Sons of Anarchy 4.4 – Una Venta

After racing out of the gate with a couple of action-packed episodes, the last two weeks have been a bit of a slow burn in terms of major plot revelations, but at least they’ve still been entertaining. Tonight’s show found the club headed down to Arizona to meet up with the local charter, SAMTAZ, which has been put in charge of providing protection to the cartel during the transportation of the guns across the border. Now, SAMCRO may not exactly be the cleanest MC around, but they look like saints compared to these Tucson guys, who are involved in all sorts of nasty stuff, including dealing crystal meth.

Clay is shocked that such a vote would even pass, but as the club’s president is quick to remind him, muling cocaine and dealing crank isn’t all that different. When SAMCRO looks deeper into the matter, however, they discover a shady plot by two of SAMTAZ’s officers that involved the murder of one of their members and the blackmailing of another in order to push the vote through. Though the decision is left up to the charter president to deal with the situation how he sees fit, he doesn’t really have much of a choice other than to kick them out, and even bemoans the fact that he’s essentially lost a third of his members as a result. He didn’t look very happy about SAMCRO poking their nose into his club’s business, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this wasn’t the last we’ve seen of SAMTAZ. Because now that they’ve decided to continue dealing, if anyone is going to cause a problem for SAMCRO down the road, it’ll almost certainly be them.

Meanwhile, back in Charming, Gemma is trying to keep herself busy while Clay is away on business, so she decides to visit the new floral shop in town about some dying flowers in her greenhouse. Lo and behold, the owner of the store just so happens to be Sheriff Roosevelt’s wife, who perhaps unsurprisingly is Gemma’s match in just about every way. I don’t know what kind of game Gemma is playing by making friends with the woman (not that she’s buying it), but you can be sure that there’s some hidden agenda behind her donation to the Save the Garden committee that Mrs. Roosevelt serves on. There’s always some selfish reason for anything Gemma does, and the fact that she’s using Tara’s name as the main benefactor suggests that she has ulterior motives.

If only Tara knew what Gemma was doing behind her back, but of course, she’s far too busy between work, taking care of the kids, and guarding her knowledge of Maureen’s letters to keep an eye on her future mother-in-law. Though Tara attempts to confide in Piney about the mystery of JT’s death, their conversation is interrupted by Gemma, who warns Piney to stop digging into the past before it kills him. I’m not sure if that was meant as a threat, but it certainly sounded like one, and it’s the second time that Piney has been warned in as many episodes. What do you think the odds are of him kicking the bucket before the season ends? One of the Sons seems destined to die before this is all over, and between Piney butting heads with the wrong people and Bobby voicing his disapproval every chance he gets, I have a bad feeling it’s going to be one of them.

Other thoughts from the episode:

* Gemma might think she’s pretty cunning, but Lincoln practically had her eating out of his hand within seconds of meeting her. She had absolutely no clue that she was being played, and now that she knows about Jacob Hale potentially losing the Charming Heights property, you can bet that she’s going to share that news with Clay the minute he gets back. And that’s exactly what Lincoln wants her to do, because he’s betting on the fact that the Sons will make a stupid move and he’ll be able to catch them in the act.

* Lincoln definitely isn’t wasting any time in bringing them down. Along with having Roosevelt rattle Juice’s cage last week, he visited Otto in prison in an attempt to get him to turn against SAMCRO as well. We already know that Bobby didn’t kill Luanne (Tom Arnold’s sleazy porn producer did), and Otto has always been very loyal, but if there’s one thing that could make him snap, it’s the discovery that Luanne was being unfaithful.

  

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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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Sons of Anarchy 4.1 – Out

Season Four has been described as somewhat of a reboot by creator Kurt Sutter, but not in the sense that most people might think. Though there was definitely a feeling of starting fresh in tonight’s premiere, that doesn’t mean that all of the stuff that happened in the past has been forgotten. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, because the trouble that SAMCRO has gotten into this time around is a direct result of everything they’ve done in the past. They might not know the full extent of it just yet, but they certainly got a taste of what’s to come upon their arrival back in Charming.

Clay, Jax and the rest of the guys may be ready to get back to work, but there’s a new sheriff in town in the form of Eli Roosevelt who’s going to do everything in his power to make sure that doesn’t happen. Not only does Roosevelt have the full backing of Jacob Hale (who’s now mayor of Charming and moving ahead with plans to build luxury housing), but he’s a real by-the-books kind of guy with previous experience working with gangs, which apparently SAMCRO is now considered under the letter of the law. He also has another powerful ally in Lincoln Potter (what’s with all the characters named after former presidents?), an Assistant U.S. Attorney who requests Roosevelt’s help on a case that he’s quietly building against the Russians, the Real IRA and SAMCRO that would allow the FBI to take out all three of them in one fell swoop under the RICO Act.

Though the Russians weren’t too happy with the way that SAMCRO double-crossed them at the end of last season (nearly killing Jax in prison as retaliation), the two parties have since managed to make peace in order to continue doing business together. Meeting with Russian boss Putlova over the conditions of that deal was at the top of Clay’s to-do list as soon as he was released from prison. But when he realizes that the club is being watched like a hawk by Roosevelt’s men, the Sons devise a clever plan to distract the cops so that Clay, Jax and Opie can meet with Putlova without anyone knowing. And that ultimately proved to be more important than it was made to seem, because SAMCRO’s newfound partnership with the Russians didn’t last for very long.

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Sons of Anarchy: Season Four Preview

I’ve watched the Season Four premiere of “Sons of Anarchy” twice already and plan on tuning in to see it a third time when it officially airs tonight. I don’t say that to brag (although as a fan of the show, it’s nice getting the episodes in advance), but rather to stress just how much I enjoyed the special 90-minute premiere. Though there was a lot of criticism (some even from myself) during the hit-and-miss third season, there’s no denying that “SOA” has returned to top form with Season Four.

A lot has changed since Clay, Jax and most of the other Sons were thrown into jail at the end of last year’s finale, and the new season picks up 14 months later with their release. Their return to Charming isn’t as pleasant as they would have hoped, however, with Jacob Hale voted in as the city’s mayor and a new sheriff in town who’s even more ruthless than the last one. The government hasn’t given up their investigation into SAMCRO, either, and they’re planning to use the club’s gun-running business in order to bring down heavy hitters like the Russian mob and the Real IRA. To say that the first episode is a little bloody would be a major understatement.

Of course, that’s just skimming the surface. This season also promises to introduce a new criminal element in the form of a Mexican cartel (and led by career baddie Danny Trejo, no less), as well as dig deeper into the mystery behind John Teller’s death. Be sure to follow my weekly recaps all season long on the Bullz-Eye Blog and get a quick refresher course by reading reviews of the first three seasons on our Sons of Anarchy fan hub. And if you simply can’t wait until tonight to get your “SOA” fix, FX has provided the first four minutes of the premiere for your viewing pleasure. Watch it now below.

  

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