I know this is a few days old but hey, better late than never! Let's not waste anytime talking about the season 7 opener from last week. Let's just focus on the second episode of the final season. Yes, count them up folks. We now have only 11 episodes left before Sons of Anarchy is over. Be aware if you haven't seen Sons of Anarchy up to this point you may hear spoilers... so go catch up and come back! Let's dive into the second episode titled "Toil and Till".
This week we start off like many [Sons of Anarchy](series:201186) episodes in the past have with a montage of characters waking up after events from the previous episode. Jax having just murdered one of Lin's men because that man "murdered Tara". Juice or as I like to call Mr. B-Story is sitting with Unser tied up in his tub and not the kinky kind of way. Will some new stories begin this episode or would we see more of the same stuff going on that we saw last week?
Let's talk about some of the weaknesses of this episode first. There's a new sheriff in town! Wait... what was her name again...? Uh... Hang on let me google it real quick. Her name is Althea Jarry apparently. I guess I missed that part. What I'm getting at is the fact that in the past Sons has usually introduced us to new characters in a way that we knew they would either be a force to be reckoned with or someone that is going to have a huge impact on the story.
The introduction of Sheriff Jarry? She just has a calm scene with Unser. I feel like a scene was missing with her this episode. I was waiting for us to see her later in the episode where we see the real her. I'm going to say this a few times but we only have 11 episodes left. Why introduce a new sheriff if we aren't going to learn anything about her besides that she trusts Unser? Seemed like a wasted opportunity. Let's just hope they make her unique and a strong woman of power who isn't corrupt like Stahl. That would seem repetitive.
One other grievance too is when the Lieutenant of a police department is murdered, why doesn't anyone ever bring it up? Sure, Unser and Jarry talk about Tara's murder plenty but what about the fact that the Lieutenant was also murdered IN THE SAME HOUSE. Wouldn't that be a huge concern? Nope. Apparently not.
Another weakness I'm going to talk about in this episode is analyzing a particular scene between Wendy and Nero. I understand these two characters are supposed to be sort of the shining light since Tara was killed. We got to hear about Nero's battles in prison with drugs and Wendy talking about trying to stay clean. However, was this scene really needed? I'm going to be talking about this ALL season in my reviews but I don't think Sutter and his writers are taking into consideration how little time they have left.
I didn't hate the scene by any means and I don't fault the actors involved but the whole time I was like "C'monnnnnnnnn, we don't have time for stuff like this". Especially because the scene felt like 10 minutes long. These kind of scenes I would've had no issue with in any of the other seasons but because we know this is the final one... we are on the clock. EVERY scene has to be important to the story or at least funny! This didn't feel like either.
Finally, the last weakness I'd like to bring up is the fact that Chibbs, Bobby and the club are so on board with Jax potentially going to war with Lin. I mean, for how long has Bobby wanted to avoid violence like the past Jax? Yet, this season he's totally behind Jax for taking down Lin. I understand the club loved Tara too but are they all so trusting of Gemma to blindly go after the Chinese? I hope this is building to something big down the road because right now it feels like the whole clubs is acting far too careless and makes them seem dumber.
Don't get me wrong, this episode wasn't all terrible. There were some fun moments so let's talk about the strengths now. Let's start off with the dark comedic moments in this episode. First, Tig and Ratboy. Oh my God, these exchanges felt like the Sons of Anarchy of old. It reminded me of moments like in season 1 when they put Juice in a diaper and left him outside or when season 4 when Tig was "terrified but totally erect" from a doll in lingerie at a porn studio. These moments are what made us fall in love with these characters back in 2008. The fact that chaos, blood, violence and murder surrounds them but they can still have some fun along the way.
Some small dramatic moments that stood out were Gemma talking to Abele about Tara passing away. Katey Sagal really showed Gemma's remorse for her actions. I'm glad Gemma isn't just a stone cold bitch about Tara's murder. She knows she made a huge mistake and what she has done to her grandchildren. Another moment was one of the final scenes where Jax holds Abel while he's sleeping. This is the side of Jax we've cared for in the past. The one who loves his children. Last episode when he refused to see them after he was released from prison really called back to Opie refusing to see his kids in season 2 after Donna's death. Will Jax start to become Opie?
For this next strength I'm going to have to ask everyone to think back years and years ago - way back to season 1. Remember when Clay, Jax and the gang would all talk about their past wars and beefs with the Mayans? There was constant talk of a war coming. The strength so far is that it feels like that in this season we will FINALLY get a war. Just imagine it. Sons, Mayans, August Marks with the Niners, Lin and the Chinese, Irish, and Nero's crew in an all out war. That HAS to be where this is all leading to right? If that's what they are aiming for... then I will be happy because it has felt like seasons and seasons of build-up to something big. What could be bigger? Sure, Jax finding out what Gemma did to Tara will be huge but it needs to be huge. This may seem odd to be considered a strength but it will really make the show come full circle if for years Jax's main goal was to get the club away from a possible war only to swing them full stride into one.
This episode felt like a typical second episode to a season. Had plenty of funny moments, moved some things around, let us feel the imminent danger that's on the horizon but overall some of this felt like filler. I've said it probably ten times in this review but I'll be saying it all season. Kurt Sutter needs to remember this is the final season. 11 episodes from now I'm hoping I will be looking back thinking, okay I overreacted at the beginning of the season because this all lead to something awesome. We won't know anything about that until we cross that bridge, so for now I'm going to give this episode a better grade than last week.
Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 2 "Toil and Till" = B-
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Thanks for those who checked out my review and have a tremendous day!