TV Review: ‘Animal Kingdom’ (1×5) “Flesh is Weak”

animal_kingdom_trailer_v3-600x338_032420161103The first two episodes of Animal Kingdom seemed to set up a major police investigation into the death of a police officer during one of the Codys’ jobs, and subsequent episodes would be filled with the Codys constantly watching their backs and dodging questions. But none of that has really happened, and it wasn’t until episode five, “Flesh is Weak,” that we learn that the investigation has largely been happening offscreen.

Part of me is okay with this — we’ve had some great episodes these past couple of weeks getting to know more about the Codys and J, but most of this week’s episode felt more like filler than anything else, and I’m ready to jump into a police investigation that will rattle the Codys even more than their own personal drama.

This week, we met Nicky’s family, who joined the Codys for dinner at Smurf’s after Nicky’s dad finds out she’s been sleeping over with J. We met her dad a couple of episodes ago, but this time we learn a little more about him. I would be saying his name, but IMDB isn’t giving it to me for some reason, so I’m just going to refer to him as C. Thomas Howell, because that’s C. Thomas Howell, guys. How did I not notice that before? C. Thomas Howell has just been promoted to Lieutenant Commander, something Baz is impressed with as he admits he always wanted to go into the Navy. As Baz and C. Thomas Howell bond at dinner, we meet Nicky’s stepmom, Sandra Yates (Nicki Micheaux). Excuse me, make that Detective Sandra Yates, which we find out right at the end when it’s revealed Detective Yates recruited Ms. Anderson to get J to open up about his family (What a relief, though J is clearly reading Ms. Anderson’s attempts to get close to him as romantic, it is not. I just don’t recommend Ms. Anderson for anymore undercover jobs).

I like this new development, though I do wish we got around to the police investigation a little sooner. An investigation that will soon become much bigger with the plan Baz has in mind, which involves robbing a ship yard. Anything to get back into Smurf’s good graces.

Despite all these fascinating developments, “Flesh is Weak” felt like it was going through the motions. There wasn’t a whole lot of narrative development, which would have helped with understanding character motivations better and avoided conveniences in plot. The fact that Smurf recognizes a silhouette of a guy she used to know in a photograph that happened to be on display at the same art show J went to meet Ms. Anderson, kind of hard to believe. And a little confusing when we don’t get the flashback until the end of the episode. Baz randomly goes off to Mexico to meet Krystal just for kicks, and she apparently already knows about Catherine. No mention of Baz’s missing father, either. And I’m really not into the whole Craig/Renn story. It feels way out of left field for a show like this.

However, Deran got a bit more interesting this week as a closeted gay man who likes rough sex with Adrian (and, according to him, only Adrian), a guy he met in Belize a while ago. Belize had been mentioned in passing as the last time Deran ran away, and he stays away from Smurf for most of this episode. That is, until the end after he gets Pope to toss David, Adrian’s boyfriend, out at sea. Smurf’s hold on her kids is a strong one, and I’m still waiting for when they all officially decide to cut ties.

See ya next week.

Animal Kingdom airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. CT.

Rating: 7/10

Katey is a writer, now with an official degree to prove it. She hails from the great Midwest in Kansas City, MO where she is hanging out until she gets a paying job. Until then, she writes reviews for film and television and is an advocate for Mad Max: Fury Road winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Who cares if this year's Oscars was months ago. Mad Max and George Miller won in Katey's world. She also loves anything to do with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except for Thor, and is indifferent about the DC movie verse. But DC television is pretty cool.
  • Owen Schmidt

    Umm, Paul’s wife and Det. Sandra Yates are two different characters and actresses (check IMDB). I guess two black women in the same episode confused you.

    • Katey Stoetzel

      IMDB didn’t have Paul’s wife listed under the cast list (at least on the phone app. I’ve had other problems with IMDB lately not giving me all the information about a show) Believe me, I checked multiple times. And thanks for that last implication there, friend. The way the show introduced both of the characters is what confused me. The show revealed Detective Yates in a way that made it seem we were supposed to know who she was already, and having her be Paul’s wife made a lot of sense to me. I apologize for the confusion, but that’s all.