have them think he’s a spy. (Wink, wink.) And in case it wasn’t crystal clear for whom Smurf wanted her grandson to be a double agent, she gave him an unlimited credit card. Merry Christmas! Elsewhere, Craig was finding Nicky’s teenage angst a complete and total nightmare. Trouble was, J’s ex knew too much for him to break up with her. So he’d, cough, come down with the longest-lasting case of the flu known to man. (Hilariously, when he shooed her out after she dropped off soup, he told the floozy hiding in his bedroom that she was “my nephew’s girlfriend,” adding as if this was completely normal, “Want soup?”)
The next day, when Baz picked up Lena, he told Smurf that he couldn’t walk back the breakup of her gang. But, after all she’d done for him, he’d still cut her in for 10 percent. Unfortunately, left to their own devices, the guys were a mess. Deran wanted to knock over a yacht during a wedding party, while Baz wanted to hit a church they’d scoped out under Smurf’s reign. By the time the meeting was adjourned, nothing had been decided. However, Baz made it clear to J that he was less impressed with his fire than everyone else had been — it had brought cops to the brewery. So next time, he was to just do what he was told. OK, said J. “Next time you’re about to get caught, I’ll just sit in the truck.” That afternoon, Pope took Lena to the beach, where he kept an eye on a stranger’s son for her (perhaps planting a risky idea in his head?); Smurf showed signs that she was suffering from empty nest (of vipers) syndrome; Deran lit into Craig for his incessant coke-snorting; and Baz, lonelier than the cad cared to admit, was stunned that, after lying to Luci that he’d ended it with Catherine, she didn’t immediately jump at the chance to fill his dance card.
‘IF YOU WANT MY HELP, I’M RIGHT HERE’ | That evening, Smurf invited everyone over for meatloaf, and miraculously, they came — even Pope, who seemed to have to remind Father of the Year Baz that he’d had Lena that day. When the boys all gave Smurf the silent treatment as they chowed down, she ordered them to cut it out. “This is a family, and that’s not ever gonna change,” she said, leading them in their traditional toast: “May we all get what we want… and never what we deserve!” The ice broken, she asked what the fellows’ next plan was. Getting no answer, she simply offered her assistance, if they wanted it. As the premiere drew to a close, Pope warned J to be careful of Smurf (so perhaps everybody thinks the teen is on their side), and, Manny’s condition worsening by the second, Javier looked over the many microcassettes the dying man had recorded.