"Animal Kingdom": Why [SPOILERS] Death in "Ghost" Was "Smurf-tastic" Move for Series' Future [OPINION]

If you haven't seen this past week's episode of TNT's Animal Kingdom, "Ghosts"?

What are you waiting for? Go watch it!

If you have seen it, then let's dive into that ending a bit, shall we?

Oh, and spoilers – major spoilers – lie ahead.

Ready then? Let's go!

Sooo… how about that ending? You know, the ending where Smurf totally has a death wish and then, like always, she gets her way. Yes, the ending in which J shot Smurf in order to save Pope's life (kind of). It's a wild, wild Animal Kingdom and I am here for it.

Sadly though – and understandably – not all fans are here for that little "surprise" they sprung on us. Perhaps the most surprising person who wasn't into the twist is Ellen Barkin, Smurf herself.

She tweeted about her character's death…but she also retweeted a little spicier tweet from one of her friend's and a stunt woman on the show. It's great, but honestly? I have mad respect for John Wells and the writing team.

Why? Do I hate Smurf? Not at all.

It's no secret that I love me some Cody boys, but this doesn't mean I wanted Smurf to die. That said, I am very glad that she was killed off – it keeps the show fresh, and it's a message from the show creatives that they are committed to telling the best story in the best way and staying true to all of the characters, and nobody is safe.

It was a natural character progression for J: we knew that he has been eyeing Smurf's empire since before day 1, and we knew that endgame was going to be him killing Smurf in order to take over as the ruthless underdog-turned-criminal-kingpin that he strives to become.

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Pope needed to get out from under Smurf's thumb, but now that he is, will he be completely lost without her, like she thought? It's a great story line to explore, and I can't wait to see more of it. The only question now is will Angela be his replacement mother figure, guiding him into all of his questionable choices, or will he actually listen to J and his brothers?

Speaking of Deran and Craig, I cannot wait to see how Craig grieves and this happening right now helps form his style of parenting; will he and Renn get out of the game before it drives them crazy like Smurf? Will this force them to look in the mirror and make the effort every day to put their kid before anything else?

Deran, of course, has had a rocky relationship with Smurf for awhile now, and her ordering him to kill Adrian was just the cherry on top of that awful rocky [road] sundae. (Okay, so it's lunchtime and I'm hungry. You know what I mean though!) Just because someone you hate dies doesn't make you immune to the grief process, and I think that's going to be a rocky road (okay, I'll stop) for him to navigate. I just hope Adrian sticks around long enough to help him through that, but I'm really nervous that he won't make it to the end of the season.

So… who's ready for next week's finale? Just give me some time to recover from that bombshell of an episode first, okay, Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom season 4, episode 13 "Smurf": In the aftermath of Smurf's heist, the Codys work to protect their reputation while friends and enemies from the past close in; Deran realizes there is only one way to keep Adrian safe; Pope and J's growing tension reaches a boiling point.

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Eden ArnoldAbout 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
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