Animal Kingdom Dig Review
TNT’s Animal Kingdom, Season 2, Episode 7, Dig saw Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) manipulation reach new heights and end a war before it even started. The real war is still brewing within the family as we watched Baz (Scott Speedman) realize Smurf’s murderous nature.
Dig was full of subtext as much as it was a demonstration of how disjointed this family really is.
The Cody boys emphatically chose not to go to war for Smurf. Smurf was expecting that they would be fired up and ready to go. Maybe we all expected as much. They did not mount up like a band of brothers, instead, they deliberated the liability posed by their mother’s wrongdoing, and appropriate reactions to a breach of their security. The whole exchange between the brothers seemed like a corporate liabilities conference between shareholders rather than a family meeting about keeping their home and family safe.
Deran (Jake Weary) was especially adamant that he would not get bloody on her behalf. He was the loudest voice against retaliation and everything he said made sense. Still, he sounded more like an ungrateful brat than a son concerned that his mother was being stalked by a murderer. Perhaps he is the most vocal about not killing because he was never her go-to-guy for such dirty work. When Pope (Shawn Hatosy) yelled “We don’t just kill people”, the look he shared with Smurf across Baz’s face was thick with subtext. Smurf almost looked like she was bursting to call Pope out on that one, because of course, Catherine would disagree.
I have to hand it to Smurf, in Dig, she played everyone, except maybe Pope. Something about her docile reaction to the boys’ decision did not sit well with me, especially when she walked away with her phone. Smurf was expecting her boys to be livid, murderous. She must have been seriously underwhelmed by their lack of sympathy for her and for J (Finn Cole). No matter what, she got herself covered.
Evidence, destroyed. Javi (Alex Meraz), eliminated. Baz back in her pocket. I got a bit of whiplash at how quickly Javi became relevant, and then obsolete. On one hand, I applaud the Cody family for being able to dispense with a threat with ease. On the other hand, Javi turned out to be exactly what he seemed like: an angry, lost, little boy on a rampage that simply needed to be shut down. How anticlimactic though. In Dig, he was literally a throwaway character.
Also, we have to wonder why J did not mention the storage unit to his uncles. His silence demonstrated a shift in his loyalty to Smurf. Deran and Craig’s (Ben Robson) callousness caused him to clam up, and rightly so. Baz must have sensed it, because his conciliatory, little pep talk in J’s room was obvious and weak. J must have felt so alone. At the same time, he witnessed Smurf’s true power, as did we all.
In Dig, Smurf handled business and duped Baz into betraying his brothers, his teammates, thus sowing the seeds of distrust in Baz’s leadership. You could see him doubting himself in her loving, bloody hands on that cliff. She made him feel alienated and appreciated all at the same time. Wow, the woman is a magician.
Looking more closely, you could see all the subtle looks that Baz threw her way, showing his inner skepticism. We have seen her kill with the nonchalance of taking out the garbage. Baz just stood by and watched how easily she snuffed out a life that was threatening her. He listened to how flippantly she spoke of a man she must have killed simply because he inconvenienced her. It must have dawned on him that she cares very little for anyone who threatens her way of life. So, what about Catherine? Yes, Baz, time to wake up!
Pope might have been the only one who saw through all of her lies. Then again, she is his mother. So, he protected her anyway. I would say Deran was clear-headed too, but his motivations are more selfish than Pope’s. Deran’s clarity is driven by his need to be free, while Pope’s clarity comes from his unhealthy emotional attachment to a woman who abuses him. He dug furiously into the ground to save her from a prison fate, that apparently, Deran knows Smurf wished upon Pope.
Yet, there is an honesty that Pope and Smurf share that nobody else has, not even J. This mother-son relationship is so complicated. Every time Barkin and Hatosy have scenes together it is like alchemy with little to no words.
J and Nicky (Molly Gordon) found each other again, in Dig. Despite what they had been through, Nicky could tell that J cared for her the most. She wants to know how to defend herself. J has skills he can teach her in that regard. Craig never seemed interested in teaching her anything or caring for her well-being. Honestly, I am not clear on Nicky’s role in any of this, except as a liability. I truly hope there is more to her. Meanwhile, I am focused on Baz. I am hoping that in the coming episodes, we see Baz come into the light.
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