Animal Kingdom In The Red Review
TNT‘s Animal Kingdom, Season 3, Episode 2, In The Red gave us a high-octane opening to an otherwise dull episode in a “day in the life of a Cody”. In the Red made us take a closer look at, Deran (Jake Weary) the least volatile brother. Smurf (Ellen Barkin),meanwhile, was growing nervous and restless in jail.
All the brothers were preoccupied living their own vastly different lives while the family business struggled under J’s (Finn Cole) amateur care.
In The Red picked up the Cody story two months after Baz’s demise. J has been alone paying attention to the condition of the family finances while Smurf is behind bars. The episode was aptly named given J was struggling to keep the family empire from crumbling under the watchful eye of the FBI. He was clearly stressed out, and barely hiding it. Nicky (Molly Gordon) was no help whatsoever. Unfortunately, she seemed more like a pet than a partner. Poor thing too, because her days appear numbered now that J is stepped out on her with a like-minded gangster, Mia Trujillo (Sohvi Rodriguez).
I do not know what to think of Mia at the moment. She’s bossy, and rude, that’s about it. When she spoke about her mother, I did not feel threatened or any sympathy. So, I am not sure what J was getting at when he said “should I feel threatened?” The way she spoke to J, it was obvious she was used to talking down to men given her position in the Trujillo family, which is still unclear. Is she the leader, or only one of many “captains”? Is she J’s equal? If so, Nicky, who has nothing to really offer by way of criminal genius, might find herself out in the cold very soon.
At this point in the story, with Smurf behind bars, the only women who appear to have any agency in their characters are Lucy – the thief who loved Baz – and Mia. Nicky does not have much to offer. We can see how inconsequential she is by the way Pope dismisses her, or how she only stumbles upon useful information about Deran’s unauthorized heist for J. He is not sharing his problems, but then she seems happily oblivious in their cohabitation. So, when Mia mentions the importance of talking and asking questions of J to get to really know him, it is a sign of something he is missing.
Speaking of dialogue, the dialogue in In The Red was a weak. Nearly all the conversations seemed clipped and underdeveloped. Except those with the family attorney, Morgan Wilson, (Laura San Giacomo). It felt like the word count was saved for the Smurf and Morgan exchange in jail. Who knew you could make a heated exchange about finances and pending indictments so exciting? Smurfs suspicions combined with J’s show that Morgan may not be the advocate they need. In my opinion, In The Red made it clear that Morgan spells blood in the water from the Cody family. She is in this to bleed them dry.
Smurf was cooking up jobs in the Joint. Her actions were out of frustration with her present circumstances. She is stir crazy and humiliated every time she has to listen to her cellmate take a dump. Yeah, life sucks in jail. A couple of her sons, however, are forging new lives.
Deran is the man in In The Red. Much of the episode was focused on Deran, showing his well-balanced life outside of the family circle. He ran a successful heist without his brothers. Although, it looked like he incorporated their usual moves in the coordination of it. We saw him running a successful bar, so much so that people did not want to leave. His first love came back to visit. Deran was living it up on his own. So, why would he come back into the family fold…ever? It was not at all surprising that Deran was reluctant to band together with the brothers when J finally asked for help. He is fine. While he earned his independence, he came off as a selfish baby brother who never wants share.
Then, we watched as Pope assumed Baz’s fatherly role. He considerately moved into Baz’s home, so Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles) could sleep in her own bed (though she couldn’t sleep, which was a whole other issue). Even when Pope seemed confused, he never floundered. He fit into the role of Lena’s guardian, which is creepy since he is partly responsible for her being an orphan.
The only brother that whole-heartedly ran himself into a whole was Craig (Ben Robson). He pissed off a drug lord in Mexico and had to flee bloody and broke back to his brothers. So, the scene by the pool was a bitter homecoming. The brothers were reunited only by circumstance and need.
Honestly, this episode felt so wanting you could fill it with the Pacific Ocean. The only full character development in this episode came from Deran. Weary stole this one. The quiet domesticity of Pope’s life in Baz’s shoes was a close second, but a lot of the episode felt like dead air. Inexplicably, the episode was mostly shot from covert angles. We were consistently looking over people’s shoulders or under their elbows. This guerrilla-style filming basically felt obstructed. Other than the fast cars in the beginning, and the allusion to a swinging axe labeled “R.I.C.O.” in the end, In The Red was lacking drive.
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