Updated Weekly throughout the airing of Season 5
It’s a big year for Animal Kingdom with the new season premiereing internationally on Netflix, but this year it also appears on Amazon Prime from October. This season, Pope (Shawn Hatosy), Craig (Ben Robson), Deran (Jake Weary) and J (Finn Cole) are still dealing with the fallout from the events surrounding Smurf’s death, including family members out for revenge. With their kingdom without a leader, the Cody family’s struggle to maintain their fragile alliance, and to see which of them will come out on top. Meanwhile, they search for more information on Pamela Johnson whom Smurf made the beneficiary of her estate.
EPISODE 1: (Updated 12 July, 2021) – The season opens with everyone on high alert with a brief 5 second cameo from Renn, as Odin and his siblings hone in on the Codys as they make their way to Oceanside where an intense confrontation occurs at a secret apartment on The Strand no one knew about. Interestingly, a drawer with pictures of Julia are in it. Angela, is no where to be seen this episode which centres around Pope in both timelines.
Back in 1984, we see the emergence of Pope’s obsessive compulsive leanings, Julia’s a natural at rolling s spliff and accomplice to her twin brother’s pickpocketing. Julia’s innocent and love for Andrew gives us insight into the early dynamics of mother and twins. It’s an interesting tangent that continues to prequel the show, since we all know how the two eldest siblings ended up.
Though short, an interesting bond Pope forms with the surviving cousin (played by Nick Stahl from The Walking Dead) after a shootout at the house which leads him to a state of emancipation from Smurf as he seems to go with his gut for the first time, and not follow orders from Smurf by letting him go.
Craig and Deran were handed copies of the will. J tells Deran he knew about Adrian talking to the feds, there’s something a little disconcerting about that exchange as innocent as it may seem. J has come a long way from the pilot episode when we met him on the lounge with his dead mother’s corpse next to him as he waited for the paramedics. He’s got quite the body count now off-ing his own girlfriend and grandmother just this past year. So when he asks Deran if Adrian is “going to be a problem the family has to deal with”, we need to be on the look out for where that goes if Adrian somehow pops back up on the canvas.
As the boys eat the lasagne Smurf made for them to enjoy after their last heist (it’s tradition, if you recall him saying a few seasons ago), we see a sentimental side asking about her recipes in case his newborn son ever wonders what his Grandma’s lasagne tastes like. This and all the sensitive moments Craig brings to the surface every now and again gives an interesting setup for a potential reunion with Jake.
Back in 1984, Jake is no where to be seen and years have passed since we last saw young Smurf. Julia is a natural with sticky hands who seems very mature for her age, especially with Smurf when she tells her why she thinks they should plant roots somewhere because it’s what Pope needs. There’s no shortage of entertainment from Pope who almost drowns a bully picking on Julia in the pool right before Smurf blows up the car of said bully’s mother’s.
After Gia telling J last season that the boys “were just muscle” which is why she refused to do business with them, and Deran tonight with the crooked cop on Smurf’s payroll shaking his head in disbelief after the shootout, “This shit never happened when Smurf was alive”, the boys have alot to prove it seems. It will definitely be an ongoing theme as lifelong lessons of Smurf haunt them and as they uncover everything they were oblivious to in terms of the management and handling of their family business.
Animal Kingdom attracted 27 million viewers last season across all platforms it was on with Season 6 being the final season, lap it up while you can! These guys are bound to go out with a bang!
Episode 2: (Updated 19th July, 2021) – Now that the dust has settled on the cousins feud, we begin to see the post-Smurf world of shifting alliances unfold. J seems to be making some pretty big deals as the head of the family business – Pete propositions him with a job that he would never have approached Smurf with – the risk is high with a payoff to match supposedly. In his search for a new fence, J turns to Frankie who cuts herself 5% in on all transactions through a contact she plans to introduce to Jay to handle their affairs. Pope is determined to lay Smurf to rest In the present, the boys are resentful over the mysterious Pamela Johnson having met with Smurf’s estate lawyer to discuss their options, which seem to be non-existent and learn that the will that leaves them penniless was drafted just weeks ago. In the past, we see Pam and Smurf post prison. If you recall last season, we got hints on a robbery the ladies did resulting in Pam’s imprisonment and her daughter going into social services, yet somehow they’re still great friends. On the straight and narrow the story picks up at a turning point for the two of them where a recluse Smurf seems to be aimlessly navigating her way through motherhood and crime, while Pam says she’s looking for “legitimate work” wanting to “get out” of the business. We also learn this season that Pope was telling the truth last season when he told J that he didnt know who Pamela Johnson was, after his younger self refers to Pam as “Aunt Birdie” in today’s flashbacks. Pam seems to have a genuine connection with the kids and more concerned about the children’s welfare in this episode, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out into the current timeline once the Cody brothers decide how to handle her claim to their estate. Remember when Smurf was in prison and Deran asked J who visited her regularly how she was, J said he couldn’t tell and Deran replied with “That’s Smurf”. Young Smurf seems lost if not depressed in this sequence of flashbacks and we see the calming influence Pam is to her alongside Pope.
Deran is grieving over Adrian having been slumming at the bar, while Craig puts his foot down with Renn after brokering deals with baby Nick in the house. Their personal crisis though, aren’t enough to stop them from targetting a “young rich kids” poker game onboard a yacht who are too smart to carry more than $300 bucks on them. Typical Deran and Craig moment right there, however this didn’t really make sense, especially when we saw the the detail and effort Deran and Craig put in to their cruise ship heist back in Season 2. Though no one went rogue and an old lady didn’t get her heirloom ring and finger chopped off this time, we can only account the poor planning to grief. Ordinarily, good sense would have called for an OCD-note-ironing Pope to bring some attention to detail in this job, but a greater sense of loss was finally starting to set in for the Codys on the events of last season.
The shift in power is interestingly complex now that J takes the lead on the business side of things, the intense obsessive Pope we saw tonight with Smurf’s ashes is something we haven’t seen since Season 3 after Lena was picked up by Child Services, which takes us to a strange ending of unanswered questions when he wakes up by the pool with ashes all over his body after digging illegally digging a grave for her at the plots next to Julia.
Deran is taunted by the DEA who negotiated Adrian’s original immunity deal, “I didn’t care about your white trash surfer family, I do now”, before he returns home to the house since Adrian left and burns all his possessions. What a mess.
There’s alot to look forward to based on tonight as we’re given some critical information that will set up some big stories this season as the boys embark on choosing and running thier first job without Smurf, especially with the Drug Enforcement Administrator looming in the background, we’re expecting things not to go according to plan. With Angela missing her probation officer’s visit again and still no where to be seen, and Smurf gone, we can expect to see Pope unravel some more, as he always seems to need someone to reel him back when he teeters on the edge of insanity. Perhaps Pam might be a main player here now that a closeness has been established in this episode? Still no Jake or Manny yet this season, yet, if you look closely, the actors that play them including young Smurf, are prominently featured in the opening credits…
Come back every week for more spoilers – 3pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Credit: Eddy Chen / TNT, Warner Media