Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday’s Animal Kingdom. If you’d rather watch first, read later, make like a Cody who’s spotted a cop and scram.
It isn’t hard to imagine Animal Kingdom’s Smurf dying, right? We could all picture Pope throttling her, J drowning her or, someday, Lucy’s son avenging her murder. But we never thought of her being taken out by something as mundane as the diagnosis that made her life flash before her eyes in Tuesday’s episode. What bad news did she receive from her doctor? And who got whacked almost as soon as we met them? Read on…
‘I’D BE A GREAT-LOOKING CORPSE’ | To underscore Smurf’s will to live in present-day, the flashbacks to a young Janine in “Man Vs. Rock” found her insisting to Colin that “I’m not planning on living past 30.” She didn’t wanna end up like a lioness she’d seen in the zoo. The big cat was safe and sound, and had grown far older than she would’ve in the wild. But her food had to be cut up for her — she had lost her fangs. “That’s not gonna be me,” she insisted. Later, Colin accused his lover of stealing from him and went so far as to take a shot at her — or so she thought. He’d actually aimed at the window to leave her shaking in her flip-flops. “See?” he said, his point made. “You do wanna live.”
In the present, a visit to the museum that housed the huge, heavy sculpture that Frankie wanted stolen left Craig and Deran skeptical about their chances of pulling off the heist. When Frankie asked how their mother would do it, Deran replied flatly, “Smurf wouldn’t do it.” Later, Frankie reminded Craig that she hadn’t brought the opportunity to the Codys, she’d brought it to him. He just needed to remember that “it’s not a job, it’s a puzzle — man vs. rock.” Hilariously, Craig then quoted Frankie back to Deran before begging his brother again to give poor, unstable Pope a job at the bar. Yeah, Pope’s scary, Craig acknowledged. But he’s also so OCD that if Deran put him to work cleaning, the place might get better than B from the Health Department.
‘LOOK AT US, TOGETHER AGAIN’ | Actually, Pope might have already found himself a distraction: Angela. At Casa Cody, she continued to ingratiate herself to Julia’s brother as she got the lay of the land. (It struck me that she was figuring out where all the Chess pieces were on the board before she made any moves… ) After questioning why Pope was shacked up with his mom — “Save on rent,” he grunted — Angela recalled the last time she’d seen his sister. When Angela had suggested that J needed to be someplace safe, Julia had hit her so hard, she hadn’t been able to hear right for weeks. Later, Deran stopped by and asked Pope to do “general maintenance” at the bar. If nothing else, it should beat “sitting here watching a TV that’s not turned on.”
Meanwhile, J wasted some time trying to find a replacement for Morgan (when apparently Smurf had already retained a new attorney), while Mia sat through an uncomfortable lunch with Tupi and his newly-sprung buddy Lencho, who’d been her boyfriend — when she was 12! During a moment alone with Mia, he told her, “I thought about you while I was away. Did you think about me?” Yeah, no. Besides, “I’m too old for you” now, she said. Later, though Mia protested to J that she wasn’t the meet-the-plumber-at-the-bowling-alley girl, he reminded her that he gave her money and a place to live, so like hell she wasn’t the meet-the-plumber girl. Next thing we knew, she’d asked him to drive her to pick up her car, but instead of get her wheels, she walked right up to Lencho and shot him dead in cold blood! “I’m not your bitch,” she told J afterwards. “You want me to clean blood out of a boat? Fine, but that means you help me with s— like this.”
‘THE B RATING GIVES THE PLACE CRED’ | At the bar, Pope was like Hazel on steroids. A sad Hazel, mind you. He even used the discovery of a dead mouse in the fryer as an excuse to reflect upon how corrupt the world was and how easily everyone just accepted it. (Aw, I feel ya, Pope… is something I shouldn’t say aloud.) When J visited Casa Cody, he and Angela had (what was for him clearly) an extremely uncomfortable reunion. “Whatever you’re working here,” she whispered before letting him go, “I’m not gonna screw it up, I promise.” Outside, J crossed paths with Pope and, as Angela watched on the security monitor, questioned why he was helping her when he hadn’t even helped Julia. “Did you know that Angela used to make me shoot her up?” J asked. Or that she’d stolen Julia’s stash, which had led to J accidentally scoring his mother some bad drugs that had made her sick? Hmm?
No dummy, Angela immediately did damage control. “I lied to you. I ripped Julia off, and then I ran out on her… and J,” she told Pope. “I’ve been lying my whole life. It’s easier than the truth. But I’m trying to be better.” Did she really think people could change? he asked. And she did. Or at least, sensing that that was the answer he desperately wanted to hear, she lied that she did. Later, apparently satisfied that she understood where all the pieces on the Chess board stood, she crawled into bed with Pope and wrapped her arms around him. At the same time, as Deran was complaining to Adrian that women made Craig stupid, Craig was doing something brilliant: He vandalized the parking lot at the museum to draw the security guards, then broke into the museum and tagged everything in sight — including the statue he was supposed to steal. Why was this brilliant? you ask.
‘YOU’RE NOT GONNA GLOAT, ARE YOU?’ | It was brilliant because Craig had used paint that could be washed off with a hose. He’d only done it to scare the owner of the artwork into moving it. Rich dudes, he told Frankie, love to show off until there’s a hiccup. “Then their balls shrink.” Now, instead of having to figure out how to get a truck into the museum, they could wait until the owner freaks and moves his piece, then hit the truck when it’s already in motion. Brilliant! As the episode neared its conclusion, Tupi showed up at Pete’s garage raging over Lencho’s murder. Without the deceased to help rob “corner boys,” he warned Mia, he might just have to hit that white boyfriend of hers. Finally, Smurf’s doctor called with the results of her MRI. Not only did she have skin cancer, but it had spread to her lymph nodes, bones and liver.
So, what did you think of “Man Vs. Rock”? Do any of us really think skin cancer will be what takes out Smurf? How clever was Craig “figuring it out”? And have we decided who’s scarier, Tupi or Mia? Hit the comments.