Wrapping up the second week means more mayhem, murder, and meticulous planning as Jax and Samcro carefully plan their revenge against Lin and his crew. Tara’s murder echoes throughout this episode’s (Toil and Till) while Gemma uncovers Wayne’s involvement as a consulting investigator for Charming’s new Sheriff. She helps Juice skip town and Wendy and Nero swap life stories between action scenes.
There’s a lot to this episode, maybe a smidge of metaphor, but mostly a lot of key moments that foreshadow the calamity that’s to come in the near future. Our formula sets up Jax’s plan to ruin Lin and his operation. A smooth hit takes out both Lin’s sellers of guns, and the Triad’s currency of heroin. All hits go according to plan until Jax makes an unforeseen error predicated by using his own charter for his consequentialism. I was puzzled at first with Jax’s offer to pay out the muscle that helped with the earlier hit. Once Jax, Chibs, and Bobby arrived, it all made sense. A lasting shot of a silver shotgun was further explained when Jury arrived to the house and found both bodies made to look like they planned their own hit against Lin’s men and killed each other over the drugs. Jury knows his favored crew was set up by Jax. Is it completely spelled out? I think so at this point. Was Jury related to the younger man? It probably doesn’t matter except that Jury took his death hard. I wouldn’t have suspected Jax to utilize a distant charter for his own means like this, but it happened and fall out is soon to follow.
Wayne is also playing his role too close to home as he meets and accepts Sheriff Jarry offer to be a consultant. The first thing Wayne wants is to view Tara’s case file. Already he’s dipping into his old method to sniff out the truth. What I wasn’t expecting was for Gemma to find out so soon. Gemma also has a keen sense of understanding and knows that if anyone is capable of finding out the truth, it’ll be him. This raises a very tricky scenario with her convictions and friendship of the guy. First thoughts go to her killing him to save herself. Let’s face it, she’s done worse and she’s not above doing whatever it takes to save those kids for herself.
Nero and Wendy have a few scenes together, but I honestly felt like they were just filler moments between Jax’s strike and Lin’s discovery and plans for payback. They seem to work as a pair of ex drug users who can reminisce honestly about their choices in life and their struggles to come back from it. They’re very polite and it’s good to see Nero endlessly connect with more characters. He maintains fascinating charisma. I believe what should be resonating is his message to Wendy that being honest no matter what is what’s best. This could help her in the future with Jax or possibly Gemma. Tara had a way with being honest and Jax respected that immensely. The same could work for Wendy.
That leaves Juice and his escape from Charming. It was good to see him get out of Wendy’s house…and into another one. Doh! It’s okay, he’s continued to establish trust with keeping Gemma’s secret and for one moment it looked at though he’d try and contact Chibs on phone, only to hang up while driving through town. It’s important to keep their connection alive in this season. Chibs took is personally with what happened to Juice in previous seasons. That kind of blame and guilt doesn’t vanish easily. Those two will eventually cross paths again. Does that mean Chibs will do away with Juice in this season? Is that a viable ending to the character? More importantly, is Juice’s life worth more than his secret of Gemma murder of Tara? That more than anything feels like a strong possibility. Though I doubt it would truly save his life considering the payback Jax feels is coming.
Barosky (Weller) returns and clearly makes his dislike of the Stockton Mayan pres. known. It’s a lesser sideplot, but I expect Barosky to play to his strengths soon. I think when it was mentioned how greed plays a part in ruining people was placed for good reason. There is weakness to be exploited there, but it’s too early to tell what side of the fence Barosky will fall on. He needs to interact more with Samcro. Better scenes will be had.
My favorite scene is when Juice and Wayne chat once Juice sets him free. Something resonated there for a few reasons. Those two haven’t (to my recollection) shared many scenes together and Wayne has a very trusting personality. Even saying the words “old sin” brought out the last six years worth of craziness Samcro has been put through, and beyond. I liked the dynamic because it felt new. When most familiar characters have moments like these they stick to their traits strongly and it just feels fresher when you switch those relationships around a little. Wayne appears to understand Juice’s plight and offers to help even after being tied up for an entire night. He doesn’t hold grudges like that and even seeks to find his own advantage even if it seems altruistic. It helped give him perspective on Patterson’s offer and is currently leading him on a path to finding Tara’s true murderer. I’d like to see Wayne find out on his own, but that could also mean his death if Gemma feels too threatened by the truth.
Favorite scenes will likely include the MVP of the episode and in his case, Wayne fits that bill too. He had three important conversations with Juice, Jarry, the new Sheriff, and Gemma, all poking and prodding over Tara’s murder. He’s generating clues and somehow instinctively putting the pieces together and he doesn’t even know it yet. It will be priceless when he realizes what Gemma did. There’s heartbreak for sure coming his way, but there’s also the possibility that even with the truth, he’ll still protect Gemma. It’s a long shot, but we can’t forget that he loves Gemma and has done plenty in the past to help her when she got into trouble.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
One thing that struck me was the Jax waking to the sound of a nearby lawnmower. In his groggy state, we see both tattoos of Abel and Thomas on him during this moment. It’s not always easy picking apart metaphors on this show, but I feel like there’s subconscious foreshadowing here with this scene. A lawnmower chews up and tears apart grass, grass that means to grow and thrive. Jax in a way is turning into this lawnmower, something that tears up what’s meant to grow and the grass is inevitably the club. His sons’ tattoos are what’s closest to him, but that’s the most important thing he stands to lose.
Gemma and Jax are still deeply affected by Tara’s death. Jax stares at the spot in the kitchen where he found her, and Gemma saw the police photographs of Tara lying in the same spot. Jax may be trying to let go, but Gemma is forced to hold on.
Brooke appears twice in a row. While only showing up for a bit scene in the premiere she has a moment with Gemma and is, for the most part, playing babysitter for the boys. There’s still a mystery with her that involves her mother and let’s not forget about the homeless woman who has been at least fingered as the same person, in theory. Will more light be shed on this in the future?
I like that Annabeth Gish has joined SOA. I recently watched season 8 and 9 of X-files and once more got used to her character Monica Reyes. She seems easy going and not quite as hard pressed as Eli, but I’m sure she’ll play it smart when she meets Jax, who Wayne correctly warned about as being “Formidable”
Two episodes and hardly a word about Clay. Forgotten so soon?
I give this episode an 8 out of 10. Jax sticks to his plan to corner Lin, Wayne is on the path to uncovering Tara’s murder, and Juice is further on the run. Not many twists save for Jury’s muscle getting killed and fingered as the hit crew against Lin’s men. Jury arriving on scene surely means that Jax will be issued his first real dilemma soon. It was an entertaining episode complete with sick-filled antics by Tig, who remains to be the only current Son who tries to get his jollies in even under dubious circumstances. I’m sure. I liked this episode slightly more than the premiere. Wendy and Nero’s scenes were filler to me, but their content was interesting to listen to. Nero continues to be the best guy he can be to save the peace. He’s got his work cut out for him.
No more words