Throughout the course of these fifth season recaps, someone in the comments will invariably suggest that I obviously don’t like Sons of Anarchy because all I do is complain about the show. Meanwhile, about 75 percent of the comments are also complaints about the show, while the other 25 percent are complaints about the complainers, which is to say — there’s a lot of complaining going on, and in places like Italy and many of our families, it’s easy to mistake complaining for affection.
That’s kind of how I’ve felt about SoA this season: I legitimately enjoy both the show AND complaining about the show, as well as the complaints about the complaints. It’s Internet fuel, y’all, and the 1500 words I spill about SoA each week has been one of my biggest highlights of the fall. I appreciate you all throwing out your own theories, as well, and last night’s season finale proved most of us wrong. Kurt Sutter may be a hack, but he’s a brilliant, unpredictable hack. He has absolutely no skill when it comes to the long con, but no one pulls a plot twist out of his ass better than Sutter.
Let’s get right to the complaining:
1. Opening Montage — You can tell a lot about how an episode will unfold based on Sutter’s frequent opening musical montages. For instance, we should’ve known that something bad was going to happen to Abel in the mid-season episode in which Abel and his stuffed frog were highlighted in the opening musical montage (by the end of the episode, Abel would be bleeding from the head ONTO that stuffed frog). The first shot in last night’s episode was on Tara getting out of bed, and that song sounded like something you’d hear in a late-night Skinemax soft-porn cancer flick, which is to say: It was awful, but it got the point across: It was going to be a rough, downer of an episode for Tara, Gemma, Clay, and Nero, each of whom were highlighted in the montage.
2. Who Is More Useless? — Before we get to the meat of the episode, however, a quick question: Who was the more useless character this season: Chucky or Filthy Phil? What the hell did Chucky do this season besides move around boxes (and inexplicably learn French in last night’s episode), and Filthy Phil’s biggest contribution to the season was appearing last night on ANOTHER SHOW (Raising Hope) in his SAMCRO cuts.
3. A Nice, Hot Bowl of Nails — The most inexplicable turn last night was, again, the Nero storyline. I rewound the sequence twice because I thought I’d missed something. Who is Dante? Why is SAMCRO and Nero tracking him down? Where did the dog fighting ring come from? I get that Nero is reclaiming territory that he lost control over, but I feel like there was an entire episode that I missed. It was a brutal dog-fighting sequence, though, and it did work to build some sympathy for Tig ahead of his meeting with Pope. I typically do not get squeamish around violence, but DUDE: Dogs fighting? A dumpster full of dead dogs? F**K ME. I think maybe Sutter was just trying to make a statement about the brutality of dog fighting, which is great! He just failed to provide any context again. The bowl of nails, however, was a nice tough. The Latino rap music while SAMCRO was pursuing Mexicans, however, was not. Does Sutter really need to match the rap music to the ethnicity every single week?
Anyway, the reason for the entire sequence was so that SAMCRO and Nero could come into a windfall, which they took from Dante. That will play into this recap later.