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. (Miss last week's rankings? View them here.)
Our players in Episode 4, from first to worst…
1. Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez). Your weekly reminder that she and J are still children, really: J brattily changes the locks on Mia and dumps her gear in the alley, and Mia retaliates by trashing J’s place with Tupi...but leaves the safe untouched, for now. More tantrum than power move, it still has its bowel-liquefying effect on J. [Last week: 1]
2. Craig (Ben Robson). Everyone’s worried that Craigs gonna Craig, but he’s prepped the job thoroughly, and it goes off without a hitch (even Pope!). Trouble is, his brothers might have a point about Frankie (Dichen Lachman), who’s not ready with payment right after the heist...and he’s going to need it, because Renn (Christina Ochoa) is back and visibly pregnant. (His nonplussed “You kept it?” suggests Renn might want to take him to court for support sooner than later.) [Last week: 2]
3. Pope (Shawn Hatosy). Stung by J’s truth bombs last week, Pope’s cold to Julia -- which is great for the audience; it lets her ramble on and show her hand a bit -- but keeps it together during the hijacking, and may be starting to see that it’s time to separate from Smurf after she paints Lena’s room a prison grey. Hope there’s some movement for this character emotionally, because Hatosy’s acting choices are going to give him TMJ pretty soon. [Last week: 4]
4. J (Finn Cole). Got a bunch of smackdowns this week; may not have deserved them all. Deran cuffs him verbally for overstepping in trying to replace Smurf, Mia’s clearly several moves ahead of him on the chess board, and his special college lady friend has to tell him not to case their friend’s rich dad’s joint quite so overtly. He’s likely the only one with Angela’s number, for what that’s worth. [Last week: 5]
5. Deran (Jake Weary) and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Adrian’s super-excited that this LSD/board-mat smuggling op means he’s done working for the law oh wait no he’s not, because he lied about Deran being his “roommate” and Adrian’s handler’s not having it. And remember Colby (Matthew Fahey), the prat who freelanced a job last year without checking with Deran and got that kid Ox shot in the stomach? I didn’t either, but he’s back, and he’s doing his usual Pete Campbellian “I’m not smart enough to really see all the angles, but I’m smart enough to see a blackmail opp” routine. Bunch of folks fixing to end up dead in this storyline and I’m not betting against Deran being one of them. [Last week: 3]
6. Angela (Emily Deschanel). Fills Pope’s customary heavy silences with awkward blather about his and Julia’s twin bond, about having had a crush on him back in the day, about Smurf performatively sleeping out by the pool. Full of stories about sexual harassment at her waitressing job, too, but we only ever see her in the compound, so who knows where she really goes...or whom she’s reporting to. [Last week: 7]
7. Smurf (Ellen Barkin). Flashback Smurf is mostly filler this week, full of lessons about PTSD and the benefits of a dangerous leader. In the present day, Smurf is in resolute denial about her diagnosis, blowing off her doctors, doing coke with Craig, and using the key she shouldn’t have to Deran’s apartment to threaten him and Adrian...with lasagna. (Classic Smurf.) A bout of vomiting and bleeding gums leaves her hors de combat once again at episode’s end. [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!. Find her at her true-crime newsletter, Best Evidence, and on TV podcasts Extra Hot Great and Again With This.