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 12, from first to worst…
1. Craig (Ben Robson). Was the primary engineer of the Cody's 11 dig into the bunker; didn't kill or even try to kill anyone; dodged a hail of foreshadowing like being cutely domestic with Renn (Christina Ochoa) and going off-book to steal a machine gun from the bunker, all of which suggested he might be killed. [Last week: 2]
2. J (Finn Cole). You can make the argument that the way J takes the reins -- not just doing what Pope could not and helping Smurf complete her suicide-by-someone-else mission, but attending to loose ends like the truck left at the compound and a forged death certificate -- means he's lost his humanity. You can also make the argument that, in the context of this show, he's his own kingmaker, and the most like Smurf in the younger generations, and that's the argument I'm making, not least because it put a merciful end to a series of increasingly grating and noisy acting choices by Ellen Barkin. [Last week: 1]
3. Smurf (Ellen Barkin). She starts the episode on the floor of the head in a yacht she doesn't seem to remember arriving at; and ends it laid out on sawhorses in her own garage, after scream-growling at her oldest son to shoot her or she'll shoot him, prompting her grandson to execute her. This doesn't sound like the stuff from which top rankings are made, but she does get what she wanted, which was to go out like a gangster, and in between, she's dressed to kill as she successfully deploys a distraction at the Prepperhaus and gets the ultimate mic-drop revenge on Jed. She even manages to plant a couple last seeds of doubt re: Craig's and Deran's competence in J's mind on the way to the compound. We can probably chalk up Barkin's squawky performance in the last scene to series-wrap emotion. RIP, Janine Prime. [Last week: 4]
4. Deran (Jake Weary) and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Mostly getting buffered and/or buffeted by others this week: ordered out of the driver's seat by Pope, Deran complies; ordered to gather up Smurf's body before someone calls the cops about the gunfire, Deran complies. J now knows (well, what Smurf wants him to, anyway) about Adrian's contact with law enforcement, so if Deran wants a higher ranking next week -- or to survive the season -- he should make that "we're getting the hell out of here" announcement a reality like yesterday. [Last week: 5]
5. Angela (Emily Deschanel). Do I ding her for letting Smurf manipulate her with a bunch of oxycodones left on the counter, or give her a bump for realizing what Smurf's trying to do? After triumphantly flushing the pills, Angela fishes them out of the toilet, and takes a bunch, so: ding it is! Except she fails to drown in her nodding-out bath, and seems to have an epiphany when she surfaces, specifically that maybe she should start kissing J's ass, so let's say "Rasputin-esque lizard-brain smarts" cancels out "annoying, makes revolting-looking coffee cake." [Last week: 3]
6. Pope (Shawn Hatosy). It's hard not to feel for the guy; when Angela points out that they don't have to go on Operation Gold Brick, he grunts, "Yeah, we do," and doesn't see any argument -- and the end of the op finds his mother screeching at him for failing her during the shoot-out because he saved her, and clipping his ear with a shot of her own to force Pope to shoot her, which he can't do. While his brothers and nephew are variously sad and in shock at Smurf's death, Pope is destroyed, and stays by himself with the body, weeping. But if he doesn't get rid of Angela (he apparently can't) or figure out he should stand with J and not against him (he certainly won't), he's going to keep kicking around at the bottom of these rankings. [Last week: 7]
7. Janine (Leila George) & The Doomsday Cats. Now that Janine's had the twins, I really hope we're done with Young Smurf and this timeline, because I haven't enjoyed George's performance as the former at all, and everyone in the latter except the Compound Cousins and Pope is dead, including the only person in it worth a damn, Laney (Sarah Hunt). Laney interrupts a scuffle in progress as Janine is fighting off Jed's (Joseph Morgan) blowjob-for-getaway-car rape attempt; tackles Jed when he's trying to throttle a fleeing Janine (well, "fleeing"; not sure why the production couldn't have gotten a pregnancy pad that fit); and delivers the twins in the compound's spare room when the set-to sends Janine into labor, because of course it does, because TV. [Last week: 6]
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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