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Spoilers ahead for the penultimate episode of Animal Kingdom Season 4.
The second to last episode of Animal Kingdom Season 4 did the unthinkable and killed off Smurf Cody, played by Ellen Barkin. Although the character's demise seemed all but guaranteed after her cancer diagnosis earlier in the season, few could have predicted that she'd die ahead of the season finale after being shot by J. While she did more or less go out on her own terms rather than a drawn-out death from her disease, Barkin seemingly isn't happy that Smurf was killed off.
In his explanation of why Smurf died, executive producer John Wells gave the impression that Ellen Barkin was on board with how her character met her end. Barkin herself hasn't explicitly condemned the twist, but some social media activity suggests that she wasn't thrilled about what went down. She posted this on Twitter:
While the post is hardly a specific condemnation of the show, John Wells, or anybody else about the Smurf twist, it seems to show at least a little bit of bitterness about how her exit was handled in the latest episode.
Animal Kingdom fans everywhere can probably agree that Smurf is a big part of what made the show a hit, and she was the glue that held the Cody family as together as possible. Can Animal Kingdom ever be the same now that Smurf is dead, shot by one of her own boys?
Ellen Barkin's tweet isn't the only sign that she's not too happy with what happened. She also went on a spree of 'likes' on Twitter that could be proof of what she's not saying herself. She liked comments ranging from suggestions that the show would be cancelled without Smurf to comments about why she was really written out of the show to complaints about how it happened.
Take a look!
In response to Ellen Barkin's message of gratitude after the reveal of Smurf's death, one viewer predicted cancellation for Animal Kingdom and, based on the emoji choice, I'm going to go ahead and guess that this person won't be heartbroken if that happens. The tweet also compliments Barkin's talent and suggests that Smurf was killed off partly due to Barkin's age.
Will Animal Kingdom get the axe without Ellen Barkin? The show does have a penchant for bringing in exciting new talent to tackle roles, as with the addition of The Originals' Joseph Morgan to play a character somehow less stable than Klaus, and Emily Deschanel of Bones fame after she was finally ready to return to TV.
In response to a tweet from the official Animal Kingdom account asking for fans' favorite moments of Smurf, one Smurf fan posted this:
Ellen Barkin both liked and replied to this tweet, which is a pretty clear endorsement of the sentiment. Is she sad that she had to leave the show, or that she lost her job? Or is there more behind her social media activity? Another post that she liked may be a clue.
Does Smurf's death mark the beginning of the end of Animal Kingdom? Well, the show has already been renewed for Season 5, so the end isn't nigh just yet, and the Season 4 finale could pay tribute to the Cody matriarch. Called "Smurf," the episode will see the Codys fighting to protect their reputation in "the aftermath of Smurf's heist." Friends and enemies alike close in.
The Season 4 finale airs Tuesday, August 20 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. Be sure to tune in to get your first look at post-Smurf Animal Kingdom. Summer TV season is almost at an end, but the good news is that fall TV season has plenty of exciting premieres in store. To relive some of the glory days of Ellen Barkin as Smurf, you can find the first three seasons of Animal Kingdom streaming on Amazon Prime and the fourth streaming on Hulu.