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Animal Kingdom Power Rankings, Week 4.2: Setting Up The Board

Chess pieces get moved around for the season’s main stories; who’s the master?
  • Ellen Barkin in Animal Kingdom (TNT)
    Ellen Barkin in Animal Kingdom (TNT)

    Welcome back 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 the Episode 2, from first to worst…

    1. Smurf. Flashback Smurf’s less alert than she should be to attempts to get rid of her permanently. (The writing’s less alert than it should be to clichés. Adrenalized cliffside sex after a car-ditching almost goes awry is bad enough, but the character’s on major felony capers; let her wear a bra!) But she does seem attuned to possibilities for playing the rest of the gang against themselves. In the present, she uses James Remar’s retired cop to trick J into confirming he crossed her. Her collapse might seem to bode ill for her rankings, but I’m not concerned. [Last week: 1]

    2. Mia. Nice to see she’s got a plan -- specifically, to rob J of his safe stash. But she should keep it frostier at the bowling alley vis-a-vis makeouts with the obnoxious Tupi (vaping as an antagonistic character beat is getting tired, but damned if it doesn’t work on me with this little shit). [Last week: 7]

    3. Craig. He started locking his doors, but Frankie’s able to bring him on board for an art heist (and make him wear a suit) while not letting him so much as kiss her. (In his defense, I’d do the same if I got to drive that choice 280 SL to the meet.) Craig’s the only one trying to stamp out the perilous smoldering that is Pope right now...though some of his solutions need work (Deran’s right; Pope + public-facing job = jail for everyone). [Last week: 2]

    4. Deran and Adrian. Not much movement here; Adrian’s still wigging about his double-agentry; Deran senses something’s up but it’s hard to tell what. Their scenes primarily serve to show us their bums...no objection here. [Last week: 5/6]

    5. J. Underestimates Smurf, pays the price; underestimating Mia, price (and who pays it) TBD. [Last week: 4]

    6. Pope. Shawn Hatosy almost makes me believe this damaged man would keep living/working with Smurf after everything? But that he didn’t drive into the desert and change his name instead of sticking around to seethe makes it tough to care. Pope gets a lift this week from the late Julia’s old friend, the recently paroled Angela (and this is an interesting look for Emily Deschanel after all those years of Bones), but we know as well as Pope does that everything he touches dies...and we know where Pope does not that Smurf paid Angela to get lost. [Last week: 8]

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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.

    TOPICS: Animal Kingdom, TNT, Ellen Barkin, Animal Kingdom power rankings