The last we saw Sons of Anarchy saw the demise of club member Filthy Phil, prospect V-Len, incarcerated ex-member Otto Delaney, and retired U.S Marshall Lee Toric. With Toric dead they have to quickly re-establish who their adversary will be for the rest of the season, leading into the final season next year. This episode has established not one but two adversaries that the club will have to deal with. The first, and most explosive, villain is Galen who is the liason between the Real IRA and the MC concerning the gun trade that Jax wants to put a stop too. The second adversary is D.A Tyne Patterson, who is looking into taking down the people who may have provided a gun to a kid who shot-up a school.
The show spends a lot of time on the MC/IRA conflict. I mean A LOT of time. Most drama’s without commercials are about 42 to 46 minutes, but Sons of Anarchy averages close to 60 minutes per episode without commercials. As much as the drama is captivating, the show does drag, this episode in particular. The show’s creator Kurt Sutter has gone on the record in stating that they actually write 37 page scripts but due to the amount of back-story each character has, each episodes first cut is close to 90 minutes. FX has been giving them a lot of leeway and I think if he made the necessary cuts to get to the 46 minute mark this episode would’ve been the best one of the season.
The D.A conflict has a lot to do with the blowback caused by Lee Toric. Due to his death, Tara’s case is in trouble. Because it may look like his death was a hit from the club, and she will lose the symphony vote from the juror’s. With this knowledge Tara is on a mission to give Wendy full custody of the kids behind Gemma’s back. She may also get some help from Unser. This is an intriguing storyline but given what has occured in the past, Gemma has to know about this, she is not that dumb.
Clay is currently in general population in jail right now. Due to the Real IRA blowback, they are contemplating breaking him out so they can use him for the gun trade. He arranges a visit for Gemma so he can tell her this news. I won’t go into too much detail about this visit, but it leads to one of the most heartbreaking moments of the season. Clay may not be the bad guy anymore. The moment she tells Nero what happened, you can tell how shocked and hurt he is by what transpired, but it gives the MC info they will need in the future and it still makes Clay a heavy player in the series.
The sheriff of Charming tails both Nero and Jax as they visit a business partner. He wants to see if Nero will break and do something stupid. This little sub-plot is great because I love the banter between Nero and Jax. They both have a mutual respect for each other and it is evident in their demeanor’s. When the sheriff arrests Nero for the murder of a call girl you also see that Nero knows he needs out of this business.
With the IRA, Jax and the gang go to the known areas where Galen and Connor work when in the U.S. Jax arranges a call with the members of the IRA that no one talks to and they agree to come up with a decision later that night. The idea that Jax brought to Galen last episode is a spit in the face to the Irish and the reason for the two deaths were retaliation, and they aren’t done with him yet. Chibs approaches Jax and tells him such thing. This is a great scene for Tommy Flanagan and showcases how great of an actor that he really is. At the club house all of the members are about to go to their meeting while their respective families are inside the clubhouse due to a lock-in. When Jax sees a suspicious pen, he asks where it came from and finds out that Galen arranged a bomb to go off at 8. This bomb destroys the club house and the episode ends with the gang in shock.
That is a lot of story for this episode, but you can feel that the lag that occurs halfway through the episode. The opening montage scene is a 5 minute scene which is a ridiculous amount of time for a montage on an hour long television series. Another issue I have with the show is the lack of characterization in it’s other characters. Juice, Tig, and Happy are in the background for all of this episode and although I shout-out Chibs, he only has that one scene where he shines. These are all characters we met all the way back in season one and they deserve a lot more than just being background actors. Bobby is non-existant this episode and would’ve loved to have seen his reaction to Jax’s mistakes.
With all of these issues I do think this is a good episode. It sets up the last 22 episodes of series and we now know who may be the villain during the shows endgame. Sons of Anarchy airs on FX on Tuesdays at 10 PM. Leave comments below telling me how you felt about this episode.
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