“Animal Kingdom”: The Complete Second Season”
“Animal Kingdom” centers on 17-year-old Joshua “J” Cody, who moves in with his freewheeling relatives in their Southern California beach town after his mother dies of a heroin overdose. Headed by boot-tough matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody and her right-hand Baz, who runs the business and calls the shots, the clan also consists of Pope, the oldest and most dangerous of the Cody boys; Craig, the tough and fearless middle son; and Deran, the troubled, suspicious “baby” of the family.
The ties that have held the family together during season one now are about to be stretched to the limit as “Animal Kingdom” comes back for Season Two. As the second season opens, the Cody clan is back to their old ways and in the midst of a heist. But when things don’t go as planned, the family dynamics become more fractured than ever as some members advocate for independence from Smurf.
Here is a bit of recap from season one. The Cody family is comprised of: Baz, Craig, Deran and Pope, who’s recently returned from jail, and Smurf, the mother and ringleader of the family. “J” who is a nephew of the Cody brothers by his mother who died of a drug overdose and was the twin of Pope is reluctantly welcomed into the family and eventually brought along on jobs which culminates at the end of season one in a major heist on Camp Pendleton for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Season one saw the police hot on the Cody trail, Baz’s wife’s murder by way of Smurf’s decree, Craig’s drug habit, Deran’s closeted relationship and you have quite the family drama.
Season two picks up with the Cody family still living off of their Pendleton job money, and the small cracks of division that began between the brothers and Smurf in season one have now grown into large fissures that threaten the Cody way of life. Pope, having been asked by Smurf to do unspeakable acts in the first season (murder), is now distancing himself from her altogether because he sees her for who she truly is and what she is slowly doing to his brothers. Using her best efforts to keep the boys under her ruling thumb, she is becoming strained in attempting to hold all of them from scattering and going off in different directions. This will undoubtedly come to a vicious conclusion, one that will be sure to draw lines between the family with casualties along the way.
Ellen Barkin (Smurf) and Scott Speedman (Baz) hold their own but the standout He is eerily silent and his character possess a quiet anger that gives off the vibe that make us think that he is ready to snap at any given moment. Anytime his character is onscreen, whether a major player or not, we cannot take your eyes off of him and his unpredictability gives his character great depth.
From the very beginning of the first episode, the viewer sees that the Cody brothers were not the first to grace Smurf’s doorstep and steal for her. What is even worse is the thought of how she might go about replacing the brothers if they end up going their own way because we know that she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
The second season builds perfectly off of the tension-filled foundation that was laid in its first, and continues the turmoil of the Cody family as they ward off inquiring police, outsiders from the family, past relationships and more. And yes there is a gay character. Jake Weary plays Deran Cody, the gay son who’s just trying to make a life for himself outside of the family crime business. We also get to see many hot men in various states of undress.