Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday’s harrowing penultimate Season 4 episode of Animal Kingdom. Proceed at your own peril.
We kinda knew that Animal Kingdom’s baddest of badasses wasn’t going to wither away in a hospital bed as she feared. But I don’t think any of us could have guessed that Smurf’s last stand would go down the horrifying way that it did in “Ghosts.” Read on, and we’ll go over all the gory details of the tremendous John Wells-written and -directed episode.
‘A DEAL’S A DEAL’ | In the 1970s, Janine, still reeling from Colin’s demise, thought she’d struck a deal with Jed to buy a car for $500 so that she could hit the road. Only, after he’d tuned up the vehicle, the sleazebag decided that he wanted “some fun” with her instead of the money. When she pointed out the obvious — that she was eight freakin’ months pregnant — he replied, “You still got a mouth.” Charming, no? In the end, Janine wound up grabbing him by the balls, whacking him with a shovel and taking off on foot — only to have him tackle her, sending her into premature labor with Julia and Pope, who we learned had been born with teeth. (This, according to Laney, meant that he’d be a warrior.)
In the present, as Smurf made her way home after a night of partying, Angela continued to try to set herself up as a replacement mother figure by baking a coffee cake. Yeah, yeah, but how are your pies, Ang? Across town, Deran informed Adrian that their destination was Indonesia. “Great surfing, no extradition treaty.” Once Smurf made it back to Casa Cody, she got dressed for the heist, which mainly involved putting on enough gold jewelry to rival Mr. T’s collection, and flushed all of her pills. Wait, no — most of her pills. She decided to leave out a bunch of oxy to tempt Angela (who nearly drowned in the tub after taking the bait). Smurf also threw out her would-be replacement’s coffee cake and, being the fastidious housekeeper that she is, washed the pan.
‘SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE’ | Riding with J to Jed’s compound, Smurf first made small talk about whether Craig would be a good dad. Maybe if he got a book on the subject. After all, “they’ve got a book for everything nowadays.” Then she revealed what had to have been the real reason that she wanted to travel with J: to fill him in on the threat that Adrian posed. “J, I don’t think Deran is strong enough to handle this,” she purred. “Do you, baby?” Once the group arrived at the compound, J, Deran and Craig went to work breaking into the bunker while Smurf and Pope went to the house to keep Jed and his sons occupied. Of course, Smurf also made time to visit Colin’s grave and, for what we thought had to be the last time (but wasn’t yet), mess with Pope’s head. First, she told him they were standing at his father’s grave, then she introduced Jed and Odin as his uncle and cousin.
Once J texted his grandmother that the job was done, she got down to her own personal business: She asked to buy some guns so that Jed would discover that his bunker had been chained from the inside. She then murdered him and got into a shootout with not only Odin but his brothers, who’d picked that unfortunate moment to return from fence-mending. As shot after shot was fired, Smurf was hit in the leg. But that didn’t piss her off nearly as much as Pope carrying her to safety. “You son of a bitch!” she screamed at him. He’d thwarted her plan to die in the same spot as Colin. When the two of them met up outside the compound with J, Craig and Deran, Smurf took Deran’s gun from him and ordered Craig to give his to Pope. “Shoot me, Andrew,” she demanded, seizing one last opportunity to warp his mind. “Don’t you get it? I’m already dead.” When he hesitated, she actually fired at him, grazing his ear. “Shoot me, you goddamn p—y!” she raged. Finally, J did what Pope couldn’t, and the wicked witch was dead.
‘WE’RE GETTING THE HELL OUTTA HERE’ | As the episode drew to a close and we began to catch our breath, the boys laid out Smurf’s body in the garage at Casa Cody. Making a fine case for why he should become the gang’s leader, J concerned himself with the truck that Pope had left behind at the compound and instructed Deran to call in his doctor so that Smurf’s death certificate wouldn’t alert the cops to the fact that she had been shot in the head. Later, Renn comforted Craig, Deran told Adrian they were never coming back to Oceanside, Angela kissed up to J anew, and Pope… our poor, broken Pope sweetly kissed his mother’s cold forehead. We’re entering uncharted territory, folks. It’s the end of an era, and what the next one will look like, I can only imagine. What did you think of Smurf’s last stand — and that performance by Ellen Barkin? The word “Da-amn!” comes to mind, no? Also, check out writer/director John Wells’ take on the episode here.
I AM SO SHOOK RIGHT NOW
WOW ! J made Smurf eat poop!
Omg not what I expected
Love this show …. cant wait for next week, next season
Is there going to be a next season?
Yes, it was renewed for Season 5 a couple weeks back…
That is such good news ! Can’t wait to see how it all pans out . I reckon Jay will be in charge .
Yes , renewed for another season
OMFG…….WTF!!!! I had a feeling that Sh*t was about to go down! The first 5 mins most defiantly FORSHADOW that she might/going die.😭😰😰😰
Given her diagnosis — malignant melanoma which metastasized to her llover and bones and she refused chemo — there was no way she was going to last through the end of this season, I didn’t expect her to go out the way she did, though.
Don’t forget though, Showtime is not real time. They could make the entire season 5 seem like the very next day and weeks after the heist. I really didn’t think they would kill Smurf this season.
I just read a interview w the producer and he stated season 5
They would be jumping a couple years in the future & then explain how they got to where there at. Desperate housewives did the same
I think the time Jump that he talked about refers to the 70s flashbacks. They said we’re going to see Pope and Julia as children.
I am shook, too. That was a phenomenal episode. Wow. After my shock at the death scene, I then got teary-eyed upon seeing how Craig and Andrew reacted to the death of their mother. J is cold-hearted. I hate that Ellen Barkin is gone but look forward to seeing more of her back story in flashbacks. I just wish Smurf’s last effort to get rid of Angela had worked..so close, Smurf, so close!
J is cold blooded a direct model of Grandma J…..As much as the sons despise Smurf, none of them would have been able to pull the trigger, but for J who basically was never loved by Smurf or for that matter his uncles until after his mother died and went to live with them…it was easy
Well, keep in mind that Jay was her grandson, who was not raised by her and didn’t really know her. It only stands to reason that he’s not as attached as Smurfs actual sons.
Dont forget, J promised to ‘take everything you care about’ to smurf one night when she was asleep, but have to admit, I didnt think he would shoot her in front of her boys. J is on the rise, so who will be next, he will have to watch out for Pope, as he said ‘when smurfs gone so are you’…..exciting times ahead! Great series!
Angela…. ugh! But her days are numbered! Not when but how.
Ellen Barkin will definitely be missed she was awesome!
Even tough I never liked Smurf, I was
sorry to see her die in such horrendous way.
I think that J is the natural leader of the gang. Pope is a good guy, but his mind
is a mess.
Animal Kingdom is a terrific show.
That performance has to nab Ellen an emmy nod next year.
It is fine that she wanted to die, but she didn’t care if Pope got killed in the gun battle. She played him like she always did. If I were him, I would have killed her for that alone.
I think that was her plan. She wanted him to die. She said that he couldn’t survive without her.
She told them none of them could survive without her. She planned this as a mass suicide mission. She wanted to go out in a blaze of glory and take the whole family with her.
I’m not sure how that would apply to J, Deran, and Craig. They were never at the compound with Smurf and Pope. They were essentially out of danger once the shooting started.
Pope is a good guy? He killed his niece’s mother, who was completely innocent.
Whhhyyyyy!I luv SMURF. If anyone could beat cancer and become more fierce it was Smurf!
Her cancer was too far gone and refused treatment.
She got what she deserved, but I would have favored another end for her… a more fitting end would have been for her to suffer through agonizing pain as the cancer spread until she was unable to speak, and she was left gasping for breath while the ghosts of all those she had killed circled and taunted her. Smurf was charming and smart, but her manipulations of even those she loved was unforgivable. Loyalty was lip service from her…
But daaaaaamn, will Ellen and Smurf be missed. Vile character, outstanding actress.
So… J is up to 4 kills now? The lawyer, Mia, Tupi, and now grammy Smurf. Did I miss any?
Get in his way, family or no, and you’re expendable. How much of a twist would it be – or would anyone be shocked – to see a flashback where we discover J shot Julia up to make her OD? I cant recall all the specifics, but I remember the series opening with J just calmly sitting on the couch eating cereal or something next to his dead mother. That’s not “normal”.
We know he blames Smurf for abandoning his mother, but could Julia have been his first kill, maybe out of mercy? Or maybe because he’s a psychopath?
J didn’t kill Tupi.
Thanks. You’re right – the auto shop owner did. I muddled them all up…
Of course J isn’t normal. Of all the boys, he’s the only one who is a straight up sociopath, just like Smurf. He’s got a block of ice for a heart and no conscience at all. He didn’t give a damn about his mother dying because he’s incapable of caring about anyone. He will take over the crew now that Smurf is dead and kill anyone who tries to stop him.
Pope smothered the woman he loved to death…sounds like a “straight up sociopath.”
I do t get the ice-cold vibes from Pope that I get from J. Do you?
Pope is not exactly a textbook sociopath/ticking time bomb.
LOL, Craig recently referred to Pope as a “ticking time bomb.”
Vibes don’t matter…we watched him kill someone he claimed to love. He’s a murderer.
Because he was manipulated by Smurf. He didn’t want to kill Cath.
Definitely. It’s odd how so many people are sympathetic to Pope. Perhaps because he has such a strong emotional side, unlike Jay?
Absolutely. J is a character it’s nearly impossible for anyone to relate to. He’s so cold and emotionless he’s almost inhuman. He’s a textbook psychopath.
Cold-hearted, he is, but why show any emotion when it’s clear that no one cares? I think J was hardened by the lack of love in this seemingly close family even after his mother died. He was neglected due to his mom’s drug usage, and after learning that he actually had family to take him in nearby, he was given access to things he’d never had before (new clothes, amenities, a clean home etc) only to be given the choice to either join in on the criminal activity or leave. He was not loved. He had been made to earn his keep as soon as he got there. Even when he came in with his girlfriend, he lost her to the family activities when she nearly overdosed.
Remember the birthday party for Pope, with no mention of Pope’s twin sister, J’S mom? They Cody’s were cold to him. No wonder he is a cold as he is. I do believe he cares for his uncles, and he knew no one else would kill Smurf, and Pope would’ve died unless he intervened. A that point, he was the only other one with a gun, afterall. He’s just less phased because all he knows is loss, and the only wins he gets are in the “business.”
J is broken, but too smart to let emotions affect business.
Jay wasn’t the only one with a gun. Remember, Pope had Craig’s gun?
J didn’t kill Tupi…. Pete did
So his kill list is 3
Hey, he’s only 19… Give him some time!
I.thought He did give Julia the hot shot. He had to score for.her cuz whe was so sick and then had to give it to her. I was thinking julia is still alive. Thata the real plot twist. She hated her family so much that her and jay came up with a diabolical plan. They even say in the preview for next week something abt him planning this all along.
If Julia is still alive my head is going to explode and ima have to rewatch the whole series lol
Lol if Julia is still alive my head is going to explode and I’m going to have to rewatch the entire series immediately
” Julia is still alive?” What in the HELL are all you guys talking about? It’s not like everyone just took J’s word that his mom was dead. She was dead on the couch when two paramedics arrived. Police would follow, and an autopsy would be done per state law. She was also buried in a cemetery after normal Mortuary services. I think that covers the groundwork work pretty well!
Right. I have been thinking the very same thing. Too many conspiracy theories. Julia is dead or the show will jump the shark when she shows up.
He told Pope about the day his mom died when they were talking about Angela, he mentioned that the last time he had seen her was when she ripped off Julia for drugs then disappeared so J had to get more for her cause she was going through withdrawls and it turns out the drugs he got her were a bad batch and that’s what caused her death.
I don’t know that he shot Julia up, but when he saw her overdosing, he didn’t do anything to help her. He just watched her die. So an argument could be made that it started there.
Not true, he called 911 and thought they were going to arrive with a Narcan shot and revive her.
It was later determined that Julia’s heroin was laced with fentanyl which killed her.
Yeah that’s right . And yes , i thought it a bit strange how he was just sitting eating breakfast next to his dead mother . But never thought about it again till now lol ( thanks for that lol ) so yeah you’re right , maybe Julia was his first kill , maybe he is a psychopath? It will be interesting to see what happens next .
I really can’t see that being the case. Jay was calmly sitting on the couch watching TV, because he has seen his mother unconscious from heroin a million times. No reason to think that he knew she was dead.
I think you’re right that Julia was is first kill. Look out Angela!
Don’t forget that J left money on the table after he and Angela bought lunch from the food truck, which is where Angela and Julia got a lot of their heroin, knowing Angela would use that money to buy from the food truck owner maybe hoping she would relapse and overdose. She did buy and use, but Pope got hold of her before she got back in too deep.
Seriously, you guys are all crazy. Drug addicts overdose, that’s what they do!
J didn’t kill Julia..it was an accident.
I was SURE Smurf had one more season in her before she went out in a blaze of glory. Whoa, wow and oof! Next season will be a trip without the fabulous scene stealing Ellen Barkin!
They seem to be going all Michael Corleone with J. He’s ruthless but cool and cerebral. And sitting in the chair smoking a cigarette (never saw him do that before) was pure Pacino from Part Two.
yes, good comparison… That was pure Michael Corleone sitting alone at the compound at Lake Tahoe!
I made a post about show and it’s not here? Why I thought it was good actually or did I get suspended from commenting?
You have been banned for LIFE, Sir!
(I’m still waiting for your name and or jersey number by the way…)
Ha ha 😂 lol
I knew Smurf wouldn’t allow herself to succumb to cancer so I figured there would be a shoot out. What I didn’t see coming was the scene where she was ordering Pope to finish the job.
J is smart, pragmatic and life may have made him a sociopath. He did reveal that he was the one who actually administered the last hit because she couldn’t do it. Whether it was intentional or accidental is unclear because J doesn’t show emotion;
You never know what he’s thinking. So what does that mean for Adrian?
J might kill Adrian since Smurf told him before she died that Adrian told the cops about the Codys! That’s what I’m afraid of for Adrian! Poor Deran and Adrian! 😨😱😥😰😓😢😭
The ironic part is, Adrian never said a word about the Cody’s! He told Detective Pierce to shove it!
I don’t think that it’s “What Does That Mean For Adrian?…” as much as it’s “What Does This Mean For J.?…”
I get the feeling that Janine told J.as a way of getting J. back from beyond the grave(assuming J. is dumb enough to go after Adrian any time soon…)
Where was Smurf at the beginning of the episode? Whose boat was that?
J said she left her party with some people from La Jolla…
My first thought was that she had a last hurrah on the boat, a goodbye party, but knowing AK it probably means more than that. Where do we begin. My mouth is still hanging open in shock. I’m glad Smurf went out in blazing glory (crazy blazing glory) instead of dying in bed, although I was still hoping for a miracle. My favorite part was when she had Pope park under the tree, and they got out, and he says “What is this?” and Smurf said “Your father is buried here.” and Pope said WHAT???????? That’s when he knew this was no ordinary heist. He was not interested in looking at pictures of his father, he was concerned about what the heck his mom was up to. But he didn’t seem as weirded out after she died as I thought he would be. Remember, he told J that when Smurf was gone, J would be gone. But bottom line is, J did save his life. His Mom was going to kill him! Why oh why couldn’t Angela have drowned. Again, she keeps popping up and actually nothing that happens is any of her business! I hope some of you are wrong and that Julia is not still alive, I also don’t see how we could have done without the flashbacks, they totally helped explain everything. I could go on and on but next week will probably be just as bad, maybe even worse. No more deaths except Angela please! We need all the Cody boys for next season! Oh yeah, Craig is the only one left without knowing who his father was (if Baz was J’s father). Renn still seems uninterested in her baby. Jed’s other 2 sons lived, so yeah they will be after the Cody’s. GAWD what a show.
I think in Smurf’s own twisted way she loved Pope’s father Colin and her sons.
I think she loved Colin but there is no way she loved her boys she owned them like property, I don’t know what her problem is she is upset pope does not care that she is dying but OMG she abused her sons their whole lives Smurf was a wack job.
Fan of Ellen Barkin Since “Diner”. Her face was once described as a Picasso painting.
That said Im not sure if last few episodes were great acting or bad over acting by Smurf. Boys acted like theywere on a different show. Got lil weird which I like. Love the series All the characters. So sorry to see Smurf go. Does Original Smurf…Jackie Weaver have an opinion? 4 seasons gone way to fast. Show totally reminds me of my own family only its NYC. Same sensitive, violent Characters. Long live “Animal Kingdom”.
Good memory. It was such a casual throwaway line that I forgot about it.
This show was OUTSTANDING!! I’m in awe of not just the ending scenes but Ellen Barkins performance. She has always been great as Smurf , but she totally drew out a new level of intense.
Sad to see her go, but look forward to seeing what lies ahead for her boys.
WTG AK! ✔️
Wat was the song played this episode
Tunefind has 2 songs listed for this ep, “Home” by Solomon Grey, and “Black Willow” by Loma.
I had a feeling it was a suicide mission when Smurf put on all those gold chains. And when she said “See you on the other side” it really cemented it. Still, I’m SHOCKED!
She wanted Pope to die with her because he “can’t survive without her.” I wonder if she was hoping that other boys would get away? Probably, because she mentioned to J that Adrian needed to be taken care of. What a sad episode!!
Even when it was obvious where it was going, I was still pretty shocked when they actually did it.
As for Adrian, I think that might have been about something else.
I don’t understand this. What are they thinking? Is Ellen Barkin leaving for another gig as that’s the ONLY reason I can imagine for killing her off. She is the show! I hate the backstories…tape the show and click thru them…they’re totally unnecessary and interrupt the flow of the REAL story. Where can they possibly go from here?
Omg. The back stories are the best part of the season. I love seeing young smurfs and how she became who she is/was. I think they may go even further back now. Or they will continue with the rest of her life. But the back stories are not going anywhere. Esoecially with ellen barkin technically not being a character anymore. I didnt he as r if she was leaving the show or not so she may still.be doing appearances in flash backs. There I so much more to learn. Pam, Jake, manny, pete…..they all need to be explained more and how their relationships continued throughout her life. Angela can go tho. Dont like her character. I feel shes working with the cops. She is the real Intel yet adrian is taking the blame. But he is wayy to.naive to be really giving anything up
I agree. I don’t understand why some posters don’t like the back stories. The pre-history provides the motivation for Smurf as well as rounding out the other characters.
I think we saw our first flashback in season 2 when Smurf went to see a guy about buying a car. Turns out he was the guy her mom was with when Smurf’s mom was shot during a liquor store robbery. So the showrunners actually eased us into the sue of flashbacks.
We saw Smurf as A little girl, and found out how she got her nickname. She used to swim so much that she would turn blue from the cold. The moms boyfriend nicknamed her “Smurf”…
Agree, I really like the flashback stories, more so than the present-day story line.
I didn’t like the flashbacks initially, but they grew on me over time. The producer said that there’s going to be more flashbacks on season 5, so buckle up!
The producer already said that the flashbacks are moving forward with a time Jump. We’re going to see Pope and Julia as children.
I’m also curious to see how her relationship maintained with people like Manny and Jake. She clearly got back with Jake at some point, since he’s Craig’s father. And she went to see Manny on his deathbed, which is surprising, given how he treated her.
Supposedly, J is supposed to be the “main protagonist” of the show. I didn’t start watching until season 2 and I thought that was ridiculous because Ellen Barkin is the star of the show. I ended up buying the DVDs and noticed that the show “started” with J and his story. But still, I think Ellen Barkin was the main focus and am still shocked that they’d kill off her character.
Even though Ellen Barkin is the star of the show, the show, and movie, are really about J.
What’s the deal with the Cody boy’s hands? They all have sores in the same area…
I was wondering about that. I didn’t think they were sores…I thought it might be a nervous tic, a family trait, or some kind of bone pain that runs in the family, since both J & Pope were doing it. They made a point to show it, though. I dont know?
I only noticed J rubbing his hands while waiting for Smurf. Did someone else do it also?
Pope was rubbing his hands, and then J was, too. ❓
I wondered that too but they looked like blisters to me. Did something happen to Jay’s hand on the last job?
DANG…the juxtaposition of the twins’ birth during the last few moments of Smurf’s life? OUTSTANDING.
And the blood splatter they left on the camera?! 😳 What an episode.
Can’t picture this series to last much longer without Smurf. I think next season will be the last. That’s ok with me cause I am going to have a hard time getting into it now. Personally I didn’t care much for the Smurf flashbacks, so am not looking forward to seeing anymore of them. Don’t want to see anymore Angela either. This series is now going to get quickly stale.
Damnation that was a perfect way for that crazy walking 🚶♀️ bitch to get whacked. I knew she wouldn’t going to get in the bed and just die!! Can’t wait for next week!!
Time to quit watching now. Smurf made the show!
The flashbacks are fantastic and worked well to give depth to how Smurf became what she was. Along with setting up the revenge motivation upon Jed. The back and forth editing between the birth of Pope and Julia and Smurfs death by J was brilliant. Finn Cole is going to be quite bankable for years to come, though he and the Peaky Blinders writers will be hard-pressed for Michael Gray to top Joshua Cody. I look forward to both efforts.
Animal Kingdom without present day Smurf seems unthinkable. I can see the fallout and expected J power play addressed in S5, but beyond that I can see it going more than 1 season without Ellen. Hopefully, she haunts the boys in their dreams or something.
Wow wow Smurf played a stupendous role can’t say that enough loved it loved it loved it