Animal Kingdom 5 × 8 Review: “Gladiators” – The Geekiary
‘Gladiators’ was a good title to give Animal Kingdom Season 5, Episode 8 because the gurls are fighting! The gurls are fighting!
I waited until Cody’s men, especially Deran and Joshua, had a physical altercation – and that’s exactly what the “Gladiators” gave me. However, let’s talk first about what drove these two (along with Craig) to get into some bloody brawls.
In the previous episode, we saw Pete talking to Joshua about Agent Livengood’s crusade to build a case against Deran and somehow get him arrested. According to Pete, it was because of Livengood that he had to empty the drug stash hidden in his garage. Joshua is clearly frustrated with Deran. Apparently this stash was worth half a million dollars. With Deran not answering his calls, it made sense for Joshua to contact Craig.
I enjoyed the blame game the two played as they discussed what had happened and how to move forward. Craig blamed Joshua for lying about the cartel’s work from the start while Joshua blamed Deran for implicating the family in the mess related to Adrian and Pete getting rid of the drugs.
With Craig telling Joshua about how Deran sent Adrian to Indonesia, I could feel the murderous side of Joshua’s brain racing. If Adrian was in Oceanside, you know Joshua would have gone to kill Adrian himself. He doesn’t understand why Deran couldn’t shoot Adrian to protect the Cody family. This boy has serious problems.
Before Joshua could face Deran, Craig visited Deran’s bar to chat with his younger brother. I think it was time for Craig to share his thoughts on how the family works. Even though Deran told Craig that he never asked Joshua to move the drugs to Pete’s garage, I think Craig was right that Deran and Joshua were messing things up for everyone. Both were trying to run the family without turning it into a democracy. Craig didn’t feel appreciated. I enjoyed seeing him explain how Deran and Joshua were involved in the ad * ck measurement contest instead of looking after the family.
While I enjoyed seeing Craig stand up to Deran, I didn’t appreciate his continued downward spiral. After being bailed out by Renn, “Gladiators” showed Craig was getting high again and embarking on a series of robberies. He hit a number of small stores to steal their money. With Joshua forcing them to steal drugs from the cartel and Deran forcing Cody’s men to steal safes, Craig focuses on stealing real money, because then they won’t have to wait until ‘They find a buyer (for the drugs) or they smuggle valuables. an expensive fence.
I’m not against Craig taking his little trips to steal money. However, what I don’t like watching is Craig gets high and indulges in reckless behavior. I thought he had changed after having a baby with Renn. Hoping the writers give Craig something else to do and don’t keep revisiting how little character development he’s been through.
Speaking of character development, I guess Andrew got the conclusion he was looking for. The previous episode made it clear that he was going to do something for Cassandra’s son and that’s exactly what he did in the last installment. As far as Andrew is concerned, children need their mothers if their mothers are nice. He couldn’t mend his relationship with Smurf. One could argue that the relationship couldn’t be mended even if he tried. Either way, in Andrew’s mind, he could at least help Cassandra get her son back and in doing so, in a weird way, get some sort of satisfaction.
I’m just glad Andrew decided not to kill Henry’s dad. Andrew, however, left him (his hands tied) in the wilderness with a bottle of water and a small knife. Baby footsteps, I guess. Either way, Andrew’s current arc came to an end when he urged Cassandra to flee to Canada with Henry. Considering the plight of some of the women who came into Andrew’s life, I’m happy to see Cassandra remain unharmed. And with Andrew now back with his brothers and nephew, I can’t wait to see what the Codys do next.
Coming to Deran against Joshua in ‘Gladiators’, I think it became very clear to Deran that his nephew likes to kill people. The way Joshua told Deran he should have shot Adrian when Smurf told him to press a very sensitive button. I don’t think Joshua ever truly loved anyone other than his late mother. Joshua just can’t fathom the fact that Deran couldn’t kill Adrian or even see Adrian get hurt because they’re essentially married. Other than that, Deran is not a murderer. He doesn’t like killing people while, on the other hand, Joshua will shoot someone in the skull if it means protecting himself or getting closer to his goals.
Deran (between punches) shouting about Joshua maybe enjoying shooting Smurf is something I want writers to explore more of. The Cody brothers have to figure out how to deal with Joshua, as they know he doesn’t hesitate to kill members of his family. If the time is right, I can see Joshua taking down his uncles without hesitation.
As for the fight, which Craig was also involved in, I think all three men needed it. Cody’s men don’t like to talk about their feelings with each other. Throwing a few punches allowed them to let off steam and open the door to start mending their relationship. Deran and Craig settled things between them and Andrew went to ask Joshua not to leave. There are still tensions between Deran and Joshua because of Adrian. So I can’t wait to see how Joshua plans to handle Livengood’s situation.
I enjoyed the scene where Joshua decided to leave the Cody house after fighting with his uncles. It reminded me of how children tend to think of running away after arguing with family members. Joshua didn’t want to stay in the house with his uncles anymore. However, Andrew intervened to make Joshua understand that the youngest member of the team still had a place in the Cody house.
As for the flashbacks in “Gladiators,” I loved seeing Pamela teaming up with Janine, Manny, and Jake to rob a jewelry store. I think the scene where Pamela mentioned that she couldn’t have acted as a decoy was how the writing team continued to show that things were different between Pamela and Janine in the criminal underworld. As a black woman, Pamela didn’t have the same perks as Janine when it came to blending in with a crowd, looking innocent, and not attracting unwanted attention.
While I enjoy the flashbacks, I think the random little time jumps are a bit too much. We haven’t seen Janine confront Manny about leaving her kids alone. We also couldn’t see what caused Manny and Jake to reconcile with Pamela. I think writers should consider exploring certain scenes focusing on the dynamic between Janine’s team instead of putting everyone on the same page without a proper explanation to move the plot forward.
Some other thoughts and questions:
- I continue to be a fan of Joshua and Lark’s interactions. He finally found a wise and intelligent peer to talk to.
- If Craig and Renn continue to be on their current path, they will lose custody of their baby.
- Poor Joshua must stay away from the swimming pools. It wasn’t the first time someone had tried to drown him.
- I understand Craig is frustrated and angry with Joshua, but wanting to drown his nephew in the pool was a bit much.
- With five more episodes remaining, I’m still waiting to see what bigger role Pamela is supposed to play in the current timeline. There must be a reason behind the writers who brought it back.
What did you think of the “Gladiators”?
Let us know.
Farid has a double master’s degree in psychology and biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in molecular genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville and The Game Master of Somerville. It gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime / manga, video games, and movies.
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