TV Show Review

TV Review: ANIMAL KINGDOM: Season 1, Episode 3: Stay Close, Stick Together [TNT]

Jake Weary Shawn Hatosy Finn Cole Animal Kingdom Stay Close Stick Together

TNT‘s Animal Kingdom Stay Close, Stick Together TV Show Review. In Animal Kingdom: Season 1, Episode 3: Stay Close, Stick Together, J (Finn Cole) almost got away, but Smurf (Ellen Barkin) got him back. Stay Close, Stick Together fleshed out some characters and examined familial relationships, but you can see the disasters coming from a mile away.

Secrets and lies overflowed in Stay Close, Stick Together. For example: is Pope (Shawn Hatosy) the daddy? That conversation on the pier was not so cryptic about his relationship to Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles), Baz’s (Scott Speedman) adorable daughter. The premiere hinted at Pope’s intimate relationship to Baz’s family. Nothing was concrete, but you can pretty much guess.

Lena, in fact, seemed to be the plot device of the episode. Grandma Cody aka Smurf was all about pushing the boundaries of her authority over that little girl. We can expect this will be a running theme between Smurf and Catherine (Daniella Alonso). Basically, there is an obvious tug a war of dominion over Lena and Baz. You can not help but feel a little scared for that little girl.

Maybe Catherine is fighting a losing battle anyway. Baz was in Mexico living it up with another family while Craig (Ben Robson) recovered from his infected gunshot wound. Baz’s Mexican bun bun was a bombshell with criminal savvy, and you do not wonder about her appeal. Instead, you can not help but compare her to Catherine’s frantic, weak character that does not seem to be able to hold up under the Cody standard of degeneracy. Every time she faced off against Smurf it was a swing and a miss – or not even a swing. (Smurf walked off with your child! She should not have gone un-bruised for that.)

Another running theme with Smurf is her being super inappropriate with J. Will he ever be able to have a normal talk with his grandmother? Not that talking about sex is taboo, but it is the way Smurf approached the subject. She was crooning advice about how to handle teenage girls in bed. That was awkward to say the least. Of course, that same conversation was softened with her genuine maternal concern for his whereabouts when he stays out all night. Every conversation with her leaves you with whiplash. The underlying issue here is that every woman, or girl, is competition for Smurf when it comes to keeping her boys’ affection.

Speaking of the boys, they were displaying serious lack of discipline in this episode. They were all anxious to do side jobs that would give them money without Smurf’s knowledge. She holds the purse strings, and they were hungry. Baz attempted to be dutiful, but somehow Craig convinced him that crossing Smurf was a good idea. Baz seems easily manipulated. Not Pope though!

Pope roped Deran (Jake Weary) and J into a midday heist as a bold move by Pope to show that he was still capable of “earning” for the family. It was actually J who stepped up in a big way on the job. We watched him take his first shot of adrenaline, and he acted cool as a cucumber. Yet, we know it affected him later, because he had a few moments of youth, all of which are going to come back to haunt the family. (That damned watch!)

We watched J make smart and stupid decisions in Stay Close, Stick Together, but choosing to leave was probably the best decision. If only J had gotten on the train. He had some money to last him. We all would have felt relieved if he ran away, because it is clearly more dangerous for him under the Cody roof.  Although Pope may be backing off a bit, J now has to worry about Deran’s misplaced anger.

In one of the most intense moments of the episode, Deran nearly drowned J. Deran’s malice stemmed from his own insecurity because J was brave during the heist, and gained favor with Pope. Also, J knows Deran’s secret, which could make them close, but instead Deran wants to kill J out of…fear.

J clearly has to tread carefully in every relationship. He can not trust Pope. Smurf is overbearing. Deran might kill him. Craig pushes all his buttons. He could not even sleep soundly in his room at night. The only peace he did find was in his girlfriend’s place. Unfortunately, her father is too suspicious of J, and that peace did not last long. He’s floundering and so lost.

In Stay Close, Stick Together, we saw two things deposited in two different people’s hands that could bring the family or certain family members down. It was all too obvious. Yes, we saw the boys successfully commit crimes (although the drug deal was off-camera), but we also saw Smurf sowing seeds of discontent that will likely come back to bite her. I think the most interesting development was the sudden appearance of a cop in their midst as a smitten patron at Catherine’s bar. That is entirely too coincidental (or obvious). So far, everything points to Catherine, and J, as being serious liabilities. Nothing good is going to happen to these two. What did you think of the Cody’s in Episode 3?

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About the author


I am ...a lover of all things film ...a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law ...a D.C. native, who frequents local and international film festivals ...a self-professed couch potato who can usually be caught watching anything produced by Joss and Jed Whedon. My favorite TV shows include the Buffy & Angel Series, Sons of Anarchy, Oz, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Shield. Still, I am open to everything on TV and Netflix, which is doing big things.

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