Animal Kingdom: The Complete Second Season

| February 13, 2018

I never finished the first season of Animal Kingdom because while I thought it was good, I didn’t think it was good enough to invest my time in with all of the great TV shows out there that I am not caught up on or haven’t had time to get to yet.  It struck me as a fairly typical heist story, but with the twist of it being a family of thieves being run by their ballsy matriarch, Smurf (Ellen Barkin; Ocean’s Thirteen).  I can handle stories about families of thieves as Showtime’s Shameless is one of my favorite series on the air right now, but something about these characters’ combination of white privilege, wealth, and arrogance was extremely off-putting to me throughout the first season.  That being said, I quite enjoyed season 2.

Apparently, season 1 ended with a heist going horribly wrong, and now Smurf finds herself being blamed for the mishap.  This causes a rift in the family that leaves Smurf out of the loop and spending the first part of the season trying to demonstrate her worth as her sons plan and execute their own heists.  Most of the season centers around a heist of a megachurch and the fallout from that, but the strained dynamic between the characters helps to distract from the premise of a bunch of rich white people being mopey and discontent.

Each of the characters become considerably more distinguishable and well-rounded in this season.  Deran (Jake Weary) has a simple storyline about trying to open and manage a bar and for the first time in his life he has to try to be successful at something that is difficult for him, not to mention legal.  J (Finn Cole) is still pulled in all directions by his various family members, but has grown a bit of a spine this season, having his own drive and goals as he weaves through everything else that’s going on.  Baz (Scott Speedman; Underworld) and Pope (Shawn Hatosy; Alpha Dog) still struggle for supremacy and the respect of the others, but thankfully Pope doesn’t feel like quite a whiney supervillain in this season.  His newfound relationship with Amy (Jennifer Landon) complicates him quite a bit.  His connection with her and her connection with the megachurch provide some nice tension for him this season, torn between his lifestyle and his heart.

There’s definitely room for improvement here.  The characters still need to be considerably more complicated and the heists need to be have more weight than just “we like money and stealing money and stealing other stuff that’s worth money.”  However, I’ll check out more if given the opportunity.

Available now on DVD from Warner Bros. Entertainment.

About the Author:

Joe Ketchum Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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