‘Animal Kingdom’: Jake Weary Talks Season 2 Finale Surprises, His Hopes for Season 3

Animal Kingdom - Jake Weary
Spoiler Alert
Jake Weary in the Season 2 finale of Animal Kingdom.

[Spoiler Alert: Do not read ahead if you have not watched Tuesday’s Season 2 finale of Animal Kingdom. Consider yourself warned.]

TNT’s Animal Kingdom sure knows how to do a finale, right?

While Smurf (Ellen Barkin) proved that she can be just as ruthless in prison as she is walking free, the Cody boys each realized that maybe having Smurf on their side isn’t such a bad thing as they came to a crossroads in their lives with one of them (don’t be dead, Baz!) possibly a goner for good.

Jake Weary, who plays Deran Cody, the gay son who’s just trying to make a life for himself outside of the family crime business, filled us in on some of his thoughts about where Deran’s head is at, whether the family can survive apart and, yes, Deran’s love life heating up!

To start, Weary had more questions for me than I did for him! Read on…

That was on heck of a finale, Jake!
Jake Weary:
What did you think?

Each episode has amped things up more and more with Smurf still pulling her strings from her jail cell.
What do you think about the whole Baz thing? Do you think he’s a goner? Were you anticipating that?

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I knew something big would happen, but I didn’t see that coming. He can’t be a goner, can he? I mean, it’s Scott Speedman!
Yeah, I know. We’re all kind of asking ourselves the same thing.

What are Deran’s feelings about Smurf being locked up? When he and Craig (Ben Robson) visit her in jail, there are just so many emotions happening.
It’s that feeling where you’ve kind of been hoping and wishing for something to happen, and then when it finally does, there’s a bit of regret or remorse. I think all the brothers kind of feel that way a little bit, except for maybe Baz.

I think when she was put in the slammer, we’re all re-evaluating things, and it’s a little overwhelming for everybody to try and re-establish dominance. Where are you on the totem pole now that the queen is, so to speak, locked up? I don’t think Deran wants to feel sorry for her but, just inherently, it’s his mother being in prison. To see her in a horrible place and to see her so weak for once, that’s a lot to take in for him.

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All that said, how does Deran feel about how things have gone since Smurf has been locked up in terms of the direction the boys have all taken?
Deran likes the way things are moving. He likes being able to call the shots now. That was always kind of his weakness, was Smurf interfering with the way they were organizing jobs that she initially came up with. Now that she’s out of the picture and those variables are non-existing at this point, it’s kind of beneficial for Deran. He is inherently smarter, and it gives him more of a position of power, not having to deal with Smurf in that regard. At the same time, it’s definitely a learning process for all of them, how they deal with things on their own.

We’ve seen Pope (Shawn Hatosy) go to some real emotional depths these past few episodes, and for good reason. But is Deran aware of any of this?
I kind of had to create that bit of context for myself. It definitely feels like on the periphery, Deran is concerned and knows that there definitely is something going on between Pope and Baz, and it’s one of those things that Deran and Craig know that it’s like the forbidden territory to get into.

That’s just one of those unspoken agreements that we don’t go butting into their business, and vice versa. Yes, we’re business partners but at the same time, we are also family. They all kind of had their own s**t to deal with, and that’s the interesting aspect to this relationship, or all of the relationships between brothers. How willing are they to give support to each other, how emotionally available are they for each other?

There’s also been some acknowledgement that Deran is often more of a parent to Craig despite being younger. Do you think there’s a limit to how far Deran would go for Craig?
You saw that line, honestly, in that episode with Alejandro. I think that is kind of the line right there. If it’s putting what Daren has worked so hard for in jeopardy, I think that’s the line. I can’t have your back on this because you’re putting me and yourself in danger. That’s breaking the [family] pact right there.

There’s a balance there. Deran does want to take care of his brother because he loves him and I think he sympathizes with him a bit. He’s empathetic towards him, but to a certain extent. There are definitely feelings that happen where I think Deran kind of really wanted to put a bullet in Craig’s head and just end it.

But can any of these people exist without the others around to some degree? They can’t seem to quit each other even when they know it might be for the best.
It’s a case of when something is diminished, the other flourishes, or vice versa. You never know. Would Deran be able to continue safely without his muscle there? Without his brother? It would be interesting to see. That’s something that I kind of hope they dive into in Season 3, honestly, is how these people operate without each other.

Since the last time we talked, I’m glad Deran has been getting a bit more action!
(laughs) Yeah, he’s an adult that can make decisions for himself now. It’s also one of those things where he might not totally be smitten with these people, but it’s more for himself. He can just please himself and know that he can be wanted and that there are people that want him and are attracted to him. He’s just been living with a bunch of masculine, hyper-masculine bro-y guys his whole life, and he’s been under this blanket of self-doubt. Now that that veil has been lifted, it’s fun to see where he goes.

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He’s definitely come a long way, because we saw that when J (Finn Cole) walked in on him with another guy in the backroom, Deran is very open about what’s going on.
The interesting part of that scene was that that wasn’t originally how that scene was written. I actually got that scene and wasn’t totally happy with how it was written because I really wanted to show the audience how much of a difference there was with Deran and his comfort level around his siblings and with his sexuality. Originally, it happened where he’s with this guy, Jay walks in, and Deran tells him to get out, and then he meets him outside and talks to him and says “it’s all good. It’s okay that you saw that. It’s fine.”

I brought it to the writers and I was like, “Hey, what if maybe he doesn’t leave the room and he keeps Jay in there and it’s just even more awkward?” I just felt like it’s more effective to show how much more comfortable Deran is with his sexuality in that situation. The writers were just completely jazzed by the idea.

Animal Kingdom will return for Season 3 in 2018 on TNT.