TV Show Review

TV Review: ANIMAL KINGDOM: Season 1, Episode 5: Flesh Is Weak [TNT]

Jake Weary Animal Kingdom Flesh Is Weak

TNT‘s Animal Kingdom Flesh Is Weak TV Show Review. In Animal Kingdom: Season 1, Episode 5: Flesh Is Weak, we finally got a glimpse of how the Cody’s conduct business while some of the boys contemplated life without Smurf (Ellen Barkin). This episode was the most balanced of the episodes thus far. Everyone shined from the weak-willed to the brave. Racy and revealing, Flesh Is Weak was all about branching out.

The Cody’s were all business this episode. It was good to finally see Smurf, Pope (Shawn Hatosy), Craig (Ben Robson) and Baz (Scott Speedman) brainstorming “jobs” in the family kitchen. It was a far cry from where the family was last episode, which was out in the cold and completely out of control.  We got to see the dynamic between the decision-makers in the family, especially, the sparring between Pope and Baz.

Pope has been struggling to find his place in the family. Baz has also been struggling to keep his place. Smurf has seemed content to watch these two begin the battle for her right hand. It will be an epic day when this clear rivalry comes to a head. We saw, though, how Baz finally started thinking outside the box. His wifey in Mexico had to knock some sense into him, but it was pretty obvious from the beginning that Baz has been drowning under Smurf’s rule. If you are going to be bad Baz, be bad all the way…by getting in good with your drug runner friend.

In Flesh Is Weak, jealousy took on a whole different shape with the Cody’s. Deran’s repression is consuming him and he looked like the resident uber-psychopath in this family of psychopaths. He ditched Smurf and home for a moment of freedom to live out his fantasies (which involved some kinky-savagery-fetish stuff), but he was still unhappy. In fact, you got the feeling that nothing could make Deran happy except complete control. Like mother like son.

We saw yet another astonishing side of Pope in this episode. Pope was more of his usual stone-faced creepy self, but could he be the best big brother ever? There was a moment where we could glean that Pope knows about Deran’s sexuality. Is he the only one? Is Mama Cody aware of why her son really skips out once in a while? Pope showed discretion with Deran’s secret. He cleaned up Deran’s place like he was cleaning up after a child. Even after last episode, it was difficult to accept this softness from Pope, but we can start to see what his presence may now contribute to the family: a big brother that is not as gullible or pliable as Baz appears to be.

A real struggle is forming for this season. Who will come out on top? Baz or Pope? Which is the better manager, leader, enforcer, confidant, and elder for the Cody brothers?

J (Finn Cole) had an interesting trek this episode. J’s teacher, Mrs. Robinson (Ellen Wroe) decided it was a good idea to invite this young man into her home and seduce him (umm… Fifty Shades of Grey??). Between Mrs. Robinson and Deran, the amount of creep in this episode was nearly unbearable. Deran engaged in some stalker fetish drama, expressing his own self-hatred, while J succumbed to a fantasy of his own. Why would he not when his grandmother takes every opportunity to flirt with him – inappropriate has become J’s new norm.

Mrs. Robinson is a wild card though. Finally there was something about Animal Kingdom that had not been telegraphed. The detective. The infiltration. We saw the beginnings of an elaborate scheme to catch the Cody’s that seems almost incredible, plus it is a major departure from the original film. Bring it on TNT!

Craig even made an appearance in this one. As of yet, his character is still quite underdeveloped, but he did show that his 6-foot-something frame is often used as his mother’s sentry. Craig also achieved a small moment of enlightenment in the midst of his madness. Like Baz, he could possibly expand his brand without Smurf having a piece if he goes into business with his girlfriend. It would be something to see how the Cody men branch out, succeed or fail, without Mommy’s handouts or permission. Do they have individual minds for business? Honestly, I have less faith in Baz’s or Craig’s potential because one is weak and the other impulsive. Deran, at least, seems to have inherited his mother’s talent for manipulation. Just look at what he got Pope to do with puppy dog eyes and a firm ultimatum.

Things in the Animal Kingdom are finally taking shape. People are not who they say they are. Everyone is revealing vulnerabilities that feed their connections to each other or to shadowy figures in pictures from the past. What did you think?

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About the author


I am a lover of all things film and a published poet with a law degree from Howard University School of Law. As a self-professed couch potato, I 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, and The Shield. My favorite current TV shows are ...TBD. So for now, I am open to everything on TV and even Netflix, which is doing big things. A D.C. native that frequents local and international film festivals, you can catch my film reviews at

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