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S03.E13: The Hyenas

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Why does J hate Smurf?  In addition to the way she treated his mother, Smurf has mishandled J badly throughout the season. First, she suspects J got to her stuff before Pete could, but there is no reason to think J had any idea where it was hidden.  Next, when he realizes there is not enough available cash to pay the bills, she insists he use his own stash.  This would be a big deal to a kid who grew up with nothing.  And he can't have all that much anyway...just the money he got when he helped Pope steal the payroll from the gardening firm in S1, whatever he was given for his part in the heist from Camp Pendleton, his cash share and what he helped himself to from the boat heist, and the money from the church robbery.  Baz gave him some money which he evidently used for the truck, and Smurf gave him cash to live on just before she went to jail. This seems like a lot until you realize that the lawyer's bills were like $80,000 a pop. 

Next, she ordered him to track Javi's crew down, risking his life; made him go without body armor to meet Lucy and, alone among the boys, was stuck at the warehouse shootout with no gun or vest.  Meanwhile, none of the others even go to see her in jail, resist having to contribute to a heist to pay for the bills on their buildings.  He is sure if Smurf finds out he has sold the buildings she will kill him as she had Baz killed.  Also, he suspects Mia began following him on Smurf's orders.

it seemed during the first couple of seasons that J had wormed his way into her affections, but she turns on him almost immediately when Baz takes her stuff, suspecting J was more than a patsy.  He saves her life in the garage.  Maybe that is why he is allowed to live when she finds out he sold three properties.  She probably thinks he now has a million plus in cash, but of course he used the money to buy the bowling alley.  (Etc)  So I guess she won this round...but did she?

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At the end of first season, J says outright that Smurf kept a roof over his head. That's part of the way she treated his mother and him. So if he was lying then, he was always planning to steal it all. If he just hated Smurf for otherwise cutting off Julia, turning states' evidence was the best move. Julia's addiction almost certainly meant there was no way that Smurf could give Julia any cash, just pay rent, utilities, etc. But I suppose J might just have seen that as Julia selling out cheap. Of course maybe J took out his resentments of Julia by hot shotting her. So it seems highly unlikely that J's hatred was inspired by recent events.  

By the way, the simplest way for Smurf to know where Baz hid the money was to have Morgan check on any financial moves by Baz, see the new house, who sends someone to check it out who can spot fresh drywall/paint. J's smart but I don't think he could have done that, yet.

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I think it was meant to show a couple of predators (hyenas) getting set to chew up their prey, that being Smurf.  Whether the "prey" is going to lie down and die is left to S4.

I thought the shot of Pope watching the nature show with the wild cats devouring their prey was a nice nod to the series title. They've never really articulated the meaning of the show's title in the dialogue.

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And why aren't the cops putting this family under surveillance? 

The cops have been watching the Codys for years. They've known from the outset they were the ones who burned down the house where Catherine's family lived and killed them all out of retribution. They were all over J the minute he moved in with them. But realistically the cannot devote all their resources to surveilling the Codys indefinitely. Eventually they'd have to move on to other things.

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If J wanted revenge he could have ratted out Smurf back in season one. 

I think we might be taking it for granted that J wants revenge on Smurf because of his mother. It's entirely possible this is more about Baz. You have to figure J knows Smurf had Baz killed, so if J believes Baz was his father it might be more about that. I don't know how much better off Julia would have been if she had remained part of her family. Look at Craig, he's not much better in terms of drug use and Smurf sure hasn't kicked him out. 

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Seems like Smurf said to pete when she handed him the money lets finish this, which we found out was Lucy being killed. It came full circle, she had  destroyed the ones that had betrayed her. So J is playing with fire, but seems he is ready to take her on ! 

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At the end of the first season, the final shot is of J fingering his new Beretta and glaring at all the family members gathered around the pool.  So definitely he has been nurturing feelings of hatred for a long, long time, all related probably to his desperate childhood.  

In that case, why did he not rat the family out to the cops in Season One?  Maybe because this will not get him what he actually wants...the family money and lifestyle.  Sending them to jail just lands him in foster care...  The reason he called Smurf in the first place was because he knew they were wealthy and because his only other option was foster care...only, maybe in California 17 is too old for that?  He told Smurf in the final episode that he thought she had kept a roof over their heads...but this season has made clear that at times they were actually homeless and hungry.  So Smurf apparently provided a minimum.  Also:  the teacher warned him not to tell the cops about anything that would implicate him.  He had been involved in the two major crimes he might have been able to tell them about first hand...the watch heist where he had helped steal a car and the Pendleton heist he had helped set up by setting the fire in the building.  So he really has nothing to give them.  He did tell them about the things he has heard the boys talking about, but the cops were not satisfied with that info.

Next:  in Season Two, he seems to warm to Smurf and tries hard to worm his way into her heart, for instance by instigating the hold up of the diner in Arizona. (But note the underlying threat when he promises her to end her life before she dies as Manny did.) But when Baz asks him what he is going to do with the "free money"($20,000) she gave each of them after the home  invasion, J said, "nothing is free."  Then, when working to steal Smurf's storage unit, Baz suddenly gives him fatherly advice about Smurf..."Don't want you to make my mistakes..."  Oddly that all plays out in the last season. 

As noted before, in the latest season, Smurf mishandles J.  She takes him for granted and orders him to use his own money (and if he paid the lawyers from his own stash as well as the protection money, he would have exhausted his savings.) She ought to have directed him to sell the land in Carlsbad he later sold secretly. Then she orders him to confront the very people in the desert who had nearly killed him in the pool. She orders him to go see Lucy but forbids his use of the body armor. He sees that having POA is a terrible burden (unless he does what he did!) and the Smurf is using him just as Baz had warned him she would.  He kills Morgan in a desperate effort to cover his sale of the properties.

Why does Smurf not kill him when she finds out?  Maybe because a) he has just saved her life, and b) she sees he is very smart and thinks she can get him back in line and use him further.  So she nullifies his actions by giving everyone property.  Earlier, she tried to break up his relationship with Mia, I suppose to cut off associations outside the family.  But, if she heard J's whisper in her ear, a war is about to unfold in Season 4.

Pope still has his DIY murder kit.  At the end, he and J seem to be declaring war with each other.  So... which side are you on, bro, which side are you on?

On 8/22/2018 at 8:44 AM, Joimiaroxeu said:

Whoa, did not see that hit coming. But why take Lucy out now? Is Smurf going to pin it on J?

So who did Pope kill this time?

Smurf took out Lucy because she knew that if Pope did not kill her (Smurf) for killing Baz, Lucy would.  Some people do not seem to remember all the people we know Smurf has killed or had killed:  Javi's father, the guy in season one who had abandoned her mom and her, Catherine, Catherine's parents, Javi, Baz, and who knows who else.  J expected her to take him out if he could not shift the blame to Morgan for the theft of the properties.  She had also, for the most part,  abandoned her own daughter and grandson.

Pope has not killed anyone (new) yet.  He intends to kill Smurf for killing Baz, but she seems to have forestalled this with all her gaslighting.

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Amazon Prime recommended this show to me and I am SO grateful they did - I had never even heard of it.  Now having binge-watched all three seasons I'm feeling left alone and sad that I have to wait for another season.   I have to say I think Hatosy is a fabulous actor - he plays a broken man so well.   All the boys are easy on the eyes but Deren is my particular sweet candy!    I love his scenes with Adrian - particularly Season 3 where they were more of a support system for each other rather than just sex.   Then there's Ellen Barkin- wow.   They'll never be able to kill her off or send her to prison because she really is the heart and soul of the show - depraved soul that she is.   She's fierce, she's determined, she's afraid of nothing and she's got to be the most manipulative "mother" I've ever seen.   Not to mention the creepy sexual overtones with her boys.    Having come into the show three seasons in - I'm wondering if anyone in the cast has ever been nominated for Emmys?  I think Hatosy and Barkin have been robbed if they haven't been nominated...

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On ‎8‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 8:46 PM, mxc90 said:

The sharks didn't get Morgan? Meal wasn't tempting? Even they don't trust J.

 

This explanation has nothing to do with the show. But I'm sure you have heard the joke. Sharks don't eat lawyers out of professional curtesy.

 

On ‎8‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 12:21 PM, misstwpherecool said:

Smurf knows  of J's and Mia's relationship. I don't know if she's setting up J though. Smurf would exploit that always keeping J in the dark looking over his shoulder. Manipulation is her thing.  I think Lucy's family might find a tape of the conversation of Lucy and Smurf at the bus terminal where Smurf says she killed Baz. Lucy's cartel staff and friends would probably act on that as much as anything along with revenge for Lucy's brother.

It may be another reason why Smurf explicitly told J that Baz was his father. Mia is only person outside the family that J feels he can trust to any degree. But if and when J finds out that Mia was the one who killed his father, it might screw up J's relationship with his only ally outside the family. That may be Smurf's intention.

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Yeah, Pope is finally going off the rails. I guess it was inevitable, with his family never really doing much to help his often fraying mental health, and the general drama of their lives. Pope is scary as hell, but I really feel sorry for him none the less. between his mental health problems and having Smurf as a mom, he was screwed from the start.

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 I'm wondering if anyone in the cast has ever been nominated for Emmys?  I think Hatosy and Barkin have been robbed if they haven't been nominated...

Sadly the show has gotten zero Emmy love during its three seasons on the air. I don't know how it's overlooked because it has some decent star power behind it with Barkin and Speedman. I guess it just gets lost in the shuffle with so many broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and streaming dramas to choose from. 

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On 8/22/2018 at 12:58 PM, sugarbaker design said:

Pope is attached to Lena, his niece, because he is profoundly guilty about murdering her mother.  Nothing about the writing or acting even suggests a hint of pedophilia.  That's why nobody else thought of this.

 

Right.  But also, doesn’t Pope still think that Lena is (possibly) his daughter?  Her mother basically left that as a possibility as well.  She said something like his “problems” and her dual involvement with Baz was the reason she never told Pope.  She told him that before Smarf demanded that he kill her.

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The thing that confused me was the Morgan murder and J dressed up as Dexter Morgan....

one of three possibilities come to mind:

1) J figures out why Smurf gave him power of attorney - to use him and his clean record for her money laundering business.   His convo with Morgan confirmed to him that they were setting him up as the fall guy.

2) Morgan was stealing from Smurf and J saw his chance to strike.  

3) He saw his opportunity to try to beat Smurf at her own game.  

 

All seem plausible.  But his “use” of the Notary Public in nursing home, etc seemed like red herrings meant for Smurf OR were set ups by Morgan to implicate J while she made off stealing from Smurf.

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On 9/16/2018 at 11:06 PM, Noirprncess said:

The thing that confused me was the Morgan murder and J dressed up as Dexter Morgan....

one of three possibilities come to mind:

1) J figures out why Smurf gave him power of attorney - to use him and his clean record for her money laundering business.   His convo with Morgan confirmed to him that they were setting him up as the fall guy.

2) Morgan was stealing from Smurf and J saw his chance to strike.  

3) He saw his opportunity to try to beat Smurf at her own game.  

 

All seem plausible.  But his “use” of the Notary Public in nursing home, etc seemed like red herrings meant for Smurf OR were set ups by Morgan to implicate J while she made off stealing from Smurf.

Morgan wasn't stealing from Smurf, J was. Killing Morgan removes her from Smurf's use, she's going to have to get another shady lawyer. When she wouldn't go along with J's plans she became a threat to him and so he tried to set her up for stealing from Smurf, that quickly didn't work so on to plan B; removing her piece from the game board.

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On 9/17/2018 at 1:06 AM, Noirprncess said:

All seem plausible.  But his “use” of the Notary Public in nursing home, etc seemed like red herrings meant for Smurf OR were set ups by Morgan to implicate J while she made off stealing from Smurf.

Previous poster cleared up the enumerated items but I believe (it’s been a while since I watched the episode) J used the notary in the nursing home because he knew he would be an unreliable witness. And it ended up being a nail in his coffin because Smurf realized the nursing home was close to where Julia and J used to live (or something to that effect).

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