Sons of Anarchy 4.10 – Hands

If you haven’t already heard, FX recently granted Kurt Sutter an additional episode so that he could see out the current season the way he intended, and for as good as this year has been up until now, it’s easy to see why the network gave in to his demands. Tonight’s show was a pretty pivotal episode in terms of where the rest of the season is headed, and although there were some other important developments apart from the main storyline (like Jax informing Opie that he was leaving the club and Juice agreeing to work with Lincoln to save it), I’ve decided to focus this week’s blog post entirely on the intensifying drama around the Teller/Morrow clan.

Though last week’s cliffhanger may have tried to play coy about whether Clay was actually moving forward with his plan to order a hit on Tara, it was confirmed within the first few minutes of tonight’s episode. I found it a little strange that Clay demanded Tara’s death to be handled cleanly, however, because if he was planning on blaming it on the cartel, isn’t that the complete opposite of what they would do? Regardless, it didn’t take long for Gemma to realize that Clay was up to no good when she discovered that the money was missing, but I don’t think she knew what he had done just yet.

The look on Clay’s face upon learning that Jax and the kids were joining Tara on her trip up to Oregon was priceless, and although he tried to call it off, Romeo said that it wasn’t possible. What he doesn’t know is that Romeo could have easily canceled the hit if he wanted to, but now that he knows that Tara is a potential liability, he’s going to do whatever it takes to protect the cartel – even if that means killing her himself. Of course, as soon as Romeo does come after Tara, that’s surely going to spell the end of the cartel’s relationship with SAMCRO, which is exactly what the club wants anyways.

Still, for as much as that guy was paid to kill Tara, you’d think that he would be a little better at his job. Though he successfully got her into the van, Jax was able to shoot out the tires, prompting Tara to try and escape only to have her hand crushed by the door. As soon as that happened, I immediately knew where the story was headed. With Tara’s career as a surgeon pretty much finished (save for some miracle recovery), Jax will be forced to stay in the club in order to support her and the family. The fact that I didn’t even consider that possibility before is a little embarrassing, but I have to applaud Sutter for doing what was necessary without making it feel like a jumping the shark moment. The emotional ramifications are going to be huge, because I can’t really see how Jax and Tara will able to be continue their relationship when she already resents him for what happened.

There may be a dearth of strong female characters on television, but “Sons of Anarchy” has two incredible ones in Tara and Gemma. The latter really showed her fortitude tonight when, after confronting Clay about breaking his promise to stay away from Tara, she pulled a gun on him and threatened to tell Jax everything. But while Gemma certainly got a few good punches in after he attacked her, Clay did most of the damage, beating her up so badly that she looked even worse than she did after the rape in Season Two. I honestly don’t see how Clay is going to make it out of this season alive, and now that Gemma has finally admitted he’s beyond saving, she’s ready to let him go. Unser would prefer he’s delivered justice by the law, but Gemma believes he has to die, and only at the hands of a Son. But who will it be? Jax, Opie or someone else?


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Sons of Anarchy 4.9 – Kiss

I should have known that Juice’s failed suicide attempt was going to have much bigger repercussions once someone in the club found out, and sure enough, it’s become almost as much of a problem as the race issue that got him into this whole mess. After Jax learns where Juice’s neck bruises really came from, he reminds Chibs that “Sons don’t kill themselves,” and as a result, Juice would likely be voted out of the club since they can longer trust him. But Chibs seems to believe that Juice is worth saving and asks Jax for a little more time to see if he can’t help him get out of this emotional rut.

What neither of them realizes, however, is that Juice isn’t depressed – he’s just nursing a guilty conscience, which he hopes to remedy by getting out of the spy game with Roosevelt. But Lincoln believes that he can still be useful, so he brings Juice into the secret RICO room to show him just how deep his investigation goes. Though he claims that he’s only after the Real IRA and promises that SAMCRO won’t be dragged into a federal case (thereby saving the club and all of its charters from certain extinction), he can’t guarantee that some of its members won’t be punished for their involvement. All Lincoln wants in return is the details of the upcoming meet between the IRA and the cartel, but Juice probably couldn’t get that information even if he wanted. In fact, if he’s so adamant about helping the club, his best bet would be to just call Lincoln’s bluff, because it’s pretty obvious the investigation hinges on whether or not he cooperates.

SAMCRO could sure use the old Juice on their side, especially with increasing pressure from Lobos Sonora, who they discover have been working with the Niners to expand their coke business into the States. Though it’s hard to blame the Niners for cutting a deal with the Lobos while the Sons were still in prison, Jax convinces their President that’s in his best interest to stay out of the middle of a cartel beef and join them and the Mayans in working for Galindo. Part of that deal means luring the Lobos into a trap so that Torres can take care of them once and for all, but when the surprise attack goes south and a few manage to escape thanks to some handy grenade launchers, Jax persuades Torres not to take out his anger on the Niners by ensuring him that they’ll be more useful alive than dead. All in all a pretty worthless subplot in the grand scheme of things, although it did provide Torres the chance to give Clay a cell phone that would solve his “doctor problem.” And just to emphasize the gravity of the decision, he tells him that once the assassination is set in motion, it can’t be stopped.

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Sons of Anarchy 4.8 – Family Recipe

I really wanted to begin this week’s post with a big “I told you so,” but based on the comments from last week’s recap, it appears I wasn’t the only one who believed that Juice was still alive after attempting to commit suicide. He even seemed ready to give it another shot right away until he was interrupted by Chibs and Tig, who were sent out to round him up for the impending vote. Of course, that didn’t stop Juice from going back later the next night to try again, but this time around, Chibs followed him out there, and he wasn’t happy with what he found. Juice clearly has a death wish, but if he’s willing to kill himself, then why not just take his chances with the club? Sure, their methods are more brutal, but there’s always the possibility that he’ll be forgiven as well.

It’s definitely one less distraction the club could do with at the moment, especially after the vote for the president challenge was delayed following the attack by Lobos Sonora, who shot up the clubhouse and delivered a bag filled with the heads of members from both SAMCRO and the Mayans, including Tucson president Armando. Dirty Phil was able to shoot one of them before they got away, but he wasn’t a very cooperative hostage – at least, not until Galindo’s right-hand man gave him a dose of truth serum and he fingered one of the Mayans as a spy feeding the cartel information. But while Alvarez wanted the traitor killed on the spot, Jax suggested that they use him to set a trap for the Lobos at the warehouse instead. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned, with the Lobos managing to stay one step ahead by taunting them with a truck containing the bodies of the headless victims in the back. Could there be another rat in the group?

Who knows? But with the lives of the Sons and their families now officially in danger (and Roosevelt sniffing around the clubhouse), the last thing that Clay should be worrying about is the looming threat of John Teller’s letters. Though Piney tells him that the recent string of attacks is a great excuse to pull the plug on their new business venture, Clay refuses to believe that Romeo will let them just walk away. But if Clay doesn’t think that they can free themselves of the cartel now, then how does he plan on ever getting out? Or does that become someone else’s problem after he steps down?

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Sons of Anarchy 4.7 – Fruit for the Crows

This season continues to get crazier and crazier with each episode, and I’m loving every minute of it. Though the past three seasons have all been great for a number of reasons, this year has done an especially good job of making every storyline – including the ones involving the supporting players – feel equally important and engaging. And you needn’t look any further than what the show has been doing with the character of Juice for proof of that. I may have voiced my displeasure about the way that they’ve handled his subplot in previous posts, but I’m still really enjoying what Theo Rossi has been doing with the material. He’s really stepped it up this season, and tonight’s episode made me realize just how much I’d miss him if he was gone. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about the rest of the episode first.

I have to admit that I was a little surprised how Gemma handled the discovery of the death threat left in Tara’s car, because I thought for sure that she would either rip it up or take it directly to Clay demanding an explanation. Instead, she doesn’t even seem to consider that it might have anything to do with Clay, and instead shows it to Tara, who characteristically freaks out. Of course, when Clay hears about the death, he knows immediately that Unser is responsible and warns him to stay out of his way. But now that Unser knows that he was used by Clay in order to cover up John Teller’s death, I think that he’s willing to accept the consequences of the truth coming out if it means that an innocent life will be saved in the process. Granted, I’m not really sure how informing Tara’s supervisor Margaret is going to help protect her, but maybe Margaret will be able to transfer her to another hospital for a while until all this blows over.

And at the rate things are going, it could be sooner than later, especially now that SAMCRO knows that the Galindo cartel’s main competitors are targeting their associates – namely, the Mayans and the Sons – in an attempt to force Romeo and his crew out of California. Bobby has been trying to tell Clay that getting into bed with the cartel was trouble from the start, and he’s so disgusted with how everything has turned out that he’s decided to challenge him for the presidency. That’s a pretty bold move on Bobby’s part, but while it might seem like an easy win for Clay considering he got the majority vote over the last decision involving the cartel, now that the club has seen just how much danger they’re in after only a few weeks on the job, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one person will jump ship.

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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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