Welcome back, Sons! (Full spoilers await)
It’s still surreal thinking about how season 06 wrapped its explosive season up. Yet, here we are watching season 7’s credits missing Ron P. and Maggie S. in the fold. For everyone else its been 273 agonizingly long days of waiting. For Jax and crew, a mere week and a half. And here we are, riding through this world, one more time, one final time.
There’s a staunch reckoning looming in the air as Jax displayed his hard-earned revenge against a nameless character that Gemma was only too quick to finger as Tara’s murderer. The audience is given barely a glimpse into this character’s calm, loyal personality before the mother of all turkey forks is jammed into his skull, complete with the kind of ear-crunching you’d expect from a full-on vengeance stab.
Right away, I glimpsed the fiery dominoes splattering off the path all because of Gemma’s need to tie up her choices from last season. It’s easy to prophesize that the blood from here on out will return to her at some point, but that’s a simple plot, and SOA is anything but “simple” these days.
As we’re treated to a lengthy premiere, Jax reintroduces his more subtle approach to getting his club in order. He plays nice with Lin, Alveraz, The Grim Bastards, and even the current head of the Irish group in town, Connor. All are a means to his end, which for now, is about saving his club. He’s abandoned any pure thoughts of pulling his club to safety as his father JT once tried to do. He’s now fully immersed himself as a tragic character waiting for the final chime of the clock to strike. And that finale is coming and coming soon. With all the ties to Hamlet back in season 01, will season 07 cast it’s final moments imitating centuries’ old Shakespeare? Couldn’t say this far out, but I wouldn’t be surprised.
Our secondary plot simmers as Juice hides out in Wendy’s home. From the back and forth he shared with Gemma and Wendy, it’s Wayne who proactively seeks out a peculiar bag in Wendy’s closet and finds Juice staring at him with a gun. Two elements struck me as odd for Wayne. He was the only one seen at Tara’s grave in the entire episode which made me feel like he was the only person left who had the time to reflect on the unsavory situation caused in the finale. In a way it’s ironic since he was the closest to a grave yet he’s survived so many other deaths on the show. It also mirrored a bit of Quinn’s rainy stare when the bodies of the pastors were put into a larger grave toward the end of the episode.
I also wasn’t sure if I bought Wayne’s super sleuth motives. Sneaking suspicion aside, why go back to the apt that night to uncover the bag’s contents? Wayne, last time I checked, wasn’t on retainer to find Juice. It just seemed odd. The only scene that corroborates it is his conversation with Patterson about becoming a consultant to the new incoming Sheriff. He hesitates on the job with putting it behind him, yet Patterson was firm that he’d give it a shot. Did that somehow spark the days of old, making him more attentive to the strange environment in Wendy’s house? Who knows.
I try not to count the montages as best moments, because they serve different purposes and even though the Bohemian cover was an added bonus to the slaughter of the innocent member of Lin’s group, I still wouldn’t rank it as the best scene.
What stood out to me was the set up before the fall. Gemma had a casual conversation with a man nobody knew and for reasons we didn’t know. She felt genuine even though her words were dubious in nature, but within the pity she had in that slight moment, she still did what she felt she had to do which was sell him out to Jax and crew for Tara’s murder. Once again, she’ll do anything she has to “save” her family.
This one also goes out to Gemma. I wanted to give it to Jax but he held back all of his rage and tears and even in the end, all we got was a stiff moment of gory torture while we were introduced to that in the beginning when he cut up the inmate. They already showed us his vicious nature, making his moment at the end a bit deflated. What I found the most interesting was how Gemma wrapped herself up in the thread she thinks she is in keeping the family together. The worst part is, I almost believe her. Other than that, it’s just another day at the office for her. Covering for Wendy, helping Juice continue to hide, blaming others for her wrongdoings, and trying to be genuine to Jax about their family. It’s when she was talking to “Tara” in the kitchen that sold me on her performance this round. I wasn’t expecting that from her. I wouldn’t quite call it guilt, but there’s something there psychologically that has to pass for what guilt may be to her. It made it eerie because she was having that conversation with Lin’s man tied up behind her, but she carried on like Tara was there talking about how Wendy will work with the kids for now. I wouldn’t mind this becoming a thing for Gemma to do, but more than twice could be pushing past sanity and she’s not in the realm of losing it quite yet. Not with Nero returned to her loving embrace.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
The pastor murders could be a one-off, just another strange moment implanted in an episode to keep it “on edge”. Or it could lead to a scandal which wouldn’t serve the overall plot much good.
If Wayne survives the next 2 to 3 episodes then he’s surviving all the way to the end. Fans and I have often said that he’s the true villain of the show as a joke and that he’ll outlive everyone in the end.
Juice could still find a way to make this right with Jax. I’m not saying he’ll rat out Gemma as Tara’s killer, but I don’t see him taking a bullet from the club until all the skeletons get released. He’s more desperate in this premiere than crazy as Wayne is very much still alive and not in the same position as Eli was.
Barosky was mentioned which means he’ll be lending his appearance soon on the show, but with an allegiance that we can hopefully figure out this time. The Mayans know he’s greedy, and Jax has seen it first hand.
I give this episode a 7 out of 10. We got to see subtle rage from Jax at the end and it was bittersweet because it doesn’t technically count. He’ll subside and return to his last love, the club, until Tara’s death comes back to fully haunt him when the truth is sprouted. Jax’s monologue at the club meeting was sad to hear because of how much he wanted to do the right thing. Now that the club is all he has left, he’ll dive down whatever dark path he has to. He’s not lost, he just doesn’t see two paths anymore.
I understand the need to pin a quick bullseye on someone else for Tara’s death, but the episode didn’t grab me by the hair and fling me around with crazy moments I’ll not soon forget. Maybe I’m desensitized, but last season’s premiere was the example of “What the fas;dkfja;dj just happened?” Pacing and plot flowed like a normal episode with a couple of surprising moments.
The final season is one episode less to its last. How will it end? Like the Sopranos? Like Dexter? Like *shudders* True Blood? Or like The Shield? Let’s aim for that one ^__^. Thanks for reading, all!
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