TNT 'Animal Kingdom' Season 4 Episode 1: Pope nears the end as a new gang starts making waves
If early signs are anything to go by, 'Animal Kingdom' Season 4 could be more about the show's female characters
It was always meant to happen, there's only so much emotional battering and guilt a man can take before every fiber of his being begins to unravel, and Pope is coming apart. From the brutal cage fight in the opening scenes of Episode 1 to the brooding silence and thousand-yard stare, indicative of a man for whom the only fear is that he may see the sun rise one more time.
And Pope's slow slump to his knees has not gone unnoticed by Deran who is adamant that Pope should be pulled off the latest job lest he gets them all killed, cue Smurf chagrin.
Needless to say, Pope does go walkabout during what should have been a routine job for the Cody boys, but the fallout is minimized in a fleeting moment of lucidity.
But Pope is increasingly looking like he's on a timer as the zeroes begin to line up, and everyone better get out of the blast zone.
It's hard to feel any sort of antagonism towards Pope, considering who his mother is, but the decline and fall of a family bulwark is unnerving, to say the least, no matter how heinous his crimes.
While J's plot to overthrow the family matriarch seems to be going full steam ahead — now that he's back in college — he's on a one-way road to a showdown with Smurf he may not be able to handle.
And Mia's eyes are hiding a long-game con, the pieces of which have yet to fall into place.
TNT's 'Animal Kingdom' Season 4 may have had a low-key start (by the show's standards) but the introduction of a new group of bank robbers has raised the spectre of crossed paths and ultra-violence, especially when they seem to be mirror images of the Codys.
While the antecedents of these new kids on the block are sketchy at the moment, the male vs female dynamic heralds a clash of the sexes that could reverberate through the season.
In fact, if early signs are anything to go by, Season 4 could be more about the show's female characters with Frankie and Mia joining Smurf as the puppet-masters.
We haven't even seen Emily Deschanel's character yet, and that's a big plot point that should spin the season on its head.
If Episode 1 left fans a bit underwhelmed, we can always take solace in the fact that the best seasons are often slow burners, simmering their way to a scalding boil. And 'Animal Kingdom' always finds a way to burn.
'Animal Kingdom' airs on TNT every Tuesday at 9pm ET/PT