Normally I avoid watching promos for next episodes, but tonight I couldn’t avoid it, because there simply wasn’t enough of tonight’s episode “Smoke ’em if You Got ’em” going around. Luckily I wasn’t given any hard proof of my suspicion that Juice is going to tell Jax everything he knows. That is the crux of the issue in this arc as we near the halfway point of its final season.
I want to address everything with Juice first before I comment on the rest of the plot. Even though he’s admitted to being a coward I find he’s taking his reunion with Samcro rather well. He manages to display a hefty amount of sympathetic anxiety over what’s happened. While Nero potentially forgave Juice over the death Jax made him do, it feels father swept under the rug given the nature of Juice real problem here. That problem is that Jax and crew are adding too many pieces of Juice’s messed up life that seem to paint the worst picture a member of Samcro could have. With Jax the smartest of the crew, I have to believe there’s something in there that he needs to have explained to him so that Juice won’t be silently put to death without a shred of dialogue to make him understand. Will Juice admit what he saw with Tara’s murder. One would think, absolutely, if it saves his life. But realistically, how would that in fact save his life? It unravels everything Jax has set in motion and even worse, pins the dark deed on his mother, which is the truth, yet not a saving throw I can see that will stick. Something else has to happen, and it has to start with Jax willing to talk to Juice, man to man.
Even though some of Jax’s plan seem to scatter away, much of his entire goal was brought back into the flow as he makes peace with Marcus and the Mayans and maintains an uneasy truce with Tully’s outside man, Leland. They want distribution of drugs, Mayans want the gun trade, which means they have to work together to remove August from the picture. The bridge was the executions of those responsible for killing members of the Grim Bastards. The bodies then place in August’s construction yards to send a message. It’s brutal, but by next episode or two, August will be retaliating as promised. What I find scary about the situation is August’s original threat. I don’t think this takedown will run as smooth as Jax thinks and people on both Samcro and the Mayans may be taking heavy hits. I’m also not 100% sold on Tyler’s loyalty to Jax either. It’s not much of a hunch, but we’re just not seeing the large picture.
Gemma, our resident ghost talker has a few candid moments with a waitress after being let go by Juice. Wayne takes her back to town where Jax tells her to give Sheriff Jarry the statement marking Lin as responsible for Tara’s death. Though very reluctant, she does so. And afterward, tells Wayne to take his RV off the property. Her scenes end with an upset Nero consoling a freaked out Gemma over what Juice may admit to Jax now that Juice is in his custody. Again, this goes back to things not being cut and dry. I’m not expecting Jax and Gemma to go through this showdown this early in the season. Part of me thinks it might be best to get it out of the way before the real bloodshed goes down, but the climax of the season isn’t about guns and retaliation, it’s about family understanding what they’ve lost trying to keep that family together. But I trust the writers to do what’s best, so if Jax finds out the truth by next week, then so be it.
I also wanted Gemma’s scene with Gurdy the waitress to be my favorite tonight, but ended up being my least favorite. It was one of Gemma’s more softer reflective moments but completely wasted on a character we’ll never see again. All it did was show how much she tries to deflect and avoid what she really needs to say. Granted, she admits that it was her fault Tara died, but it given to a near complete stranger which didn’t serve to be any kind of cathartic moment for her. It’s at the end of the episode that we’re treated with a likely possibility that she’ll tell Nero the truth with what happened to Tara. I can see it happening if she’s truly backed into a wall. Nero will have to pry because she’s that upset and he was the one who was supposed to be angry over her helping Juice. Back to the earlier scene. I just felt it was a long filler moment that could have been better spent on other characters.
One more element of chaos is that we’re assuming that Wayne is being told what the wounded female officer (Eckerty?) saw when she and her partner were gunned down. Wayne is getting all sorts of tactical information on the groups and their dealings and may need to make even harder choice to maintain the dignity of doing the right thing. If Gemma has cut herself off from Wayne, that may not bode too well for her.
It was simple and very effective, but I liked the end with Juice being escorted out by Chibs and the crew. Juice avoids looking at Bobby and just has this overwhelmingly sorrowful look while also accepting his fate. It made me wish the entire season was playing out tonight and that’s the key to good writing. They set up a really solid ending to entice our return next week.
Little tough this week, but I’m giving it to Gemma. She had very hot and cold moments but she did resume her talk to Tara and showed plenty of varying emotion throughout the episode including her freakout with Nero over Jax possibly learning the truth. No matter how cool she performs and how sneaky she is with her words, nothing can stop the flow of anxious tears when she feels the roof is coming apart around her world. It was interesting that she was playing reluctant with telling the sheriff what she “witnessed” with Tara’s murder. I would think if she had to play out the role than she’d do what was necessary. The guilt is breaking her down little by little. She’s still very strong in her position to maintain the secret, but somewhere inside is a lot of fear and it’s slowly starting to trickle out and we can visibly see and hear it. She did great in tonight’s episode.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
What will Wayne do with his new information? Will he tell Jarry first, or Jax? How long until the officer tells everyone else?
I wouldn’t put it past August to hire professional hitmen to take out Samcro at this point. I believe August when he made his threat to Jax earlier this season. Money can buy a lot of powerful enemies including the ones close.
No word yet on Jury and his revelation. Based on the names of the future episodes, I suspect not next week, but the week after is when we’ll get the stinging result we’ve been waiting for.
Jax proposing the Grim Bastards patch into Samcro is an interesting idea. If it happens and Leland gains wind of it, it could shatter their already fragile bond.
I thought Charisma Carpenter was supposed to appear this week, but I guess that’s later.
Somehow, I have to believe that Juice will find a way to be spared without telling Jax the truth about Gemma and Tara. Stranger things have happened, but if not, it might be time to say goodbye to Juice forever.
Excellent episode this week. 8 out of 10. A few tense moments, all of them Juice related. I wasn’t expecting him to be as desperate as he was with robbing the liquor store and offering to sell intel on Samcro in exchange for travel to Mexico, but I also give him more credit considering he does fly off the deep end when pushed against a wall. Jax was especially sure footed as well. His fist fight with Leland his crew was amusing and could have gone on longer on screen. My only gripe was the use of Gemma and Gurdy and whether was served a purpose or not. I’m all for character scenes, but it didn’t feel completely necessary. The biggest plus is how it makes us bite our nails in wondering how things will turn out next. That’s the mark of a great last season now nearly half over. Keep them coming!
No more words