Updated Weekly throughout the airing of Season 6 – new episodes air in the U.S. each Monday 4pm our time

Season 6: The end is near with many loose ends that need to be tied in these final thirteen episodes. Now that the grieving is over the final battle for control is on the horizon and by the end of last season we saw two clear contenders for the throne. Though we survived an entire season without Smurf, her presence will very much be felt as the truth about Kat is exposed now that her body has been found! The double episode premiere had more cohesion between both timelines as layers in the past were peeled back to highlight dynamics and motivations in the present.

Episode 1: 1992

Speaking of potential heads of the Cody family, the time jump storyline continues, showing a teenage Baz leading the twins in a high school swindling of its computers. Even in the early days, it seems Pope, whose sick skateboarding skills were on display during the chase, was always the one destined to take the fall when things went wrong… Peppered through the story in this timeline are the usual disturbing Game of Thrones / House of Targaryon cougar vibes with Smurf and Baz which seems to be at the core of Smurf and Julia’s unexplained rivalry.

Skateboarding traditions in Oceanside

Craig’s opened up a new (laundering operation) gym and doesn’t appreciate J’s scrutiny. While he seems to have access to Nick who is still in Renn’s custody (and her cousins who you may recall from Season 1) he doesn’t like the time limits on father-son visitation and constant cancellations.

Deran shows community spirit after a visit from one of his regulars at the bar, Trey, who is complaining about excessive partying of social media influencers that have shacked up in the house next to his. A simple smashing of a wine bottle across the head solves the problem and it seems, Tommy manouevred the whole thing… (It’s always the quiet ones you need to watch). Turns out, he’s filling a void Smurf left behind “looking out for the locals”.

A surprising visit from Gia, serves up a proposal to renew their previous fencing arrangment now that the dust has settled and the Cody territory is intact. As long as they can help her rip off the warehouse of a new competitor in town, they’ve got themselves a fence.

Smurf gave them a hard time when the boys tried to go out on their own and did a job with Frankie in Season 4. They weren’t about to let that happen again.

“You went against everything I taught you… Jobs with outsiders?”

While we were expecting somekind of payback with the loot at the warehouse, it was a major surprise to see the job the guys were pulling was actually on Gia’s store as the shot pans out, seriously imparing her fencing business.

The final scenes of the first episode cut back and forth between timelines focusing eerily on Julia and J who we realise are both under the same Smurf encased fortress of psychological warfare making for some very interesting parallels.

Episode 2 – Rise:

Two episodes in and Craig hasn’t even racked up a line demonstrating how seriously he takes his fatherly responsibilities.

Two new characters are introduced, Penny from one of the law firms J is interviewing while Marc is from a neighbouring business of Craig’s gym. The jury’s still out on these two, particularly with Gia’s ominous delivery after the Codys burned down her warehouse full of angry clients’ goods…

By the end of the episode despite her abscence from the present, we see the effect on the kids lives Smurf has had as we watch Pope build the skate park to revisit a hobby he gave up in his teens because of his mother. Deran confronts Brian, one of the surf competition judges who Smurf use to pay off preventing him from winning any heats. While on surface level, it would seem there’s a sense of payback and closure, but after ascending to the status of town enforcer, there’s a clear role Deran feels comfortable in despite him always trying to leave the ways of the family business since the first season.

Coupled with the previous episodes sabotaging of Julia’s academic opportunities, we see a clear track record of control and manipulation playing out which is why the distinction between love and hate over her death was a complicated one for the boys last season.

Episode 3 – Pressure & Time:

In the past we see Smurf manipulate and coerce the twins’ path to self discovery and independence. Visiting her daughter’s new workplace, a clothing store, Smurf talks down Julia’s ambitions while kerbing Andrew’s interest in the church (could this be how he earned his nackname, Pope?) after meeting Father Kirby while performing community service duties. There is a great Thelma & Louise, mother and daughter joyride moment as Smurf lures Julia back to the dark side with the stolen car, she got for her. We begin to understand the genesis of Julia’s ultimate fate who as a child was doped up with cough mixture and now as a teen, relying on the comforting escape from the joints handed to her by her mother.

Craig’s sobriety comes to an end after hooking up with Vince’s ex-wife, Gianna, and Renn rejects his proposal to co-parent Nick. The idea for a new heist comes to J, after he offloads the blue diamonds the family stole from Gia to a wholesale buyer named, Eddie Pham.

Lena returns after almost two seasons, at the centre of the police investigation surrounding Cat’s newly discovered body revealing to Detective Thompson that other than her father who she saw with her mother the day she died, “Uncle Pope” was around too.

Isn’t strange that J never seemed to feel any connection to Lena knowing that Baz was his father

Episode 4 – Inside Man:

Pride month celebrations for Deran comprise of this week’s flavour of the month to fill the gaping void that remains since Adrian’s departure culminating in the savage beating of a homophobe in front of his new date. Such a romantic!

The interest in Pope’s skate ramp with the teen locals awakens a paternal side we haven’t seen from him since since Season 4 with recently returning niece, Lena. Helping Taylor stand up to the guys picking on him, it’s revealed the youth has been planted by Detective Thompson to spy on the Cody brother. Interwoven through this episode is the setup for the next heist as Craig fails in a reconaissance mission, J, who has been banging his way through the first couple of episodes through the family legal team recruits the brother of their next target…

Episode 5 – Inside Man:

The setup for the next job sees J borring a septic tank from a friend, Deran procuring an invitation to the party where the diamonds will be, while Craig poses as papparazzi.

In terms of character development, the episode centres around Pope in both timelines. It turns out Baz was the one who gave Andrew his nickname after developing a conscience and returning the 19th century bible to the church the family stole from but is seen by Father Kirby. Conflicted, yet still loyal to the family, Pope ensures the priests silence by violently and repeatedly striking the man who takes the beating yelling “Jesus forgives [him]”. In the present, the same paternal instinct we haven’t seen since his niece Lena was around kicks in with the hardknocks teen-spy planted by Thompson. Pope covers his hospital expenses after fracturing his arm at the skate ramp. At the emergency room, he encounters Amy – great use of history with the church heist story running in the past. Later, after finding Taylor squatting under the skate ramp, Pope takes the kid home setting him up in the garage saying the house is off limits.

Episode 6 – Diamonds are Forever:

Despite the tension between Deran and Craig building up for the last few weeks, the boys come together to pull off the Diamond heist.

Craig provides a distraction amongst the papparazzi, inside man, Deran as Fire marshall, while J and Pope coordinate the extraction of the loot intercepting the property’s plumbing. When Deran fails to secure one of the pieces, it triggers an argument between he and Craig allowing them to finally blow off some steam and release some of that tension. These two were always at their best when going at each other, and the dynamic changed when for the first part of the season Craig actually took some responsibility for the sake of Nick leaving nothing for Deran to lecture him do, since it’s been his job in previous seasons to clean up after his brother and reel him in.

At the end of the episode, thanks to Pope’s O.C.D, he senses something is off when discovering the timer reset on the microwave. Strange, because he usually notices the tiniest detail and has no inkling that the kid he moved into the garage took pictures of him entering the code to the gate or a rogue police detective was snooping through his house that day.

Episode 7 – Incognito:

Pope agrees with J’s idea to use the skatepark as a not-for-profit avenue for the family to launder money “donations” through after Amy asks him out on a date.

In one of tonight’s most shocking sequences, Renn is ambushed by two thugs at the park who kidnap Nick after hearing about a substantial drop off she is expecting. She puts up a fight even after being clobbered over the head, before being catapulted off one of the kidnappers’ trucks as she jumps in through the driver side window. Craig rushing to Deran’s bar for backup, immediately triggers a truce after last week’s brawl, as the younger brother promises they will find Nick.

The lengths Detective Thompson goes to in her quest to find the truth about Cath’s murder have no bounds, as she approaches Pope pretending to be Taylor’s distraught mother. Playing to his good nature, he helps her look for Taylor who has apparently been missing for a few days.

In the past, Baz and Julia’s budding romance continues to blossom much to Smurf’s dismay, who attempts to turn Pope against them or at the very least get in between their suspected midnight rendesvouz.

Craig and Deran track down Cole Lidden, the white supremacist drug lord who’s turf, Renn’s been moving in on through an associate. Together with Renn’s cousins who are on lookout, the reprieve is short and sweet. A tense and armed confrontation is on the verge of erupting with baby Nick in the room. Craig orders his brother not to fire. Up until this point, Deran has been quite distant from Nick, referring to him as “the kid”. He’s also been unsupportive of his brother’s sobriety and parental growth earlier this season, so the fact he throws himself toward the kdinapper, taking multiple bullets to his vested chest, speaks volumes when lining it up against the brotherly interactions last week. Blood really is thicker than water. Come to think of it, when Deran takes Nick out of the room to safety while Craig deals with Cole, this is possibly the first bonding moment on-screen he has had with his nephew since he was born. “Go be with baby Nicky” he tells his brother when they get back to Renn’s as Craig and Deran patch things up.

Among the recaps at the beginning of the episode, was an interesting one from Season 2, Episode 11 when Pope told Amy he killed Cath. This suggests her return could be critical in the resolution of Pope’s storyline. Bringing lunch for the kids to the skate park and his anticipated date with Amy, he refers to it as “one of the happiest days of his life” and there was something cryptic about this, because we’ve never seen joy or contentment from this character the previous five seasons ever!

J meets Penny’s sister when dropping by her place, who immediately spots the signs of an addiction, leading him to open up to her about Julia. Could he actually have feelings for her? Although Nicky was his high school sweetheart and was there when his mother died, he was always guarded with her and even cheated on her with his CI-Informant science teacher, Alexa. Even with Mia, who he ended up shooting was pretty much his maid with most of their conversations on a need-to-know basis. It made sense considering how they met and first hookeup together. Then there was Olivia, the convenient lay for him as he inserted himself into her mother’s orbit to set the Music Festival heist in motion. For a smart, young kid with ambition, it just seemed to make sense that the influence of his heroine addict mother had taught the young chap to hate women, or at the very least not have been equipped with the tools to respect them. It was refreshing to see somewhat of a softer caring side to J, in between roughing up his new restaurant partner due to a late payment. At this point, with only 6 episodes left, Deran’s the only one on track to not get his happy ending.

Detective Thompson crashes the end of Pope and Amy’s date, continuing her ‘concerned mom charade’ while making mental note of Amy’s number plate and name. Pope’s reaction throughout these exchanges seems to be one of suspicion, which continues at home when he finally notices the OCD triggers, Thompson left behind last week.

While there is still work for them to do, Renn concedes and moves back in with Craig and it turns out he’s the responsible parent of the two after all.

Unlike last season, there’s a great pace to the story, with actually engaging minor ones woven in and resolved in each episode with just the right amount of dripfeeding from the main murder mystery arc and the time jumps not taking too much away from the present. We’re seeing alot of emotional walls coming down from the Codys and you only have to reference previous seasons and casualties like Colin, Cath, Lena, Baz, Lucy, Marco, Adrian, Mia, to name a few, to know that, relationships within the family business never end well.

Episode 8: Revelation

Pope finally puts the pieces together and confronts and roughs up Taylor at the skate park about “his mom”. Taylor confesses the woman is a cop and Pope demands he set up a meeting. Pope follows him as he meets with Thompson and messes with the transmission line of her car. Later, he breaks into her motel room and threatens her before she reveals the reason she has been snooping around is the investigation of Cath’s murder, taking him by surprise.

Deran convinces a reluctant, J to do a small job robbing a dental surgery after being approached by his barback, Tommy. As usual, things never go to plan, as the owner shows up having returned early from vacation, but it turns out to be a great bonding moment for uncle and nephew as they bring out the old staple gun from Season 2, Episode 5 to patch up Tommy’s leg wound.

While it was nice to see Craig and Renn reunite, this episode pulls the sheet over how toxic they really are together as they go on a bender, high on drugs, ripping off convenient stores with Nick in the back seat. Craig was probably trying to be understanding considering his girl was still bruised up from last week’s beating, but he seemed to snap out of it after he awakens to find he and Nick abandoned at a girlfriend’s house while Renn goes to score.

In the past, Pope is traumatised when walking in on Baz and Julia together. Smurf blames Julia for destroying the family and life she has built for them, while reminding her of the hard yards she has put in over the years to get them out of that trailer park they lived in.

Pope tells J and Deran, that Thompson is on to him…

Episode 9: Revelation

As Craig picks up his baby mama in a random alley at the end of her bender, J goes into damage control mode after Pope’s revelation last week. Deran finds Pope in Craig’s bedroom who learns that it is where Catherine was murdered.

In the past, Julia and Pope’s relationship remains strained as they continue to deal with the fallout of her relationship with Baz becoming public. Perhaps it’s this early betrayal that prevents Pope from fully trusting J in the present, being the product of a lie between two of the people he cared about the most. Meanwhile, Smurf takes Baz to a new property she purchased for him to use sparking the beginning of their property business and splitting up the two lovebirds from derailing the family business.

Penny’s sister overdoses and J goes to the hospital to comfort the distraught girl.

As Pope tells the family the details surrounding Catherine’s death, Craig seems to be the only one showing any emotion. They meet with the criminal attorney J found to consult on Pope’s situation and they learn about Detective Thompson’s past, the discovery of Cath’s body and that Taylor is pressing assault charges. Before Deran takes Pope to the police station to get him processed, they share a moment by the pool. Deran committed to working towards his brother’s exoneration knowing the circumstances around Cath were in the protection and interest of the family. A teary Pope begins reminiscing about his favorite post heist meals and traditions. Detective Thompson hijacks the Oceanside police interrogation revealing to Pope she spoke to Lena, while pressuring him to confess. Pope is pretty shaken by the emotional blackmail Thompson dishes and the effects of a trial on Lena and Amy.

The family is stunned as they learn Pope has confessed to Cath’s murder. J visits Penny offering her one of the apartments on The Strand for her to stay in, urging her to leave her husband, Noah, and her sister, Cindy behind. Deran fires Tommy after being approached with another job and Craig shows up on Renn’s doorstep in tears.


Episode 13 – Launch

How exciting was the opening recap which gave us glimpses of Colin and Cath, and the reemergence of that photo of Julia that appeared in Smurf’s secret apartment on the Strand no one knew about – hinting on how past story arcs would come full circle amongst the Huwala heist which springs into action within the first 11 minutes!

Remember last Season before the wake, when old Jake told Billy that Smurf threatened to kill him if he tried to see Craig or tell him who he was?  This episode’s flashbacks gave us a possible reason why, after young Jake and young Smurf argue over Julia and Andrew’s arrest after getting caught pick-pocketing, lucky old mate, Officer Gerry was around to smooth things over.  It was a nice parralel to Craig and Renn’s recent tiff over how they should be conducting themselves with the birth of Nick in Episode 2. As cool as it is watching Smurf become the “Queen of Oceanside” as she figures out what to do with Max’s contact book, there was something very disturbing about watching her parent Andrew and Julia, whom she blamed for getting caught stealing and guilting them into not being able to go to Disneyland because of their “mistake”.  Wow, I actually want to see more of this train wreck parenting, especially since we had to go through 3 episodes of Pope’s conflicted shades of grief earlier this season!

As the Huwala heist plays out, Deran leads the coastguard distraction from the water, Craig and Pope break into the shipping container while J escapes gunfire their getaway reverts to “Plan B” as they abandon the getaway boat and evade the coastguard under water.  Back at the house, Frankie gets her cut of the $1.2 million before saying how good it was to see the Codys all working together and Smurf would be proud. 

Back at the bar, Deran gives Tommy a loyalty bonus, and sets the stage for him to manage the laundering of the Huwala haul doing an about face on his ‘launder-free-legit-business’ policy which surprises the family.  J plans to launder a chunk through his bowling alley.

We always knew what Pope was capable of, we got a chilling reminder of that as authorities finally discovered Cath’s body in the finale’s final moments, but pulling Pete’s eye socket out was next level – yet necessary – to send a message to anyone else underestimating the new post-Smurf world order that seems to have finally found its footing. It was pretty cringe though, even J looked like it was hard for him to stomach.

It’s been three seasons since Baz’s death and you should always pay attention when a character no longer on screen is mentioned multiple times throughout the season…  Season 6 is going to be the final end game of the entire series and it seems old demons of the past will keep Smurf and Baz’s presence on the canvas through to the end as Cath’s murder investigation plays out.   The flashback sequences will focus on the teenage years of Andrew, Julia and Baz with the announcement of new additions to the cast. Shawn Hatosy recently announced the end of Season 6’s shoot which won’t go to air until well into 2022, but there are some cryptic hints about the shows ending as he reminisces on his time as Pope.

The questions we need answered in Season 6:

  • Why was there a secret apartment on the strand that Smurf never told the boys about which had a picture of Julia in it?
  • Where is Pope’s cousin Mikey?
  • Now that we know Jake and Craig have the same outlook on raising kids in a world of crime, will they finally get to know who they are to each other?
  • In Episode 2 this season, Smurf’s estate attorney said the will naming Pam Johnson as primary beneficiary was created four weeks before she died, so why was a copy of the will couriered to Julia?
  • Was the love story ending Adrian and Deran got in Season 4 really how that ends?  I was half expecting to see him back somehow this season.
  • Now that they’ve got some cash in the bank so to speak, maybe next season will allow for a Craig and Renn reunion and a date or two for J and Pope.
  • What were the circumstances that lead to Julia leaving the family business?

Past Recaps:

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.  We watched the boys come back to the house job after job, without the traditional home cooked meals and fresh baked pies….

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.  

“We pay until we can… 
We take care of our people”

– Smurf to Craig (Season 3, Episode 5)

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.   

Why has Adrian appeared in nearly every episode recap and yet is no where to be seen?  For that matter, where is Angela?

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: WHAT REMAINS (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.

“It’s ok baby.  One has to die so the other one can live”

– Young Smurf to Young Pope (Season 5, Episode 2)

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… 

Episode 3: FREERIDE (Updated 25 July, 2021): What is going on! For weeks now they’ve been dangling the whole Pamela Johnson thing with us and it’s starting to wear a little thin, she needs to be onscreen right now as the cracks begin to show without the usual anchoring in the brotherly and nephew dynamic that is now completely fragmented like a ship lost at sea.

This is what the show does well.

Jake and Manny finally make their first appearance of the season when Smurf calls them in to join her on a job which leads Pam to kick her and the kids out of her house. Still grieving – we find out what Pope did with Smurf’s ashes last episode and Deran is having threesomes to get over Adrian while resentfully causing a rift for the couple who come looking for more at his bar. Business as usual for Pete, who doesn’t seem to mind J having to to execute his cousin Mia last season and the recovery of treasure from the crashed plane goes along smoothly without too much drama. We learn Jake is married in the past while Nikki is married in the present after J bumps into a never-before seen old acquaintance named, Ellie.

In terms of character growth – the carefree spirit of Deran and Craig taking a more mature hesitance when having to ride off a cliffe face during the plane heist chase much in the same way J did when Baz and the crew egged him on to jump off the roof at Oceanside in Season 1 during Smurf’s party. The balance of action to drama this week a little disappointing as there should have been some good payoffs with Craig finding out about the stolen properties and Pope turning to his twin sister’s son for a peptalk on loss which obviously J is incapable of.

If it’s suspense the show is trying to build here, the setup has not been the best in comparison to previous seasons. While the flashbacks are great, there’s so much they could be exploring right now that keeps Smurf’s presence around through the people that knew her – like for example Jake, Billy or Pamela.

Like Father, Like Son – Deran & Craig always want their cut, so what happens now that Pope’s spilled the beans on J’s secret businesses and property?

Episode 4: POWER

Why is Adrian in every episode recap and yet hasn’t appeared on screen yet? In any case, it’s nice to see Deran handling the loss of Adrian with a relaxing surf.  But is he possibly changeling his frustration on J as he orders a tour of all properties bought with stolen money. And with the DEA sniffing about, is he setting up J as bait to get him of Adrian’s back? Deran orders J to stash the goods from the plane heist at his bowling alley.

Craig has no idea how to deal with Nick when left to babysit while Renn is away and gets advice from a random surf shop attendant who he ends up hiring to be the nanny, right before he recruits some locals to help with that pesky scooter problem that’s been bothering him since Episode 1.

Finally Pam Johnston appeared and for a brief moment, the gaping void left by Smurf was filled as the boys continued to scramble for a seat on the throne. Unshaken by the surprise arrival of Deran on her doorstep, she orders Deran to help bring in groceries, the same way Smurf would and giving us a whiff of where this could go. Particularly with the wild child that always use to question and rebel against Janine, the same way he is doing now to the leader by default, J, and now with her.

Meanwhile Pope’s regular blackouts are finally diagnosed as Dissociative Fugue due to the grieving he’s experiencing from the trauma of Smurf’s loss and voluntarily admits himself into hospital for 24 hours. We’re at a turning point of some kind it seems until he leaves with J… It’s good to see him in the hands of a trained mental health professional because in his words, based on tonight’s episode, someone “needs to step up”. It turns out, Pope was at the lot that housed the trailer he used to live in with Julia and Smurf, who in flashbacks is working with the crew on ATM smash and grabs. The episode cliffhanger is when Pope finally reveals what’s been bugging him and lashes out at J saying shooting Smurf was a mistake. The kid was just following orders though, remember after Manny’s funeral in Season 2 (Episode 3), Smurf made him promise “to put a bullet in [her] head” when the time came.

Episode 5: Family Business
(Updated 9 August, 2021)

FInally. The episode we’ve been waiting for! Who get’s the house is the question on everyone’s lips this episode as three generations of Johnsons come to town staking their claim and setting their terms! What is it with crime matriarchs and food? Smurf use to whip up a cake after each job and Pam hosts a BBQ before dealing ultimatums. Social media continues to be divided on the flashback Smurf reality, it was a clever way to (technically) recast a character, and on and off throughout the season it wasn’t unusual for Animal Kingdom to show old Smurf reminiscing about young Andrew and Julia. It also gives us backstory as the Cody boys tend to not tell each other what’s going on in their lives and we’re left to figure out their motivations in an abyss of unexplained fascination. The problem that we are having now is, it is slowing down the story in the present and fans are literally being dripfed information five seconds before the end of an episode with more unanswered questions they had at the beginning of them! Considering there’s only one and a half seasons left until this whole thing is over, shouldn’t we be more efficient in the storytelling pace?

THEORY: On a side note, who wants to bet on a spin-off series that centres around Young Smurf after the show is over?

Episode 5 opens with Pope wandering on the beach stumbling upon a prayer group on the beach and runs into a fellow inmate who reveals Angela died a few days ago, beaten to death and someone named Shane is involved! Deran is still sleeping at the bar and receives a phone call from Pamela Johnson announcing she will be visting the house at Oceanside with her family. Young Smurf seems to have a new target.

THEORY: Angela is known for doing deals with the Feds, what if she’s in witness protection and this whole Pamela Johnson job leads to someone’s downfall?

Pope finally comes face to face with “Auntie Birdie” and Phoneix (who craig recognises as an old school pro-skater) who use to babysit he and Julia. Pamela negotiates a deal allowing the Codys to earn back the millions of dollars worth of party by doing a job for them. As Phoenix tells Craig, Deran and J that the contents of a safe at clubhouse for hardknock youths contains evidence from a twenty year old murder involving Phoenix, Pam tries to reconnect with Pope who is too overwhelmend from the news of Angela’s death.

Frankie introduces Craig to the new fence right before throwing her some sympathy sex since he’s the reason all her business contacts have turned on her. Rude, especially since Renn is considering a new career in real estate and finally taking his advice to get their parental priorities in order for baby Nick’s sake. As J and Derran do reconnaisance on the Pamela Johnson job, we see Phoenix seems alot like Deran, not wanting anything to do with the family business his mother runs.

Pope tracks down Shane, beats the crap out of him almost drowning him to death before we finally get a glimpse of what is going on in his mind when Deran questions his peculiar behaviour. Pope leaves for some much needed me time. Sure, grief does linger on for most people, but this isn’t real life, five episodes is plenty and the gang needs you Pope.

Old Jake needs to get in on this, he was the one that brought Pam into the original crew and the two of them have history that’s very relevant to the Codys if this show were to continue past it’s planned end date at Season 6.

Episode 6 – Home Sweet Home
(Updated 16th August)

We can blame Billy for putting the idea in Deran’s head that he should be running the family, (remember in Season 3 when Smurf was in the big house?), and for a moment there, he seemed like a formidable contender for the throne. But then, when you think about it, he’s always had a problem with authority. He was always having a cry about having to do the grunt work all the time when Baz was in charge of jobs in Season 2, wanting to leave the business just to annoy Smurf in Season 3 and now this season he’s giving it to J. With Pope removing himself from the triggers of Smurf as ordered by the Doctor in Episode 2, the Codys were a man down and Deran ropes Renn in with a small part in the Pamela Johnson heist.

As Renn works the inside of the skateboard demo, Deran, J and Craig are in the building next door grinding their way through into Marion’s office, who just so happens to start chatting her up. It’s two against one when Deran refuses to accept the job is burned insisting they push through another three minutes because they are fighting for their house! As they get through to the other side, the boys end up in a secret room that wasn’t on the blueprint. Renn manages to escape one of Marion’s henchmen after her cover is blown and we remember that hardass who ordered her cousins to kidnap Craig after he left her to die from an overdose back in Season 1.

Meanwhile while Pope is in la-la land, yelling at himself while holding a gun to his throat, he ends up almost crashing into the road sign of a cult, The Kinship of Light & Truth. Captivated by a woman named Cassandra, she leads him to the queue of people waiting for their cup of magic juju from the cult leader who tells Pope, that drinking it, is the cost of entry.

As young Janine sets roots in her mobile home at Oceanside, Jake becomes the collateral damage to local underworld Max Cross, for ‘unpaid taxes’ on the jobs Smurf’s been pulling on his turf. Poor little Julia is terrified watching her Uncle Jake’s face stepped on leading Smurf to accept the terms right before threatening to kill Max if he ever came near the twins again.

For something that was built up and hyped over five episodes, the whole Pamela Johnson climax was underwhelming to say the least, as she and Deran ended up singing kumbayas after agreeing to sign over Smurf’s estate to the Codys. Great negotiation skills from Deran in getting back Smurf’s estate considering it was J she trained and taught all the important stuff to about the business….

“My boys never missed a meal.  Not you baby. 
You have gone hungry.  You have slept in cars – just like me. 
You always have a Plan B”

– Smurf to J (Season 3, Episode 2)

So what is J up to with that new baby cop on his payroll tasking him to get a copy of the police files on The Codys?

Episode 7 – Splinter

Imagine a world where Pope runs the family. A commanding presence, feared by all in Oceanside.  Remember this scene? The below clip is to remind you how good this show once was.  We are now past the half way mark into the season and there is absolutely no clarity on where this show is going or building up to. A DEA sniffing around, pfft.  The actual scenes we want to see barely run for thirty seconds and we spend the last crucial minutes of each episodes with a signature montage. Tommy pretty much summed it up when he told Deran, “Things feel different since your mom’s been gone”.

In the past, Pope is going through a rebellious phase, while in the present, Pope is having a disturbing epiphany realising Smurf wanted him to die with her at Jed’s.  While Cassandra enjoys the high of gunfire, Renn craves the high of a robbery wanting in on the next job, much to Craig’s objection, taking out his frustrations on a tennant who is overdue in rent.  Yikes, sucks to be him.

“The Devil is just an Angel that lost his way”

Cassandra to Pope (Season 5 Episode 7)

After an argument with Deran on family values, Craig throws a party for his manny at the Cody house which turns out to be a bust ending with him jumping off the rooftop of a bait shop into the ocean. Meanwhile, Renn comes out of maternity leave with a retractable baton for a quick bout of turf wars, hacking at a competitor dealer’s face to mark her territory before storming off with his stash. Yep family values.

Young Billy meets Young Smurf in the past while Deran faces the truth in the present about why his bar has been abandoned by its loyal patrons.  It seems “people are shit talking” and people have been speculating that Adrian’s extended absence is due to the Codys “taking care of him”.  Deran later meets  Parker, the owner of Son of a Beach, that rival bar that many of his old customers have abandoned him for.

The merchandise from the plane heist was dumped after Pete tells J, the DEA came snooping around with a personal vendetta against Deran.

This season doesn’t have the fire of previous seasons, there are also way too many supporting characters on the canvas for the limited screentime we have each week. Pope needs to just snap out of it and find out what and why Angela was killed.  We need an excuse for Craig to run into Jake again, and J needs to stick it to Deran in the same way he did when Baz came for him in Season 3, because this season is just all over the place.  Was it really necessary for us to meet Cassandra’s son and ex-husband?  Like, who cares!

Episode 8 – GLADIATORS

After a slow burn in the last seven episodes, the show finally seems like it’s former self again as everyone has finally snapped out of the trance in denial and side stepping.

The underlying issues and power struggle for the alpha title finally reached breaking point, as Craig, J and Deran got into a massive punch up by the pool. Craig blames Deran for forcing J to move the stash from the house, J called out Deran’s failure to handle Adrian and Deran loses it with both of them! “You really like shooting people dont you huh?” grunts Deran to J during their scuffle “You liked watching Smurf’s brains blow out the side of her head huh”. While J get in a good right swing tells Deran Smuth “said he wasn’t stron enough to deal with Adrian”. But why was Craig trying to drown J when Deran was the one who hit him?

Great watch, they really needed to get that Sh*t out of their system, just in time for Pope’s return! Old Pope that is, who is assertive and takes charge when it comes to holding the family together! The same way he did after Baz died, reminding us why he needs to claim his rightful place at the helm of the family business.

In the past, Pam joined Smurf, Jake and Manny on a jewellery heist which ends with a hilarious punchline as Jake’s wife, Cheryl storms Smurf’s trailer to confront them about their extra-marrital activities.

This is an important episode that’s finally lifts the veil on the direction the show is going after swirling around aimlessly the entire season so far. There will be some damage control to be done with Pete who washes his hands of the Codys after Deran accuses him of lying about getting rid of the score. We’re reminded of another promise Smurf asked J before she died to handle the situation with Adrian if no one else could, and we know what an obedient soldier J is, having put a bullet in his grandmother’s head as she asked. So, there’s a foreshadowing chill we get when J points out to Craig that Adrian was Deran’s problem, but is now the whole family’s problem thanks to the DEA snooping around.

Now that we see Pope back to ‘normal’, we realise what the show has been missing this entire time, an anchor that holds the very fragile, complicated and volatile group of testosterone. This whole time Smurf made us think that people like Baz, Angela, Kath kept Pope calm when in actually fact everyone else relies and needs him more than they realise. We saw on his return, the pull he has with his brothers and nephew and there’s clarity now in how this post-Smurf family business could operate. It seems Pope kidnapping and holding an ex-husband at gunpoint in order to reunite a son with his mother was just the wake up call he needed to put to rest the demons with his own mother right in the nick of time to get the Cody house in order.

Episode 9 – LET IT RIDE

Okay, we’re on the home stretch to the season finale and we have everyone in place for whatever cliffhanger they have planned. Interesting mention of Baz and references to his murder file tonight as well as a cameo from Adrian’s sister, Jess who has been sending money to Adrian in Indonesia. A new cop is on the Cody payroll and Pamela Johnson’s grand daughter, Lark, is the new family attorney as J hints a plan to expand the family business and streamline its cashflow efficiency.

Pope is doing some spring cleaning while J and Deran play nice having made up after their little tussle last week. Craig and Ren enjoy some baby free time.

In the past, we learn Smurf’s relationship with the Trujillos goes way back with Pete’s father who we meet after his thugs leave Manny for dead after racking up a gambling debt of ten grand. We see the loyalty and depth to the friendship of Smurf’s original crew.

When Craig finds out Renn has been dealing in Oceanside, their heated confrontation ends with her leaving the beach house with baby Nick. Deran’s rivalry with Son of a Beach comes to a head in a good old fashioned bar fight after a run in at the annual Hamburger Hill skate race.

Episode 10 – RELENTLESS

Thanks to Livengood, Deran’s bar gets shut down which isn’t helping the family’s cash flow situation and who haven’t had a decent job all season. They’re that desperate the boys pimp out Craig to get Frankie to give up names of her biggest Huwala contacts for them to burn.

Craig slumming at Deran’s old apartment with all his new high school friends shouldn’t be a surprise. He’s always found it easier to hang out with other kids with the same IQ as him, he did date Nicky after all, who ended up shooting herself in the leg if you recall. What is it about Deran being the halfway house everyone turns to? Smurf gave J his room in Season 1 when he first came onto the scene, Craig crashed at his bar in Season 3 and Billy did for a night or two in Season 4 I think.

This week’s action sequence on point as usual with Craig drag racing and out running a cop he eggs on at the traffic lights while Jake, Manny and Janine pull off an 80s style fast and the furious heist ambushing a truck load of VCRs.

Problems with the tax man in the past, as Max threatens Pope and Julia after deciding to reneg on his deal with Janine. In the present, Pope leaves a message with the Trujillos promising to hurt Pete’s business if their freeze out affects the Codys’ business.

Chadwick organises a meeting with the Codys. As the crew assembles at Deran’s bar, Livengood taunts the boys with every arsenal he has in store for them. His operation has cost $2.6million and almost four years of his life, and he needs his star witness, Adrian Dolan back otherwise he’s coming for Smurf’s house, Baz’s house and J’s bowling alley. With three episodes to go, its kind of a relief they have tidied this storyline up for now because leaving this for the season finale would have been too predictable. Chadwick is a loose canon though a bit unpredictable, but if putting a bullet in Livengood’s head doesn’t prove his loyalty, what will? It would be surprising if the Codys didn’t give him that pay rise he asked for.

Episode 11 – Trust the Process.

The episode, which coincidently was directed by Shawn Hatosy (aka Pope) picks up right where we left off with the corpse of Livengood needing to be disposed of by the Codys. J and Pope drive to the border to meet a contact that can help them make the DEA’s murder look like a cartel hit. Uncle Andrew gets his nephew to cut off the hand of the corpse which they need as part of the cover story.

Frankie sets up the deal for the Huwala heist and demands she be cut in. Deran and Craig organise a tracking device for the money that’s being transferred so they can get a location on the ‘bank’.

In the past, Smurf goes undercover as a working girl to enact a plan of revenge against Max to make good on her promise from Episode 6. Linda, Baz’s mother turns on her and clues Max in on Smurf’s plan. The whole thing goes sideways ending with Pope and Julia being forced to witness his execution – oops!

Episode 12 – Loose Ends

It’s hard to believe how Season 5 has just uneventfully passed us by with the season finale right around the corner. Yes there have been good moments, but as great as it has been to get the backstory of Smurf and her crew, they don’t fully and cohesively tie in with the present storyline and sometimes feels like you are watching two shows. Both good, but both incredibly slow as each story in both timelines fights for air time often leaving many anti-climaxes that should have been gripping us from episode to episode.

As Chadwick plays hardass demanding more money for helping off Livengood in the present, Janine, Jake, Many and the twins loot Max’s office making off with firearms and cash in the past. Smurf has big plans to take over Max’s network and we see the early ambition that led to the successful “relationship business” she built before she died.

Every interaction Craig has this episode seemed like a Narcotics Anonymous intervention as Pope, Frankie and Chadwick noticed Craig’s off behaviour, as his bender since Renn left with Nick stretches into its third episode. Craig is stung by Pope’s words who is digusted by his brother’s behaviour saying he is lucky that Renn did him a favor by taking Nick away because a kid “shouldn’t see his father like this”. Ouch! And it’s true, Smurf isn’t around to clean up Craig’s mess anymore. But it’s his second run in with Frankie that finally opens his eyes and he quits the rack for the rest of the episode and lets himself miss baby Nick and his baby mama.

Deran and J scout the port and evaluate the risk before J asks “Do you think Smurf would have done it?”. Deran says he doesnt know but in Season 1, we recall when J first moved in with the Codys she told him “[They] don’t take stupid risks and [they] aren’t greedy”, right before dealing with the fallout from the cop theybaccidentally killed, so I’m leaning more to a ‘No’ – she most likely wouldn’t take the risk with the Huwala. J estimates $750,000 in one of the shipping containers and they haven’t had a score that big since they did Billy’s plane heist in Season 3 and the naval base heist with Baz in Season 2.

The cartel cover story seems to have worked as Deran seemingly manages to deflect the FBI agents investigating his connection to Livengood. As his bar continues on its downward spiral, Tommy asks what really happened to Adrian, and Deran comes clean and tells him everything. Meanwhile Pope and J cut ties with the volatile and unpredictable Chadwick, who threatens to pin Livengood’s murder on them as he leaves.

Classic Pope fires back at the Trujillo garage leaving a message for Pete before finding out that the cocaine supposedly flushed turns up in the boot of Ravi’s car. Yowsers! And to think just a few weeks ago we saw the early beginnings of Smurf’s decades long relationship with Young Pete and his father that continued right to her death.

Remember when Lucy stole from the Codys and Smurf’s response? Pete Trujillo’s deception can’t slide either according to Smurf’s rules of play and the episode ends with J’s stunned reaction after Pope reveals the truth, setting the stage for next week’s season finale!

Come back every week for more spoilers – 3pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Credit: Eddy Chen / TNT, Warner Media

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