Sons of Anarchy 5.10: Crucifixed

SPOILER WARNING: This post will appear every Wednesday following a new episode of “Sons of Anarchy.” It is intended to be read after seeing the show’s latest installment as a source of recap and analysis. As such, all aspects and events that have occurred up to and including the episode discussed are fair game.

I opened the previous two posts with some analysis of episode titles. I think we can all agree that won’t be necessary this time around. Instead, let’s begin at the beginning, with Juice’s future now that he’s been outed as a rat.

Few would argue that “Sons” isn’t entertaining, but whether it’s predictable and even a bit repetitive is another matter. That said, it’s always nice to get one right, and last week I called that rather than execute Juice, Jax would put him to work spying on Clay the same way he did Gemma. Just like Gemma, Juice is doing it to get back in the good graces of his family, which in his case is the club. Although the added bonus of, you know, not dying, probably didn’t hurt. He was never going to run after Roosevelt let him know what was what, because SAMCRO is all he has. It’s the same reason he snitched to begin with—in his mind, it was the only way he’d keep his patch.

Another part of my prediction, however, was that Jax showing mercy would be a sign that the wounds of Opie’s murder were finally starting to heal, allowing him to return to the levelheaded protagonist, we know and love. On that account it appears, so far anyway, that I was sadly mistaken. In his ongoing efforts to dispose of Clay, and thus mold the club to fit his (and his father’s) vision, Jax has morphed into the very thing he despises. He is continually lying, conniving, and plotting in an effort to achieve his goals. Case in point—he and Bobby bring Chibs into the fold regarding Juice, but the plan the three decide on and the one Jax presents to Juice are two very different things.

Juice is only the latest solider to be caught in the crossfire of the war between Jax and Clay, and given the survival rate of his predecessors, the forecast isn’t exactly promising. Much like Clay, Jax increasingly sees those around him as little more than tools he can use to accomplish his goals and then dispose of. He seems to be driven by little more than anger and blood lust.

Nowhere was this more clear than in his dealings with the Grim Bastards. He gives their president his word that he’ll allow Randall Hightower, the man who murdered Opie, to live. Then he turns around and has Chibs put a bullet through his skull. It was no accident that in the scene that immediately preceded it, Jax gave Pope his word that he’d hand Tig over once Clay is out of the picture.

This isn’t the first time the show has used the “you have my word” gag. In the season four episode “Dorylus,” Clay gives his word that when he steps down, he’ll support Bobby taking the gavel in return for voting his way on getting into the drug running business. Later on, Bobby watches Clay use the same phrase to convince the Wahewa chief he’s not making any additional money on their ammunition, which Bobby knows full well is a lie.

All this seems to indicate two things. First, that like his stepfather before him, Jax’s word no longer means shit. And second, that Jax isn’t going to give Tig up quite so easily. Which means all this playing nice with Pope, up to and including offering him the Charming Heights investment, is part of some long con, and there’s further conflict between the two in the horizon.

As Bobby points out following the Grim Bastards situation, Jax’s actions “hurt all of us.” Bobby’s mostly referring to the fact that in murdering Hightower, Jax “shit on two decades of brotherhood,” but the assessment had echoes in the (inevitable) conclusion of the Tara and Otto storyline. It’s become perfectly clear that there’s little the Jax of today isn’t willing to sacrifice, whether its SAMCRO’s relationship with another MC or his own mother’s health and safety. But through all of this, his family, Tara and his sons, have been the one thing he’s been unwilling to compromise. Ironically however, because she was trying to help the club, his wife’s about to be in some very hot water.

Tara accomplished what she set out to with her gratis work at the prison. Now that Otto’s once, twice, three times a murderer, the feds will have to throw out his testimony for the RICO case. On the other hand, the authorities aren’t going to have any trouble figuring out how he got that crucifix. The best case scenario then is while Tara somehow manages to avoid any legal charges, these events take a toll on her already fragile sanity (intentionally waking up your baby so you can feel needed is both creepy and masochistic). While at worst, she’ll face charges (and jail time) for being an accessory to murder. I can’t possibly imagine the show taking the Dr. Knowles in prison route, so just as Jax tells her, they’ll “get through this, like we always do.” But, as Tara responds, “that’s what scares her the most.” Given what we’ve already seen from Jax 2.0, those fears are entirely justified.

A few more things:

-I didn’t get into Clay’s side of things as much as I would’ve liked. Going to Galindo was a logical move him, but as he said to Juice, it might have been his most recent effort to “chase things [he] doesn’t even want anymore.” The only question remaining, then, is whether or not the remark, as well as his interactions with Gemma, were genuine. Does Clay know he’s being played, or is he really just a tired old man?

-When Tara woke up Thomas, it was painfully obvious the baby’s cries were added in post-production. It’s the little things that take you out of a scene.

-Upon finding out why Juice turned Rat, Jax says “maybe it’s time we changed a few bylaws,” to which Chibs responds “amen.” Amen to that amen.

-Speaking of Chibs, he continues to be the most downright awesome character in the show, but more importantly one of the last I can root for without it bringing up any moral conundrums. The man is a soldier, loyal to his very core, but still able to think for himself. You know what, fuck it, Chibs for president.

Check out the preview for next week’s episode below and follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.

  

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