"Animal Kingdom" Season 4 Episode 8 "Ambo": Our New Favorite, Mind-Blowing Chapter [SPOILER REVIEW]

Welcome to my new favorite episode of TNT's Animal Kingdom! Come in, get comfortable, enjoy some of the cake and champagne I set out, because "Ambo" gets wild and crazy – ier, crazier than usual.

Well, on a crazy scale of one to Pope, let's put it at like an eleven… hundred. Shall we begin? Spoilers!!!!

With the music festival heist being set up last week, we waste no time jumping right into it – J got the credentials, the boys got the ambulance, nobody knows where Smurf went…wait, what? None of them are that concerned that she just up and left, except for Craig, who brings up the point that there will be no pie at the end of the day for a job well done and everybody back safe. Foreshadowing, maybe?

Animal Kingdom season 4, episode 8 "Ambo": The Codys head out for a big job, even though Smurf (Ellen Barkin) is nowhere to be found. All eyes are on J (Finn Cole) as he assumes a leadership position in a risky heist. Directed by David Rodriguez and written by Bradley Paul.

J is undercover working things from inside festival operations while Deran, Pope, and Craig roll up in their ambulance and jack the sound and light consoles as well as knocking out everyone on the tour buses and relieving them of their cash and jewelry.

Honestly, I don't really even care that the roadie dialogue is completely inaccurate, or that the Hulk couldn't even pick up a full size console from upright in a case, much less Pope and Deran – because this is such a creatively planned heist sequence, I just want to marvel at how it runs like a Swiss time-piece.

Everything seems to go off without a hitch and the three drive off in their handy dandy little ambulance all packed up with goodies, giddy as kids on Christmas morning. Deran drives as Craig and Pope count the cash in the back. Until…

animal kingdom

Holy Shite! The Ambo Gets T-Boned by a Big Rig!

Animal Kingdom is killing it with the surprises recently, because honestly? I did not see that coming. It doesn't surprise me though that someone who has beef with J comes running in and takes all the stuff they got off the tour buses. Of course, this is probably all going to trace back to Mia and Tupi and their score to settle with J, because their storyline kind of fell off and I'm not mad about it.

Sooo… after that very bloody and brutal ambo jack-knifing, Pope, Deran, and Craig are pretty banged up, and Craig likely has a concussion; they get away and head to the bar to assess damage to themselves and the sound consoles, and J waltzes in, having stayed at the festival to maintain his cover. Naturally, there is no pie nor will there be any pie this job.

Of course, the guys are pissed that J was the one planning this and they took the insult and injuries while he was lounging around eating catering and refilling coffee. They have a lively discussion about who jacked their stuff (my money's still on the world's most annoying Latin Bonnie and Clyde – can they just die already?); Pope knows it's someone with a connection to J, but he waits to bring it up privately (read: threaten) J about it.

Back in the 70s, Smurf tracks down Pam, Jake's side piece who ripped them off and stole their van last episode, and Pam tells her to think bigger and also tells her that she's pregnant – also imparts wisdom to her that kids aren't the worst thing. Of course, Smurf doesn't see it that way, but Pam offers her the carrot on the stick: kids are the only people who love you no matter what, which is exactly what Smurf needs through all of this.

Pope comes home to Angela, who is picking broken glass shards out of his side when he tells her, "The job went bad." No shit, Pope – anyone can clearly see that. They then cuddle on the couch watching old VHS scary movies – and of course, Angela has the smuggest look on her face. What is she up to?

Meanwhile, J approaches Pete, the leader of Mia and Tupi's family-gang-thing, who had no idea they were pulling off-limits jobs. Tupi of course is playing the fool and Mia is playing dumb (well, not so much playing dumb; she just doesn't make smart choices).

In a second surprise twist, Pete caps Tupi, execution style! Finally!!!!!!! Pete then gives Mia a chance to come clean, and he says he warned her about pulling jobs behind his back and about crossing the Codys. He leaves her fate in J's hands, and with what we can only assume are her final moments, she uses that to try and manipulate J… like the sociopath that she is. But…

Another twist! J is too smart for her shite this time and – though we don't see it – he shoots Mia point blank after she tries to turn him on his family. Good riddance, you manipulating, ungrateful, lying-ass hussy! One down, one to go – I'm looking at you, Angela.

animal kingdom
Animal Kingdom/TNT

In the final moments of the episode, J tells Pete that Smurf has cancer and he'll be the one taking over, which Pete seems to take in stride. Did J just declare hunting season on the Cody family to a rival crime syndicate? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.

J does manage to get their loot back and clean himself up, and is very clearly rattled and not taking the whole "shooting his terrible ex-girlfriend in the face" thing very well. Time will tell how both J and Deran deal with their first kills. My money is on that Deran will get distant and moody and it will eat him up inside, while J will shut that shit down and become ruthless… just like Smurf.

But time will tell. Speaking of Smurf, any guesses on where she ran off to? Does anyone care? I'm really loving this "making of Janine Cody" look we're getting in the flashbacks, it gives nice insight into how she ended up so ruthless and gives her more dimension.

What lies in store for the Cody boys? Where did Smurf go? When will Deran and Adrian deal with the fed (aka "Agent A-hole") and straight up "Agent Stahl" his ass? (Hopefully never, but I just want him to go away and them to live happily ever after).

A lot of violence and murder in this episode of Animal Kingdom… but I'm not mad! How could next week possibly live up to this? I will totally be tuning in to find out.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Eden Arnold

Having spent far too much time in front of the television growing up, Eden has lots of opinions about television (as well as movies and everything else). She puts this to good use along with her journalism degree and writing experience with by-lines over the years in many print publications, books, and online media outlets. You can find her on Twitter at @Edenhasopinions
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.