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 6, from first to worst…
1. J (Finn Cole). People won't quit pestering him about his black eye, but he won the fight he got it in -- and said fight keeps Mia at a distance, for now. Ordered by Smurf to root out the mole in their midst, he takes Deran's advice and does the minimum to mollify her, electing instead to tail her to the chemo clinic and learn what's really up with her...and to lie to Angela about what he found. [Last week: 1]
2. Pope (Shawn Hatosy). Loyal (he offers to drive Smurf to her appointment, and later helps Deran, uh, "dispose of a problem") -- but to a fault, as Angela points out, and as he regrettably is to Angela. Still doing the sketchy MMA thing; nearly kills his opponent (Mariano "Big Dawg" Mendoza) in the process. [Last week: 2]
3. Craig (Ben Robson). His felon-splaining to Renn (Christina Ochoa) that she should make other, non-drug-dealing career plans for after the baby is born is not a great look...and I guess neither is mocking her baby-name choices, although "Crest" is weak sauce, he's right. Renn puts him straight about what else she's qualified to do, to wit: nothing, and by episode's end he's pity-bought a large quantity of coke to help her start a nest egg. And he's savvy about what will get Frankie to respond to him -- namely breaking into her storage unit and making WTF gestures at the security cams -- but only figures out after they've argued about his decision to go around Frankie for the rest of the payout that she's mostly pissed because it makes her look bad...to Smurf. [Last week: 3]
4. Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez). Plots her next move offscreen this week, so we'll put her square in the middle. [Last week: 6]
5. Smurf (Ellen Barkin). She's dressed to kill in the present day -- studded leather moto jacket in one scene; silver Lurex v-neck sweater and sunglasses to get chemo -- and almost does kill the nattering nabob seated next to her at the clinic, before ripping out her IV and ditching the treatment. Alas, she's spotted by J, and years of paranoid manipulation of her sons mean her warnings that they have a mole aren't taken seriously this time. Flashback Janine does get the Seventies Gang to go in on the drug-commune heist, but it turns out she's there for revenge on a hippie who molested her, and it nearly gets one of her cohorts killed. (And Jake's using his real name to flirt with a waitress is probably going to get at least some of them arrested.) [Last week: 5]
6. Angela (Emily Deschanel). Smartly solidifying her bond with Pope to protect against flanking maneuvers from J and/or Smurf. But we still don't know what her endgame is, and it's starting to seem like the show doesn't either. [Last week: 4]
7. Deran (Jake Weary) and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Adrian's ordered in so many words to keep snitching on the Codys for Det. Pearce (Gil Birmingham), then not provided with a cover story when the feds take down Jack's operation without arresting Adrian. Despite fighting with Adrian about that exact issue last week, Deran is less troubled than he should be by 1) news of Jack's downfall or 2) Adrian's clumsy assurances that it won't affect him. But when Colby (Matthew Fahey) comes around, theorizing about Adrian's involvement with law enforcement and wanting twenty grand not to share his hypothesis with Pope, Deran has no choice but to face the truth. Oh, and to shoot Colby in the face and bury his body in the desert with Pope's help. Later, in the shower with Adrian, Deran makes "I knew it was you all along, Fredo" faces, and tells Adrian he loves him. Cool, this will totally end well. [Last week: 7]
People are talking about Animal Kingdom in our forums. Join the conversation.
Enemy of the raisin Sarah D. Bunting is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Tomato Nation, and true-crime blog and podcast The Blotter Presents. She also 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 an adjunct instructor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and as required by law of creative-writing majors, she lives in Brooklyn.