By now, everyone who isn’t a Cody is getting the side-eye.
The Eddie Pham job is right around the corner as the guys prepped for it during Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 5, but other factors in the Codys’ personal lives raise some suspicions.
Regarding who faces the most risk right now, Pope wins by a landslide.
We had another slow burn hour of the series as the characters prepared for the new job, and the fraught tension between Craig and Deran continued to build.
We also saw that J’s love life got needlessly complicated and raised some concerns for Pope.
Deran and Craig are due to have it out. The countdown is on until they have a full-out brawl to work out some of their issues with each other.
You can tell that Deran feels like they’re becoming distant from each other, and it’s getting under his skin. He seems a bit lost without Craig. But there must be some resentment brewing because of how things have played out between them.
Once upon a time, Craig convinced Deran to stick around with the family, and he couldn’t bear the thought of his brother leaving him. And now, it’s like Deran has committed to that, and Craig is trying to do his own thing.
Deran’s inability to support his brother through his sobriety and trying to be a better father is still irritating as hell, but you can get some of Deran’s perspective when you give it a little thought.
Deran also wanted to run a crew of his own at one point and quickly got shut down, but now Craig is the one who is running jobs with outsiders.
Craig and Vince’s sticking up a truck driver for a couple of grand was stupid. Craig hurting his hand in the process didn’t help matters at all. But you can understand Craig’s frustration with the low-level payoff and high risk.
But it’s hard to figure out if Vince was genuine in appealing to Craig with pulling jobs and just not knowing how to do it properly or if he’s willingly playing dumb to suck Craig in further.
Vince seems too nice with Craig, making you wonder when the other shoe will drop. He had to have been working on that bike he built Craig since he met him. It was probably the same one he was tinkering on when Craig confided in him about falling off the wagon.
It’s like Vince is this perfect opportunity for Craig to become his own person outside of being a Cody, and without even actively attempting to do it, that’s what Craig is becoming.
The setup is there for Craig to run his own crew consisting of Vince and a bunch of other bikers. Craig has the most experience compared to them, and it’s been a perfect way of showcasing how skilled Craig is despite the reputation he often gained as the “dumb” Cody.
Vince: I can’t go back to jail again, man.
Craig: Look, let me tell you a secret. You don’t want to go to jail? Quit doing the dumb shit, man. It’s as easy as that.
In that sense, Craig’s growth is rather compelling. Whether things work out with Renn or not, or if he and Deran ever get on the same page, it feels like he’ll do well for himself in the future.
While Deran and Craig have seemed more distant than ever, it feels like Deran and J are much closer than they ever seemed capable of being. They feel like partners.
They make many business decisions without much input from the others, and both have been behind planning this jewelry heist.
They also confide in each other about concerns. Deran told J about Vince and feels like Craig’s new relationship with him could be a problem for them.
And he also went to J first about the offer made by the new owners of Son of a Beach.
No matter how much Deran hates it and how hard he fights it, gentrification has come for Oceanside, and it isn’t going away. Getting rid of Parker didn’t stop anything.
The new guys had the sense to come to Deran to make a deal; offering him a percentage of their profits is better than any alternative.
If he has to put up with transplants and a competing bar, at least he can get something out of it and cover the overhead.
It was just another thing to support the Deran/Smurf transformation.
Deran and J are quite a team, but there’s still a sense that this is only temporary no matter how well they’re doing.
It was interesting to note that J handled everything with the attorneys and that none of the others bothered reading anything before signing the paperwork at the office.
And worse yet, J is so distracted by Penny that it’s annoying. J has always had a great head on his shoulders, but the little one leading him is usually his greatest downfall.
What is it about Penny that has J entranced? He barely knows her, but his nose is wide open, sniffing around her like a dog in heat, not even hiding it.
Pope picked up on it immediately and was put off that J was going after a married woman and troubled that it could affect any of them down the line.
J is truly on his f**kboy shit and doing way too much right now. It’s bound to bite him in the ass.
Surprisingly, he took Penny back to the Cody house for steamy shower sex. But then, it probably would have been worse if they were at her home when her husband returned early to surprise her.
She’s not even remotely happy that her husband is back from leave. But she was sensible enough to put the kibosh on things with J. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t accept that, and there we had that risqué sex right outside her house while her husband was inside sleeping.
J finding out that his and Julia’s old apartment got torn down, another casualty of gentrification and new developments, affected him. You could see it in his face.
And it seems like he clung to Penny even more. Weirdly, Penny does probably remind J a bit of his mother. And the whole military angle makes you think of Nicky.
Last he heard, she had married a Marine and lived on a base. If could contribute to why he’s so drawn to Penny.
J: I’ve been seeing someone, and I guess I should’ve told you. I didn’t mean it to turn into anything, but it has.
Lark: So it’s real, huh? Hm. Does she even know what you do?
J: What do you mean?
Lark: I don’t know. What version of you is she getting? What, the clean-cut college boy? Or maybe just a hint of the underprivileged kid sob story, I don’t know which one.
J: Lark, you don’t know me.
Lark: Yeah, that much is clear.
But Lark is right. Penny doesn’t know J. She’s only getting some version of him. It’s hard because it isn’t like Lark really knows J either. Hell, at this stage in time, I don’t think he knows himself.
He plays so many roles that he probably doesn’t know who he is anymore and just responds to what makes him feel good in the moment. And right now, Penny makes him feel things. He even told Lark that he was falling for her.
J being casually indifferent and careless with Lark’s feelings was cold. It felt like needlessly burning a bridge.
It was evident she thought they were more of something because she wanted to stop being their lawyer to focus on their relationship, but he was never on that same page. He really did use Lark and move on.
Pope noticed that, too.
Sadly, Pope hasn’t noticed that there is more to Taylor and how he’s managed to work himself under Pope’s wing.
Taylor genuinely seems like a good kid who probably got in some trouble and is getting squeezed by Thompson. In some ways, it makes you think of J’s roots and how the authorities tried to use him to take down his family.
Pope is rough around the edges, no doubt, but he showed up the moment Auge told him Taylor hurt himself on the ramp.
Obviously, he knows he’ll be held liable, and they don’t need that type of attention, but he also has a soft spot for Taylor.
He had no qualms about fronting the bill to take care of his medical needs, but more surprisingly, he took in the stray, letting Taylor sleep in the garage.
Pope is a smart man, but this feels so stupid. They’re in the middle of planning a job and have been working out all the logistics in the garage. Pope has been working on equipment they need in there.
Taylor can easily access the rest of the house through the garage, and he can overhear some of anything.
Andrew: It wasn’t even a good score.
Smurf: It was good enough.
Andrew: They’re not what you say they are.
Smurf: Look how they made you feel. Never feel bad about who you are. Promise me.
Taylor has probably grown to like and respect Pope, too, so his loyalty will likely be tested. But will that be enough save Pope? He can either continue working with Thompson, doing shady things to help build her case, or warn Pope.
It won’t do him much good. Thompson was already working another angle by speaking to Pope’s old cellmate. Unfortunately, the guy was chatty and gave Thompson something worth chewing on when he shared that Pope always talked about Catherine and lied about her being his wife.
She can use it to gain legal grounds in her pursuit of Pope.
And somehow, she’ll probably find a way to get to Amy, too.
Talk about a blast from the past! Amy showed up in this installment when we also learned about how Pope got the nickname, and his connection to the church couldn’t be better.
The tension in that scene was enough to make you hold your breath. However, Amy seemed pleased to see Pope, and she was touched by his skate ramp, which attracted the teens he was helping.
She seemed proud of him, which put him at ease a bit since she’s someone who knows the truth and could change the course of his life if she ever talked.
It would be terrible if the key to taking Pope down for murdering the woman he loved were via another woman he cared about deeply.
In 1992, Smurf continued to be the absolute worst.
You know he’s not interested in that sinful waste. We’re living with Pope Andrew now.
She made Pope, Baz, and Julia rob the church, and they didn’t even get anything from it. However, she considered it a success because it hurt Pope so much and severed his relationship with Father Kirby.
If he wasn’t already suffering, Baz was on his ass the whole time because of his interest in church and the comfort he found at the group meetings. It was so freaking awful.
In hindsight, it shouldn’t be surprising that “Pope” was born out of something hurtful to Andrew. Baz was the one who started calling him Pope Andrew to mock him, and it must’ve stuck.
Knowing Smurf, she probably started calling him that too just to remind him of what he did to Father Kirby and instill in him that he’s only what she wants him to be and nothing more.
The more flashbacks we get, the easier it is to understand how and why Pope is so screwed up and how traumatizing it was being under Smurf’s thumb.
They all had to deal with stuff because of Smurf, but he’s the only living Cody who experienced the full breadth of Smurf’s viciousness and abuse and the many stages as she grew more powerful.
Kevin Csolak absolutely slays with such heartrending performances during those flashback scenes. Every second spent with him does wonders adding more layers to a complex character like Pope.
How does your heart not break for Pope right now?
Over to you, Animal Kingdom Fanatics.
How will Amy’s reappearance change everything? Do you think J is too distracted with Penny? Sound off below!
You can watch Animal Kingdom online here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.