Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Strike Team Gets "Postpartum" Depression (The Shield: Season 5, Episode 11)

Thank you, Kurt Sutter and Shawn Ryan, for creating one of the single most gut-wrenching hours of TV I've ever seen. Emmy-worthy performances by everyone in the cast, especially Kenny Johnson and Walt Goggins. Have some tissues ready, folks. 

Previously on: Lem saved Kavanaugh's life during a raid on a Salvadoran grenade-smuggling ring. Guardo, who was in charge of the operation, got away. Kavanaugh repaid Lem's kindness by redoubling his efforts to have Lem locked up. Vic had revenge sex with Kavanaugh's ex-wife Sadie.

Lem, who's been getting progressively sicker from his ulcer, struck a deal that would make him eligible for parole in 18 months. Antwon menaced Vic about how there are One-Niners in every California prison who'd love a piece of Lem; the only way to buy him protection was for the rest of the Strike Team to help Kern Little rob a police warehouse. Things went south and Antwon went back on his word. 

Vic dropped this bombshell at Lem's going-away party, hours before Lem was supposed to turn himself in. The new plan is to smuggle Lem into Mexico. Lem didn't want to, but Vic said that it was the only way to keep him alive. 

The police chief gave Kavanaugh 48 hours to tie up loose ends in the investigation, so the Rat King went knocking on the door of the former Mrs. Mackey.

"Why are you here?" asks Corinne. Kavanaugh wants her to know he always liked her. He's sorry he couldn't tell her right away that he was IAD. Kavanaugh complains that he's exhausted and hasn't been able to eat lately. Neither has Lem, so I'd call that karma. Corinne, in a tank top and sleep shorts, says uncomfortably, "I'm gonna put on a robe."

Shane is sitting on the courthouse steps, smoking. Ronnie and Becca are there too. She wonders what's going on; Lem's half an hour late. "If I was going to jail for 18 months, I wouldn't be in a rush either," shrugs Vic. He's sure Lem will show up.

Corinne wants Kavanaugh to leave. When she turns around to unlock the door, Kavanaugh presses against her and tries to untie her robe. Corinne shouts for him to stop, which he actually does. He asks if Corinne sees how lonely Vic has left the two of them. Corinne isn't lonely; they both need to move on with their lives.

Kavanaugh grabs her by the shoulders. If he takes on Vic and wins, he needs to know she'll be okay. No mention of the children. Corinne doesn't want to be without Vic. Just then, Cassidy comes out of her room. Kavanaugh hastily lets himself out. Corinne is visibly shaken.

Lem has found himself in a trailer, just like his white trash relatives Ronnie mentioned two episodes back. He's trying to cook soup, but the hotplate won't turn on. There also seems to be something wrong with the filthy toaster oven.

Outside, there's a loud bang and Lem almost jumps out of his skin. He grabs his gun. The ruckus turns out to be a neighbor moving some especially heavy trash. Lem sighs; he's cracking up and he knows it.

Vic has just found out Kavanaugh spent all morning at Corinne's: "Did he try to touch you?" Corinne wonders why he'd ask that. Vic gives her the news that Lem didn't turn himself in and pretends to have no idea where he is. Kavanaugh wants to hurt Vic through her, which Corinne already knows. Vic advises her not to let Kavanaugh in if he shows up again. I doubt she'll have any problem listening to him on that front. Corinne tells Vic to be careful.
To quote Severus Snape
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Kavanaugh, sitting in the clubhouse, asks, "Where's Lemansky?" Vic repeats he doesn't know. Kavanaugh chuckles that, once again, Lem got screwed. He warns Vic that he, Shane, and Ronnie could get in major trouble themselves for aiding and abetting a fugitive. IAD will be keeping tabs on all of them until Lem is caught. The Rat King creepily whispers, "Thank you for bringing me back into your life."

The rest of the Strike Team has a powwow in the weight room nobody seems to use. Shane talked to the federale who helped make gangbanger Doomsday disappear. Lem will meet the federale in Tijuana and go to a safehouse in Ensenada. Ronnie immediately sees a problem with this plan: "That's wall-to-wall wetbacks. Surfer boy will be a little obvious."

The federale's brother lives on a goat ranch in the mountains of San Ignacio, Belize. He's only asking for $2,000, plus a favor to be determined later. The guys can wire money to Lem via Guatemala. Shane will set Lem up with cash to use in the meantime. Their main problem now is how they'll pull off getting Lem to Tijuana with IAD watching. "We do it how we always do: right under their noses with a goddamn smile," Vic replies.

Claudette pulls Vic to help her with a case. Half a dozen Crown Vics were blown up with hand grenades in a parking lot. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. They're joined by Agent Gallagher of the DEA. Shouldn't the ATF be handling this? Agent Gallagher explains the cars were government-issue; they've been running an investigation out of a nearby travel agency.

Agent Gallagher isn't impressed that Guardo escaped. When he sasses the newly appointed Captain Claudette, she gives it right back to him. Claudette also warns Vic, "That renegade shit's not gonna fly on my watch."

Unable to cook anything, Lem tries to get some rest on the couch. That isn't working out because a neighbor's kid is crying and someone else has their stereo up too loud. He tucks his gun in his back pocket as he goes outside. It doesn't take him long to find the trailer housing the screaming kid. The door is locked and nobody is home. Not a problem for Lem; he just jerks the screen door right off the hinges.

Lem follows the sound of crying to the kitchen, where a young black boy is sitting against the cabinets. There's broken glass and milk all over the floor, plus a little blood. The boy's sister is on the other side of the room. "Where's your mommy?" asks Lem. The little girl replies, "Gone."
This picture of Lem and the kid gives me all the feels.
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Lem asks for the little boy's name, but he's crying too hard to answer. "Wendell," says the sister, pronouncing it Wen-dell. Lem wets down a dish towel. "It's gonna be okay. It's just a little cut," he reassures the kid. I wonder if this situation is giving him childhood flashbacks; a softhearted guy like Lem wouldn't estrange himself from his family without a good reason.

"What the hell is goin' on in here, guys?" demands a pudgy white man. He calls for his wife Lisa. "It's okay, I'm a cop," Lem says out of sheer habit. The man notices the revolver sticking out of Lem's jeans and shouts, "Lisa! A gun! Call the police!" Not a word about whether or not the kid is okay.

Lem has wrapped the dish towel around Wendell's hand, instructing the sister, "Hold this tight until someone gets here." He sprints back to his own trailer, grabs his gym bag, and leaves. Neighbors have run into the street. "That's the guy," says Lisa's Hubby, "I told you somethin' wasn't right with him."

At a pool hall, Vic asks a shady guy what he knows about Crown Vics getting blown up in a DEA parking lot. When the guy doesn't answer, Vic breaks a pool cue over his knee. The guy explains his gang's second-in-command Osorio was busted by the feds; they were sending a message. He's the third guy to tell them that today. According to Vic, that "means it can't possibly be true."

Ronnie gets a phone call and hangs up, looking tense. Kavanaugh might've found the trailer where they stashed Lem. The sheriff's department was just called there for a disturbance. Vic doubts Lem has been arrested; they would've heard.

Shane starts, "Maybe they found him and he was--" Vic cuts him off: "There's no way he'd eat his gun." Shane reminds him that they told Lem not to contact them, no matter what. Vic just needs them to pull together so Lem can go to Mexico tonight.

Kavanaugh is already at the trailer park. A neighbor identifies Lem from his mugshot. He tells Kavanaugh he heard a noise, went to check, and found Lem with the bleeding kid: "Said he was a cop. The whole thing seemed weird, so I had my lady call the real cops."

Next time the neighbor saw Lem, he was running away: "Funny thing was, big guy like that with a gun and all, he still looked awful scared." And with damn good reason.

Emolia is at the Barn, claiming she has information on the car bombings. Claudette tried to pass her to DEA, but Emolia would only talk to Vic, even though there's bad blood about her testifying against Lem.

Guardo was supposedly hired to guard a Colombian cocaine shipment coming via Mexico: "Guardo's a crazy shithead. Anything to blow something up." The contact is Aldo, a Mexican grocery importer. Emolia doesn't know when or where the drop-off is.

Vic doesn't trust Emolia anymore, so he wants her to cite her source. Emolia won't say unless she gets paid upfront; she needs the money so she and Sebastio can live with her sister in Seattle. Shane asks if Lem is going to Seattle too: "Oh, that's right, he can't because he's gonna be in prison."

Well, he got the Washington State part right. Wrong city.
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Shane thinks this is some way for Emolia to pay Vic back after everything he did to help her. Emolia rolls up her sleeves, revealing bruises on her arms: "I slept with this scumbag Ignacio to get this info for you." Two of Ignacio's friends then raped her. "If you made different choices from the beginning, none of us would be ripped up right now," says Vic.

Becca meets Lem in the park. He's incognito, Captain America style with a ballcap pulled down over his eyes.
It doesn't really work for Lem either.
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Lem links arms with Becca, saying, "Make it look like we're on a date." She shakes loose; she can't help him flee the police. "All right, make it look like a lovers' quarrel then," he shrugs.

Becca advises Lem to turn himself in. That turns out to be exactly what he wants to do. But first, Lem wants assurance he'll do his time someplace without One-Niners: federal prison back East. She explains that going fugitive invalidated the deal he had. Lem is willing to plead to federal charges if he has to, admit to everything.

"You can't serve them your head on a platter," says Becca. Lem points out, "Kavanaugh's not gonna stop 'til he's carving me up." She can tell the feds about the money train heist, which he claims to have pulled off alone. He has nothing to say about Vic, Ronnie, or Shane.

Becca asks a logical question: Why did he run in the first place? Lem argues that he's not running, even though he is. Becca knows Lem doesn't have a chance in hell of getting a new deal unless he gives up the others: "You have to think about yourself. This one time."

She might be able to spin the facts as the Strike Team spreading drug money around to prevent gang wars. Lem shakes his head. The Armenian money train was armed robbery, plain and simple; people died because of it. He can't give up the others because they'd all end up doing life. "Open your goddamn eyes to who we are!" Lem snaps.

Becca blinks. She didn't know people died. Lem reminds her, "This is all attorney-client privilege." He'll turn himself in as soon as she makes a deal that involves doing time back East. He'll call in a few hours to see how that's going.

Dutch burns his fingers and spills his drink while trying to get it out of the coffee vending machine. Claudette assigns him and Billings to interview a woman who was assaulted. Dutch doesn't want to work with him. Claudette tells him that's too bad because Billings is his new partner as of now.

Dutch walks outside with an ice pack on his hand while Billings whines about being unfairly demoted: "No respect. Claudette is even moving my desk where everyone can get a good gander Caesar lying in a puddle of blood." Dutch raises an eyebrow: "So in this story, you're Caesar?" Dutch wants to drive, but Billings declares he gets carsick.

Dutch wonders why Billings doesn't transfer if he feels like he got such a raw deal. It's a matter of convenience; Billings is used to his commute routine and counting down his 56 months until retirement.

Vic and the guys go to a grocery store. Aldo is an idiot and has a charcoal grill crackling away inside. To quote Lou from Rescue Me, "Someday, science is gonna be able to isolate the gene that makes people think barbecuing indoors is a good idea." Vic has heard rumor Aldo imports more than Mexican sausage. Aldo says all his goods are legal, which Vic doubts.

How about he and the guys hang around a while? Aldo tells them closing time is 7:00. Vic has a hunch he'll stay open late to take delivery of Colombian cocaine. He's willing to keep Aldo's name out of it if he tells them what time the shipment arrives; they'll bust the Salvadorans afterward.

By the way, how is Aldo at export? Vic needs a package overnighted to Mexico. "How big?" asks Aldo. Vic replies, "About 6'2"."

Vic pays a visit to the hospital, where Danny is holding a bouncing baby boy, named Lee after her dad. There's a long beat as they both look at the newborn. Vic asks if she needs anything. Danny's mom is flying in from Maryland tomorrow and her two brothers are coming over the weekend: "I got more help than I know what to do with." Vic hands over a wad of cash, her cut from the baby-daddy pool. When it comes to newborn Lee, Vic:

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Danny lets Vic hold Lee. Vic says everyone decided to give Danny the money, almost $3,000 in total. "When he's old enough and he asks, I'll tell him," Danny promises. Vic agrees to that.

The guys see Becca talking to Kavanaugh and Edgar-veda. "You think of any scenario where that's a good thing?" Shane whispers. Upstairs, she says Lem wants to turn himself in. Kavanaugh tells her she's obligated to disclose his whereabouts if she knows. Becca is aware of that. "Curtis knows where the Barn is if he wants to turn himself in," adds Claudette.

Becca tells how Kavanaugh plotted with Antwon to jeopardize Lem's life during incarceration. This would pressure Lem into testifying against Vic and the others. Becca wants Lem protected until that accusation can be investigated. He'll take the same deal he had before.

Edgar-veda says that's a no-go; Lem ran. Becca says Lem has promised to plead to new charges in exchange for serving his time in federal prison. By the way, IAD's investigation against Lem is now in the hands of the police committee due to Kavanaugh's misconduct.

Kavanaugh still wants to be the one who finds Lem. He orders surveillance teams to be put on Vic and the others. "You burned your bridges with the chief," says Edgar-veda. Claudette can't spare any manpower.

Vic follows Becca to the parking lot. He has to know if Lem is okay. "Privileged information," she says tersely. Hasn't Vic done enough damage? Should they discuss the armed robbery of the money train or Terry's murder? Becca knows what really happened: "I let you touch me. It makes me sick." She no longer finds it hard to choose between being Vic's friend or Lem's lawyer.

Tori the assault victim didn't see her attacker because she was trying to cover her face. Hey, It's Her! Ally Walker played loved-to-hate-her ATF Agent Stahl on Sons of Anarchy. Dutch remarks that this is a rough neighborhood even in daylight. Tori volunteers as a tutor at the nearby community center.

Billings asks her to come to the station and look at mug books, even though she didn't see anything. Dutch pulls him aside; it'd be better for her to call if memories come back. Billings inquires, "Why don't you figure out another way to get her phone number?" He tries to throw the nonexistent clout he had as acting captain.

A witness comes forward. She saw Tori arguing with someone; the guy took Tori to the ground and started hitting her. Their suspect parks up the street in his green cab, waiting for fares. Billings wants to ask why Tori didn't mention an argument. Dutch would rather talk to the suspect first. He's on the phone trying to find out who owns the precinct's vending machines.

Lem calls Becca from a payphone. She lets him know his offer is under consideration, but there was no hint at whether it'd be accepted. Lem asks her to get a message to Vic. Becca can't without breaking the law, so Lem changes his mind. She warns him that Kavanaugh will be merciless, like he doesn't already know.

At this point, only one other option exists for Lem: witness protection. He says no way. Becca sighs, "Curtis, you're the one with a heart, but now use your head." This isn't about head vs. heart to Lem; it's about not betraying his family.

Ronnie thinks Lem held out as long as he could. "He'd run before he would rat," Shane disagrees. Well, how else did they find out about the money train? Vic calls it an educated guess. They know Lem would find a way to tip them off if they were under suspicion. "Or he wouldn't if his deal meant us going down," says Ronnie. Shane won't believe that until he sees it.

Vic is sure Lem is avoiding them to protect them. They'll meet him at midnight and get him to Mexico. "On whose nickel?" asks Ronnie. Dirty federales don't take American Express. Shane pulls out a check Mara wrote when he told her that Lem was in trouble. The first truly unselfish thing Mrs. Vendrell has ever done. $5,000 should be enough to "keep him in burritos and beer" for a while.
Vic tells Ronnie to cash the check, keep half, and wire the rest.

When he's gone, Vic theorizes Lem could've opened his mouth about Terry. That would give credence to what's otherwise a rumor. "Terry was a decision that we both made." says Shane. Vic forced him to and he feels bad about it: "Lem's gonna hafta hide under a rock for the rest of his life. That's on me too." Shane asks how "skewering Lem" helps anybody; Vic had to do what he did.

Vic asks Edgar-veda what was going upstairs. Edgar-veda wants to talk later, but Vic is running out of "later." Do the two of them still have an alliance against Kavanaugh? Or does Vic need to break out his flamethrower and start scorching the earth?

Edgar-veda gives Vic the details: Lem wants his original deal back, but Kavanaugh won't allow that. Additional charges will be filed because he went on the run. The Rat King was put back on the investigation when Lem became a fugitive. Claudette plans to call the D.A., but for some reason, she wants to give Kavanaugh the opportunity to find Lem. Edgar-veda refuses to get involved with aiding and abetting.

Dutch's suspect Gilbos claims he was driving his taxi at 8 AM. Dutch knows he was seen arguing with and then punching Tori. Does he just go around beating women on the street or did they know each other? Gilbos doesn't answer. "You just like knocking the shit out of random strangers. Works for me," says Dutch, starting to leave.

Gilbos calls out that picking up a prostitute "doesn't mean I deserve to get rolled and robbed." Tori set him up. As soon as he was ready to, uh, get down to business, two black guys came and beat him up. Dutch knows Gilbos he's lying; Tori is a volunteer tutor for at-risk kids.

"That whore flagged my cab. Offered me anything in the book for a C-note." Tori's not only a very conservatively-dressed hooker, she's not a very pricey one. She even had Gilbos pick out a motel. The guys stole his wallet and a chain Gilbos' mother gave him. Tori should be arrested, not him,

"So did you find him?" asks Tori. Dutch confirms they did. Tori's glad to hear it. Will they call her if she needs to testify or whatnot? Billings talked to the community center director; Tori really does volunteer three afternoons a week.

Dutch comes right out with, "Are you a prostitute?" Tori scoffs, insulted he'd even think that. Dutch informs Tori she's now a suspect in an assault/robbery. Tori wants a lawyer.

Out on the grocery store loading dock, cocaine is being put in the van. There's no sign of Guardo yet. Shane observes that an El Camino full of Mexican chicks has driven past the Strike Team van twice. Vic is fairly certain they aren't connected to Kavanaugh. Ronnie has successfully wired the money and set up a meeting in Tijuana. Lem himself is the last piece of the puzzle.

Dutch tells Claudette he's filing for a transfer so he doesn't have to work with Billings. Claudette thinks they can work things out. Dutch only stayed at the Barn because Claudette was his partner. Now that she's captain, it's time for him to go elsewhere. Claudette knows she can't change his mind and agrees to help with the paperwork.

Billings has more background on Tori. She has an M.B.A. and was an account manager for a brokerage firm until she was fired 6 months ago. They let her go after she quit showing up to work. Tori has no arrest record.

Wallis, a black man in a velour tracksuit, enters with Officer Paula, saying he's Tori's lawyer. Claudette looks doubtful about that. Wallis asks if he can see his client or if he has to file for dismissal. Claudette tells Officer Paula to escort Wallis upstairs. She'll check his credentials.

Ronnie says the DEA is tied up doing a sting in Compton; it'll be a few hours before they get there. The guys don't have that long because they have to meet Lem. The Barn has no available backup. Vic wants to go in. Shane thinks that's a bad idea; there are at least 6 guys. Vic argues they can't leave Lem hanging.

Ronnie and Vic go one way, Shane goes the other. Vic breaks down the door. A few of the drug dealers get hit with the butt of Vic's shotgun. "I got rabbits!" Shane yells from the back of the house. "Let 'em run!" Vic calls back.

Shane opens a box that ostensibly contains pork rinds. Underneath the bags, he finds hand grenades. Vic says Claudette can deal with booking the Salvadorans; they need to pick up Lem.

Dutch is still on hold with the vending machine company. "Tyrez Wallis is no more a lawyer than I am a figure skater," says Claudette. In mock surprise, Billings exclaims, "Really?"

It's time to go back upstairs to talk to her, but Dutch is too busy threatening whoever's on the phone: "I want the name of the owner of these machines right now or you will be sitting in a holding cell for as long as it takes me to track it down." Overreact much?

Dutch hangs up and approaches Billings: "You own those machines? Isn't it illegal for department employees to profit from things like vending machines? Especially when you use your position as acting captain to create a de facto monopoly?" Billings sees it as a gray area. Is Dutch gonna snitch on him? Dutch smiles that he hasn't decided.

When Claudette opens the interrogation room door, Tori and Wallis are having sex doggy-style. "Attorney-client privilege?" Claudette asks lightly. Dutch looks upset.

Vic tells Claudette the bomb squad is investigating a threat made to an abortion clinic; they'll pick up the grenades later. Claudette reminds Vic he was supposed to fill her in on every step. He says there wasn't time because the smugglers were about to split up into two vans.

Gallagher arrives to congratulate Vic on the bust. Guardo must really be feeling the heat and you won't like Salvadorans when they're angry. "Better watch your Crown Vics," the DEA agent advises.

Vic pays Emolia. She'd be happy to find out where Guardo is. Vic says for another tip, there would need to be another buyer. Emolia apologizes for her crossroads deal with Kavanaugh: "I did it for Sebastio. You'd do the same for your kids." Shane has heard enough: "Take your rat money and your retarded rat-baby and get on the first bus--"

Emolia shoves Shane against the lockers. Hell hath no fury like a mother whose child has been insulted. Vic grabs Emolia by the arms: "I showed you mercy once and it ruined my friend's life." She shouldn't expect mercy again.

Edgar-veda says the police committee is amenable to a deal, but they want the maximum sentence of 10 years. If Lem turns himself in immediately, he'll be parole eligible in 4 years. Lem will be placed in protective custody, but they can't guarantee a location unless Becca's allegations turn out to be true.

Kavanaugh talks to Edgar-veda in the observation room. Lem's new deal doesn't mention giving information on the rest of the Strike Team. This could be IAD's last chance to nail Vic to the wall. The Rat King wants Edgar-veda to scare Vic into leading them to Lem or catch Vic in the act. Edgar-veda knows Vic won't be that stupid; IAD is on high alert since Lem went on the run.

Kavanaugh knows the Strike Team might've robbed the Armenian money train. Edgar-veda can make Vic think that Lem gave it up so he could get witness protection. IAD will follow the guys and catch them trying to get Lem out of the USA. The guys won't get a lot of prison time for harboring a fugitive, but they will lose their badges. Lem didn't talk; Shane and Ronnie might not be as strong.

"Lem's talking," Edgar-veda tells Vic in the parking lot. Vic calls bullshit. Edgar-veda mentions the money train, which would explain Corinne having $65,000. "He's tired, he's scared, and he wants his freedom. And he doesn't wanna die at the hands of Antwon Mitchell." Not to mention he's sicker than a dog.

Vic knows Lem isn't a rat. Edgar-veda lies the D.A. gave Lem no choice but to roll on the Strike Team. Edgar-veda himself could get in trouble because he was captain back then: "You get a message to your boy and tell him to shut the hell up." Vic would, but he doesn't know where Lem is.

Edgar-veda shouldn't have told him all this, but Kavanaugh threatened him. Vic knows everything he does, so it's time for him to clean up this mess.

Dutch will drop the soliciting charge if Tori talks about Wallis and Spank's involvement in robbing Gilbos. "Spank wasn't there when the cabby got rolled," she says. Dutch thinks she's afraid and offers protection. Tori isn't scared. She loves Spank for "dragging me out of a superficial, empty everything." She was nothing before they met.

Billings heard Tori had a nice condo. "You equate a roof over your head to love?" she asks. Dutch understands her not wanting to be away from her boyfriend, but what does she think will happen when she's in jail? He'll just "set his sights on the next piece of Century City ass that comes his way."
Tori slaps Billings in the face, saying things like "How dare you? You don't know us!" Dutch pulls her away and gets her back in the chair.

Next door, Dutch announces that Tori gave up Wallis. Why would a smart, educated woman with a good job get mixed up with a scumbag pimp? Wallis explains he finds out what a woman needs to fill the hole in her heart and keeps filling it until she can't live without him, then takes it away: "That makes me God."

Tori was an easy mark; her fiance left her for a younger woman: "I just kept telling old girl she was still the prom queen like back in the day. Sooner or later, all bitches break. If you're born a woman, I can make you my ho." Who does this guy think he is, Velvet Jones?

"Call 1-800-I-Wanna-Be-a-Ho."
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Can he leave now that he's given the detectives a free course in "pimpology"?

Vic, Shane, and Ronnie hang around quietly in the weight room. Shane asks if anyone else believes Lem made a deal. Vic says, "Maybe he felt like he had no choice." Becca could've talked Lem into it. The big guy has no clue about his new home on a goat ranch or the money they're wiring. Edgar-veda told Vic about the new deal. Shane thinks the ex-captain is bullshitting them.

"We aren't gonna know what's inside Lem's head until we see him face-to-face," says Vic. They don't need an exit plan; they just need to tell him about Belize. "And if Lem is talking, it's because he believes that Antwon has marked him as a dead man behind bars." Once Lem knows about the plan, he'll go along with it, just like he always does. (And look at how much good that's done him).

They'll go to the rendezvous point and assume Lem made a deal if he doesn't show up. If he does, they'll make sure he's onboard. "He'll be on board," Vic says confidently. Lem trusts them and Vic still trusts Lem.

Kavanaugh, waiting in the parking lot, realizes the guys are taking different cars. He'll follow Vic and have his associate trail Ronnie. There's nobody to keep an eye on Shane, though. Vic calls Ronnie from the road to let him know they're both being tailed. He'd better get a hold of Shane.

Shane's ringtone is, of course, "Dixie." Ronnie tells him that he and Vic are being followed. They have to lose them without looking like they're trying. Whoever loses their tail first will pick up Lem and hide him someplace until they can get back together as a group. Shane sighs, looking nervous as hell.

Lem's generic rental car is parked on a dusty hill outside of town. He hears an engine approaching and hilariously tries to duck behind the front end, but relaxes when he recognizes Shane's truck. "I'm glad it's you," he says, giving Shane a hug. Shane tells Lem they have to get going; the Rat King is tailing Vic and Ronnie. Lem should meet him at an abandoned body shop on Mission.
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Claudette has been reviewing Tina's file and Julien's T.O. reports. She wants to know why Billings ignored the recommendation for dismissal. Billings felt Julien was too hard on her. Claudette lists off the problems: excessive force, contaminating crime scenes, and failure to identify an undercover officer. It's more like a sixth chance than a second.

Billings knows Tina's fieldwork has a long way to go, but the kid has good instincts; that's why Dutch is mentoring her. Claudette clearly had no idea about this. "She's very intuitive," Dutch puts in. Claudette picks up the phone to have a union rep to start the dismissal paperwork. Billings cautions her against doing that.

The former acting captain comes clean about the locker room camera and the pictures of Tina in her underwear that got leaked. He and Dutch handled it. "Uh, all did was find the pictures," says Dutch. Billings scoffs, "You helped cover this up for a shot into Tina's panties." "Asshole," Dutch retorts, even though it's true. Claudette is free to spend her first few weeks as captain watching over a "full-time lawsuit" if she wants.

At the former body shop, Shane parks curiously far away. Lem gets out of his car for a final look at Los Angeles: "Never thought it'd come to this." "Hasn't come to anything yet," Shane replies. He's going back to get Vic and Ronnie, then Lem will be on his way to Mexico.

Lem doesn't relish the thought of ending up like Gilroy. "You're not a miserable drunk," Shane points out, "It's gonna be different." Lem refuses to go anywhere. Shane asks if he really wants to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder for Antwon.

"How the hell am I gonna live in Mexico?" asks Lem. Shane explains about the goat ranch in San Ignacio. They hired a federale to take Lem there. "It's beautiful, man. It's gonna be peaceful," Shane says almost dreamily. I'm starting to have Of Mice and Men flashbacks. Ronnie set up a bank account and "Mara and I even kicked in 5 grand for you."

Lem still says no. Shane swears they'll keep skimming off drug busts so they can wire him money. Lem sighs, "I can't do that." Shane tells Lem to trust them; this will work. Lem wants to take the hit alone.

Shane informs him, "Kavanaugh, Aceveda, the D.A., there's no other deal to make." They'll force Lem to give up the Strike Team. "Maybe not now. Maybe a year from now." And we're in Casablanca territory.

Lem needs to take his one chance to get out of this. "I got it figured out," Lem assures his friend. Shane gets hostile: "Why did you even come back here tonight if you weren't planning on leaving?" Lem wanted to see the guys, his only family.

"Don't do this, man," Shane pleads. Lem is (finally) starting to get suspicious and asks where Vic is. Shane says Vic will call when they lose their IAD tail. All is quiet for a few moments. Shane sighs that Mara is pregnant again, almost 3 months. Lem is happy for him.

"Yeah, it's another mouth to feed," Shane says gloomily. Mara might have to go on bed rest, so he'll have to step up as far as finances go. "I hope I get to see the little guy," says Lem, then adds, "Or girl." Shane repeats "girl" over and over like Lem just predicted the future.

Lem doesn't want Shane to worry about him. "Yeah?" Shane sniffles, his eyes wet, "It's all about family, right?" Distant sirens spook both of them. Lem asks what Vic and Ronnie will do if they can't lose the tail. Shane guesses they might double back to the Barn; he can call and find out. He pats Lem's arm and affectionately grabs the scruff of his neck, then tells Lem to move his car.

Shane, knowing Lem's weak spot has always been his stomach, asks conversationally, "Did you get enough to eat today?" "No, man, I'm hungry," Lem replies. I bet he is after going all over town on foot. It just so happens Shane brought along some food. How thoughtful!

Lem gets in his car. Shane goes to his truck and fiddles with something beside him. He brings a paper bag to Lem's window. Lem pulls out a plastic-wrapped sandwich and smiles, "My favorite." Shane starts double-timing it back to his truck. Lem turns and calls, "Shane? Shane!" Suddenly, the car explodes.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
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Shane manages to duck the debris. He walks over to the car and peeks inside. Lem is in really bad shape but not quite dead yet. Shane kneels beside the window, whispering, "I'm sorry." You are not, you duplicitous bastard! "I'm so sorry, buddy." Shane starts blubbering crocodile tears and walks away. "Lem! You know I'm sorry." Oh, you're sorry all right. A sorry excuse for a friend.

Shane approaches the car, sees Lem is dead, and kicks the tailgate of his truck. You gave him a fucking grenade sandwich. What did you think was gonna happen? Shane gets in his truck and keeps on crying.

Vic and Ronnie are waiting at the original rendezvous point. "What are we gonna do if Lem doesn't show?" Ronnie asks in a quivering tone. Vic says, "He will." No, he won't, thanks to Shane. Speak of the devil and he appears. Shane lies that he had to shake off his tail. They lean against Vic's car to wait for Lem, Shane acting like nothing happened.

Dutch lets Wallis out of the cage. The pimp lucked out; the cabby couldn't ID him and Tori won't testify. Wallis promises to bail her out. Tina tells Dutch that Claudette wants her to spend more hours shadowing him.

Dutch thinks Tina will be a great detective because people won't realize how smart she is. A pretty face can make people assume you're not intelligent. "I know, right?" Tina giggles. Dutch adds, "But you're not nearly as smart as you need to be." If he's mentoring her, Tina better make sure his time is being well-spent.

People start rushing out of the Barn. An indistinct voice raises the worst kind of alarm: "Officer down."

"He's not coming." Ronnie has no idea how right he is. Vic thinks maybe Lem had to hide; one way or another, he'll get a message to them. (Not without a fucking seance). Vic wants to wait as long as it takes.

"Kavanaugh could be at our houses right now," says Ronnie. They have to leave. Vic sends Ronnie and Shane home. Shane the Betrayer wants to wait a while longer. So they do. Vic's phone rings.

Claudette stands beside the car, looking sadly into it. "Your transfer's denied." she tells Dutch, "I need my best detective on this." Dutch knows the weapon was a grenade. With Guardo the Salvadoran weapons smuggler still on the loose, Claudette wants Dutch to start there.

"Oh my God," Tina sobs, "Why?" The other cops are outwardly stoic. The rest of the Strike Team arrives. Vic is horrified by the sight of Lem's body. Shane pretends this is the first time he's seen the carnage. Ronnie puts a comforting hand on Vic's shoulder. In shock, Vic wanders toward the back of the car.

"You happy?" demands Kavanaugh. Vic charges at the Rat King and they grapple. Vic slams Kavanaugh into a car, shattering the driver's side window. Tina shouts, "Stop it!" The two men start wrestling on the ground. Shane and Ronnie grab Vic; some uniforms more or less drag Kavanaugh away.

Vic, gasping for air, announces, "We're gonna find whoever did this...and we're gonna kill him." Shane gets a we're gonna do what now? look on his face, but no one sees. End of Season 5 and the most heartbreaking, gut-wrenching episode of the series. I cried several times writing this recap.
RIP Curtis "Lem" Lemansky
1963-2006
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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"I'm Robbing Boats" (Parody of Lonely Island's "I'm On A Boat")

This is the product of too much caffeine, too little sleep, and a bad-ass episode of TNT's Animal Kingdom. I take no credit for the original version. Spoilers dead ahead.


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Aw shit!
Get your Glocks ready; it's about to go down!
Everybody in the place hit the fuckin' deck
But stay on your motherfuckin' toes
We runnin' this, let's go

I'm robbing boats, I'm robbing boats
Everybody look at me 'cause I'm about to rob a boat
I'm robbing boats, I'm robbing boats
Take a good hard look at the motherfucking boat

I'm robbing boats, motherfucker, take a look at me
Fancy wedding on a boat on the deep blue sea
We're coming on deck; we don't write demand notes
You can't stop us, Eric, watch us rob this boat

Take a picture, trick
#wheresbaz, bitch
We gonna rob this boat 'cause they're so rich
I got my wetsuit and a cell phone jammer
When they hit Catalina, time to drop the hammer

I'm ridin' on a jetski, doin' flips and shit
And Pope is splashin', gettin' everybody all wet
This ain't a game, bro; this is real as it gets
We robbin' boats, motherfucker, don't you ever forget

I'm on a boat and the engine's dead and
We shakin' down guests for their cash and
Can't call the cops 'cause we in a dead zone
We're the Cody bros and bad is bred, yo

Fuck banks, I'm robbing boats, motherfucker
Fuck with me, I'll pistol-whip ya like my brother
I pull cash off the bride's dress, motherfucker
Marco, what the hell'd you do, motherfucker?

Hey, Smurf, if you could see us now
Bags of swag on the starboard bow
We ran this whole job on our own somehow
Toast to success
Now it's time to fuckin' go

Craig said, "Let's go rob a boat"
We shoulda left Marco at home
Hey, Deran, look at me
Never thought I'd see the day
With a boat wedding comin' my way
Believe me when I say
I fucked a bridesmaid

I'm robbing boats, I'm robbing boats
Everybody look at me 'cause I'm about to rob a boat
I'm robbing boats, I'm robbing boats
Take a good hard look at the motherfucking boat

Monday, August 7, 2017

If You Want Something Bad Enough, You'll "Bleed For It" (Animal Kingdom: Season 2, Episode 3)

"When we get there, I'm gonna need you to watch my back," Smurf instructs. J wonders why he'd have to do that at a funeral. They're gonna pay their respects and leave; Smurf hasn't seen Manny in 20 years anyway.

The New Canticle mission drive is holding at $87,000. Baz calls Pope from Mexico, asking for a favor. He won't be back stateside in time to pick up Lena from school. (Shocker). Baz promises he'll be home the next day and Pope agrees to take care of Lena.

Baz is snappy with Lucy, nervous about their first job without Smurf. Lucy's brother Marco arrives. He thought Smurf didn't want him involved in their jobs. Baz explains that he and the boys kicked her to the curb.

Amy asks Pope to lead the Bible study discussion.

A woman looks nostalgically around Deran's bar: "My friends and I used to sneak in here before we were legal." Deran wants to keep the place as "a good beach dive: good, cheap beer, no bullshit." He plans on opening up the main barroom and taking out the drop ceiling. "In a week?" asks Craig. That sounds too much like work to him.

The girl (Heather) asks if they're both the owners. Deran says it's his bar. "Technicality," pipes up Craig. Deran shows the girl a couple of firepits out back, which remind her of San Onofre "back in the day." "That's what I'm going for," says Deran, "Those Friday nights before this place got taken over by all the Newport money and tourists."

Heather announces she had sex in the bar's bathroom once with Jeff, a name Deran seems to recognize. "Oh, you're hired," says Craig. Deran gives him a really-bro? look. Craig wonders aloud if Heather is a sink girl or a stall girl. "Jesus, man," says Deran. Craig can tell Heather's a sink girl. Deran dismisses his brother with: "That's good, thanks, bud." Most awkward job interview ever.

Back to business, Heather says she's been a bartender for 7 years and offers to text Deran with her references. She can start next week if the place is open. Deran only has a temporary liquor license; the state inspector is coming the next day to issue the real one. "My ex tried to get one and couldn't, but he had a record," says Heather. Deran bites his lip.

"Later, sink girl!" Craig calls as she leaves. He nods to Deran. "I like her."

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At New Canticle, Pope argues that God's unconditional love isn't the point of the verse they read. It's more about God's faithfulness and that He will never give you more than you can handle. "We can bear anything if we have to," says Pope, an expert on that subject. Amy steps in before it gets too heated; the beauty of the Bible is that it has meaning to each individual.

On the surveillance monitor, Nicky sees Deran's Scout pulling through the compound gate with Craig at the wheel. She joins him in the garage, where he's loading sledgehammers and assorted tools into the truck. He tells her about the bar.

Nicky informs him Smurf and J will be gone overnight, so she and Craig could have the house to themselves. Craig thinks he'll be pulling an all-nighter gutting the bar.

After Bible study, Amy invites Pope to bring Lena to a church-sponsored kids' softball game the next day. She gives Pope her number, offering to pick them up.

Smurf and J arrive at a house way out in the desert. The long dirt driveway is lined with cars; the backyard resembles a less luxurious version of the Cody compound. Smurf takes a revolver out of the glovebox, warning J that Manny's crew is full of scumbags. When she exits the truck, we see Smurf is wearing a pair of black Chuck Taylors instead of her usual heels.

In the living room, they run into Craig's dad Jake. Hey, It's That Guy! Jack Conley appeared in another TNT series, Saving Grace, as Ham's gay brother Nick. Smurf introduces her baby daddy to her grandson. Smurf and Jake were part of the late Manny's robbery crew before he left California. They met when Smurf was 17 and Jake describes her as "sexy and tough as shit." She sends J to get them beers.

When J opens a cooler in the backyard, its owner aggressively slams the lid down again. The kid is one of the few white faces and really sticks out.

Jake exposits that Javi is now running Manny's crew, even though Manny wanted him gone. Javi beat one of his own guys to death and let his dogs, uh, dispose of the remains.

Craig returns to the bar to find Deran on the Internet, reading up on liquor licenses. Craig suggests they do after-hours parties. "And what? Get shut down immediately?" says Deran. He doesn't think his brother understands the gravity of the situation: "It's on me if some asshole gets drunk and gets in his car."

Craig puts on goggles, grabs a sledgehammer, and smashes it through a wall that's hopefully non-load-bearing. "Stop! Stop! What are you doing?" cries Deran. "Are you kidding me, man?" He points behind him. "I said that wall!" Maybe letting your cokehead older brother help remodel the place wasn't such a great idea?

Pope enters Baz's place with Lena, who asks when her daddy is coming home. "Tomorrow, hopefully," answers Uncle Pope. The kitchen is littered with empty beer bottles and Pope shakes his head disgustedly.

Craig asks why Deran is so tense, even though he literally just explained that. Deran worries his record will keep him from getting a liquor license. Craig shrugs, "Plenty of ex-cons have bars." If the inspector gives him any trouble, Deran can always bribe him.

Craig gives Deran a sledgehammer and a pair of goggles (safety first, after all). Deran hefts the hammer and mutters, "All right, you stupid mermaid" before smashing the wall with a mermaid painted on it.

J is just sitting down with a plate of homemade Mexican food when Javi joins him. He seems jealous that Smurf took in J (not like he's her grandson or anything). As far as J can remember, Smurf's never mentioned Javi. J says he's sorry about Javi's dad. "Manny wasn't my dad," says Javi, though he doesn't elaborate. It occurs to me Javi looks like a scarier, less attractive version of Theo Rossi.

Smurf goes into Manny's room, which has a hospital bed, IV pole, oxygen tank, and other medical supplies. Javi comes in. Smurf gives him an envelope of money.

Javi walks right up to her and creepily sniffs her hair: "I always loved that smell. Reminds me of those Sunday nights out by your pool. You'd bring out all that food and I'd eat 'til my stomach hurt...just to see you smile." So did Manny, Jake, and Javi's dad. "Back when you called us a family."

Javi remembers the night his dad took off; Smurf and Manny fought about what to do with him. Smurf practically growls, "You were a 10-year-old kid. You don't know what you heard." Javi heard Smurf tell Manny to throw him out. He calls bullshit that Smurf just came to pay her respects. Smurf calmly strolls out with a big, ugly turquoise necklace.

Down in Mexico, Marco asks if Baz wants to help him fence jewelry his crew steals from tourists. Baz can't; he has enough to deal with. He loads his Jeep with propane tanks and tools.

Lena looks up from her coloring to see Pope straightening stacks of magazines on the coffee table: "Why are you doing that?" Pope tells the kid the importance of keeping your things in order. He asks her if playing softball sounds like fun and Lena agrees to go with him and Amy.

There's a sudden thud from outside. Pope opens the door to see a pigeon lying motionless on the porch. "The sun blinds them. If it doesn't get up, Mommy hits them with a brick," Lena tells her uncle. They watch as the bird starts to flop around. Pope asks, "How long does it usually take to know if it's gonna get up or not?"

The pigeon raises its wing as if to defend itself. Pope picks up the designated pigeon-killing brick and tells Lena not to look. Before he can hit the pigeon, it awkwardly takes wing.

Lucy tells Baz how much her son Carlos likes having Baz around. Baz hopes the kid doesn't get used to it. She disapproves of Marco trying to play big with Baz; she thinks he's in trouble and might sell the bracelet someplace he shouldn't. Baz agrees to take it back to California with him.

Smurf and J indulge in some vodka in their hotel room. She explains Javi's dad pulled jobs with Manny's crew until he ripped Manny off. Javi's dad supposedly ran off with his ill-gotten gains. Smurf shoos J outside when Jake arrives. The kid tries not to overhear what they're saying.

Manny had dementia and his doctor advised him to record things, just whatever came into his head. All he did near the end was talk into a tape recorder. Smurf seems disquieted by that.

Nicky is disappointed that one of her girlfriends can't come over. She pours herself some vodka and starts snooping through Smurf's room. She tries on jewelry, discovers money in a drawer, and discovers an Uzi under the dresser. Oh, this isn't gonna be good!

"Don't get that gross skin on it," Lena requests as Pope heats some milk on the stove. Pope promises he knows what he's doing. Smurf used to warm up milk for him when he couldn't sleep "except she used the microwave, which was cheating."

Lena asks the heartbreaking question: Is Mommy dead? Pope lies through his teeth that there's no reason to think that. Lena wants to know why her dad isn't sad. "Your dad is sad. He's...secret sad." Pope, Lena is young, not mentally challenged. He goes on, "My dad left when I was little and I'm okay." That is a matter of opinion and mine is that Pope is fucked in the head.

J asks if Manny ran the crew or if the boss was Grandma Smurf. She chuckles that she was only 16 when she met Manny. He took her in after a 30-day stint in jail for shoplifting and taught her everything she knows. Her favorite scam was going into a store with Manny following like he didn't know her. Then he'd put a gun to Smurf's head: "Everybody would stop and stare at the skinny little blonde girl. They'd try to save her...with their wallets."

J wonders how Smurf went from being so close to Manny to not speaking to him for decades. She plays it off as "shit happens." Smurf repeats what Jake said about Manny spending his last days babbling nonsense: "That ever happens to me, I want you to put a bullet in my head. Swear." J takes her hand and promises, "I'll put a bullet in your head." Smurf proceeds to kiss J on the lips, stroke his face, and calls him a beautiful boy.

Craig and Deran take a break from bar demolition to have a beer. Deran doesn't want Smurf to know about the bar until they open; he's afraid she'll find a way to take the place away from him. Craig's phone buzzes. He announces he's breaking up with Nicky (a likely story). Deran thinks it's about time.

After Lena is in bed, Pope heats up the pan again and grabs onto the bare metal handle like the fucking lunatic he is. He stares at his burned palm, then wraps it in a towel.

J pulls into a diner parking lot: "Told you we'd find something open." He asks Granny to get them a table while he gets something out of the truck. Smurf takes a seat at the counter. Enter J, wearing a ski mask and holding a gun. He orders the waitress to empty the register, then demands the customers' phones and wallets. J holds the gun to Smurf's head and takes her outside.

Laughing and cheering, they jump in the truck and drive away. Smurf tosses the bag of phones out the window. Back at the motel, Smurf dumps the money onto the bed, praising J for a job well done: "You're a natural! Not like the other boys...I had to teach them everything." She pulls J down on the bed and they start wrestling, which is all kinds of creepy. "You are fearless." "Like you," J smiles.

At the Cody compound, Craig gives Nicky the famous "We need to talk" line. Nicky cuts him off, asking what happened with Camp Pendleton and why her dad became "besties with Baz for, like, a second." She thinks that whatever he did with the Codys is why he transferred to Guam.

Nicky gives Craig a Smurf-like guilt trip: He'd be dead if she hadn't pulled him out of the fire and in jail if she hadn't flushed the drugs. She wants him to stop treating her like a kid and takes a slug of wine. Craig acts like what he wanted to say was "Don't tell Smurf about Deran's bar."

Nicky toys with a strand of her hair: "I'm tired and drunk and I'd kinda like to have sex." Craig is only too happy to oblige.

At the bar the next morning, Deran is as cleaned up as he ever gets: hair in a ponytail, button-down dress shirt covering the tattoos on his biceps. He shakes hands with Brian the liquor inspector, who immediately starts asking questions. How'd Deran pay for the bar? "Savings," he replies, which isn't a total lie. His other occupation is property manager for his mom's rental houses.

"I have a record," Deran blurts out. He stole a car when he was 22 and served 5 months in jail. Deran reveals more of his background. He used to be a competitive surfer, even qualifying for the West Coast Championships. By the time he was 20, he thought he had a real shot at getting sponsored, "then it just flamed out." Deran was afraid he'd never have anything of his own again and started doing "a lotta stupid shit."

Brian asks if Deran knows the definition of moral turpitude. "I'm guessing it's not a good thing," he chuckles nervously. Brian explains his job is to assess how likely Deran is to commit future acts of it: "Don't give me a reason to turn you down. And thank you for not giving me some story about being wrongly accused or trying to bribe me. You wouldn't believe how many people we turn down for that."

When the inspector leaves, Deran does a kind of restrained happy dance. Deran is my favorite character and I'm so happy to see him have a chance at a legitimate business away from his toxic mom. I hope Smurf doesn't find a way to make it fail somehow so he has to move back in.

At the motel, Smurf leans way too close to a sleeping J and whispers in his ear, "Come on, baby. Time to go home."

Amy arrives with a bag of picnic food and asks to talk to Pope in private. She wants to come clean about something. Amy lost custody of her 8-year-old son Christopher because she got into a DUI crash with him in the car. He wasn't hurt, thankfully. She didn't want Pope to hear it from someone else and understands if he can't see past it. Oh, I wouldn't worry about Pope judging you; DUI is nothing compared to murdering your adopted brother's baby-mama.

Amy notices Pope's bandaged hand. He fibs that he burned it helping Lena make pancakes. He suggests they eat Amy's picnic food on Baz's porch instead of going to the softball game.

Baz shows Gia the emerald bracelet he brought in from Mexico. She isn't sure what she can get for it, but she'll ask around. Baz tells her he'll be bringing in credit cards a few weeks from now. Gia balks. "Smurf told you not to work with us, didn't she?" Baz guesses. He and the boys could bring her a lot of business. Gia is sorry, but she can't help him.

Pope hears Baz's key in the lock and turns to his niece: "Remember what I told you." "Don't talk about the lady from the church," Lena repeats. She runs to give her dad a hug.

Outside, Baz shows Pope the tools he bought for the church job. He tells him the bad news about Gia and Smurf's fence in San Pedro. They can't find a new trustworthy buyer for the credit cards in two weeks. "Gia was hustling antiques on the Strand before Smurf found her," grumbles Pope. Baz suggests they make a new fence instead of finding one.

Deran, pulling down brightly painted ceiling tiles, asks how the breakup went. Craig is all "yeeeaaahhh, about that." Deran isn't surprised.

Baz sweet-talks Gia's business partner Monica. Loyalty to Smurf got him nowhere. Does Monica honestly expect any different? Also, does she know anyone who can handle 400 credit card numbers?

At home, Smurf places the ugly turquoise pendant on her bed amidst the stolen cash and wallets.

Meanwhile, in Arizona, Javi opens a cigar box and finds Manny's tape collection. End of episode.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Guest Review: "Lone Hero"

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Lou Diamond Phillips plays a different sort of outlaw than we have seen him play before, a biker who heads up a gang of motorcycle misfits called the Iron Bandits. When we first meet the gang at their clubhouse in Idaho, the first thing Bart (Lou) and his boys do is kill a state trooper. (Note: Lou wears a very interesting pair of bright yellow boxer shorts with a Wal-Mart smiley face licking its chops on the front).

Bart meets our hero John (Sean Patrick Flanery) when the gang rolls into Profit, Montana. John works at the local pioneer reenactment village with his buddies and ex-girlfriend. With the help of another Iron Bandit, Bart robs the bar where John is getting a few drinks after a day of playing cowboy. The biker also nearly beats bartender Smoky to death and threatens John to keep his mouth shut.

Profit is so small that there are only two cops who John, our Wild West show bad guy and real life hero, calls once he cuffs the bikers with the help of a gun that shoots blanks. He's helped by ex-girlfriend Sharon, who is expecting to leave town soon to attend UCLA for the fall semester.

John is everyone's friend at the reenactment village until the Iron Bandits close in on the failing attraction, seeking revenge on behalf of their embarrassed leader. Smoky's friends just want to go on with their lives without any trouble.

John's closest friend is the park's grizzled trick shooter Gus, a guy with a shady past who gives our hero a hand shutting down the bad guys. Though fearless and intelligent, Bart is still a thug and must, in the end, be put down. Bart has killed cops. He almost killed Smoky and doesn't want to leave loose ends, namely John and Sharon.

Most of the movie involves John and Sharon trying to stay alive with Gus's help while the Iron Bandits try to wipe them off the face of the earth. The movie is a basic good prevails over evil tale, which leaves us with a sense of satisfaction. There are a lot of tense scenes that get your adrenaline pumping. Bart's continuous chatter also jangles the nerves.

No lawmen, a reluctant hero, a steadfast older friend, deck stacked against the good guys, and plenty of shooting. Good action, good emotional triggers for a low-budget movie. It leaves the viewer satisfied that all is right with the world.

Monday, June 26, 2017

As Craig Said, "Karma" Is a Bitch (Animal Kingdom; Season 2, Episode 2)

Nicky snorts a line and Craig asks her, "You really wanna do coke before you go to school?" Surprisingly, he doesn't do any himself: "I wanna sleep sometime in the next 100 years." Craig plans on taking downers to sleep until Nicky gets home later.

Nicky straddles his lap and plucks the joint from between his lips. Craig takes it back from her; mixing drugs is an art she hasn't learned yet. "Who needs school when I've got you, Professor Cody?" she purrs. They start kissing. Nicky stands up and pulls Craig toward the bedroom. Unbeknownst to them, the joint is still smoldering on the couch.

Lucy comes into Baz's kitchen, glad she didn't wake him up. He offers her coffee. Lucy would cook breakfast, "but all you have is protein powder." Baz likes Lucy being around. How about they go to dinner later? Lucy gives him a look. "What?" he says, "It's dinner."

It seems Lucy is like Baz's last hook-up; eating together automatically means they're in a relationship. "Maybe I just like watching you eat." says Baz. Lucy seductively bites into a breakfast sandwich she brought over. Baz puts it on the counter and picks her up. "You can eat it later," he winks. Lucy laughs and they start making out.

The bar owner is none too pleased with Deran for not having the $50,000; he promises he will by Monday. She reminds him she has other offers. Deran bets he's the only one willing to pay upfront in cash. "You can offer me a goddamn polar bear if you never plan on giving it to me," she says.

Deran will throw in an extra $1,000 for the wait. The bar owner is going to Hawaii next week to dump her husband's ashes in a volcano and needs the money before she leaves. Deran says she can keep the deposit if he doesn't come through, which is more than fair. "Don't mess with me," she warns.

Pope creepily sits on the edge of Lena's bed, watching her sleep. "Where's Grandma?" she asks when she wakes up. Pope whispers, "She's sleeping, so we have to be quiet." "Where's Daddy?" Supposedly, Baz asked Pope to drive Lena to school. He sends Lena to get dressed, looking under the bed for her shoes.

"Trying to kidnap my granddaughter?" asks Smurf. She'd prefer Baz take Lena to school; Lena hasn't seen him in four days. She glances at her eldest son. "What's she supposed to do with two left shoes?" Smurf tells him how important consistency is for children (says the woman whose kids all have different fathers that eventually abandoned them). She adds, "She barely knows you; you've been in prison half her life."

Pope doesn't take the opportunity to rant about how that was Baz's fault. Smurf gets Lena's backpack ready. The kid comes out of the bathroom, dressed for school. Pope has her shoes, Smurf her coat and backpack.

Nicky practices what I'm guessing are supposed to be "sexy" faces in Craig's mirror, arranging her hair different ways. She hears crackling in the living room. Surprise, surprise, Craig's couch his on fire! She tries to beat the flames out with a throw pillow.

When that doesn't work, she goes to the bedroom and shakes his shoulder. "Craig, there's a fire," her voice is barely audible.

"Morning," J says cheerfully. He has scrambled eggs and toast plated up for him and Smurf. She answers her phone. Nicky frantically tells her about the fire. Smurf asks where her middle child is. "He's passed out. I can't wake him up," says Nicky.

While she's talking, she fills a bowl with water from the sink and throws it on the couch. This does absolutely nothing to the flames, which have now spread to the blinds. Nicky hasn't called 911 "'cause I'm pretty high."

Smurf turns to J, telling him to call 911 and say there's a fire at Craig's address. Smurf asks Nicky if Craig is breathing. "Yeah, he's just sleeping. He hasn't slept in a couple days 'cause we've been...kinda partying." Nicky's still talking a mile a minute.

Smurf instructs Nicky to flush any drugs down the toilet. "It's getting bigger," Nicky sounds worried as she passes the living room. Smurf tells her to take Craig's gun out of his nightstand; when they leave, she needs to remember which bush she hides it in.

Smurf decides it's finally time to worry about Craig himself. She tells Nicky to throw cold water on his face. If that doesn't work, hit him in the face as hard as possible. Nicky's slaps barely make contact, meaning Craig doesn't notice them. She grabs his arm and tries to drag him out of bed; he faceplants into the carpet.

Pope and Lena are at Baz's house. Lena spilled juice on herself and wants to put on a new shirt before school. Pope asks what time Lena has to be at school. "I don't know," the kid shrugs, "Grandma Smurf just says, 'Time for school.'" In all seriousness, Pope says, "You need a watch." (Too bad there aren't any left over from last season's jewelry store heist).

Pope hears distinctly female laughter elsewhere in the house. He sees a bra and a pair of panties in the hallway. "Lena, let's go!" he calls. Lena has also heard the laughter and joyfully cries, "Mommy! Mommy!" She stops dead in her tracks, realizing Lucy isn't Cath. Baz comes out of the bedroom.
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"Lena, this is Daddy's friend Lucy," Baz introduces. He picks his daughter up and carries her outside. Pope fixes Lucy with a dead-eyed glare.

Firefighters walk through Craig's apartment, checking for hot spots. A paramedic tends to Craig. Nicky stands on the sidewalk, a police blanket wrapped around her for modesty since she wasn't wearing pants. Smurf starts chewing Craig out then and there, guessing there was enough cocaine in the apartment to earn him a lengthy prison sentence; he's lucky Nicky was there to save his sorry ass.

Craig gripes that he has a headache: "Why'd you have to get her to hit me so hard?" Nicky's pathetic little slaps didn't cause that; it was more likely clonking his head on the floor that did it. Smurf wishes Nicky had hit him hard, then asks, "Why is this shit still going on? Is that girl on birth control?" "Are you done?" Craig wants to know.

Smurf certainly is not. She tells him he's paying to have the apartment redone. Is she supposed to tell her insurance agent "that my idiot son and the teenager he's banging left a lit joint on the couch?" Craig rather insincerely apologizes. Smurf warns him not ask to move back in. Craig rides off on his motorcycle.

After dropping Lena at school, Baz lays into Pope about not sending a warning text.

J, Deran, and Craig cruise down the street in the Scout. "You smell like a bonfire," Deran observes, "All that smoke inhalation can't be good for you. It kills your brain cells. You don't have too many left to spare." He echoes Smurf's thoughts that it's good Nicky was around. They can talk in front of J because he's aware of what Nicky and Craig are doing. To his credit, Craig says, "I don't wanna be a dick about it."

J says he doesn't care. "You don't care that your girlfriend left you for this genius?" asks Deran. J reminds his uncle who broke up with who. Deran takes the opportunity to rib his brother about getting J's "sloppy seconds."

On a more serious note, Deran asks if J has enough money to move out of Smurf's house. Staying gives Smurf the chance to make J feel like he owes her. The kid shouldn't give Pope and Baz a reason not to trust him. "You stay there, you'll never leave," he advises, "Ask Craig." Craig jabs back: "Hey, asshole, you breast-fed 'til you were, like, 7." He starts trying to grab Deran's nipples through his shirt while he's driving.

Smurf conversationally asks how long Nicky has been living with Craig. According to Nicky, only a few days. Smurf shakes her head: "He sure left in a hurry. He could've given you a pair of pants." Craig told Nicky he was fixing a church's air conditioner with Deran. Nicky didn't know the Codys were religious.

Smurf offers to let Nicky live at the compound. "If it's not an imposition," the teen says with fake shyness. Smurf knows it would make Craig happy. Nicky chuckles to herself.

"You're not staying with me, by the way," Deran informs Craig, "You're filthy and I don't need the DEA banging down my door." "Did I ask to stay with you?" says Craig. Well, not in so many words.

Deran pulls into the parking lot at the megachurch. J gets out first. Craig takes off his necklace and puts on a white polo shirt that reads SANTIAGO VALLEY PEAK H.V.A.C. Deran, already wearing one, ties his hair back into a ponytail. He thinks Craig should have some gum to cover his bad breath. They grab bags of tools and clipboard, doing their best to look official.

Craig and Deran stop at the front desk in New Canticle's opulent lobby. They claim someone called their dispatch center about a funny smell coming from the air conditioner. The secretary doesn't see anything on the schedule. Deran lies that they have to fix some A/C in San Diego later and the rest of the week is booked; they wouldn't be able to come back until at least next Friday.

J heads downstairs. Pope and Baz park outside. The secretary shows Deran and Craig to the rooftop unit. Pope slips into the sanctuary (sidebar: I've been in smaller concert halls) and watches the worship band do a soundcheck.

On the roof, Craig muses, "Churches have all these programs to help people: homeless shelters, giving soup to people who are hungry." Deran asks if he's still worried about karma. Again, pretty sure that ship left port years ago. "If you can tell me that I'm not gonna end up, like, a cockroach, then fine," says Craig.

"Ripping off a church is gonna bring serious karmic vengeance." They should've gone with Deran's yacht wedding idea. Deran would've preferred that too, but Baz is stubborn and he needs money ASAP.

"Maybe that's why your apartment burned down; God knew you were thinking about robbing a church," says Deran. He adds, "Either that, or the lit joint you left burnin' on your couch." Deran is so sassy and I adore him.

Pope notices a pretty blonde woman helping with the sound check. He shyly averts his eyes when she glances his way.

The littlest Cody investigates the vents in the men's room. Baz goes to the church's security trailer, claiming he lost his wallet during Sunday service, giving his name as David Pratt. (Any relation to Chris)? The guard leaves to get the lost-and-found box. Baz takes note of the bank of closed-circuit TV monitors and texts "Go. Now" to J.

J goes down the hall with his hoodie pulled over his head and picks the lock on a door marked EMPLOYEES ONLY. J takes pictures of the inside of the room, which is lined with shelves and boxes. There's a safe behind the whiteboard and one cemented into the floor under a rug.

Baz keeps one eye on the monitors and sees what J's up to. "Sorry, no David Pratt," the security guard apologizes. He suggests Baz check the front office and gives him directions.

Someone who works for the church passes by just as J exits the EMPLOYEES ONLY room. J pretends he got lost on his way to an N.A. meeting (if you ask me, Craig should've posed as the addict). The guy tells J where to go and that the meeting isn't until noon.

Pope goes to the lobby and stands before a table of flyers and brochures. They advertise biweekly Bible study, a mission drive, and volunteer opportunities. "I don't actually have any musical ability. I just love hearing them play," says the blonde woman from the sound check. She introduces herself as Amy; Pope gives his birth name: Andrew.

Pope tells Amy he's looking for a new church. Amy asks where he went before. Pope clicks his teeth and says, "Sort of a non-denominational thing." That's also what New Canticle looks like to me; most denominational ones aren't that big or elaborate (at least not here in Kentucky).

Amy would be happy to answer any questions. In addition to being a part-time church employee, she voluntarily teaches Bible study. She'd love for him to come. Pope asks how many parishoners there are. Amy ballparks it around 1,500 for the mid-morning Sunday service.

Next month, New Canticle is having Mission Weekend. The church hosts parties and raffles to raise money for foreign missionary work. Last year, donations reached $300,000. "I'd love to be a part of somethin' like that," says Pope. Amy doesn't notice his odd, almost singsong tone.

Smurf calls her alarm company to get all the passwords and entry codes changed.

The boys map out the church. J shows his uncles pictures of the safe set in concrete. Craig would rather rob a bank now that the church has so many cameras...because that makes perfect sense. Besides, "people we know go to that church. I thought we didn't shit where we eat."

Baz tells him not to think of it as a church: "They're printing money. They got DVDs and T-shirts and merchandise." Craig wants to put it to a vote. Baz flatly refuses to rob another bank. Pope pipes up with, "If we wait three weeks, we can make 300K. Lady at the church says they do a mission fundraising drive." There are car washes, raffles, and "a fair with rides and shit." Last year's proceeds went to a hospital in Angola.

Craig is now even more worried about karma. Deran can't wait three weeks. Baz doesn't want to take the same risk for less reward. "If this is how this is gonna work, I'm done," says Deran. He can pull jobs on his own. "Go ahead. Go rob a liquor store," Baz challenges, sounding a lot like Smurf.

Deran storms out and Craig follows him. Baz sends J home; he and Pope can take over planning from here. Baz tells Pope they need to present a united front when the other guys are around. J can scout, but he isn't ready for a big-time heist. Whether they rob the church now or in three weeks, they need four people.

Outside, Pope asks Craig why Deran needs money so badly. Craig promised not to tell. Pope wants to know how much. Would Deran do something stupid to get what he needs? "He might," shrugs Craig.

Smurf goes to her storage unit, where she pulls a few bricks of cash and a huge diamond ring out of a safe.

Lucy comes home from shopping and packs to go back to Tijuana. She's been in California for several days and Baz never mentioned Lena is living with him. "Sometimes she stays here," says Baz. Lucy asks, "What's that even mean?" What happened to Catherine? Baz doesn't know; she just left. Lucy questions him in Spanish about why he isn't being honest.

Baz pounds the table. He can't deal with Lucy right now; he's trying to plan a job without Smurf and "the boys are ready to kill each other." Lucy thinks this is classic Baz, changing the subject and getting pissed off. "I had to look that kid in the face this morning and say, 'Sorry, I'm not your mother.'"

Baz is sure Lena doesn't even remember that. (I wouldn't count on it). Lucy says that's not the point. They're no good together and need to stay friends with benefits.

Deran leaves his apartment and throws a black duffel bag in the Scout. "When's the last time you scouted Union Bank?" asks Pope. They have at least three tellers now, plus digital security cameras. If Deran uses a gun, he'll do at least 6 years in prison. "Look, I need money. I'm gonna go get some. Isn't that what we do?" says Deran. Big brother Pope has a better plan and Craig's already agreed to help. Does Deran have a ski mask?

Later, Craig and Deran are sitting in a stolen SUV in a beach parking lot. Craig checks out a food truck's menu with a pair of binoculars, wondering aloud, "What kind of an asshole pays 18 bucks for a sandwich?" "Pope says they also sell molly out of the back of the truck," adds Deran. Don't tell him that; he'll just go for the drugs and not the cash.

Smurf goes to a Persian rug store and meets upstairs with a woman named Gia. She seems to be Smurf's fence. Smurf wants to sell the ring, which she stole a few years ago. She tells Gia about the "restructuring" because the "boys are gettin' very careless." Smurf trusts Gia to make the asking price whatever she thinks is fair and adds 5% to her commission.

Baz might be coming to the store soon. Smurf wouldn't dream of telling Gia who to do business with, but caution should be exercised.

The Farm to Curb food truck workers lock it up and drive it away. The boys follow it.

Baz has hired Joe, a PI, to look for Cath. The detective has found nothing in the last two months. Cath was still close to a couple of her former foster mothers, but they haven't seen her in years. No bank account, cell phone, email, or credit card activity. "If somebody wants to, they can get pretty good and lost."

Baz can't believe this: "3 grand gets me 'She hasn't checked her email'?" The PI suggests Cath could've changed her name and left the country. Joe needs another $5,000 to keep looking. Baz asks if Cath is dead. Joe replies, "I have no reason to believe that she is, but I have no reason to believe that she isn't."

Deran and Craig cut off the food truck, which rear-ends them. They jump out in ski masks, guns at the ready. They didn't count on the food truck workers being armed themselves; after all, they have to protect their drug supply somehow. They make a hasty retreat back to the car. Here's hoping Craig doesn't get shot again.

Pope rear-ends the food truck with a stolen tow truck. The food truck's tires pop and it tips over. The workers shoot at them again. "Hey!" Pope screams at his brothers, "Don't kill anybody!" "Tell them that!" Craig retorts. Pope tosses a flash-bang grenade into the truck and steals the money.

Nicky ambles into Smurf's kitchen, wearing a baggy T-shirt and sweatpants. J, doing his homework at the counter, recognizes the pants as his. "You don't mind?" Nicky's tone makes it plain she doesn't care how he feels about it, "I mean, you don't really wear these?"

They chitchat about the fire, how it was scary for Nicky but totally not Craig's fault. (That's actually true). J hasn't seen her at school lately. "I go sometimes, enough to graduate," she says, then asks, "Where is everybody?" J says his uncles aren't around much since they all had a fight with Smurf.

At a picnic table, Deran, Craig, and Pope toast to a job well done. "We never had any trouble when we did simple shit," says Deran, reminding Pope, "You went to prison 'cause of Baz." "No, I went to prison because a guard wasn't where he was supposed to be," says Pope. Deran knows Pope sees the way Baz treats him and Craig.

Pope knows them turning on each other is exactly what Mommy Dearest wants; he won't take her bait. Craig gives everyone their share from the lockbox. Pope immediately hands his to baby brother; he'll kick in whatever else he has to to make it $16,000 and Deran can pay him back after the church job.

Craig also gives Deran his share: "You don't gotta pay me back, man, but I need a place to crash."

Powerpuff Girls is blasting from Baz's TV. Baz asks his daughter to turn it down. Pope comes in and tells him Deran is back in for New Canticle. Baz mumbles, "I've been alone with her for three hours. I'm ready to kill myself." Lucy went back to Mexico.

They resume talking strategy for New Canticle. Lena ups the volume again. Baz loses his shit, smashing the remote and yelling at her. Pope tells Lena to get her shoes so she can go for a walk with him. "I've been asking her to turn it down for an hour!" Baz complains. Pope says, "She's 7. You put her in front of the TV all day. Maybe she's trying to get your attention."

Baz wants to know if Pope has any other parenting advice. Pope knows kids don't like being screamed at. He throws in, "Her mother left. You're banging some woman that she's never seen before in her mother's bedroom. It's not Lena's fault that your girlfriend doesn't like your kid, Baz."

"You don't know shit and you never will," says Baz, adding nastily, "No woman is ever gonna have a kid with you. Ever." Cue the Pope Stare.

Smurf sighs and looks morosely out into the rainy night. She flashes back to when her boys were little, playing basketball together in the pool.

Pope brings Lena to New Canticle and introduces her to Amy. The Bible study teacher shows the girl to the church playroom. "She's beautiful. Has your smile," Amy compliments Pope. He explains that Lena is his niece; he's been helping his brother out since his sister-in-law left him unexpectedly. Amy invites Pope and Lena out for ice cream after Bible study. That sounds good to Pope.

The bar owner tells Deran to turn the fridge way down when the health inspector comes. He shouldn't put off getting a tax ID number "or it'll take forever to get the liquor guy in here." This is gonna be harder than Deran thinks. The woman wishes she'd sold it sooner, but her husband loved the place. Some weeks, he worked 80 hours.

"Sid had a passion for big-titted mermaids," she muses. That is obvious. She shakes Deran's hand and gives him the keys.

Craig has a beer in his burned-out living room, surveying the damage.

Baz goes to Tijuana and knocks on Lucy's door. He wants to apologize for not telling her about Cath and Lena. "I don't need to know everything," she shrugs. Baz figures Cath left because she found out about Lucy and he refused to stop seeing her. Lucy seems to accept that and invites Baz to bed.

"I probably should've asked you before I told Nicky she could stay," Smurf says to J. Ya think?! "This is your house too. I want you to be comfortable." Are his uncles pressuring him to move out? J wants to stay and I don't blame him. A roof over his head, nice clothes, a pool, not having to worry about where his next meal is coming from? In his short life, J's never had it so good.

The phone rings. Smurf asks J to answer it. When J hangs up, he tells his grandmother, "That was some guy called Jake. He said that Manny died. The wake's on Thursday. Who's Manny?" Smurf replies cryptically, "He's an old friend." She asks if J wants to come with her on a road trip to the desert. He agrees. End of episode.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Rule #1: "Eat What You Kill" (Animal Kingdom; Season 2, Episode 1)

Last season: Joshua "J" Cody moved in with his grandmother Janine AKA "Smurf" after his mother died of a heroin overdose. He quickly learns his uncles are a robbery crew, headed up by Smurf. J and his uncles robbed Camp Pendleton military base. Craig started having sex with J's 17-year-old ex-girlfriend Nicky. Acting on Mom's orders, Uncle Andrew AKA "Pope" smothered his adopted brother Baz's baby-mama Cath with a pillow. He made it look like Cath left Baz, abandoning their young daughter Lena in the process.

We see Smurf wake up and grope around on her nightstand for last night's leftover vodka cranberry with a twist of lime. Elsewhere, Deran and Craig roar under an overpass on their ATVs (or four-wheelers, as they call them in my neck of the woods). Pope climbs up a nearby roof and cuts the padlock on the access hatch. Baz seems to be following a tour group around; the doors on the freight elevator read ANGEL CITY BREWERY. J is in the truck parked outside.

Watching Smurf put on her makeup, I can't help but think of one of my favorite Disney songs "Perfect Isn't Easy" from Oliver & Company. In her silk robe, Ellen Barkin perfectly channels the poodle who sings the song in the movie. But I digress.

Pope sneaks into the brewery and cuts off the security cameras. Baz and the tour group are off to do a beer tasting. He waits until they all move on, then meets up with Pope, who'd been crouched on the stairs. They go to a makeshift office and strap a safe onto a dolly.

Craig and Deran park their ATVs, the former shimmying up a ladder to open a grate. He passes Baz a black duffel bag full of tools. J sees a delivery truck pull up to one of the brewery's service entrances. He immediately texts his uncles to sound the alarm, then opens the console, where he's stashed his gun. To create a less lethal diversion, J drops two lit road flares into nearby dumpsters.

The delivery driver spots the flames and activates the fire alarm. We hear sirens racing toward the scene. J coolly drives away in the truck. Pope and Baz lower the safe through the manhole on a winch. Craig and Deran load the safe onto a trailer hooked up to one of the ATVs.

At home, Smurf is still primping in front of the mirror.

J puts dummy plates on the truck, along with magnetic signs from the LA Division of Water and Power. He drives through a fence to rendezvous with the others. A homeless man appears in the tunnel with his shopping cart. When Deran swerves to avoid a deadly collision, the ATV tips over. The trailer and safe also thud to the ground. Craig and Baz hastily right the ATV.

The four head for the truck, Pope riding tandem with Deran and Baz sitting behind Craig. They load the safe into the truck bed and toss a blanket over it. Deran and Craig ride away on their ATVs; Pope and Baz stay in the truck with J.

While Pope cracks the safe, Craig chugs some tequila, laughing to himself. Deran grabs the bottle and pissily asks what's so funny. "You remember when you and Pope duct taped this to that shopping cart when we were kids with the Roman candles on the side? Sent it down Quarry Hill?" asks Craig, "I still have a scar on my ass from when I bounced out of it." "You got off easy, man. I went off the cliff in that thing," says Deran, "I hit the lake like cement."

Pope tugs on the safe's handle. The fruits of the boys' labor look more like the inside of Al Capone's vault.

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 "Oh, you gotta be shitting me," says Baz, looking at two small piles of money. Pope grips his head; he can't believe it either. In a fit of temper, Deran smashes the tequila bottle.

When the boys get home, Smurf is dishing out the traditional post-heist snack of apple pie. Baz drops their tiny haul on the counter. Deran, sporting a wicked scrape on his cheek, cracks a beer.

The Codys assemble in the living room to debrief Smurf. Deran slumps on the couch, holding an ice pack on his face. Pope deliberately sits with his back to Smurf. No one saw them at the brewery, which, according to Baz is "the only thing about the job that went right." Smurf praises J for his quick thinking in starting the fire.

"We're all okay, by the way," grumbles Pope. Deran thought there was supposed to be more money "north of 90 grand." Smurf flares her nostrils and breathes hard, staring them down. When she finally speaks, she says, "Let's go eat that pie." Pope is quietly incredulous: "We risked our lives for $500 and all she can talk about is pie." Deran gripes that $500 would've at least been an even split.

Pope wants Smurf to explain herself; they all pitched her other ideas for jobs and she shot them down. "One job goes wrong and you're all whining like a bunch of spoiled brats!" says Smurf. (It could be argued that they're all overgrown brats, but anyway..) "What about the jobs that raised you all your lives?"

The boys are still living off their respective cuts of Pendleton. Craig argues Baz is the one who planned that job. Pope says acidly, "Why don't you have another drink, Smurf? I wonder how many cocktails she had when she had the brilliant idea for us to hit a brewery." Smurf looks like she wants to slap him.

Instead, Smurf says, "Maybe it was your fault." They're the ones who thought no one used the northeast gate. Pope says no one did during their weeks of scouting. Do they even know they took the right safe? Yes, and it only had $3,000 in it.

Deran (correctly) accuses Smurf of trying to pit them all against each other. She steps in front of her youngest and starts shouting at him. Baz tries to get her to calm down (yeah, good luck). Smurf rounds on him: "I have to go pick up your kid at school...unless it was something you were planning on doing." Baz doesn't try to stop her, even though she's obviously drunk.

With Mom gone, the boys have a powwow out by the pool. "Why are we still letting her run shit?" Deran demands, "We should just kick her to the curb, man. We're not 12 anymore." Baz thinks Deran is making empty threats; last time he was that pissed, he disappeared to Belize for a few weeks and came right back home.

Pope says, "She doesn't give a shit about any of us. We know it; that's the most pathetic part." She just uses them. He's right, of course, but J gives Smurf the benefit of the doubt. Baz understands they're all pissed, but suggests they talk to her "calmly and with respect" about changing how they operate.

Pope has had enough of their mom's bullshit and will pull solo jobs if he has to. The others agree to talk to Smurf. Craig will go "surf it off" with Deran until Mom gets home.

At a seedy bar, Deran locks eyes with a topless wooden mermaid. A black woman sits next to him. Deran slaps a rubber-banded pack of cash onto the bar, $34,000 in all. He asks for more time; he can get the rest. "I wanna help you, kid, but it's gotta be the full 50 or else...there's nothing I can do," she says.

On her way home, Smurf visits Teddy, her inside man on the Angel City job. She wants to know what went wrong: "You said the brewery paid their illegals with cash." That's correct, but payday is the first Thursday of the month and today is Tuesday.

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Smurf dazedly wanders back to the truck.

Pope sits alone in the desert, flashing back to the night he buried Cath. He sifts sand through his fingers, looking mournful.

Back at home, Craig is watching a skateboard competition on TV while J does physics homework. Craig sighs when his phone buzzes: "Not again. How many times do I have to say the flu?" We see the conversation he's having. Nicky texted, 'Puking too?' Craig replies, 'Yeah, the whole deal.' 

Deran arrives and asks where Pope is. "If he shows, he shows. We don't need him," says Baz. Smurf comes in with Lena. The little girl asks if they can go to the park like Baz promised. Baz tells her to go in the other room and watch cartoons.

Smurf pours herself another vodka cranberry and sits at the table with them. Baz tells her Pope is out "buying a lamp or something" for his new place. He apologizes for the way they all acted earlier: "Who's to blame shouldn't be the point here."

Baz politely tells Smurf they want more say in choosing jobs, pointing out the obvious: "We're not kids anymore; we're grown men here." "Oh, I'm the boss, all right," she counters. Have they all been conspiring against her while she was out? If Smurf wasn't the boss, the three older men would "be in prison right now, or worse."

Smurf recites a litany of terrible things that could've happened had she not intervened: When Baz was younger, Smurf had to bribe a cop to get him out of a jam involving an ATM robbery. Deran got involved with the Hells Angels, shit went wrong, and the bikers "thought [you'd] do better without a tongue." She reminds middle child Craig of last season's naked chair-pissing incident.

Smurf angrily pounds on the table. Baz plays diplomat; they're being honest with her out of respect. They're the ones who take all the risks, so they should get a say in the jobs they pull. It's also unfair that Smurf decides the split.

Smurf lays even more guilt on her adopted son: "When you first showed up at my house, you hadn't eaten a meal in a week! It took me three months to get that lice out of your hair!" Baz yells back, "And not a day goes by you don't throw that in my face! How long exactly do I have to keep kissing your ass for?" "For the rest of your goddamn life," growls Smurf.

Baz adds that "Pope's not even here 'cause he can't stand the sight of you." He's also the person who tries to convince Smurf's biological children "that you're not the cold-hearted bitch you seem to be." Baz leaves the kitchen, followed by Deran with Craig on his heels. Throughout the argument, J has stayed in place and not said a word.

Smurf tells them to go ahead. She'll see how long they last without her. J watches as his grandmother's eyes fill with tears.

Craig snorts a line while Deran drives along in his Scout. The youngest Cody will never forget the look on their mom's face when they walked out on her. Craig thumps the dashboard with his fist and laughs, "No more sucking Mommy's dick!" Closeted Deran lets that pass without comment.

Deran tells Craig not to get his hopes up about everyone getting equal shares; Baz and Pope will be just as bad as Smurf. "We're just grunts to them." They need to come up with their own ideas, like a yacht job Deran's been contemplating.

"We also need to get J involved," says Deran, "Say what you want, the kid's got balls." J has to be confused after watching the fight; it'd be easy to get in his head. Craig asks how they can pull that off. Deran has the novel idea of being nice to J.

Baz tells Pope he should've come to the family meeting. Pope doesn't think that would've changed anything; in fact, it would've gone worse. "Unless you were gonna stab her in the face, it's hard to imagine," says Baz. Oh, don't tempt him.

They sit down at a bar and order beers. Baz has an idea for their next job: New Canticle, a local megachurch. They'll have J help "if he's willing to piss off Grandma." However it goes down, they have to give Smurf a cut. "She's got her building; she's not gonna starve," says Pope, adding, "I wouldn't give a shit if she did starve." He flat out refuses to pay her. Pope goes so far as to wish Smurf had "dropped me and Julia off at a firehouse door the day she had us."

At a gas station, Craig leans against Deran's truck, texting away. Deran comes out of the convenience store and puts something in the cooler. "The kid broke up with her. Why can't you?" he asks his older brother. Craig wants to keep her close because her dad helped them rip off Camp Pendleton.

Deran asks if Craig filled the gas tank. Nope, Craig's credit card got declined. Deran says, "So you've just been standing here not pumping gas?" Uh, pretty much. Deran tries his card, wondering if Craig forgot to pay the bill. Craig says that's Smurf's job. Deran's card works and he wants to pull a job before it doesn't anymore.

"Don't you have to get Lena?" Pope asks when Baz orders another round of beer. Baz shrugs, "It's not even late." Besides, babysitting is a good distraction for Smurf. Baz has still been seeing Lucy, his Tijuana mistress. Lucy doesn't know Cath left because "she'd be up here with a U-Haul in two minutes."

Baz is lonely and horny. He wants to try picking up the blond woman who's been eyeing him; Pope could flirt with her dark-haired friend. Pope declines and leaves the bar. Next thing we know, Baz is at the blond's house; she's rather enthusiastically having sex with him.

Smurf pulls up to the garage in her sports car. She lets Lena out of the backseat and tells her to go inside and get their movie ready. A man in his twenties or thirties is standing behind Smurf: "Manny said you'd still look good. You recognize me? I'm all grown." The guy, Javi, has left her 10 messages.

Javi wants to take Smurf to see Manny (whoever he is). Smurf invites Javi into the garage for a beer. When she opens the refrigerator, we see a pearl-handled revolver taped to the back of the milk carton. Smurf makes it plain Manny isn't getting more money from her; their deal is $5,000 a month like always.

"He's dying," Javi informs her. He's parked up the block. Smurf tells Javi he has another thing coming: "You don't hop my fence and tell me to get in a car." Javi more or less orders her to say goodbye to Manny. She will, but on her own terms.

When it seems a kidnapping might be impending, Smurf opens the fridge and reaches for the milk. Javi asks if Smurf sings Lena to sleep the way she used to with him. He walks away, adding, "You won't need that gun."

Deran parks the Scout by the bar he visited earlier. Craig asks if they're robbing it for termites. Deran scoffs that they aren't casing the joint. The bar's owner just died and the widow doesn't want the place. Deran needs cash to buy it. Craig immediately spots a problem with the place: "You can't even see the 'open' sign."

J leaves his bike outside, entering the house through the sliding glass door. Smurf is drinking again. "Can I still live here?" J asks. Smurf replies warmly, "Of course, baby." J is sure his uncles didn't mean half of what they said earlier. Smurf doesn't have a problem if he wants to do jobs with them, "but you can't be a spy if you want them to trust you. Or at least, you can't have them think you're one."

Smurf has a present for her favorite grandson: a credit card with no limit. "I trust you'll be responsible," she smiles. J doesn't know what to say other than thanks. When he moved in with Smurf, all he had was a backpack full of worn-out clothes, an old bike, and sneakers with holes in them.

Baz lies flat on his back in the woman's bed, alone. He pulls on his jeans and walks toward the sound of the running shower. When the blond realizes he's there, she clamps her arms over her bare breasts. Baz is hungry and suggests they go out to eat together. The woman rudely declines and tells him to let her shower in peace. Baz goes back to sit on her bed, clearly depressed.

Nicky power-walks toward Craig's place and starts banging on the door. Annoyed, he comes out of his room, pulling a shirt over his head. When he answers, Nicky pushes her way in, talking a mile a minute. She just had "an epic fight" with her parents because "Guam is really happening." She's been texting him about it.

Craig lies that he's been sleeping. Nicky's dad has accepted a new job running the sewage-treatment plant at a Navy base in Guam and wants the whole family to go with him. Craig gives her some advice: "Tell your dad to eat a bag of dicks and Guam can kiss your ass."

Nicky starts looking through the cabinets: "Do you have any tequila or coke? I'll take any altered state I can get right now." Craig keeps up his I-have-the-flu story; the doctor said he's still contagious. Nicky offers to heat up some of the soup she brought over. "I don't wanna get you sick," says Craig. Nicky asks him to text when he feels better and gives him a kiss.

When Nicky's gone, Craig takes the container of soup into his room and flops onto the bed. "Who was that?" asks the naked woman next to him. Craig says, "My nephew's girlfriend. You want soup?"

In her room, Smurf is wearing pajamas and smoking a joint while she plays checkers with Lena. Enter Baz. "I told you your daddy would come back...eventually," says Smurf. Baz apologizes for not telling her he'd be gone all night. Smurf sends Lena to pack up her overnight bag.

Baz lets his adoptive mom know she'll still get a 10% cut of their jobs. Smurf scoffs she hasn't needed anyone to take care of her since she was 11. Baz thinks it's the right thing to do "'cause you always took care of me." "You bet I did," says Smurf.

Before she can reiterate how much Baz owes her, Lena comes in, looking for her stuffed animal. Smurf thinks Tigey is by the pool; she'll help her look.

J rides his bike out of the garage, eating a cereal bar. When the gate opens, Deran is waiting for him. He tells the kid they're all going to Baz's to plan some things. J can't; it's a school day. Deran doesn't think it'll hurt to miss a day. Doesn't J want to be part of the robbery crew? He and Craig think he should be.

J relents. Deran puts his bike in the bed of the truck, saying, "I never went to school." "I can tell, man," J sasses.

In Baz's kitchen, Deran lays out his plan for robbing a wedding on a yacht. They'll wait until it's out at sea, "shake down the guests, kill the engine." Baz doesn't see how they can case it. Pope worries more about making a clean getaway in the middle of the ocean.

Baz wants to move ahead with New Canticle, like they were going to two years prior. Pope jabs at Deran, "Unless one camera and a fat guy is too much security for you." Craig breezes in through the sliding door, asking what he missed.

"These guys wanna hit a church. New Canticle," Deran tells them. Craig doesn't like the idea; it's too close to home. Besides, "ripping off a church? What kinda shit karma is that gonna be?" If Craig Cody thinks your plan is immoral, you really need to check yourself. Baz thinks it's a little late for any of them to worry about karma.

Lena interrupts, bringing Baz a picture she drew. Baz tells her to draw another. Lena asks if they can go to the beach, a reasonable request considering it's just across the street. Baz tells her no.

Deran wants to take a vote, megachurch vs. yacht: "J can be the swing." Everyone vehemently disagrees with that. Craig thought equal votes and shares was the new plan. Well, it's kinda hard to have equal votes when there's an odd number of people on your robbery crew.

Deran points at Baz and Pope: "Are you guys gonna be the tiebreaker?" Are they gonna change the rules on even splits too? In a word, yes. Pope feels if someone does more planning or takes more of the risk, they should get a bigger share. They argue about the finer points, like who gets to decide or what if not everyone is involved in the job.

"Daddy?" says Lena. Baz screams, "What?! Lena, how many times do I have to tell you? No beach today, not happening." Lena doesn't cry, but it's obvious she's stunned and hurt. Uncle Pope steps in; he'll take her if Baz says it's okay. Baz agrees; he clearly just wants the kid out of his hair.

Baz dismisses everyone but J. Baz knows everyone thinks it was smart of J to start a fire, "but I think bringing cops to the scene really screwed us." I don't know how things work in Los Angeles, but here in the South, PD doesn't roll with FD without a reason. Being lookout just means observing. J says, "Next time you're about to get caught, I'll just stay in the truck, right?"

Pope stands on the outskirts of the beach playground, watching the kids on the swings. One of the moms approaches Pope: "Your daughter's an expert. It's been, what, like an hour?" Pope asks if another kid on the swings is the woman's son: "He's--he's really good at that."

Playground Mom defies all parenting logic by asking this perfect stranger, "Could you watch him for a second? I just have to change the baby. I left the wipes in the car." Pope can do that, sure.

Still in her PJs, Smurf wraps up five slices of untouched pie. She sighs, holding back tears. Smurf opens the fridge and takes out several big packages of meat.

Lucy meets up with Baz at a bar, impressed that they're being so public: "What if Cath walks in with the guy she's cheating on you with?" Baz doesn't think she's coming back and he wouldn't take her back even if she did. How about they go back to his place? "Am I supposed to just jump at the chance?" asks Lucy, raising her eyebrows, "Is Cath's stuff still at your house?" She'll think about coming over once it's gone. Baz sighs again as his phone vibrates.

Deran goes to Craig's house and finds his brother snorting lines. "You're not doing that shit," he says firmly, "Stop it!" "Are you kidding me?" Craig yells when Deran knocks his mirror over. Deran thought Craig was taking a shower so they could talk more about the yacht. "I was gonna!" Craig insists.

"Showing up to Baz's all coked out...it's not a good look," says Deran. I agree. Smurf and the others treat them like kids because Craig makes it easy. "Get your shit together, man! I'm sick of this! Responsibility!" Deran shouts. Not a word the Codys know a lot about, but Craig is pretty out of control.

At the same time, they get texts from Smurf, announcing meat loaf at 7:00. Craig snarks, "Well, better make sure she takes the first bite." (And also that they don't try to steal Pope's portion). This is a very shrewd move on her part. Smurf knows none of them can cook and the way to her sons' hearts is through their stomachs.

Nicky walks in without knocking, declaring, "I told my dad to eat shit. I'm not going anywhere." She plops down on the couch like she belongs there. Deran gives Craig an I-thought-you-two-broke-up look.

The older Cody boys arrive at the compound roughly the same time, even Pope. Baz is surprised he came. "I sorta had to. I've got Lena," says Pope, opening his car's back door. Baz, who clearly forgot about his own kid, mumbles, "Right." "Uncle Pope bought me ice cream," Lena chirps. Baz sends her in to say hi to Smurf.

Later, Lena plays inside while the adults finish dinner. Smurf is glad everyone still likes meatloaf. "I think we all had a pretty tough day yesterday. Now this is a family and that's never gonna change," she says, then calls for a toast, "May we all get what we want..." "...And never what we deserve," the boys chorus.

Smurf eagerly asks about their next plan, but no one answers. She understands the silence and offers help if they need it. Dutiful grandson J will help her serve dessert.

Elsewhere, a home health nurse changes an IV bag. She tells Javi, "He started screaming again. I upped the morphine on his drip." She steps out for a smoke. The bedside table is littered with prescription bottles. There's also a tape recorder and a small collection of tapes.

Pope stays outside at the table while the others help Smurf wrap up the leftovers. I'm surprised there are any with that crew. Baz comes out to take Lena home and thanks Pope for watching her. J goes to collect the rest of the dishes. Pope whispers in his ear, "Just be careful, man, okay?" J watches for a long minute as Smurf opens a fresh bottle of vodka. End of episode.