Animal Kingdom season 3 episode 9 recap: J makes nice with Grandma Smurf

ANIMAL KINGDOM -- Photo by Eddy Chen/TNT -- Acquired via Turner Press Site
ANIMAL KINGDOM -- Photo by Eddy Chen/TNT -- Acquired via Turner Press Site /

Smurf plays mourning mother and tough grandmother, Linc finds out who the Codys are and Billy tries smooth talking his way into the big bucks in this week’s Animal Kingdom.

After a fun heist episode last week it’s back to traumatic drama in this week’s Animal Kingdom. J and Mia are still a thing and are sleeping together in a motel, meaning Super Mom is all alone at the house doing nothing but cleaning. She gets dressed to the nines to clean and cook a large breakfast for…herself. I guess Frankie too, but she’s not there for the entire episode so it’s just Smurf. Mia and J may be sleeping together but they rarely speak outside of that, she always looks at him like she’s trying to figure out how much he’s worth.

When he gets back, poor J tries to apologize to Smurf for what he said while she was in jail. The “you’d be dead without me” comment that is now making him fear for his life. Smurf does what she does best and acts like it’s no big deal but then the lawyer, Morgan, comes by to remove J’s power of attorney and we see just how okay with it Smurf really is. The whole things goes down without issue, but when it’s over J looks like he’s moments away from setting Smurf and the house on fire. We finally get a glimpse past that mask he wears all the time.

Linc and Adrian

Let me start off by saying I am not a Linc fan, sorry for those who are, but I don’t like him so this Adrian/Deran/Linc business is bothersome to me.

Craig, the fanboy, sets up a motocross ride with both Deran and Linc. At the track, Deran acts coldly towards Linc because Adrian (his true love) is in town, but he doesn’t want to combine the two worlds and doesn’t tell Linc that he’s dating someone else. It’s not like Linc doesn’t know what’s going on, Deran isn’t exactly the smoothest liar; even freaking Craig catches on. Everyone knows about it but Deran is so desperate to keep his anti-Cody fantasy working that he can’t see it’s not working.

Later when he and Adrian are having some sexy times in the office, Adrian sees the motocross gear and stares sadly at it. Here’s where I feel for Adrian, he’s essentially been Deran’s “mistress” for ten years and is used to having to share him but it’s clearly taking a toll. He tries brushing it off, claiming that it’s okay because he’s not around and life goes on, but there’s an argument brewing between these two for later. Adrian is moments away from saying “pick one of us you moron!”

Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom /

ANIMAL KINGDOM –TNT — Acquired via Turner Press Site

Pope and Lucy

Lucy gets wind that Smurf is out of jail, and knowing that her own days are numbered, demands Pope get rid of Smurf before something bad happens. Her paranoia is correct because not one day out of the slammer and Smurf is already demanding the boys take out Lucy and her cartel. No one is really up for it, but Pope is the only one dead set against it.

Ever since hearing the extraordinarily conveniently descriptive tip of Baz’s killer, he is becoming increasingly unsure of who is the guilty party is …Smurf or Lucy? He’s leaning towards Smurf, but her constant “we need a headstone for Baz” talk is making that harder to believe.

Pope hates his mother the most and Lucy knows this, yet she seemed genuinely surprised when Baz was shot…maybe she knows who did it and is protecting them. Baz’s murder storyline has been pushed aside for other things like Billy, Deran’s obsession with normalcy and J’s war with Smurf, but it’s finally starting to build up. The final episodes will probably focus heavily on this topic.


Billy wants money and all the father-son pep talks in the world can’t change that. After walking in on a naked Deran and Adrian, he tries talking Deran into giving him money. Goes on a rant about how he takes care of his own business and is not a charity case, then casually mentions how he “could use a couple bucks.”

After failing to smooth talk Deran, Billy hopes to wow Smurf with his skills in the bedroom, bliss her into handing over a couple grand. This guy is no better than a smelly rat sneaking into your kitchen at night looking for a snack, then crawls into bed with you and bites your toe. After reminiscing about the old days, they have sex. Let me take a moment to say…Smurf I’m shocked you didn’t cover him in disinfectant before letting that thing come within three feet of you! He needs more than a condom; he needs a body condom.

The sex was her move to get him under her control and manipulate the feeble-minded addict. After they got their rocks off, she cuts to the case and demands he convince Deran to come and see her.

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The boys gather

Smurf offers to launder the boys money free of charge because she’s still bitter about having 7 mill stolen from her. The four of them gather to discuss their possibilities and whether Smurf can be trusted with handling their money or not. Deran wants to keep her out and votes no but Craig thinks it’s easier and votes yes. Pope remains quiet in a very Pope-like manner until the last-minute but ultimately votes yes.

While the three Musketeers argue over their usual issues about their mother, J is stewing in anger. He feels pushed out and betrayed by Smurf, in more ways than one. He votes yes for Smurf laundering their money but only so they can use her knowledge while they quietly buy up businesses on the side to launder their own money in the future. Smurf thinks she’s back in their graces but is really giving them time to buy up their own individual empires without her knowing.

Animal Kingdom
ANIMAL KINGDOM — Photo by Eddy Chen/TNT — Acquired via Turner Press Site /

That man who would never leave

Colby, that pain from Deran’s car stealing crew that wouldn’t take no for an answer, is back with a gunshot victim in tow. They followed up on the job Deran gave them but without waiting, and it didn’t end well. If Colby isn’t careful he might be the next person dying on the bar floor. That guy is just begging for someone to sign his death certificate.

Unable to go to the hospital, Craig calls none other than Linc the nurse to help but it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on and sure enough, Linc figures out in seconds that Deran and Craig are criminals.

This is where Linc probably makes his exist on the show and rips away the pretend life Deran was half-way living in. A life where no one knew he was a criminal and everything was simple. I’m going to say people better prepare for some conflicted Deran next week, because this stuff is most likely going to bleed over into next week’s episode.

As for Oxy, the guy who was shot, the odds don’t look good. Deran’s got some guilt  but he’s still a Cody and makes time to threaten Colby if he ever comes back. Being really irritating, and not to mention stupid, I wouldn’t care if Deran shot him.

Wrapping it up

Lena, who the show seemed to have forgotten about until now, is being taken out of Pope’s care and placed in new housing. The DCFS wants her with a blood relative but since Pope is not her real uncle, they were concerned and while reviewing her case, determined that Pope is not fit to raise her. (I love Pope but they’re probably right). This problem will most likely be fixed later by  J, who is her biological half-brother. There is also a fan theory about Pope being Lena’s father instead of Baz which will instantly solve this problem, but also open a can of a thousand new ones.

Meanwhile, Deran is distraught about his “normal” life fantasy coming to an end, and is surfing alone on the beach when Smurf comes strolling up. She takes a second to say how much she missed him before cutting to the chase and asking him to kill Lucy, or at least convince the others to get on board with the idea. He refuses but she senses a rift in his resolve. Adrian is still on the surf tour, him and Craig are on the outs and Linc dumped him; he’s all alone and vulnerable to Smurf poison.

Now we get to Mia, who has something strange going on with her. She’s part of her uncle’s gang  but is homeless and her father is a soon to be freed jailbird. Her gang killed Baz for a reason that is not yet known but there doesn’t seem to be any clear connection. It’s possible that only her and her uncle were in on it and no one else in their gang knows, but again, there seems to be no real connection so far. But I think we might be able to clear Smurf off our suspect life after today. She pays a visit to the gang leader, Mia’s uncle, and pays him to do a job in Mexico. Most likely the Lucy job she can’t push on anyone else. However, if Smurf was the killer, then this is a good cover.

Next: Animal Kingdom season 3 episode 8 recap: Smurf returns

At the end of Animal Kingdom, they all gather at the cemetery where Baz’s new headstone will be placed and Smurf tells them how she bought a plot for each of them so they can be together forever. If you watch carefully you can see them all die a little inside., listen carefully and you might be able to hear their souls crying out “NOO!” Eternity with the woman they hate more than anything, now that’s the afterlife people pray for.

What did you think of Liberated? Are you excited for next week’s episode of Animal Kingdom? Tune in Tuesday night at 9:00 on TNT to catch the next episode.