10 Things We Learned From Last Night’s Maddening ‘Sons Of Anarchy’

This is what I’m going to say about last night’s episode: Some very interesting developments have opened up, and in last night’s episode, I can see where the actions are logical, it’s just that the motivations behind them are illogical. So much has happened since the opening episode of the season that, even though what they’re doing now makes sense, I think the characters have gotten away from what it was that brought them to where they are in the first place.

Before we get started, however, an announcement: We’re now officially giving away the sweet UPROXX/Sons of Anarchy T-shirts. If you have unlocked the Ally badge, you can get a T-shirt. To claim it, go to the profile of our generous UPROXX Overlord, Jarret Myer, and send him a message with your mailing address and shirt size (L or XL). One hundred shirts will be given away, and it’s first come, first serve. So, if you want it, get it now. If I ever see one of you out wearing one, I’ll buy you a beer.

1. Do You Want to Earn Your Way Back In, A Pardon? — So, last week’s cliffhanger — will Jax take out Juice? — fizzled quickly after Eli showed up to save Juice’s ass and warn him away. But Juice — having nowhere to go — didn’t leave and instead confronted Jax. Instead of killing Juice, Jax offered him a deal similar to the one he offered Gemma (minus the f**king): Retrieve the legal documents that Clay had the Nomads steal from himself as evidence that Clay was behind the home invasions, and Jax will spare Juice. LEGAL DOCUMENTS? Jesus: Again, I hate to harp on this, but how much proof does Jax need? Damon Pope doesn’t build an airtight case before he f**king shoots someone; he just takes them out. Jax, meanwhile, just flares his damn nostrils.

Also, Juice: Dude. The crying? You’re in a motorcycle gang. Grow a pair. Act like you know, son.

2. Tara Suffering from Suburban Malaise — There was a lot going on with Tara last night, but two things before we get to her major storyline: Who would wake up her baby just so she can hold him — is she really that bored with her life that she needs to torture the damn baby? — and what does it have to do with anything else? And do they really have to bring that job offer back into play? To what end?

I also think the woman that offered the job to Tara is alternate-universe Mayim Bialik.

3. How F**king Dumb Is Tara? — So, Otto had some sort of spiritual conversion after jerking himself off into sobs last week, so he decides to drop the RICO testimony. Just one thing: He needs Luanne’s crucifix. Just to feel it next to him. Of course, the only person on the entire face of the planet who didn’t think he was going to use the crucifix to hurt someone was Tara, who not only got him the crucifix but was dumb enough to leave him alone with it. I initially expected him to kill himself with it, but he instead took out a nurse. NICE JOB, TARA.

4. Sons Live, Redwood Bleeds — I’m sure that what Otto meant by that was that he would save the club, but make them suffer. How you arrive at that is a convoluted mess, but let’s recap for clarity: Otto wants SAMCRO members to suffer because Bobby slept with his wife, and Jax basically got Luanne killed because he put the beat down on George Caruso. So, Otto wants revenge. He gets that by jerking himself off to spiritual enlightenment then convincing Tara to bring in Luanne’s crucifix so that he can kill a nurse with it. Why? Because the crucifix makes Tara an accessory to murder, which puts her at risk for jail time AND puts a target on both her and Jax’s back should the friends/family of the dead nurse want to take their revenge. Also: DING DING DING DING. There it is: The accessory to murder rap will cost Tara the surgeon position. But there are quite a few logical leaps that you have to make to get there, and you’d think there’d be a more direct means through which Otto could get back at the club. But hey! Sutter loves thinking three steps ahead, even if he has to clumsily force the narrative.

5. Clay Is Making Another Big Move — Once Clay sees that the RICO case is falling apart, he goes to Romero and the Feds and lets them know that, if the RICO case crumbles, Clay gets taken out and their connection to the drugs and coke fizzles. Romero doesn’t like this, and this is where the rub actually does get really interesting: To avoid losing that connection, Romero and the Feds plan to take out Jax and reinstall Clay at the head of the table, although Clay — evil as he is — is somewhat reluctant. This is the plot strand going forward that looks to be the most compelling: Pitting the Feds (with Clay as their figurehead) against Jax. It’s nasty business the government has gotten itself involved in, and could actually backfire and unite the club (see below).

6. Let’s Go Home — Back at Clay’s apartment, he tries to rekindle his bromance with Juice, who is suddenly annoyingly soft. SACK UP, SON. It’s hard to tell whether the speech had the desired effect, but I’m guessing that Juice will at least feel some remorse about turning on Clay. Meanwhile, Clay makes a move on Gemma, and per Gemma’s deal with Jax, she invites him back to their place, where — again — Gemma’s decision to bang him is half political maneuvering on behalf of Jax and half genuine affection.

It’s not too hard to envision a scenario in Kurt Sutter’s mind where Clay and Gemma legitimately reconcile, and in order to salvage his relationship with Gemma, Clay saves Jax from Romero, which also earns Clay a pardon with Jax. I’m guessing that at some point, Nero goes psycho, too, requiring someone (Tig?) to come in and save Gemma and/or Clay from Nero. That very well could be the end game for the season: All of SAMCRO is forced to work together to save each other, everyone lives (except Juice, because he plays both sides), and the season ends with a musical montage over everyone crowded around the Teller kids opening Christmas presents. TA DA!

7. But There’s Also Another Layer — The one potential hangup to the above scenario is Eli and Unser. Gemma spilled the beans to Unser, and Unser spilled the beans about Clay to Eli because NOBODY CAN KEEP A SECRET ON THIS SHOW. So, now Eli wants Clay’s head, and Unser is behind it. I actually like where this is going, too, and it could fit together nicely with the above scenario: SAMCRO unites against the Feds, and Jax pushes back on Eli. It would effectively separate Eli (and Unser) from SAMCRO, and present a reset of sorts: Unser is made Eli’s deputy or something, and we go into next season where things ought to be: Charming Authorities vs. SAMCRO.

8. The Grimm Bastards — If there’s one development that really ticked me off last night it was SAMCRO vs. the Grimm Bastards. It kind of came out of nowhere that Jax suddenly decides he wants to kill the people who were paid to kill Opie, like Jax suddenly remembered, “OH YEAH, MY BEST FRIEND WAS KILLED. I need to go out and get some more justice!” Then, despite his agreement with the Grimm Bastards to spare Fat Albert’s life, Jax has Chibbs shoot in the head, fracturing the alliance with the Bastards and pissing off Bobby in the process.

Also, must Kurt Sutter play rap music every time SAMCRO chases after a black guy? Does anyone else find this problematic? I won’t even get into how poorly the action sequences are filmed in this show, except to say that — when your characters are played by overweight dudes — the long-shot is not your friend.

9. Don’t Get Chibbs Involved, Damnit — I was just thinking, at the opening of the episode, how refreshing it is that Chibbs doesn’t really have hard alliances with any one member of SAMCRO. He’s a club first kind of guy who hasn’t really waded into the politics. However, Jax forced his hand last night, all but suggesting that Chibbs may get elevated above Bobby in the hierarchy because Bobby is weak, i.e., sensible. Chibbs essentially expressed his loyalty to Jax, dirtying an otherwise apolitical character.


10. Damon Pope Sighting — I know a lot of our readers are claiming that Jax is a step ahead of Damon Pope and playing the long game to ultimately take him down, but I don’t buy it. Besides the ridiculous need to provide files of evidence to indict Clay, it’s the one logical pitfall of the season that’s driving me insane. Jax seems legitimately interested in a partnership with Pope, following his lead into clean businesses, which is where Jax wants to take the club. Suddenly, Jax and Pope are all buddy/buddy and big smiles while Pope is providing Jax with details on the whereabouts of the people directly responsible for Opie’s death. The fact that POPE PUT THE HIT OUT ON OPIE IN THE FIRST PLACE no longer seems to be a factor.

On the one hand, I get it: Jax understands that Opie’s death was revenge for the death of Pope’s daughter, and maybe Jax is ultimately holding Tig accountable for Opie’s death (notwithstanding the fact that Pope settled the score by brutally murdering Tig’s daughter). But if that’s the case, why is Jax so goddamn interested in killing the people who were paid to take out Opie, but not the guy who paid them? Kill the hired hands, but respect the boss? It boggles my goddamn mind. And if there is a long game in mind, it must be really long because Jax is going to the trouble of making Pope an investor in Charming Heights so that SAMCRO can get the maintenance contracts.

Jax is clearly and inexplicably sweeping Pope’s involvement with Opie’s death under the rug. However, whether Jax will turn Tig over to Pope does remain an interesting question. How will Sutter weasel out of that, UNLESS it’s Tig who saves Jax from the psycho Nero that I’ve envisioned in the above scenario.

POSTSCRIPT: Having spent a lot of time last summer trying to get inside of Vince Gilligan’s head and figure out where Breaking Bad is going, and now doing the same with Kurt Sutter, it’s fun and challenging for different reasons. It’s next to impossible to predict where Gilligan is going because he’s too smart, while it’s almost as difficult to figure out where Sutter is going because it’s hard to predict what kind of logical shortcuts he will take. He makes up sh*t as he goes along, and then retroactively attempts to fit it in. It does, however, make for compelling television. As frustrating as Sons of Anarchy can get, and as much as Sutter has destroyed his characters, every episode is entertaining.

One final note: Jax is become an evil, cold-hearted asshole, and I’m beginning to love hating him.