Animal Kingdom Season 4 finale recap: Beginning of the After Smurf-era

Animal Kingdom - 413 618500
Animal Kingdom - 413 618500 /

In the Season 4 finale of Animal Kingdom, J tries to take power while the others struggle to find their new place in a Smurfless world.

This felt like a farewell episode, a farewell to what was as Animal Kingdom prepares for its transition into new leadership. Before I get started on the recap, I’m just going to say that I personally believe Season 5 will be the last and that this episode is telling the beginning of their end. Where every other season finale ended on a cliffhanger that was like gasoline to a flickering flame, Season 4, Episode 13 plays like a downsloping hill heading towards the words “Series Finale” with several gravestones bearing the name Cody waiting at the bottom.

What to do next?

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After the shock that was their mother’s death, the boys are at a loss. They’re not sure who should take charge, not sure what to do or even what direction to head in. J, on the other hand, is all gun hoe with anticipation, already trying to form relationships with Smurf’s business partners. He comes in at the table wearing his ultra-cool sunglasses and tries to take charge only for Pope to shut him down.

He also does us all a favor and tells the kid to get rid of the sunglasses he’s been wearing all season, “you’re not John Gotti”. You took the words right out of my mouth, Pope. J realizes he’s going to have to work harder to gain their confidence, especially Pope’s who tells J that he’s nothing but a leech and kicks him out of the house.

Dennis Leary as Billy the a****t is back

What is he doing here? Seriously, what did Billy offer other than a few chuckles every now and then? The moron is back with some of the money he “borrowed” from Deran if borrowed is slang for stealing. He heard about Smurf’s death and wants to make amends, so he claims, swearing that he’s clean and sober and doesn’t want any handouts. Yeah, right. I don’t trust Billy enough to even say that his name is Billy.

Thankfully Deran doesn’t seem interested in his offer either. Cutting off Billy’s jabberings by announcing that he’s leaving town and won’t be around to bond with anyway. However, that doesn’t influence Billy to leave, if anything it looks like he’s going to be hanging around until next season.

He later reminisces with Jake (her other baby daddy) about their times with Smurf at her memorial party when the topic of fatherhood comes up. Both of them feel that, with Smurf gone, they can both have real relationships with their sons now. Jake with Craig, who he’s never met, and Billy with Deran. Jake then introduces himself to Craig for the first time but doesn’t tell him who he is.

Animal Kingdom – 413 618500
Animal Kingdom – 413 618500 /

Adrian leaves town

As far as side characters on Animal Kingdom go, Adrian has by far been the luckiest, but as one half of an Animal Kingdom relationship goes, has also been criminally underused. The D&A storyline was drastically cut back this season in favor of Smurf’s departure, despite being a major plot point for Deran’s character.

Deran is ready to leave with Adrian but then Pope shows up, having heard from Billy what’s going on and figures it all out. However, instead of “taking care of it”, Pope gives Deran a heartful farewell, acknowledging this as his brother’s one chance at happiness. However, at the last minute, Deran makes a different choice to keep Adrian safe once and for all. Giving up his own chances at leaving, Deran decides to stay and make Adrian go alone, believing that as long as he’s around, Adrian will never be safe.

If you’re not heartbroken by the time Adrian is gone and Deran is crying on the pier then you have a heart of stone. Don’t worry though, Adrian fans, he’ll come back. That goodbye was just like every other temporary goodbye made by every back and forth couple on television, Season 5 will see them reunited.

Animal Kingdom – 413 618500
Animal Kingdom – 413 618500 /

Angela and J want to be proper Cody’s

Early in the episode, Angela learns that a guy named Mike, later revealed to be her brother, is looking for her. Turns out she did roll on someone for a shorter sentence, and it was him, but now he’s out. By her reaction, we can guess that Mike isn’t a very nice man.

Meanwhile, Smurf’s will is sent to the house and Angela reads through it, finding that Craig, Deran and Julia (now given to J) were all left sizable sums of money while Pope was given a small trust fund controlled by Deran. The rest of the money, however, along with the house, was given to the woman from Smurf’s past, Pamela. Angela gives the will to J who then hires Frankie to track down Pamela’s current address.

Once he gets Pamela’s location, he shows Pope the part of the will that mentions Pamela but not the others, withholding the fact that he and his brothers were all given money. In a more successful attempt to win Pope over, J suggests they get their money from Pamela while also proclaiming the importance of a united front. If they want to maintain their reputation, they must show people how dangerous they are.

In the end, all the Codys go to find Mike, Angela’s brother, and beat him and his friends in front of an open crowd in a careless attempt to show that they’re just as tough without Smurf, even though that’s not at all how Smurf would have handled a threat. If anything, that spectacle just made them look disorganized and reckless. The beginning of the end.

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Young Smurf

Not sure if they’ll keep up with the flashbacks next season but it seems like they’ve got more of young Janine’s story to tell, not sure why though since she’s dead. After getting away from Jed, Janine goes to Pamela in hopes that they can team up together. The other is unsure about Smurf’s condition since she just gave birth to two newborns. Instead, she suggests that she return to Jake, who is guaranteed to take her back because he’s a love-struck idiot that was too blind to see how crazy Smurf was back then.

This is exactly what she does and sure enough, Jake takes her back without question and judging by the boy’s ages, I estimate that she gets pregnant with Craig in about eight years. Smurf is gone but Janine is still around.

Next. What will happen in Animal Kingdom Season 5?. dark

I think it’s safe to say that Animal Kingdom Season 5 will feature Pamela quite extensively in both the past and present, possibly making her a new Smurf. I’m guessing that the show will make a full loop and show Janine raising her children until it pretty much meets up with where Season 1 began, the kids all emotionally damaged and Julia dead and gone.

Season 5 will also likely add on Emily Deschanel as a series regular despite Angela being an uninteresting burden because every season requires at least one new female series regular.

Animal Kingdom will return in the summer of 2020.