Animal Kingdom The Center Will Hold Review
TNT‘s Animal Kingdom, Season 3, Episode 3, The Center Will Hold revealed Baz’s murderer and showed us who is truly boss. Without a clear leader, it was actually Pope (Shawn Hatosy), not J (Finn Cole), that established himself as the natural boss in the Cody family. We also saw Smurf (Ellen Barkin) get up to her usual tricks in jail. This episode was a step up in drama – and comedy – from the last.
Pope is the eldest brother, the natural born prince of thieves, but it was Baz who was favored. Now, with Baz gone and no love lost with Smurf, Pope could take his place as King. In The Center Will Hold, Pope practically shouted from the rooftops that he is the one who keeps this family together.
Hatosy, whose emotional depth rivals the Pacific, convincingly played Pope as a father, a big brother, a detective, and a mastermind, all from the seat of his $50,000 truck. This Pope was a far cry from the homicidal tortured soul he has been since he left the prison. It was almost poetic to see the transition Pope went through when it came to honoring Baz. First, he wanted to preserve Baz’s memory through scrubbing the truck and gifting it to Lena. In the end, he burned the truck, and with it, Baz’s legacy – maybe even Baz’s shadow over Pope’s own position. As the flames chewed up the jeep, we could feel the catharsis.
Yet, this settled nothing. The big reveal in The Center Will Hold was who killed Baz. Mia, oh Mia (Sohvi Rodriguez)…you done it! I knew we could not trust that girl. J is sleeping with a true enemy and Mia’s sly smiles and interloping now make more sense. She is a sociopath who has been tasked with unraveling the Cody clan (from the inside?). Now, this black widow is sleeping on the couch. Nicky (Molly Gordon), please wake up out of your cocaine fog and detect the danger in your house! Because, obviously, J is not thinking with his head. In fact, this episode showed that J is not in control of anything.
What kind of game is Mia Trujillo really playing?! We know what she has done. We still do not know why she did it. If it was Smurf, why would Smurf still need constant payment and protection after she gave up a critical member? What deal did Smurf make? Why is J not more curious about this Trujillo arrangement?
Smurf seemed to be back in her right mind. If she can find a way to screw somebody over, she does. She did. Now, the Cody’s can knock off the incredibly lucrative drug store without sharing the score. Smurf’s move to neutralize Alvarez was remorseless. It was also prudent since Alvarez had already stabbed one partner in the back. It was so Smurf.
Meanwhile, I am still struck with all kinds of feelings when it comes to Deran (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson). Pope spent a lot of energy urging Deran to care about his family’s well-being. That conversation in the bar left me torn between liking Deran as an individual, and seriously disliking Deran as a selfish brat. You do not get to choose your family, but you can choose to help them or abandon them. Pope reminded Deran of that, but it should not have been necessary.
He and Craig were still thick as thieves though, parading kittens through a new condominium they wrecked. Clearly, Deran has fun with his brothers. Just work with them too. If Deran does not do something, Craig follows his lead, which leaves the family divided.
Craig is still so completely clueless and aimless it hurts. Literally, he hurt himself doing something very stupid, like chasing a guy who owed him $600. Instead, he could have gone to the meeting with J and learned about a much larger sum of money waiting to be snatched. Last season, Craig showed promise. His reversion is confusing. He is also one that needs to wake up and stop being “a dildo”. (If you watched the episode, you know what I mean.)
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