The title of last night’s Sons of Anarchy episode, “Aon Rud Persanta,” is Gaelic for “nothing personal,” and that’s not at all how the episode felt. For one of the major characters — the Claudius of Sons‘ Hamlet — it was very personal. Clay Morrow’s reckoning day had finally arrived. After taking a hit out on Tara, after beating the snot out of his wife, after killing Piney Winston, and after turning a couple of the clubs own prospects against them, Clay Morrow’s debt finally came due with one of the most shocking, jaw-dropping episodes in a series piled with shocking, jaw-dropping episodes.
The events in “Aon Rud Persanta” reminded me a lot of what Vince Gilligan had said about the Rian Johnson directed episode of Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”: ““It will knock your f***ing socks off. It may be the best episode we’ve ever done. Unfortunately, there’s two episodes after that.” That’s how I feel after “Aon Rud Persanta.” I can’t believe there’s still two episodes left of Sons of Anarchy this season.
How will they ever top that?
My Boys Or My Freedom — Things picked up this week with Tara where they left off: She’s still backed firmly into the corner Kurt Sutter had been writing her into all season long. She’s lost her family; her scheming has backfired; and she’s staring down the barrel of Gemma’s threat: The boys will either learn that Tara moved away, or that Tara passed away. It’s up to Tara. Tara’s new lawyer is no help on that front, either, putting Tara in a parallel corner: Try to gain custody in the divorce proceedings with Jax, and end up in prison, or give up the custody battle and avoid prison.
It’s Just Dirty and Sad And We Both Know It’s Only Going to Get Worse — Just as Tara had been seemingly planted into that narrative corner permanently, Sutter began backing away, giving Tara a few feet of space to move around in. First Nero, and then Unser began working on Gemma, encouraging her to show some mercy. Gemma did not immediately soften, but it was only a matter of time. The corkscrews were loosening.
In the meantime, Unser also confessed to Gemma what she and everyone else on the planet already knew: “I love you. I am in love with you.” Wayne Unser is the most heartbreaking sad sack on TV, and as much as I might want to root for him, it’s impossible to root against Nero. At least three times an episode these days, Jimmy Smits provides a dose of humanity. He’s the squishy center of Sons of Anarchy.
The Irish Aren’t Going to Go Down without a Fight — Elsewhere, the plan between Jax and the district attorney to nab Galen O’Shay was going as planned, more or less. The immunity agreement was signed. The meet was set. There’d be a huge law enforcement presence, and the Irish would have an arsenal of guns. “40 sheriffs, a dozen Irish soldiers, lots of guns. There’s only one way it can go down,” Eli Roosevelt said. Oh, how wrong Eli Roosevelt was. We were all wrong. So very wrong.
After This, Brother, It’s All White Hats and Tight Pu**y — Meanwhile, while SAMCRO was setting up to exfiltrate Clay, Juice spoke on behalf of a Sons of Anarchy audience who wanted it to be like it used to be, when it felt like SAMCRO was “one of the good guys” that resorted to violent means to justify peaceful ends. Wounding three cops and fatally running over another didn’t exactly help matters, however. Not only did it put the immunity agreement in danger, it added a murder rap to the list of things for which SAMCRO would be potentially culpable.
If they ultimately make Juice the scapegoat for that, like they made Opie the fall guy for Pope, there’s going to be hell to pay.
Meanwhile, other than one dead cop, and bullet in Bobby’s shoulder, the extrication of Clay was a success! That did not, however, bode well for Clay.
We Had a Vote, and Decided This Had to Happen — What. What? WHAT?!
There was a vote at the table the audience was not privy to, and in that vote, SAMCRO decided the best way to get out of guns was to use one of them to SHOOT GALEN O’SHAY IN THE HEAD. Around 10:46 EST last night, you may have heard a loud clank. That was the sound of several million jaws falling to the floor, which is where they remained for the next ten minutes.
Dead Man Walking — Kurt Sutter, you are a cruel mother f**ker. He spent all season gradually redeeming Clay Morrow, setting him up for a sweet escape, and then after writing him out of half a dozen narrative corners over six season of Sons of Anarchy, Clay Morrow finally got what was coming to him. Why didn’t we feel any sense of satisfaction? Sutter demonstrated that the show could survive without Morrow, but it was still painful to lose Ron Perlman, who has meant so much to this show for so long.
It had to be done, and I think we as an audience all understood that, but it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking (or morbid. IN THE THROAT? WAS THAT REALLY NECESSARY?)
R.I.P. Clay Morrow. We’ll see you on the other side.
The Number One Position — The deaths of Galen and Clay left Connor in the number one position, and that poor bastard was also left with the responsibility of taking a lie back to the Kings and convincing them of it, as yet another masterful Kurt Sutter plan came together. He built one narrative puzzle that he showed to the audience, and at the last minute, he pulled out another puzzle he’d been working on the entire time. Brilliantly done, Sutter.
Connor is not such a bad guy, either, which is why he probably won’t be in charge very long. He probably knows it, too, hence the drinking.
The Godfather Paradox — Gemma was destroyed by the death of her ex-husband (and why shouldn’t she be? She just saw the man she was married to for 20 years shot in the throat), and that poor bastard Nero was left to pick up the emotional pieces. All Nero wanted to do was to get into a legitimate (high-end prostitute) business with SAMCRO, and he ends up being framed for a murder, shooting his own cousin, helping Wendy get clean, getting in fights with Jax, and now he’s embroiled in everything that SAMCRO is tied up in. It’s the Godfather Paradox: The more distance he tries to create, the closer he gets. I don’t blame the guy for not marrying Gemma, either. “I’ve seen what happens to your husbands, it ain’t pretty.”
The Deal I Made Didn’t Include a Stack Of Dead Bodies — So much for that immunity agreement with the district attorney. Sure, Jax delivered on his promise: He brought Galen O’Shay to Patterson, as well as the guns, but she didn’t bargain for the pile of corpses. So, it’s off to Plan B: Tara Knowles.
I Understand Why You Did Everything You Did — Not only did Sutter back Tara out of the narrative corner, by the end of the episode, she had a couple of outs. After patching up Bobby Munson and removing the bullet, she had the option to take the bullet casing to the district attorney and get her deal back, saving her both from prosecution and putting the boys in witness protection. Or, she could take door number two, the trickier play where she goes back to Jax, who is clearly receptive to that idea, and lets Jax save her ass. “I understand why you did everything you did,” Jax told Tara at the end of the episode (an admission, in a way, that echoed Walter White’s at the end of Breaking Bad). With that one statement, Jax broke the ice Tara had been shrouded in for the last few episodes.
It’s beginning to feel like Tara may live through the season after all, which is probably exactly why Kurt Sutter will kill her off. He is diabolical.