TV Show Review

TV Review: ANIMAL KINGDOM: Season 3, Episode 1: The Killing [TNT]

Finn Cole Animal Kingdom The Killing

Animal Kingdom The Killing Review

TNT‘s Animal Kingdom, Season 3, Episode 1, The Killing was a long awakening out of a short slumber. The Cody’s dealt with a major loss, while trying to find their footing in a now unfamiliar landscape. Smurf (Ellen Barkin) got a small shock, but proved that she was still resourceful in prison. Pope (Shawn Hatosy) spent every waking hour contemplating who committed treachery in the family. The Killing opened in a fog. It was a very sleepy episode in general. Most of the shots were long, sustained tracking shots that mapped the morning routines of our Cody family. Everyone is doing their own thing, oblivious to everyone else. Then, they get the call.

Baz (Scott Speedman) is dead. They all must have already been feeling some type of way about him given he turned on their mother. Each brother went through their own unique motions. Deran (Jake Weary) seemed almost sad, almost indifferent. He was, however, worried about retaliation from enemies who believe Smurf personally killed Javi. (I say personally, because we all know, she did indirectly kill him, but Baz made it so that the world thought she pulled the trigger.)

Obviously, Pope was in the anger stage of grief. Pope went into attack mode, blindly, with no one and everyone to blame. He was mostly in an “everyone is a suspect” mentality, but he fixated on his main suspect, which was J (Finn Cole). J was the only one who was completely indifferent to Baz’s demise.

J was enigmatic as usual and it did not help his defense against Pope’s accusations. His maybe-maybe-not attitude about his possible culpability in Baz’s demise was emphasized by his wardrobe. Remember those dusty t-shirts he wore for two seasons? Well, he wore black almost the entire episode just like the shadowy figure who shot Baz through the windshield. Is he a red herring? One this is certain, he cannot sleep around Pope.

Pope tried his best to step into the role of patriarch. He and Lena had already bonded greatly in the past season, so it was natural that he would have taken up the mantle of guardian for her. The family being broken was a different animal (no pun here). The Cody’s world was upended last season when both Smurf and Baz exited their leadership roles unceremoniously.

It was disappointing to see that Craig (Ben Robson) had not grown at all in his sabbatical from criminal life. We last saw him speeding out of town to “find himself” and another purpose. In The Killing, he was the same lovable brute. Besides Nicky (Molly Gordon), Craig was also the one who exhibited genuine pain from losing his brother. I do not see anyone could believe Smurf’s crocodile tears in prison for a second.

The Killing was less about the family business than about mourning a loss in the family. On the family business side, we were introduced to our main nemesis, yet another detective with a goal of catching the Cody’s. Then, there is Javi’s gang. Also, The Killing introduced another matriarchal Latino gang affiliation J is responsible for cultivating while Smurf survives inside.

What really got me was Lucy’s (Carolina Guerra) audacity to return to the family. She flaunted her broken heart, no doubt that was real, but everything else was a lie. We know what you did Lucy. I would suggest you disappear. Now, with the family back together, they will need to choose how to proceed with business or revenge. There is a lot at stake for the Cody family and fortune, and the killing may have to wait.

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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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