Sons of Anarchy 4.13 – To Be, Act 1

After last week’s cliffhanger left many wondering if Clay was dead, tonight’s episode was quick to clarify things by confirming that, while he was definitely wounded, Opie hadn’t succeeded in killing him. (Surely a shot to the head or the heart would have been the way to go, but then there wouldn’t be a need for a two-part season finale.) Of course, Opie could have easily finished the job if Jax hadn’t shot him in the hand, but at that point in time, Clay was still innocent until proven guilty in his mind, despite Opie’s insistence that we was telling the truth. Jax wasn’t ready to buy into that theory just yet, and promised Opie that he would get to the bottom of Piney’s murder, to which Opie mockingly replied, “Just what I need. Another promise.”

It probably wasn’t the best idea for Jax to pin the shooting on “some black guys,” but no one could have expected that Tig would take the news so personally. I can understand why he feels like it might be his fault after turning his back on Clay, but to just retaliate on the Niners like that without any proof they were even responsible was really stupid. Tig was lucky to get out of that situation alive, because you can be sure that’s not the last we’re going to see of the Niners. Though Laroy made it out in one piece, his wife/girlfriend/someone important was killed in the initial attack, and two more of his men died in the ensuing chase. Geez, just when all the gangs in Charming we’re starting to play nice with one another and Tig had to go and mess it up.

Meanwhile, Gemma looks like she’s finally done protecting Clay (either that, or she just wants to be on the winning side) and decides to open up to Tara about all the horrible things that Clay has done lately. It was obviously just a ploy to make her feel guilty about using John Teller’s letters as leverage, but it worked, because Tara gave Gemma the key to the storage unit where they were hiding all along. After reading through the letters, however, Gemma took out the ones that implicated her and Unser and handed the rest over to Jax, which ultimately led to her spilling the beans on years of secrets – from Clay’s initial attempt to kill JT by sending him into a Mayan ambush, to rigging his bike to crash, to shooting Piney in the cabin and even putting out the hit on Tara.

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Sons of Anarchy 4.6 – With an X

At the end of last week’s cliffhanger, it didn’t seem possible that Juice would be able to keep himself out of the crosshairs for much longer, but amazingly, he’s done just that, albeit at the cost of one of his biker brothers. Though the Sons and Mayans were quick to start blaming each other for the missing brick, the club came to the conclusion that the only people dumb enough to try stealing from them were the prospects. And after pretending to torture Miles in a failed attempt to scare Dirty Phil and Rat Boy into a confession (and, let’s be honest, have a little laugh in the process), they forced them to play a game of Russian roulette in order to prove their commitment. Anyone watching had to know that there wasn’t actually a bullet in the gun, and that was part of the problem, because although they both passed the test, it didn’t get the club any closer to finding out who took the cocaine.

With time running out until Romeo’s arrival, Clay decides that he has no other choice but to condemn the pair to death and try and save face with the cartel. But Juice, who doesn’t exactly want their blood on his conscience, suggests that they give the prospects one last chance to return the brick with no questions asked. If it shows up, they’ll be kicked out of the club, but at least they’ll still be alive. That gives Juice just enough time to run out into the woods, grab a sample for Roosevelt, and take the brick back to the warehouse… or so he thinks. Instead, he runs into Miles, who quickly puts two and two together and realizes that Juice is the thief. The ensuing chaos led to one of the series’ biggest “holy shit” moments yet, with Juice getting a hold of Miles’ gun and shooting him clean through the face. And now that everyone thinks Miles was the one responsible, Juice has been given yet another lifeline.

But how much longer can this realistically go on? Though the club was a little surprised that it was Miles who stole the cocaine, they don’t seem to be putting too much thought into why he might have done it. Chibs, on the other hand, is the only one who’s even remotely suspicious of the whole situation, especially after the way Juice was acting around him all day. Their conversation about the prohibition of color in SAMCRO must have come across as pretty random to Chibs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he started sniffing around Juice’s personal life. Those two appear to have a stronger friendship with each other than most guys in the club, so Chibs will undoubtedly want to do everything he can to get Juice out of trouble before the rest of SAMCRO finds out. The whole thing still feels a bit contrived to me, and even more so after Chibs admitted that many of the club’s rules were pretty outdated. After all, if one of its own members doesn’t even agree with certain by-laws, then surely there’s room for some change.

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Sons of Anarchy 4.5 – Brick

Well, I guess that’s what I get for criticizing the show for having too much filler story in the last two episodes, because while tonight was the normal 60-minute offering, it felt a heckuva lot longer due to the fact that it was jam-packed with so much information. Oh yeah, and a pretty big bomb was dropped as well that pretty much guarantees you’ll never look at some characters the same way again. I’m talking, of course, about Clay’s confirmation that he was in fact responsible for John Teller’s death. Though he didn’t admit anything to Piney (who expressed his suspicions before threatening to show JT’s letters to the rest of the club if they continued to do business with the cartel), Clay immediately ran to Gemma with concerns about how they were going to cover it up.

“I had John Teller killed while I was bedding his wife. It doesn’t matter what the reason was. Jax finds that out, he cuts off my goddamn head, he sticks it on the reaper pole.”

Wow. I mean, it’s not like it was a theory that hadn’t been batted around before, but thinking he may be involved and knowing for certain are two very different things – especially when Gemma was in on it too. Or was she? That’s where the story gets a little interesting, because while she clearly had knowledge of Clay’s plot to kill Jax’s father, I think that she was given the same bogus reason as Unser. Clay apparently told him that JT’s weakness would bring violence to Charming, and though Unser believed it at the time, after breaking into Tara’s office to steal the letters, he realized that it was all just a lie. Clay didn’t like that JT was trying to get the club out of the gun business, and he killed him for it, dragging Gemma and Unser down into the dirt with him. To make matters even worse, Gemma thinks that the letters have been destroyed by Unser, but the originals are still out there, and the only way that Clay can ensure the truth never gets out is by killing the only people who know about them: Piney and Tara.

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Sons of Anarchy 4.3 – Dorylus

We’re only three weeks into the new season and already the cracks are starting to show in what appears to be the inevitable collapse of SAMCRO. With members split over the looming vote about whether they should get into the drug business with the Galindo cartel, Clay is trying to do everything he can to swing the result in his favor. It’s a little strange that he would try to convince Bobby to take his side considering he’s one of the cartel’s biggest detractors, but he actually seemed open to switching sides when approached with the prospect of taking over as President as reward for his loyalty. Of course, Clay was just playing him, because he’s already promised Jax to give the patch to Opie when he steps down, but Bobby didn’t know that – at least, not at the time.

But after witnessing Clay make a similar verbal promise to the Wahewa chief knowing full well that he was lying through his teeth, you could tell that Bobby wasn’t buying Clay’s faux act of sincerity any longer. Not that it really matters, because the decision went through even without his vote, albeit with plenty of drama. Piney should have known better than to go behind Clay’s back and involve Gemma in club business – and it’s likely earned him a permanent spot on Clay’s shit list (not to mention a death threat) as a result – but Gemma also needs to keep her nose out of where it doesn’t belong. Still, the look on her face after Clay’s outburst suggests that she’s never seen that side of him before, so it’ll be curious to see how that affects their relationship going forward.

And at the rate she’s going, Gemma might not have many allies by the time this season is over. She was already pushing her luck by breaking into Tara’s office once, but by doing it again, she was practically begging to get caught, which is exactly what happened when Tara’s boss walked in on her snooping around. That may have forced Gemma’s hand to take the more direct approach and confront Tara about Maureen’s letters, but while she claims that nothing good can come of Jax reading them, Tara seems to believe that she has another agenda – namely, protecting the truth about John Teller’s death. Tara clearly already has her suspicions just from the way she’s been behaving around Clay lately, but the fact that she’s gone through the trouble to make copies of the letters proves that she thinks Gemma is up to no good. SAMCRO’s queen bee may have finally met her match, and I don’t think she’s fully realized it yet.

Meanwhile, after his RICO case was seemingly ruined following the death of his undercover agent, Lincoln has turned his attention to SAMCRO in order to use their criminal dealings with the Russians and Real IRA to keep the investigation alive. He doesn’t have much to go on at the moment besides speculation about the Sons’ involvement with the Galindo cartel, so he sends Roosevelt into town to shake things up by attempting to turn Juice against the club. Apparently, Juice’s biological father is African-American, and Roosevelt thinks that SAMCRO wouldn’t take too kindly to that information. I find it hard to believe that the club would exile Juice because he’s half-black (he doesn’t even look it), so I’m hoping that nothing comes of this revelation, because the writing on this show is far too strong to fall back on such a weak subplot.

  

Sons of Anarchy 4.2 – Booster

If tonight’s episode taught us anything, it’s that SAMCRO has gotten a lot smarter about the way it handles business – whether it’s selling guns or killing gangsters. Though dumping those dead Russians on Jacob Hale’s property development reeked of the club’s involvement, the decision to use Opie’s wedding as their alibi is already paying off. Not that Roosevelt is necessarily buying their cover story, but Lincoln knows that there’s nothing they can do about it for the time being. Of course, if SAMCRO is willing to sever their ties with the Russians so easily, Lincoln suggests that it can only mean one thing: they’re working with someone even bigger.

And as it just so happens, he’s right, with Alvarez serving as the middle man for introductions between SAMCRO and the Galindo drug cartel, which is run by a guy named Romeo, who, despite being played by the always intimidating Danny Trejo, actually seems like a pretty nice guy as far as drug traffickers go. Clay has struck a lucrative deal with Romeo to provide guns to the cartel, but when Jax learns that their new business venture includes transporting cocaine for them as well, he’s not a happy camper. Though working with Romeo comes with its benefits (namely, protection from the Russians and friends in high place), Jax doesn’t like that Clay has agreed to the deal without speaking to the rest of the club about it first.

There’s a reason for that, of course – no one would ever agree to it – but Clay is so desperate to make some quick money before he’s forced to step down as President that he asks Jax for his backing when he puts it to vote. Though Jax is completely against the idea of getting mixed up in the drug business, he agrees to help out Clay on one condition: when he finally does step down, Clay will back his decision to leave the club and push the vote for Opie to become the new President. Clay has no other choice to agree, but I can’t imagine how Tig or Bobby (who clearly have more seniority than Opie) will react when that day comes. Then again, what’s to say it ever will? Plus, Bobby isn’t on very good terms with Clay after locking horns over the vote, and he’s trying to get Tig on his side by convincing him that they’re no longer part of Clay’s inner circle.

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