A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×12 (Empty drawers, empty hearts)

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From here on out, every shot of Tara will have me wondering whether it’s the last time I see her alive. Every penultimate episode comes with it’s own storm, and this weeks episode of Sons of Anarchy brings a literal storm to Charming with dark portents rising. While Jax played his subterfuge to align August with the Kings, Tara was busy with subterfuge of her own as she made her final decision regarding Patterson’s immunity deal and essentially the fate of Samcro.

Pressure felt like the theme as some of our tried and true are put to their own unique tests to see who cracks or folds under that great pressure. Nero, Juice, Jax, Tara, and even Wendy had their moments and each delivered on human responses when backed into a wall or faced with harsh realities. I pictured brutality but was given something softer and in a sense, more noble than what I was expecting. But peace of mind is a long way off, by about a week. Let’s recap.

(RECAP)

Jax tells Patterson that he kept his end of the deal even though he knows Patterson realized she was played. She intends to wait to see how everything lands before she makes a decision on her deal with Jax.

Patterson calls Tara who is still at the cabin helping look after Bobby. She tells Tara they need to meet at the hospital. When Bobby wakes up, he thanks her for saving his life and drifts back into sleep.

Connor says the Kings are still working out their decision to trade guns with August and also thinks the Chinese may be after him. Jax says his guns are safe at the new location.

Tig and a few Sons who helped move the guns kill the two Irish as part of Jax’s plan.

Lin and the Chinese meet with Jax who shows them the Irish bodies. Lin is upset that he can’t exact his revenge personally and refuses to give up Happy until he has Connor in his possession. Jax doesn’t agree to it and Lin leaves with Happy. Jax tells his crew to reach out to August.

Nero is told by the Biz Lat leader that Marcus from the Mayans wants to meet with him.

At Gemma’s home, Wendy is watching Abel as Gemma explains to her that she’ll need to go into rehab by the next day. Wendy asks why Gemma is helping her and she says that Tara is likely going to jail and that she needs help with the kids and for Wendy to get cleaned up.

Tara tells Juice she needs supplies at the hospital. Rat takes her as Bobby tells Juice to go to Diosas to unwind and to take a few oxy pills with him. Juice asks why Bobby changed his vote to kill Clay. Bobby said that before it wasn’t good for Jax but now is made sense. Juice takes most of the Oxy pills and leaves.

Nero meets with Marcus and asks about the Mayans helping the Bizlats. Marcus says there’s a delicate balance but with Samcro leaving the gun trade to August that it will upset the balance. He plans to start a new charter in Stockton. Nero suggests staying Neutral, but Marcus disagrees.

Jax feeds Connor a bogus story about his men being shot and the guns being stolen and that it’s critical for the Kings to align with August for the gun trade who will handle the Chinese. Connor agrees to push the deal forward.

Tara finds Gemma at the office who wants scripts for Wendy’s nausea. Tara agrees to meet her in twenty minutes. Gemma runs into Patterson and they trade minor insults before Patterson meets with Tara and introduces the ATF agent who will handle her protective custody. Tara shows them the bullet but won’t hand it over until her lawyer signs both the immunity deal and the protective custody. Once the papers are signed, she’ll meet them at six.

Tara returns to the cabin and talks briefly with Jax who says they’ll figure it all out after he cleans up everything with the Irish. Tara hugs him and apologizes before returning to solitude in the bathroom.

Juice arrives at Diosas after taking some of the oxy pills. He’s led to a room where he begins to get ready for an escort. He then begins to have a panic attack and takes the rest of the oxy pills. Gemma arrives at Diosas and waits for Nero.

After Tara fixes Bobby’s bandage she sneaks out of the cabin through a window.

Jax and crew meet with Connor who is still working on finalizing an answer from the Kings. The Chinese arrive and Jax hands over Connor to Lin, who releases Happy back to Jax. They enter the warehouse to retrieve the guns the Irish had, but are ambushed by the one-niners who assassinate all the Chinese. Tig hands Happy a gun and he repeatedly shoots Lin, killing him.

Tara gets a call from Patterson who says the deal is in place and to expect her at six.

Both Nero and Gemma discover Juice is passed out and overdosed on the oxy. They force him to vomit repeatedly to expel the pills.

August meets with Jax and Connor and gives Connor half a million dollars with a statement that he can double his network. Connor is surprised but willing to proceed provided the Kings agree. August and Jax shake and he tells Jax that Tig is finally off the hook.

Gemma and Nero agree that Juice was suicidal. She gets a call from Tara who makes a story up involving Bobby’s wounds reopening and needing help. Gemma leaves for the cabin as Nero watches over Juice. Juice begins muttering about what Jax had him do involving the murder of Arcadio’s girlfriend. Nero realizes Jax lied to him and let’s Juice fall to the ground in his own tears.

Tara arrives at Gemma’s house and attempts to take the kids out. Wayne is suspicious and blocks her from leaving. Tara pulls a gun and forces Wayne to let her leave. In a desperate plea, Wendy yells to Abel that she’s his mother. Tara strikes her face and leaves with Thomas and Abel.

Gemma gets a call and quickly turns her vehicle back.

Connor informs Jax that the Kings are willing to give August a chance and to see how the first shipment goes. They shake and afterward, Jax gets a call from Gemma.

As Nero puts Juice to bed he gets a message to meet Jax and Gemma at Jax’s house.

Patterson is awaiting Tara’s arrival and realizes it’s past six-thirty.

Tara drives to an undisclosed hotel as it begins raining. She takes the kids into a room and closes the blinds.

Jax goes to his house and finds all the drawers and closets are empty. Gemma shows up and mentions running into Patterson and thinks Tara made a deal. Jax begins tearing a room apart.

Patterson tells the ATF agent that she’ll be looking for Tara.

Tara feeds Thomas next to a sleeping Abel and stares off in worry.

Nero comes to Jax’s house and stands in front of a distraught Jax who is sitting silent on a bed. Nero puts a hand on Jax’s back in empathy over Tara’s kidnapping of the boys and Gemma’s statement that Tara ratted the Sons out.

(END RECAP)

Now Jax has unleashed the anger he’s been letting simmer over the past few episodes. It took a while, but it finally came out. He now has every reason to believe that Tara betrayed him. It’s a double dose with both the kidnapping and the possible fate of Samcro behind bars. Since Jax doesn’t know the full story, he can only assume his days are numbered while Gemma had a very subtle “I knew it” look on her face when she told Nero what Tara did. As much as I was expecting another brutal beat down between Nero and Jax, I’m actually much more satisfied with Nero’s passive gesture. They already had their tussle a few episodes earlier and to be honest, a second fight between the two would have been redundant. Watching Nero motion as a friend would to a deep tragedy is infinitely more powerful than a masculine fight over a lie. Maybe Nero understands, maybe he doesn’t. But the boys missing trumps Nero’s anger, for now. I do hope they reach an amicable conclusion, because Nero has proven to be a major standup guy and I’m glad he’s lasted this season.

I’m certainly left in wonder with Tara’s play to stay out of sight from both sides. Yes it makes sense that her relationship with Jax and Samcro as a whole is bone deep and she just can’t make the play to end the legacy of Samcro. But now she’s being hunted by both sides and what’s worse, Jax doesn’t realize that the betrayal only goes as far as taking the kids. I remember how much Jax prepared to leave the state with Tara and the kids and a big part of me believed that if Tara stood with Jax, he’d let her leave of her own free will with the kids at least knowing they’d still be there when he chose to leave too. But this was too much and Jax is very much past the point of forgiveness. I’m not expecting a bloodbath or an execution. What I really want is to see a face to face with Tara really pulling the threads on Jax’s patches with what it means to keep the kids in danger of Samcro regardless with how straight they make their path from here on out. She knows it won’t ever end and she needs to convince Jax, somehow, that leaving is still what’s best. Having said that, we’re talking about a repeat performance of season two, when Abel was kidnapped and we all remember how devastating that was for Jax during that run. It’s hard to imagine Patterson as the lesser of two evils, but if Tara thinks she’ll be safe on the run, I think Patterson’s conclusion with Tara’s fate is rock solid, and I hate that it’s rock solid.

It was a relief to finally see Juice let his stress go. I know it’s awful to watch him go through a second suicide run, but this one seems more genuine and it’s not just the death he caused, but everything leading up to the role in life. His death wish could lead to real wildcard scenario and I hope it doesn’t include a death, because in Sons, everyone is fair game, except Wayne, that guy is pretty damn much immortal on this show.

I feel it’s necessary to mention that Juice and Bobby’s gloss over with Clay’s death felt very much like an abstract moment that didn’t really belong but was there to allow some form of resonance of Clay’s death. I remember how much Clay wanted to give payback to the men who forced Gemma and him to have sex and that will never happen now. It’s a shame but either way, Bobby’s admittance to voting for Clay’s death didn’t really feel like it needed to be explained. Bobby is a surrogate father to Jax, one a few over the years, and I think we get it the mentality behind doing what’s best for Jax.

My only real disappointment with this episode was Wendy and her flash moment of panic and her screaming to Abel that she’s his mother. I always though Wendy would be the real threat to either Tara or Gemma because of her setup this season. If anything, I half expected Wendy to make a b-line for the door and kidnap Abel herself, or even stranger, off Gemma for all the anguish she’s caused her over the years. But instead, we’re given a fractal moment of motherly fright and a confession that a child like Abel is barely capable of comprehending. Wayne trying his best to keep the Tara from leaving was enough to solidify the uneasiness of the moment, but Wendy kind of ruined that tension for me a bit. It was a still a touch-and-go segment. That gun came out and it could have gone a few horrific directions. Luckily no one was hurt.

Not much critique on the loose ends being tied with the Chinese, the gun trade, and August’s new role. Everything played out without much tension on that front. Even Jax’s subterfuge with handing Connor over to Lin wasn’t very convincing. It was safe to say Jax wouldn’t squelch on August’s deal or the Kings for that matter. Plus Happy made it back without a scratch. His brutality in shooting Lin multiple times was a little odd. I get that Happy was a captive, but he wasn’t tortured, he was eating dinner with the Chinese and seemed relatively mellow about it. But hey, he’s named after a dwarf, maybe he has anger issues.

I did catch the promo and I can safely say, I have no real solid predictions with how the finale will go down next week. I have biased hopes that somehow Jax and Tara will find a solution that doesn’t end with her dead. I don’t think this finale needs a major character death, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. They blew up the clubhouse, killed Clay, killed Otto, wounded Bobby, and a let’s not forget that Jax gave Tig up to August. I’m still wondering if that will ever come back to bite him. Probably not. If there’s one thing this show has taught me is that the ebon flow of Samcro is a message of enduring consequences and the more popular “Mister Mayhem will reap what you sow”

Will I be upset if Jax pulls the trigger on Tara? Absolutely. That’s a hurt that won’t go away smoothly. Hell, if anyone causes her death that’ll crush. I still think this finale can get away with an ending that isn’t a cliffhanger, but that doesn’t mean the tension won’t be high.  Here’s to one more week before the inevitable end of another season of SOA. Keep riding.

No more words

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