Jon Beavers’s performance as young Jake Dunmore in the fifth season of Animal Kingdom really encapsulates what makes this character so great and gives us an insight into why he’s such an important part of the show. In short, it’s because Young Jake Dunmore IS A GENIUS. If you want proof, check out these 5 reasons why Young Jake Dunmore Is the Most Important Character on Animal Kingdom. Why Young Jake Dunmore Is the Most Important Character on Animal Kingdom
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The most important character is the glue
Each season of Animal Kingdom opens with a historical montage, bringing viewers up to speed about how much has changed for Pope and his family since last we saw them. But don’t be fooled by that bit of narrative shorthand; sometimes what seems most important is what happens behind closed doors. In episode three of season five, mother Smurf (Ellen Barkin) learns that her son — or rather, daughter — has dropped out of school and run away with her boyfriend Connor (Jack Falahee). When Smurf realizes that she has no idea where they are, she turns to Pope (Shawn Hatosy) for help.
The person who makes sense of all the other characters
On any show, there’s usually one character who serves as a guide for viewers. You can think of them as your in to a show’s universe. On The Americans, it was Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell). On Breaking Bad, it was Walter White (Bryan Cranston). And on TNT’s Animal Kingdom, it’s Smurf (Ellen Barkin).
Without her we wouldn’t be able to track exactly what’s going on with each and every member of her criminal clan—why Baz is so angry or why J has such deep-seated issues. Smurf serves as an expert in dysfunctional clan relationships, giving us insight into everything that happens behind closed doors.
Who else could tell this story?
One of Finn’s most important functions was to serve as an audience surrogate, but with Smurf at his side, he became a more unique character. Jon Beavers, who portrayed young Jake in flashbacks throughout season five and will reprise that role in season six, spoke with us about his journey as a first-time actor. I just had to show up, he says of his background—which explains why he’s so comfortable onscreen (the boy might be having more fun than anyone else). This is not his first go-round: He’s been acting for decades, starting when he was 6 years old and in church plays.
He can see so much from his perch high above it all
The lies, chaos and betrayals that run through Smurf’s (Ellen Barkin) crew like veins. Since he was just a boy, young Jake Dunmore (Jon Beavers) has been looking out for his mother and her career criminal friends. In fact, in 1977, he’s already been through all of it before with his father years earlier. As Smurf makes her ascent as leader of her own criminal empire in 2017, 19-year-old Jon Beavers is doing what he can to keep things together under pressure—and if it means keeping secrets from his mom or visiting various spots around New York to keep track of some of her lieutenants (guys who are mostly twice his age), then so be it.
He doesn’t judge people for their choices or decisions
Unlike Smurf, we see a different side of Jake as he grows up. He is never judgemental to his mother or her decisions even if he doesn’t agree with them, because ultimately he loves her and can understand that she had to do what she did in order to survive. He also does not judge his older brother for how he turned out even though it could be argued that Victor had a privileged upbringing. All of which makes us think that Jon Beavers’ character has some inherent good in him. Something which will definitely be tested when Smurf sees him again. She’ll probably try and manipulate him by playing on their previous relationship for her own gains… but will she succeed?
He doesn’t give up on people either
In a story that takes place over years, we are able to see Smurf and young Jake (played with abandon by Jon Beavers) maintain their friendship. The man who loved her in 1984 also helped raise Baby Janet when she became an orphan. And Smurf recognizes that he’s just as important today as he was back then, perhaps even more so. She knows where he came from and how hard he’s worked to make something of himself—and she still cares about him deeply despite his many years away from home.
Even when they make him their punching bag again and again he just walks away.
Everytime I’ve seen a character get up after getting knocked down I think of how cool it is when somebody just gets up and keeps going. Jon Beavers does that as young Jake Dunmore, who doesn’t have any power but always does what he has to do. You know what’s so cool about people like that? They’re doing something harder than anybody in a position of power could ever understand. Their win isn’t how they react to getting pushed around, but they just get up and keep going because no matter what they need to make things right for themselves and their family. That’s more meaningful than an elaborate heist and more impressive than strutting around town in flashy clothes with henchmen surrounding you. Well done Mr. Beavers!
And then he comes back when they need him to. When they finally let him into their lives once more they know they’ll never get rid of him because he knows too much about them, too much about everyone involved in what has become an endlessly tangled web of lies, deceit, love and hate
a world so twisted it’s beyond comprehension. It’s a world Jon Beavers has lived in his entire life and it’s only a matter of time before his beloved Smurf turns to him for help in navigating it: at first just out of necessity, later out of genuine love and affection. If anyone can save her, he can. And that is why Jon Beavers is an important character on Animal Kingdom : because he will always be there to protect Smurf and never once try to change her because she wouldn’t allow him to anyway. And that’s what makes him different from all those other man-children who come into her life every now and then only to leave again when they realize they cannot influence or change her: all their attempts are futile.
Because you can’t move forward until you’ve gone back first. And then there are no guarantees that everything will be okay, but at least you have a chance if someone like Jakes is in your corner.
Jakes is one of those characters who’s gone through hell, been surrounded by darkness for a long time, and yet somehow found his way back to light. In other words, he’s got a lot of potential to be something special. He also offers us so much insight into Smurf before we met her as well as her family. We get to see how they fell apart and why she’s been such a strong influence in his life – despite all that she’s done.