Jax concentrates his strategic plans on the One-Niners while Chibs and Juice finally meet in a crucial moment for the latter to undertake. It’s another roundhouse of the crew playing one group after another with no clear allegiance to any but themselves. There’s an eerie calmness in Jax’s delivery and method which intentionally foreshadows the darkness waiting for him when the show shifts into its final gear. For every plan that goes right, one can expect two more plans to fall hard when unexpected allies turn. I’m talking to you, Jury.
What I currently see is a long term plan that could see the end of every major club in and round Charming. Shakespeare would write the Sons well into this tragedy, but that remains to be seen. On one hand, Jax knows exactly what he’s doing, to a point, on the other, he’s playing with cards that even the audience doesn’t know he has yet. What are they? Will his ultimate plan be realized? Any fan would want to see Jax win this war, but does everyone believe he should find out the truth about Tara? Will he retaliate when he does? So many exciting questions and the season is just getting started.
Let’s start with August and his suave sense of power. He politely informed Jax that he’s a dangerous man and will have no remorse for killing Jax or the Sons should he be crossed. Jax immediately sets him up to lose control on the streets starting with gaining allegiance from Tyler and his One-Niners. It’s a bold start and I almost believed his partnership with Tyler is genuine. In truth, Jax is using Tyler to undermine August and it may end up working completely. His set up with the hit and Lin’s massage parlor will no doubt cause massive blowback on both Lin and August, letting two powerhouse crews take each other out. Jax has been one step ahead of the game so far with the exception of Jury, who has remained concealed from divulging what he knows about last episode’s final strike of the evening.
Jury is holding on to some serious pain. A pair of dog tags shows a deep friendship with whom he lost. There’s an impactful story here to be unveiled and will be at the right time. Jury may be either contemplating a hit back, or the decision to confront Jax in a less bloody way. Knowing this show’s history, blood answers blood at a one-hundred percent frequency. Someone on Samcro could suffer a permanent end because of this complicated swerve in Jax’s plan.
I’m holding off on discussing the Chibs and Juice meet till a later section in the review, but while on the subject of Chibs, it’s interesting to see the start of something between Sheriff Jarry and Chibs. She’s easily playing into the role of a cop who will look the other way and perform favors without knowing too much about her self-interests. She has the demeanor of a level-headed officer who isn’t in town to keep it legally clean. But she doesn’t act like Charlie who controls Stockton with an iron clad grip. Her motivation seems different. She and Chibs certainly hit it off, but will it grow into something more dangerous, or will Chibs finally have more than a Samcro heist to be a part of?
Moving onto Gemma. Twice now she’s caught herself speaking to Tara about her justification with the way things ended up. Only this time it was to her crows which, symbolically suggests she still maintains control over her son and in part the Sons. I find it peculiar that this is becoming a reoccurring act for her. Having done such a horrific thing has taken her psyche into new places to explore and it appears that she’ll use this as a coping mechanism until it’s time for her to act and keep the secret hidden, which must happen if the final season is going to elevate itself appropriately. If this show really went into a strange direction, Gemma could even hallucinate Tara, which would give us a good excuse to see Maggie on screen again. I wouldn’t be against that.
After the One-Niner plot wraps up, the episode ends with Jax beating up on the father of a local girl who apparently owed him money. Because Gemma was injured in the heated discussion, Jax returned the favor by beating him senseless, while Gemma looks out the door, only listening. Putting her field of view away from Jax and the violence he’s issuing does show that Gemma’s not necessarily proud with what has to be done, hence why she’s not smiling at the end. In fact, she’s not displaying much of any emotion save for more contemplation over what her son is doing and has to do to unknowingly maintain her secret. The kicker is that this is the ultimate foreshadow with how events could go down if/when Jax finds out the truth. I’m certain they wouldn’t play out the same, but in Gemma’s mind, she’s considering the possibility and that’s why she’s staring off blankly at the end.
This weeks favorite scene goes to Juice meeting Chibs at the diner with Wayne. Chibs is quite excellent with playing the subtle vindictive VP. His accent accentuates such quiet hostility that makes Juice’s wide-eyed responses almost perfect. Juice played at one last attempt to understand what happened to him and to try and beg to make things right. Chibs says to kill himself with the gun, which is a nod to Juice trying to commit suicide earlier in the series. There’s hurt on both sides, which Wayne is witness to and for Juice, it’s carefully heartfelt. He unzips his sweater to show that his jacket and patches are all that’s left he can care about and live for. Chibs doesn’t care, so Juice leaves defeated. Even under threat of being followed, Juice says he’ll shoot out Chibs’s tires, meaning that Juice will not hurt his brother, and by proxy the Sons. This scene resonated the most with me, especially Chibs’s line with knowing that Juice is lost and has to go away. These two may never be in the same scene again, so it’s good that we got this moment.
The MVP for this episode is Chibs. To me, he earned a few moments to go solo and explore a bit more with his character. He tells Jarry what his name means and how he got his facial scar while Jarry shows one of her own in an old Lethal Weapon 3 homage. They had a cute moment together even if it nothing more than a trade of favors and money. They’ll continue to converse with Chibs likely turning it into something potentially romantic. We’ll see.
And again, his expressive accent and mannerisms flourished in his meeting with Juice and created a typically good atmosphere when he’s controlling the conversation. He’s VP for a reason and it definitely showed here. He’s not just a back up though to Jax’s single-minded plan, he’s his own man with a personal code of honor. He deserves a few scenes like this when they can happen and I appreciated the effort in tonight’s episode.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Ratboy and Brooke have a small subplot of love intermixed with babysitting and warnings from Wendy about not getting Brooke mixed up with the Sons or getting pregnant. Which likely means both will inevitably happen. Wendy sees youth and innocence with Brooke and doesn’t want to see her go down any path that mirrored her own. Rat may choose to ignore all these signs and warnings as will Brooke if they’re not careful.
Jury holding onto the shotgun that was a part of the murders in last week’s ep tells me that someone’s getting shot with it soon. It’s a definite mark of a future schism that Jury may ignite if he decides to take matters into his own hands. Right now we don’t know if anyone from Indian Hills knows what he knows, or if they’re ever going to know. They’re saving this repercussion for a later time.
Nero took part in the murders of the One-Niner rogues, something Alveraz specifically mandated from him. Little by little Nero is getting put in predicaments that sway him away from keeping the peace he wants to have. Out of all the characters outside of the Sons, he’s the one with the most to lose and may be one of the early deaths of the show. I’m not saying it’s a definite, but if it becomes his time, it may happen earlier than later.
Is it me, or did Juice staying at Gemma’s dad’s house last for all of two seconds? Next thing we see if him back at Wendy’s place again and that hideout was neither seen nor mentioned again. Seems odd.
I don’t want to incorporate a decimal score, but this weeks episode “Playing With Monsters” is a very strong 8. I didn’t feel there were any wasted segments and each scene played well into the next. Little things like Gemma reading “The Monster in My Closet” to Abel were noticed and even pondered on. There were plenty of teases of events coming in later episodes with a fresh pace we’ve come to expect from this high-octane show. Jax is content with his plan so far and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, even though Bobby did say that they’d understand if Jax needed to. It means Bobby is beginning to see signs of a problem with the direction they’re going. Nothing to say out loud yet, but he’s noticing it and calmly informing Jax in a way a friend should that their speed may be too fast. Keep in tune as the weeks come and thanks for reading!
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