They came out swinging, and it feels like we’re watching an empire burn to ash around us.
Essentially, Animal Kingdom Season 6 Episode 9 was a game-changer of an installment that seemingly marks the beginning of the end.
And the remaining installments, we’ll learn the fate of Codys as we know them.
They’ve done a fantastic job at incorporating many Biblical references and applying them to Pope, specifically. “Gethsemane” was the name of the hour, and it couldn’t have suited the plot better.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the imagery of Pope, who we know derived the nickname from his interest in religion and spirituality, clinging to Amy’s crucifix/cross as he sat in a jail cell.
The word Gethsemane derives from Hebrew and references the oil pressing process. Two slabs crushed olives to produce oil.
Gethsemane was the garden where Jesus was betrayed and arrested. It’s where he was the night before his crucifixtion.
Deran: Pope, what are you doing here?
Pope: This is where I killed her.
It represents a state of agony, something of which Pope was experiencing, as he was crushed under the weight of his sins, all of their sins, as Thompson had him between a rock and a hard place, pressing until it hurt, until he spilled his guts.
Oof, it’s an installment that will sit you for a bit, that’s for certain.
Much of the hour was difficult to watch as a fan who doesn’t want to see any of these boys go down.
It was an exercise of “what ifs” that had you replaying each moment and speculating how things could have been different.
What if J went to the station with Pope instead of Deran? Would he have been more insistent that Pope not get left alone?
What if the lawyer fought harder for Pope? What if they filed a complaint against Thompson? What if anyone respected the law and handled this properly?
What if Pope’s conscience and love for Lena and Amy fortified him instead of making him crumble?
What if anyone argued Pope’s previous and recent mental health issues that would support how susceptible he could’ve been to Thompson’s influence? What if they rightfully challenged that Pope asked for his attorney before he confessed and Thompson ignored that and coerced him?
You know the path to redemption. There’s only one way, confess.
What if the truth about how Thompson almost got another C.I..killed came to light?
One’s mind was racing by the end of the hour as the eldest and most broken Cody sat in a jail cell after we were told he confessed to Cath’s murder. Did he? I wouldn’t put it past Thompson to say he did.
It was all so incredibly frustrating because she violated his rights, had no evidence nor case to take to trial, and the entire interrogation was an example of what NOT to do in that situation. We know Thompson didn’t have a case against Pope. If she did, she wouldn’t have gotten desperate to find a way to haul Pope in on SOMETHING.
Thompson lucked up on finding Pope at the right time, pressing where he was most vulnerable and benefitting from the fact that Cath’s death and his guilt have haunted him for so long that carrying it got too heavy to bear.
Deran: This is kind of like that. Shit in the pool. You just have to deal with it and pretend it didn’t happen.
Pope: It did happen.
Deran: Hey, you did it for us to protected us. You know that right? You always have.
Of course, Pope was so rattled from his encounter with Thompson that he was damn near catatonic again.
I love that we see how each character handles Pope in their own way. J plays things cautiously with him and has, over time, grown to understand how messed up his uncle is. J knows how to tread carefully with J.
And Deran has taken a surprisingly nurturing role with Pope, particularly since Smurf’s death. Out of everyone, he’s the most attuned to Pope and effective at “handling” him, making him the Pope Whisperer, stepping up to take on a bit of the role that we’ve seen Smurf, Julia, and Baz possess over the years.
But as concerned and frustrated as J and Deran were about the news Pope shared, Craig took action and got the results with the type of tough love Pope showed him not too long ago. It was hot as hell, too. Craig has had some of the best growth this season.
Craig wrestled his big bro into the shower and ran water on him until he cleared his head and could talk, and that’s how they got to the bottom of some things. Let it never be said that Craig doesn’t get sh*t done, and it was a reminder of just how tall Ben Robson is. Goodness!
It was a heartbreaking moment when an angry Craig expressed the type of emotions, reeling from this bombshell that Pope killed Cath, that the others didn’t have time to reveal. Cath’s dath and the belief that Baz was behind it was such a pivotal moment in their family.
But in Craig’s anger, it was easy for him to wonder why Pope didn’t have the guts to say no to Smurf. Deran pointed out that none of them ever did. It’s a cold, hard truth that even Craig couldn’t deny as he smashed his fist into a photo of their mother. The deep trauma and how the series has explored that so thoroughly pulls you up short in moments like that.
They had been running wild all the time, unencumbered, narrowly escaping so much over the years that the jig had to be up at some point.
Deran: Smurf made him do it.
Craig: But you could’ve said no, couldn’t you have?
Deran: When did any of us ever say no with Smurf?
It’s just none of them thought it would be like this. Pope is, in some ways, the beating heart and the backbone of their family. It’s why they couldn’t finally get their shit together and function appropriately after Smurf’s death until he returned home with his head on straight.
Interestingly, Smurf’s death felt like an opportunity to seize reign of the kingdom, thrive, and excel beyond her control and mechanizations. But Pope potentially going down and away feels like the end of the world as they know it.
So far, they only know that Pope is the one who is going down for Cath’s murder. It’s the only thing they can get the Codys on, and even so, it’s all falling on Pope.
But it already feels like their reign has come to a close. Deran couldn’t even fathom taking on another job, and he sent Tommy away, fired him, and basically told him that it was all over the second he learned that Pope confessed.
J, typically the most level-headed, came across as lost as if he didn’t know what his next move and step were once he heard about Pope and realized that his uncle could go away.
And Craig went from not even considering Renn’s statements about moving to Texas to burying himself back into the cocoon of that family as if he was giving in to the fact that it was all over and time to move on from this and Oceanside.
Interestingly, it’s only Cath’s murder that they’re getting Pope on and, of course, the assault against Taylor. However, we all know that if they press Pope for anything else about his family, he won’t say his word.
At his core, he’s always protected his family, something that Deran openly acknowledged in that tearful scene that was some of Hatosy and Weary’s finest work of the series.
Pope never wanted to go back to prison, but he’ll go down for any and every last one of the other Codys because he was raised and groomed to protect them, and he can’t fathom being any other way.
It was such an emotional hour, and each and every one of the men brought their A-game. Hatosy, at some point, it just becomes redundant speaking about how remarkable he is and the feelings he evokes in viewers with his performances.
The entire hour, his performance was gut-wrenching yet majestic. I could watch that man in anything anytime and be positively riveted. It’s in those moments you hate that the series is coming to a close, and we will no longer see him bring this complex character to life.
Weary has had an interesting arc this season. Out of everyone, his has been the subtlest and possibly reads as the least connected, but then it takes processing Deran’s growth and where he was at the beginning of the series until now.
J: The cops said Pope confessed.
Craig: To the assault.
J: To the murder.
One thing that’s been undeniable, even when he was at his most petty or mean, is that he loves his brothers to death and would go to hell and back for them.
His cool, calm composure has often made him the calm in the storm for many instances, and we’ve seen him evolve into a self-assured, confident powerhouse.
His careful handling of Pope and how he got choked up before taking his brother to the police station was such a fantastic scene. It was beautiful execution by both men.
Robson’s Craig gave us raw anger and exasperation, and how physical that presents itself has been fascinating. You can feel Craig’s conflict between his two families and how he’s on the cusp of evolving from the version of him we were accustomed to over the years.
And Cole always has the difficult task of giving the audience little peeks into the psyche of a character who has become closed off and inaccessible to everyone, including the audience, for years.
He’s so used to either being in control or manipulating situations until he has the control, but this blindsided him, sent him spinning, and for once, in that big brain of his, he didn’t have a plan. It’s the first time in a while that he genuinely looked as if he felt everything was over for good, which terrified him.
Of course, he’s also been distracted by this situation with Penny. And sure, Penny is gorgeous, Stevie Lynn Jones is awesome, and the parallels are apparent.
However, this arc hasn’t been engaging or compelling. J is genuinely into Penny. He dipped out when all this hell was breaking loose so he could support her while she grappled with her sister overdosing. He gave her his words of encouragement and advice as someone who has dealt with addicts.
I’m going to be fighting with her or for her for the rest of my life.
He told her the truth about her husband and sister and gave her a building, which also seemed to parallel well with Smurf doing the same to Baz in the flashback.
Maybe Penny represents what could be or could have been, depending on J’s eventual fate. But it’s hard to invest unless she has some connections that can get Pope out of this pickle.
Maybe they could be something special if their lives weren’t their lives and things were normal. Perhaps the notion of that type of normalcy with Penny is J’s second choice as the rest of his life implodes.
He and Deran have done so much in networking, expanding, and running things the smart way. But none of that will matter if Pope goes away for good or worse.
And Craig has been so distant from the rest of the Codys in many ways this season that Renn bringing up Texas feels like his way out.
Can you imagine Craig in Texas? He eats, breathes, and sleeps Oceanside. His whole life is there. However, that’s part of the problem.
After learning that Pope killed Cath there, he couldn’t even sleep in his condo. And as frustrating as it was that Renn brought up moving to be with her cousins in another state, her rationale is sound.
Vince also told Craig that he should move out of the condo and away from things that trigger him when trying to stay sober. He and Renn went on a whole bender. On some level, you’d still think they would trigger each other, but that’s a different story.
It took Renn coming down to realize that Craig was right about her job and everything. It feels selfish for her to ask Craig to move away from his family and closer to hers somewhere else so she can stay clean.
They should be able to settle on a new place together if he’s entertaining that, as it feels like another irksome imbalance in their relationship.
However, by the end of the hour, it seemed like something that Craig would actually consider.
Deran is the only one whose plan and future aren’t clear if everything goes to hell. Assuming he doesn’t continue down the path of being the Prince of Oceanside, walking in Smurf’s footsteps, he’s untethered.
But Pope’s mental state after all of this is worrisome. I hate that Thompson can get into his head so well when she has nothing.
It’s disturbing that she used Taylor the way she did. As if he ever would’ve gotten assaulted at all if she hadn’t framed him and left him out to dry.
It was enraging when she used Lena and Amy against Pope and handed him that cross. That smug, dirty cop managed to pull off this impossible win.
She spoke about going to trial as if that would’ve happened when she had no evidence of anything. We all know if she had anything substantial to charge Pope, she wouldn’t have needed that confession.
It’s so upsetting that Pope and maybe even the other Codys could go down because of some random, renegade cop from out of town.
The flashbacks mainly were more of the same. Smurf buried her talons deeper into the boys, manipulating them as she deemed fit, and Julia called her out on it.
Smurf getting Baz that apartment was right up her alley. Although, it didn’t stop Baz from whispering sweet nothings in Julia’s ear and trying to convince her that it was a good thing.
And Julia spent most of the hour trying to get Andrew to forgive her and speak to her again. He was disturbed by the sex because he genuinely viewed Baz as their brother.
But then it opened the door for some more murky, icky subtext when the question became why he blamed Julia and was only mad at her, not Baz.
Smurf thrived off of this, and she alluded to Andrew having an unhealthy attachment to Julia and how Julia was upset that she was no longer the center of Andrew’s world.
Smurf hiring the Neapolitan of sex workers and arranging for Andrew to have sex with one of them was deeply disturbing. It’s like she wanted to even the score between the twins so that Andrew wasn’t left out of the teen sexcapades. But she also wanted to get Andrew’s mind off of his sister.
She’s not done. She’s never done until she gets things the way she wants them.
Smurf has always had this alarming attachment and investment in the sex lives of her boys. It was like she got off on and needed them to be virile, sexual beings.
She was always trying to figure Pope out and groom him, and there are layers to grooming and the extent of that with what she did to him.
If that was Pope’s first sexual experience, it speaks volumes about why the ones they’ve shown later in life have been… off.
We’re heading towards the home stretch, and the final installments will focus on this. I’m not ready for it, are you? My heart is shattered over Pope right now, and I’m simply not okay.
Again, hats off to the incredible performances during this installment. I’m convinced that someone should follow Shawn Hatosy around and throw awards at his feet. Weary, Robson, and Cole were sublime.
Over to you, Animal Kingdom Fanatics. How upsetting was it to learn that Pope confessed? Do you really think he confessed, or did Thompson lie about it?
Will Craig move to Texas? What are your thoughts on J and 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.