Welcome to the Season 4 weekly power rankings for Animal Kingdom, in which we assess who's a lion and who's a lichen in the Cody-verse.
Our players in Episode 11, from first to worst…
1. J (Finn Cole). Ordered peremptorily by Pope to clean up the trashed house after the rager, blamed by Pope for Angela's falling off the wagon, and informed by Pope that when Smurf's gone, J's out, J's in luck: Frankie shows up at the compound looking for him, offering not just a job but a pep talk on J acting like the leader he "clearly" wants to be. [Last week: 2]
2. Craig (Ben Robson). In something of a holding pattern this week as the show, IMO, keeps laying groundwork for Renn's (Christina Ochoa) departure. (As Craig's showing her how to swaddle Nick -- in a bunting, not for nothing -- Renn's texting with clients, and snarking when Craig wonders if that can't wait five minutes that they're cocaine addicts, so no, not really. Heh.) He's also doing that conflicted-new-TV-parent thing where he commits a sin of some sort, then stares guiltily at the kid. This wasn't interesting when it was Pope and Lena, show, so make a different choice. [Last week: 1]
3. Angela (Emily Deschanel). It's tempting to clock her for lying about her grubbily simple motives -- Smurf did try to buy her absence, and Angela even got a higher price that she still turned down, no? -- but that's on the writing for apparently not knowing what Angela's deal was from the jump. And I have to salute that overdue and merciless read of Pope outside the meeting: that he "chose Mommy, and then [Julia] died," that Julia loved Baz and Pope was jealous so he chose to believe Smurf's propaganda. Just like her slip isn't really on J, Pope's continued allegiance to Angela isn't really on Angela. [Last week: 7]
4. Smurf (Ellen Barkin). Chrissie-Snowed to "La Jolla" for the week, so she's right in the middle. [Last week: 3]
5. Deran (Jake Weary) and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Adrian finds Deran on the deck, glowering; Deran bellows that Smurf knows, and it doesn't matter what Adrian did or did not tell the feds -- Smurf wants him "handled," and that only means one thing. After yet another convo with Craig in which Craig feels empowered by three whole days of parenthood to tell Deran how he should do, Craig grudgingly agrees to get Deran the passports he and Adrian will need to blow town, and although Deran's making it out like he's only leaving for a while to get Adrian settled, it's clear from the shot-framing that he's saying goodbye to the bar, the compound, and his old life. [Last week: 4]
6. The Gang That Can Occasionally Shoot Straight. It's evident early on, based on the world-building the flashback is doing -- Colin's (Grant Harvey) sure the baby's a boy, but Janine (Leila George) is sure it's a girl, and they're both right; the origin of Pope's given name, a hockey player with such a strong slap-shot that one of his opponents was forced to pioneer the goalie mask; the cameo of the main house of the compound in its original '70s footprint -- that everything's about to go the very pearest of shapes, especially when Janine and Colin's pregnant-hostage stick-up scam is working so smoothly. Sure enough, while an armored-truck heist mends fences between Manny (Rigo Sanchez) and Colin AND pulls down a record score, Colin's twitchiness later on at a convenience store leads to a dead cop...and Colin also dying of blood loss while driving the getaway car. Kicked out of car and gang as a liability, Janine pulls a drop gun on Manny, orders him and Jake (Jon Beavers) out of the car, and drives Colin's body to Jed's, where she stands next to a pit and sobs as a backhoe buries the car with Colin in it. [Last week: 6]
7. Pope (Shawn Hatosy). Underestimating J is a bad call, especially when it means 1) ignoring J's experience-based warnings about how Angela tends to behave in her addiction, and 2) siding against family with Angela -- despite her resentful "share" at the NA meeting he dragged her to, in which she claims she already knew Julia had died, but went straight to Smurf hoping Smurf would pay her to go away the same way she used to do with Julia. Pope looks painfully constipated at these revelations (...more than usual, that is), but says he doesn't hate her, because nobody tells him the truth, but she did. Right, because that's what addicts are known for: radical honesty. ...This guy, I swear. [Last week: 5]
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Sarah D. Bunting co-founded Television Without Pity, and her work has appeared in Glamour and New York, and on MSNBC, NPR's Monkey See blog, MLB.com, and Yahoo!. She's also the editor-in-chief and publisher of Tomato Nation, and true-crime blog and podcast The Blotter Presents