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'Animal Kingdom' Season 5 Episode 1 Review: A thrilling start with Pope taking center stage

The season opener of 'Animal Kingdom' took things a notch higher and saw the Codys trying to deal with Smurf's death
UPDATED JUL 12, 2021
Shawn Hatosy as Pope in 'Animal Kingdom' (TNT)
Shawn Hatosy as Pope in 'Animal Kingdom' (TNT)

Spoilers for 'Animal Kingdon' Season 5 Episode 1

Season 5 of ‘Animal Kingdom’ is finally here and the Cody Boys have taken the responsibility to take viewers on a thrilling ride once again. The previous season ended with Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) death and the latest one starts with the boys starting to run the empire without her guidance. They know, it’s not easy but they just can’t back out and have to step up so that they stay in the game.

In the penultimate episode of Season 4, Smurf kills Jed and Odin, who she introduces as Pope’s uncle and cousin. Jed dies in the shootout while Odin and all other members of their family also got into a shootout. Now, it is payback time for them.


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The episode starts with Pope (Shawn Hatosy), Joshua (Finn Cole), Deran (Ben Robson), and Craig (Jake Weary) sitting inside their house and trying to figure out what they should be doing next. They all find a few bags of gold worth millions and Pope takes the decision to give the gold back to his cousins. He and Craig go to a shop to talk about the gold. However, things don’t go as planned as Jen and Odin’s sons and cousins have already reached the place and taken some vital information about Smurf.

The scene shows that Pope is now the leader of the group. Being the eldest of them all, he is making the decision for the clan. Craig wanted to keep the gold and suggested that they kill Odin and other cousins. But he calmed them down and said that they are blood and we are not killing them.

As Pope and Craig see the place is still closed, they barge into it only to find about a house they never knew about. Smurf owned an apartment that no one knew about and it was where she would hide her fake passports and other things. Both groups reach the place and Pope says that we are ready to give the gold back and they leave as soon they get their gold back. Elsewhere, we keep on getting flashbacks about young Smurf (Leila George). She is trying to lead a good life with her children, Andrew and Julia. They are also following in their mother’s footsteps and have already started to steal little things from the supermarket.

As the episode draws closer to a conclusion, Deran and Craig get to know about their wills and they read it. However, they are shocked to know about a woman named Pamela Johnson and how she is going to get almost everything of what Smurf owned. Suddenly, the electricity is off and Odin reaches the residence with others to kill the Cody Boys.

A gunfight takes place between them and the Codys managed to outwit them. The entire episode was about how the boys are doing in the absence of Smurf and how easy it was for them to handle everything while she was alive. The things are getting out of hand and they just got to know about Pam, who is certainly going to take away everything from them.

Hatosy’s performance was certainly brilliant in this episode. This was a great and intense start to the newest season and also, gave something new to look out for. The Cody boys will be assessing everything after what happened at the residence and they will be making some drastic decisions because Pope could not shoot the only living member of Jed’s clan. The flashbacks also revealed that Pope was always neurodivergent and his love and loyalty to his mother (and sister) led him to do things he didn't necessarily care to do. If Pope is having flashbacks of times like those, it's a wonder the man isn't more screwed up than he already is. 

It will be interesting to see how the others respond to that but it will be an epic ride for everyone.

‘Animal Kingdom’ Season 5 returns for a new episode every Sunday on TNT at 9 pm ET.