In Season 4, Smurf receives a cancer diagnosis that threatens her control over the family. Intending to go out her own way, Smurf sets up a dangerous job that she hopes will end in a shootout that kills her. Ever the loyal son, Pope (Hatosy) saves her, but Smurf gets angry, doing everything she can to get him to shoot her dead right then and there. But when Pope can’t do it, J finishes the job himself.
Without Smurf around, there’s a power vacuum in the Cody household, and J is eager to step up and take Smurf’s place. While Pope is extremely against this at first, even telling J to take his stuff and get out of the house, circumstances and some convincing from Angela (Emily Deschanel), J’s mother’s old friend and Pope’s on-and-off romance, lead Pope to be more open to working with J going forward. Of course, one of the biggest convincing factors is the discovery that Smurf cheated the whole family out of her money, and believing they deserve it, J and Pope want to steal it back.
Throughout past seasons, Pope’s only hold on his sanity comes from Smurf’s control, which she consistently uses to her advantage. Her death will likely hit him very hard, and he’ll need someone — whether it’s J or someone else — to keep him stable and on track.