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#Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12 Review: Loose Ends

#Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12 Review: Loose Ends

The stakes for this Port job are high, and the expectations for the upcoming season finale are even higher.

As the penultimate finale, Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12 lived up to its name by tying up some loose ends. It brought up a few of those dangling threads and seemingly put other storylines to rest.

It feels like we’re gearing up to something major, and the finale may have the momentum that was lacking in the middle of the season. To which I say, bring it on!

Talking Shop - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

For one, in the flashbacks, Janine’s transition to Smurf, the badass who ran Oceanside, was complete.

The instant she pulled that trigger, she was a mother who protected her children, but sometime after that, she became something else entirely. There’s no denying Smurf felt a surge of power after the deed.

Everyone picked up on it; Jake and Julia were the most vocal about their displeasure in this turn.

In a way, the series managed to do a deceptively good job depicting the relationships between Smurf and the twins. For so much of the season, it’s Andrew who Smurf directed most of her positive attention.

Janine to Smurf - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 11

He was the one who required the most attention, and Julia would fall by the wayside, shoved to the background in favor of her brother.

Andrew got the most affectionate gestures from Smurf and excuses for his behaviors. She encouraged some of the asocially acceptable behavior he exhibited.

Julia: Mommy killed that man.

Andrew: We’re not supposed to talk about that.

Julia: Do you think something is wrong with her?

Andrew: What?

Julia: Nothing.

Meanwhile, she would dismiss or cut down Julia with a great frequency. And it was Julia who observed her mother’s behaviors with judgment and wisdom beyond her years, knowing that their lifestyle was not normal by most people’s standards.

Whenever she had moments, Julia was damn near begging for some form of stability and normalcy, and the trauma and scars piled up with each installment.

Smurf and the Twins  - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 5

Julia was the marker for how traumatizing things were for the twins. Again, Scarlett Abinante deserves credit for pulling off this understated performance as the black sheep Cody we never got to know well.

She was fed up at such a young age, tired of trying to play the mature one to all the wild adults who should’ve known better.

It makes your heartbreak for this young girl who barely hit the double digits in age before her world took a bad turn. It bears repeating that she never stood a chance.

We hear little about Julia throughout most of the series anyway. However, most of it refers to her as an addict. Clearly, she was so much more than that, and you can’t help wondering what she could’ve been like if she were in a better home.

Julia Reasons with Smurf  - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 1

She seemed lost in a sea of folks who were “off” in some way or another, and she simply was not cut out for this world that Smurf immersed herself in and built.

It’s starting to make sense how she turned to drugs. And based on what we’ve learned of her and Smurf’s relationship, you can see how her addiction was merely a scapegoat to sever ties with her, whereas Smurf often enabled Craig’s addiction.

Pope: Renn’s still not back?

Craig: Nope, won’t even text me a picture of my kid.

Pope: If they find out you’re using they won’t let you see Nick at all.

Julie knew what she and Andrew witnessed wasn’t healthy, yet everyone around her told her she wasn’t supposed to talk about it. She had no one to confide in about her mother killing a man in front of her.

And as much as she loved her brother, she seemed to spend more time recognizing that he was different and managing/mothering him than anything else.

Julia is Over It - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

Her final scene in the tent, staring up at the stars and astutely lamenting that boys are infamous for repeat behavior and never learning was fascinating.

She already had a read on the world early, and she had her mother mostly figured out too. Julia knew something was wrong with Smurf. She also that there was nothing she could do about it. It was a scene where Julia seemed the most alone.

She was also who wasn’t entertained by Smurf, Manny, and Jake ransacking Max’s bar and taking things. She was such a tired old soul.

Jake is another person who would call Smurf out, but he always relented in the end, so it never accounted for much.

Smurf and Jake - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 9

Jake remains an interesting character because you’re left to ponder what life would’ve been like for the Cody kids if he stuck around. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he did express genuine concern for the twins.

He would try to encourage Smurf to be a better mom when it mattered. He even evoked Colin’s name to talk sense into her.

What was it that kept Jake from being in Craig’s life? He was an imperfect man, but he probably would’ve been a decent father, and now we get to see that Craig could be as well if he gets it together.

The hour served as an unofficial intervention for Craig as everyone encouraged him to lay off the drugs and get his shit together.

Craig's Downfall- tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

It was agitating to see him snorting up at the top of the hour, and he spent the majority of it tweaking. He’s no good to anyone or himself when he’s coked out.

It was Pope and Frankie at the forefront of gathering him together. Pope flexing his power as the oldest continues to serve them well.

Pope: Give me the keys to the Scout.

Deran: What, why?

Pope: Because I said so!

As an aside, his “because I said so” to Deran was hilarious.

But the second he delegated tasks and stated that Craig would team up with him– a rarity– you knew he’d get on Craig’s case about the drugs and not pulling himself together for Nick.

Hoodie Up -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

Smurf is gone, and Pope isn’t interested in enabling, coddling, or cleaning up after him. I appreciated him giving his brother the “man up” talks.

But it was Frankie who seemed to cut through to him, reminding him that she sees him. He’s not “good time Craig” having fun. He’s in pain and wallowing.

As frustrating as Craig has been, it was heartbreaking when he cried, and I was proud of him when he turned his dealer away.

He needs to be straight for this job and for whenever Renn comes back with Nick. But he also had to get it together for Frankie.

Craig and Frankie Standoff - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

Craig doesn’t want to screw Frankie over, but everything about Frankie feels ominous. Now she’s crashing with Craig and desperate for this job to happen ASAP.

Why does it feel like Frankie will be dead by the end of the season?

The job is ambitious, and some of them have reservations about it. However, this job will set the boys apart from what they did under Smurf’s reign.

J wondered if Smurf would’ve done this job, and Deran wasn’t sure, but the timing is right for them to do something this large. They’re all getting along and working well together.

The Brains - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

J and Deran are much better when they work together and aren’t at each other’s throats.

J could appreciate that Deran is a smart cookie when his emotions don’t get the better of him, and Deran was more receptive to J’s ideas.

Deran: I don’t even recognize Oceanside anymore.

J: Town seems to be doing pretty good to me.

Deran: That’s because this town’s filling up with a bunch of idiots.

J: If you can’t beat them may as well make money off of them right?

When they communicate and have each other’s backs, they’re fine.

The ongoing disillusionment with the gentrified Oceanside continues, but where Deran sees loss, J views opportunity.

Talking Shop  - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

More than anyone, he’s learned how to adapt to change. And his modernized methods of upholding their empire and legacy can usher in a new era.

The best thing about all of them becoming business owners is that they’ll always have some fallback money in addition to what they’re laundering.

J is bright-eyed with ideas and what could be their riskiest but biggest haul yet.

And Deran seems to have a respect and appreciation for his nephew, especially now that everything he did to cover up the Livengood death played out as he said.

DEA Scandal -tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

The FBI came sniffing around after they learned of his death, and while Deran was quick on his feet with his responses, he was a bit squirrely.

But for now, it seems that the Livengood and Adrian thing is put to rest. Deran even did his bartender the decency of telling him the truth after all the time he spent dealing with the repercussions of Deran’s actions while remaining in the dark.

And I guess we’re supposed to believe that the Chadwick situation is handled for now, too.

Chadwick got greedy fast, and everything he was asking was impossible.

Officer Wildcard - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 10

Admittedly, if not for Livengood’s murder, the best option would’ve been to take Chadwick out.

But J knew that Chadwick would take the opportunity to get money and cut ties because of how much heat was coming.

J: we’re done.

Chadwick: So that’s what your little stunt was about.

Pope: We have other ways of cutting ties, but I don’t think you’d like them.

Regardless of his threats, Chadwick did that, but it still doesn’t seem like it’s the end for him.

J and Pope continue to make the best team, and they’re effective with J serving as the brains and mouthpiece and Pope the scary enforcer and threat.

The Brawn - tall - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

Part of the reason Pope probably didn’t want J to go alone was because of his protective streak.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if Pope has come around to openly being protective of, looking after, and loving his nephew or if he’s suspicious and playing an angle.

Sometimes his commentary on things that seem unrelated is meant to reference something. His talk about the feral nature of cats (a conversation I adored) could’ve been a fun, delightfully weird, nerdy Pope thing or a metaphor.

And his compliments and observations about J’s intellect and similarity to Baz (an interesting name to evoke out of the blue with no further comment) seemed sincere.

The Pope Glare  - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

But then he’s Pope, and sometimes you can’t tell if there’s something else beneath that. He was cleaning his gun thoroughly while having this seemingly pleasant conversation with J.

On the one hand, he could’ve been impressed by his nephew and giving him real kudos. However, on the other hand, he could’ve been wondering if J was plotting in ways that exclude them as Baz did.

Pete never flushed the coke.


He dropped the bomb on J about Pete not flushing the drugs, and you couldn’t tell if he was trying to determine if J knew or if that slightly psychotic expression was because of him formulating a revenge plan.

Pope doesn’t know everything that happened between Pete and the others, but he doesn’t care. In his mind, Pete crossed him, and that’s all the information he required.

The Port Job  - Animal Kingdom Season 5 Episode 12

He isn’t the type to let sleeping dogs lie, so it wasn’t a surprise when he ran up on the garage, laid down his threats, and took that sweet ride.

But I can imagine he’d want the cash from the drugs, too. He picked a war with the Trujillos, so there’s no way it’s the end of that, right?

Pope: Can you even go one day without using that shit?

Craig: Yeah, I choose not to.

Pope: Yeah, right.

Craig: What are you doing? You trying to prove a point here or are you trying to be an asshole?

Pope: Asshole.

Over to you, Animal Kingdom Fanatics.

Is it the last of Chadwick? Do you think they can pull off this job? Are you worried about Frankie? Hit the comments!

If you want to catch up before the season finale, you can watch Animal Kingdom online here via TV Fanatic.

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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