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Animal Kingdom Power Rankings, Week 4.5: Best Laid Plans

Thinking with the wrong head could spell curtains for more than one character.
  • Finn Cole on Animal Kingdom (TNT)
    Finn Cole on Animal Kingdom (TNT)

    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 5, from first to worst…

    1. J (Finn Cole). Tells Mia to kick rocks and backs it up; cements his bond with Olivia (Kelli Berglund) by Doing It with her, then getting some kind of tour-manager internship with Olivia's high-powered mom; senses that…"Mipi"? are going to try to take the nightly deposit off him, and leaves it with an employee before fighting off Tupi and his handgun with relative ease. [Last week: 4]

    2. Pope (Shawn Hatosy). How intense is the post-coital afterglow for our clenchy friend? Pope actually feels empowered to point a few things out about Deran's relationship! However, the coitus Pope enjoyed was with Angela, whose manipulations are pretty obvious to everyone but him, and while it's predictable that Smurf would order him not to tell anyone she's dying, that doesn't mean he has to screw over his brothers, and himself, by acceding. [Last week: 3]

    3. Craig (Ben Robson). Renn's (Christina Ochoa) sincerely impressed "you can cook!" when he hands her a Pop Tart is hilarious, and he's taking pretty good care of her, for Craig, but...you know. It's Craig. He's scrambling to get the rest of the money from the client before his brothers find out Frankie (Dichen Lachman) took "payment" in the form of future jobs, but Frankie goes around him to give Smurf "her" cut, blowing up his spot and costing the Cody bros even more money. (And proving Craig's still not quite at the peak of this business's mental game.) It's Deran who has to break up a Craig-Pope brawl and implement a plan to get paid. [Last week: 2]

    4. Angela (Emily Deschanel). Marginally less irritating and obvious than last week, and whatever her endgame is, her chessboard set-up is apparently working. [Last week: 6]

    5. Smurf (Ellen Barkin). Present-day Smurf is a creep (listening at the door as Pope and Angela have sex) but also a boss (double-dipping on her cut of the job the boys iced her out of). Flashback Smurf is just annoying, again, some more; either the writers don't know how to configure the Janine of the past so that we can see what made her so dangerously effective, or Leila George doesn't know how to get it across with what amounts to a B-list Ellen Barkin imitation. Whatever the case, the rendering of sexism and "office" politics in the underworld workplace needs to light a fire under it already. [Last week: 7]

    6. Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez). Ordered to stay away by J, she tries tattle-blackmail, threatening to tell Smurf what he's been up to. He doesn't bite, and sending Tupi (Eddie Ramos) to mug him doesn't work either, because Tupi sucks. [Last week: 1]

    7. Deran (Jake Weary) and Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark). Adrian wins a surfing championship: yay! But his triumphant return is immediately marred by 1) Deran sulking about Adrian working with Jack (Brendan Miller) on a smuggling op; and 2) his handler cheerfully going back on Adrian's immunity deal AND making him talk to Det. Pearce (Gil Birmingham), who hasn't given up on Javert-ing the Cody family. [Last week: 5]

    Previous Animal Kingdom power rankings.

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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