Animal Kingdom You Will Be Gutted Review
In TNT‘s Animal Kingdom, Season 2, Episode 12, You Will Be Gutted, we saw Baz’s (Scott Speedman) somewhat hollow victory over Smurf (Ellen Barkin) who watched her kingdom get snatched out from under her. We also saw the changing of the guard in a way that none of the Cody’s could have imagined.
Oh, how the mighty has fallen! Smurf is locked up. She is facing murder charges and watching her kingdom fall in front of her from behind bars. So, why is Baz having a hard time seizing control?
One reason is because J (Finn Cole) has control of everything that matters. J has formidable ambition and imagination that Baz must contend with in order to truly take over the family business. This, I think, is the position that J has been pursuing since Season 1. He started this season being merely a pawn. But he also studied his criminal craft, and positioned himself to be essential. With the power that Smurf has given him, J could essentially run the show and cut both Baz and Smurf out. If that is what he wants.
Smurf needed to have full confidence in J to give him so much power. Knowing her, she probably also felt she held a considerable amount of sway over what she thinks is a naive, agreeable, young man she openly covets. Either way, while Smurf and Baz were concentrating on burning each other, J came out the man on top in Gutted.
J plays the innocent wide-eyed boy with Smurf, but understands the gravity of the power in his hands. He knows he needs to protect Nicky (Molly Gordon). and himself. A person’s questions usually reveal the way they are thinking and J asked the question of the lawyer that was most on his mind: am I the king now? All this does not mean that Smurf would not try to manipulate the situation from jail. She was still effective at sowing seeds of distrust among the brothers, even while clad in prison blues.
Lena (Aamaya Deva Keroles) had a significant role in this episode too. In Gutted, she was nearly killed. We had to have been wondering how Lena was being affected by her father’s neglect. So, here it is. Baz was more concerned with sticking it to Smurf than he was with the care of his daughter and it finally showed. Yet, he still did not blink when he heard what happened to Lena. Baz showed more concern about meeting with Smurf’s lawyer, or whether Pope talked about the church job to his girlfriend.
There is a sickness in Baz that has been eating away at him since Catherine died. Or rather, a mixture of anger and madness that consumed him since Episode 1. The madness is what makes this victory hollow. On the one hand, he planned Smurf’s downfall meticulously, on the other hand, he could not see the forest for the trees either. Lena is hurting, and lying to his brothers about the true value of Smurf’s theft will hurt him. He may have the cash, but J has the keys to the kingdom.
Baz’s victory was hollow. Baz may have stuck Smurf in jail, but he cannot control the empire he helped build with her. This was his ultimate desire, despite his indication to Lucy (Carolina Guerra) and the group that he wants to “retire” with his family to Mexico. He grabs millions in cash from his mentor, hoards it, and then is surprised when his brothers call BS on the amount he says they are owed. Baz has been struggling as a leader all season. I think it was clear that Baz expected to keep his piggy bank secret and become the alpha with wolf pack loyalty. Instead, he got tepid appreciation and skepticism from his team. He does not know them. So yes, he had every reason to be nervous about their reaction.
Once again, Shawn Hatosy shined as Pope in Gutted. He was Lena’s only hope and, yet, he wanted to die. Only a suicidal man would be able to pull off five bank robberies in one afternoon with the same nonchalance as chain-smoking, and still make it in time for after school pick-up. Take notes Baz! I am in awe. This can also be interpreted in another way. Lena is Pope’s only hope. A text about that little girl saved his life. As long as he is worried about her, he cannot go anywhere.
Pope has always been half angel and half devil. He leaped from the deepest pit of despair to reach Lena and light up her world. Does his love for Lena stem from his familial relationship, his jealousy, or guilt? Is it a mixture of these things? Whatever his motivations, Pope is the only one that is seeking to protect the one innocent member of the Cody family. He even had to remind Baz that maybe after nearly being killed, his child needed some attention.
In the same space, though, Uncle Pope used Lena to dig the knife into Smurf’s gut a little deeper. “Say goodbye” he tells her. Does this mean he is clearly aligned with Baz? And will that change once he knows that Baz is holding out on them?
Lucy really showed up in Gutted. I just do not think I like what she brings. A far cry from Smurf, she still plays the manipulation game like a boss. Once she knew that J had the power of attorney, she was quick with awkward extensions of companionship to J and his forever-ditsy girlfriend, Nicky . What do we know about Lucy? She is a cartel lieutenant in charge of kidnappings – a dangerous woman. She also humiliates her own kin in front of strangers, so she probably cannot be trusted fully.
Craig (Ben Robson) finally asked for help. Thank goodness. He is obviously wasting his potential bathing in cocaine all the time. We saw him wake up long enough to mastermind an incredibly difficult heist. He can do whatever he puts his mind to. Also, maybe it was the people smuggling that really scared him straight. It is just a great sight to see Craig and Deran (Jake Weary) moving as one again in this episode.
The penultimate episode of Animal Kingdom Season 2 was transition of power in play. Smurf will need to be truly clever to get out of this trap. J will need to reveal more of himself to survive the melee. Baz has not quite won yet. Pope still needs to be needed. Can not wait for the finale!
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