A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×13 (True north is due south)

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My fingers were sitting on the keys for a few minutes trying to figure out if my first statement would be reflective, angry, or cathartic. I typed all those words with my middle fingers, so that should be a clear sign. Sons of Anarchy ends its sixth season with Samcro tears and lonely anguish. I can’t speak for everyone’s hearts, but mine sank as far as it can go, always knowing but never accepting what this finale would bring. This show can remark on it’s poetry and prose with the best of the bunch, but at the end of the day, death is cold and brutally callous. In a dense reality full of guns and balance, Jax deals with a fatal blow that marks the fate of its seventh, and final, season in the hands of Nero’s haunting karma.

I once read that tragic endings have a way of lasting longer in memory than the happy endings. I’ve found elements of truth to it even if my own take is that tragic endings have less repeat performances on nostalgic nights. I guess what I’m trying to say is that after tonight’s episode, it will be a long time before I go back and re-watch everything that led up to this finale. There will be some character bias in this review, because I had specific high hopes for certain events while pushing my subconscious thoughts of the truth down to the depths. I tend to understand “why” writers do what they do in these kinds of situations, so in that context I won’t be giving this episode a negative review. What I will do is seek to broaden the objective approach with some mutterings of a fan who is forced to say goodbye to a friend. Thank you for reading.

(RECAP)

Jax sits next to Opie’s headstone as he narrates a journal entry to his sons about his choices in life and his love for them. He runs over a white pigeon with his bike after he leaves.

Wayne oversees Clay’s burial at the prison. Aside from the convicts filling the grave, he is alone.

Tara is still at the hotel with Abel and Thomas.

Eli tells Patterson that Tara never went home as they discuss what Jax will do when he finds out she’s gone.

Bobby and crew discuss Tara at the sweet shop and surmise that she hasn’t given them up yet else they’d already be arrested. Gemma speaks with Juice alone about his overdose and Juice admits he doesn’t want to die. He asks if Nero mentions anything he might have said, but Gemma assures him that Nero said nothing.

Jax arrives at the shop, followed by Eli and Patterson. Patterson and Jax speak alone about Tara as Jax avoids answering on the subject. Patterson attempts to get Jax to understand that he’s a family man above his role as an SOA and to own his place with it

During a club meeting, Jax and crew make plans to find Tara and that they’ll do what they have to do should Tara decide to rat on them.

Marcus drops by and speaks with Jax about the gun trade going to August instead of him and his plans to expand the Mayans into Stockton. Jax explains that August has a deeper connection that includes political ties and the Mayans don’t currently have those resources but assures Marcus that the gun trade will be business as usual. Jax is visibly concerned with Marcus’s news about moving into Stockton and tells Happy to get him Nero.

Tara calls Mitch, her lawyer, who tells her that the deal is still open from Patterson. She agrees to meet Mitch to look over the papers. When Mitch leaves, Juice and Bobby tail him.

Jax meets with Tyler and the One-Niners, along with Marcus and Nero at a junkyard. Jax and Nero speak briefly and Nero brings up karma as well as his knowledge from Juice about his hand in killing the child-shooter’s mother. When all three crews meet, Marcus realizes August won’t meet them personally. He agrees to buy guns from the Niners and Jax leaves with their relationship seemingly well-adjusted. As they make the trade, the Mayans shot and kill the Niner crew with Nero watching, unknown of the plan.

Barosky tells Chibs and Tig what the Mayans did as the Sons discover where Mitch is heading.

Later on, Marcus sits with Nero and tells him to leave the Biz-Lats in the hands of his second and retire as the Mayans build relations with the Chinese.

Bobby and Juice watch and Tara arrives at a park to meet her lawyer. He and Tara talk at a bench over the immunity deal and the possibility of testifying in court, to which Tara agrees and asks for some time with the kids before Patterson meets with her.

Wayne picks up Wendy at Gemma’s house and the two discuss their significant others. Before leaving, Gemma asks if anyone was at Clay’s burial. Wayne says he was alone.

Tara watches Abel go to Jax as Samcro shows up. Tara begins to panic as Jax takes Thomas and then gives him to Tig so they can speak alone. Jax says he can’t let her do what she’s going to do and Tara explains that she sacrificed everything for him. She tried to save the kids from becoming like Jax and realizes that their bond isn’t stronger than the club and reminds Jax that he was willing to leave at one point. Tara says the kids will suffer because of what’s to come and cries, asking if she can say goodbye to them. Jax takes her hand and says he’s not going to hurt her or the kids and that she doesn’t have to run anymore. He wants her to be a good mother and to save the boys.

Gemma meets Nero at Diosas and tries to talk to him, but Nero is reluctant and wants to be alone. When she tries to leave Nero pleads for her to leave Jax and the club and to go with him. She says she can’t make that choice and realizes that Nero is leaving her. She storms out upset.

Patterson meets Tara at the hotel and finds Jax in the room with her. The three speak alone and Jax offers himself to Patterson with conditions that Tara is free as well as the club. In exchange he’ll admit to possession of the KG9 and it’s selling. Patterson agrees to the deal as Jax sets the time for six giving him enough time to spend with his sons. After Patterson leaves, Tara thanks him and they embrace telling each that they love each other. They kiss and presumably go further.

Jax holds a meeting with Chibs and Bobby about his plan to take the fall saying he can’t let anything happen to the club or Tara. He gives Bobby the gavel and says Samcro will be fine under his leadership. Chibs seemingly agrees. Jax then tells Bobby that Juice can’t be trusted and for Chibs to bring Bobby up to speed.

Wayne arrives at Gemma’s house asking her where she’s been. Gemma is high as Wayne tells her that Jax is going to be arrested and that it appears Tara made a deal. Gemma tries to leave but Wayne blocked her car. She convinces Wayne to retrieve pills from a bathroom and she slips away with his keys to the truck.

Wayne then goes to the sweet shop to tell Jax about Gemma disappearing. Juice offers to find her. Jax speaks to him outside and they hug as Jax whispers of Juice’s betrayal. Jax says nothing more and leaves Juice alone, who departs himself.

Eli drops Tara off at Jax’s house as they notice Wayne’s truck in the driveway. They walk inside as Eli says he’ll wait outside. Tara reflects for a moment in the living room and smiles, believing everything will be all right. She enters the kitchen and sees Gemma. In a panic, Tara tries to flee with Gemma brutally attacking her. They struggle with Gemma having the upper hand. She forces Tara’s head into a sink full of water and grabs a two-prong kitchen appliance. Gemma repeatedly stabs Tara in the head until she dies. Eli enters the kitchen but it’s too late. Gemma says it had to be done as Eli tries to explain that Jax made a deal to save Tara and the kids. Just as Gemma realizes what she’s done, Juice enters and shoots Eli dead. He then helps Gemma up, who is still hysterical over what’s happened.

At night, Jax kisses his sons goodbye and embraces Samcro members, Rat, Happy, Tig, Bobby, and Chibs, the latter in tears. Jax departs after kissing his fingers and touching them to Abel’s head one last time.

Wendy reflects alone in her rehab home.

The Mayans meet with the Chinese as Nero arrives with his second showcasing his continued involvement with the Biz-lats.

Gemma goes to Wayne at the garage and cries in his arms.

Juice disposes of the evidence proving that Gemma was responsible for Tara’s death. The homeless woman from previous episodes pushes an empty carriage, seemingly oblivious.

Jax gets home and finds Tara and Eli lying on the kitchen floor. Distraught, Jax embraces Tara and kisses her as Patterson enters the house with the police. Patterson surveys the room and appears to conclude that Jax murdered them. Jax howls as the season ends.

(END RECAP)

Where else can I sufficiently start except at the critical moment that had me yelling at the scene. I speak plainly of Tara’s passing. It was ugly and harsh and full of twisted and self-absorbed entitlements. It wasn’t enough that they kill her, it wasn’t enough that the situation was out of Gemma’s knowledge, but the sheer concept that Gemma actually thought committing murder was the right thing to do because in essence, she thought everything was being taken away from her. Regardless of her justified sense and weed induced power trip, Gemma is a full blown psychotic. She couldn’t stand the thought of Tara having that final upper hand and once more ended a direct line of love and life that connected to Jax. It’s ego-centric at it’s core because nothing Gemma did was what was best for the kids. It all revolved on her desire to handle the anger on her own. Watching her play the cool older lady throughout the season was one of the top signs that she was going to burst at the seams one way or another. Wendy was a clever red-herring, because, she’s the one who I thought would finally lose it, kill someone, and/or steal Abel. I even thought the gun that Gemma gave to Wendy would come into play again in this episode, but alas, that’s probably what they wanted me to think.

As a fan from day one, I knew this death would crush, and it did. You don’t see a white pigeon get crushed by a bike and think everything is going to be all right in the end. Symbolism or not, Jax put everything past him and finally owned up to the role he put himself in. I’ve written in the past that Jax pulling the trigger was something far-fetched and even gruesome in thought. Nothing truly set the bar so high that Jax would force such a sentence to save the club. Which left Gemma and one hell of a confused state of mind. My honesty is that Gemma is no longer any kind of redeemable character to me. She can cry and regret that choice all she wants with Wayne. There is something fundamentally wrong with the wires in her head and for the sake of Jax, I hope he finds out the truth. Here I was thinking his true enemy was Clay for so many seasons when all along the final season should be showcasing his true enemy is his mother. If you follow Hamlet logic as season one emulated with it’s premise and characters, Tara is Ophelia and Ophelia didn’t make it to the final scene. Will Samcro end like Hamlet in that regard? I wouldn’t be that surprised honestly if everything came full circle.

Tara’s death was an unforgiving look at Nero’s haunting warning about karma. The moment he said it, I knew Tara wasn’t going to survive. The how and when was arbitrary at that point. You don’t shoe in a comment like that to the audience and not pay it in full with a reckless and senseless act as a crazed grandmother wildly giving in to free will. There’s a short theme here in the concept that if karma exists in the eyes of a benevolent figure, than it has mastery over any character that falls under the rules of that force. In other words, if the wise old man speaks of a warning, no choice will alter the consequence that fate decrees. I will miss Tara just like I will miss other characters that other shows have killed in the past (That’s right Dexter, I’m talking to you!) And though I “get it” and the show much go on, SOA really tore into the hearts of Tara fans, and I won’t forget it.

Onto Juice. What else can I comment on, except that he is the quintessential victim of self-loathing that I have ever seen. He’s literally stolen the crazy formula from Tig and made it his own. The scene suggests that with Jax whispering his knowledge to Juice about his betrayal lit the dominoes that fell into place allowing for Juice to cover for Gemma’s murder of Tara and his own of Eli’s. This effectively ruins Jax in every way and even though Gemma’s moment with Juice in reflection of his slides in life, I don’t think he saved her because he felt it was the right thing to do. There’s a few broken cogs spinning in his head and none of it is leading him in a sensible direction. That wasn’t a club save for him, that was a play at keeping his life intact. I fully expected Chibs to be the one who carried out the sentence to Juice, but that scene never came and when he shot Eli, everything else made sense. Now, there’s still interpretation and that’s good for those who believe in Juice and still side with his character. That’s not me, though. Juice is a reaper off-track and I hope he gets that “karma” that’s so spoken highly of sometime in the last season.

Not much to say on Eli’s passing. He followed the rule that in some seasons, the good sheriffs get put in the worst spots. When his wife was killed it was another brutal moment that allowed for some decent character development for a supporting role, but Tara’s death yanked all the “what the hells” from me so when Eli was shot, it wasn’t nearly as impacting as it could have been.

Brooke’s cameo seemed odd to throw in, until I saw the homeless woman again, this time pushing an empty carriage. It’s late so I know there’s connections and symbolisms to be had, but I’m still muggy over the obvious bits and will probably need a day to digest and wonder what was all that meant for. Is she just a mindless clue to the real force that’s behind this show? Is there something akin or opposite Mister Mayhem operating on a level we don’t know? Even Rescue Me had strange things going on.

Overall, Sons of Anarchy delivered on a gut-wrenching finale. Predictability goes out the window when facing the truth as it’s force-fed into our eyes. I don’t agree with the direction, but, like all SOA fans, we have to get in Jax’s sidecar on the bike and continue driving to his final location. Tara was a big piece to his life and I’d like to think a big piece to ours as well. His kiss to her body at the end was not only his goodbye, but ours as well. I don’t like it, but that’s life. Sometimes the stoned grandmother wins. Beyond the visceral segment, I thought the episode held it’s tension well. The Mayans taking the gun trade into their own hands and building relations with the Chinese is bold but not a surprising move. The bit of surprise came with Nero’s continued role as the leader of the Biz-Lat crew, which means we’ll see plenty of Nero in season seven, and that I’m positive for.

My late night speculations for season seven include Patterson finding evidence that proves Jax didn’t murder Eli, along with his refusal to cooperate with any deal he made now that Tara is gone. I can’t imagine an entire season with Jax behind bars and even less as a “15-20” years later time jump. Season seven has to be smart and, above all, the wrap up season, assuming they aren’t already green lit for season eight. Gemma has to answer for what she’s done and Juice as well. We’re running out of characters on this show that I genuinely want to see bike ride into the sunset. Maybe that’s not what this show was meant to provide the watchers with. I wouldn’t align any Shakespeare motif with Sons of Anarchy, I hope for an original ending that’s bold and final. Keep Samcro close to heart, they’ll be back for one last crazy trip through Charming.

Thank you Maggie Siff for your wonderful and tremendous work on this show! Your last smile was genuine and for that short brief moment, I believed everything was going to be all right too. Tara will be loved, and missed greatly.

What were your thoughts on this finale? Leave a comment and let me know. I’ll be reviewing other shows in the future, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!

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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.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×11 (Six bullets, no echoes)

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Moments drift and actions lock fate in place as Samcro delivers their namesake and ride on the wings of reapers, bringing death and an end to enduring villains. It’s the pre-penultimate showdown on course for a betrayal that’s painted with grim uncertainty. The Sons of Anarchy voted and carried out their sentence in this weeks episode which promises to keep you truly guessing as to what happens next.

I went into this with a certain numbness to the acts that followed the second half of the episode. Jax always thinks ahead and follows through with stone-cold precision. I’m trying my best to refrain from initial spoilers, but you can find everything below as well as the review and thoughts of “Aon Rud Persanta”. Let’s not waste any more time.

(RECAP)

At Jax’s home, Tara wakes from a restless slumber and carries Thomas into the kitchen where Rat tells her Jax no longer wants the kids at daycare.

Patterson reviews the deal with Jax who tells her where and when to expect the Irish and guns.

Nero is at Gemma’s house and asks if her mercy for Wendy could spill over to Tara. Gemma isn’t willing to forgive her, not now.

Jax and crew drive together toward the Irish meet at the beverage Warehouse.

Tara drops the kids off at the old clubhouse with Wayne and leaves to meet her new lawyer at the hospital. Once there, he goes over her testimony and prepares her to have to choose between her freedom or her kids.

At the warehouse, Connor describes how and where they will capture and extract Clay from the prison transport and that they’ll need extra firepower to get through their windows of the vehicle. They load up and prepare to leave as Clay is taken to the transport carrier and departs.

Charming police are watching the warehouse where a few Sons stay behind.

Gemma arrives at the clubhouse where Wayne questions her about raising the kids should Tara go to jail. Gemma plans to take care of them herself and Wayne explains that it’s not 1967 anymore and that the path is dirty and sad but he continues to help Gemma because he’s “in” love with her.

Sons are driving several vans and corner the transport car. They exit and shoot out the windows, take the keys, and free Clay, who is surprised the Sons are the ones freeing him and not the Irish. One guard fire a few round into one of the vans, hitting Bobby. Juice drives the van into and over the guard, killing him as they escape.

Eli realizes they’ve been set up as the other Sons leave the warehouse.

When Tara arrives at Gemma’s house to pick the kids up, Gemma receives a call from Jax about Bobby’s injury and that he needs Tara’s help. Tara is reluctant but agrees to go.

Eli and Patterson are taping up the area where Clay was freed as she discusses reevaluating her options.

Sons arrive at the hangar as Bobby is in bad shape. Clay hugs and thanks Juice for his help though Juice is silent to him. Inside an office, Gaalan reunites with Clay just as Jax and Chibs fire and kill Gaalan and his men. Tara, Gemma, and Nero arrive and Tara surveys Bobby’s injury. Gemma and Clay briefly converse as Clay begins to realize what’s going to happen. Jax verifies this by telling him that a second vote was made and it was unanimous. Clay understands and follows Jax, Chibs, and Tig into the office room. Chibs hands Jax a gun. Clay looks out the window at Gemma one last time and then Jax fires one shot into his throat, followed by four shots in the chest. Clay bleeds out and dies.

Gemma panics briefly and is consoled by Nero. Afterward, Tara explains to Jax that she’ll need supplies at the hospital to help with Bobby’s wounds. Jax tells Gemma and Nero to take her. Connor then arrives and Jax presents him with the bodies. Connor tries to pull his gun, but Jax stops him and explains that he’s now the number one guy who will have to explain to the Kings in Belfast that a side deal with sour between Clay and Gaalan forcing their deaths. Connor eventually agrees after Jax tells him that the guntrade will have to continue with August or not at all. They shake on it.

As Nero drives Tara, she gets a call from Patterson who wants to meet her at the hospital. Once there, she talks to Patterson who tells her that their original deal is back on and that she’ll get immunity for Pamela’s murder but for witness protection Tara will need to confess to a federal crime and provide irrefutable evidence. Tara explains that she can get a bullet fired from one of the guards with the blood of a Sons member. Patterson agrees as Tara leaves to avoid suspicion. Local police tell Eli and Patterson about the murders of Clay and Gaalan at the hangar.

At the cabin, Tara stabilizes Bobby and the crew are happy he’s okay.

Meanwhile, Patterson and Eli survey the murders at the hangar as well as the box of KG9’s and she mentions that her deal with Jax didn’t include a stack of dead bodies.

Tara cleans up in one of the bedrooms as Jax is sitting on the bed smoking. He thanks Tara for saving Bobby and tells her that he understands why she did what she did and apologizes for putting her in that position. After he leaves, Tara locks the door and pulls out a bandage with Bobby’s blood and a bullet she removed. She looks on with fear and uncertainty.

(END RECAP)

Clay’s death marks the end of an era. Ron Perlman played his role to the end with no acts of apology save for what he put Gemma through. Since the start of the season, you can see the look on his face throughout the episodes and somehow, he just knows his days are numbered, be it in a cell or by the hand of a Son. As symmetry allows, Jax was the reaper and he finished Clay off with no remorse or regret. Just a firm look of confidence and a hint of savory. Jax did what he knew he had to do and Clay accepted it without batting an eyelash. Am I surprised it happened during this episode. Somewhat. I discuss and throw theories around with other fans about which big name is going under this season and Clay was brought up more than a few times. He outlived a few characters but kept his head high the entire time. Initially I wasn’t expecting this kind of Clay who was sullen and fatalistic to an extent. He took beatings and bullets with a sense of security that he got what was coming to him and knew it at the start. Would it have made a difference if Clay apologized to Jax over everything? No, not one bit. Jax would have emptied the clip all the same. Maybe we would have had a better sense of closure, but In all fairness, Jax casting the rain is all the closure we really need. I’m not happy or satisfied in the death of Clay, I am relieved that Jax fulfilled a rite of passage constructed since season one. No drinks will be toasted, no honor in death, only a few tears from Gemma and a reflection of hate for all he caused. Still, I’m gonna miss the old guy. He was a consistent villain who showed fortitude and compassion where it mattered to Gemma.

Which brings us to Tara. These last few episodes have ended on the growing burden of Tara’s fate and eventual choice dragging us to believe that no matter what, she’s going to betray Jax to Patterson. There was a single moment when Tara left the hangar and squeezed Jax hand, prompting him to stare back with soft confusion. She reacted with silent concern and maybe a small cry of hope that Jax will undoubtedly forgive her for the actions she recently put him through. It’s downright suffering to watch as Jax continues and continues to forgive Tara for everything and still, she’s forced to think about those kids and do what she feels is best for them. She has the bullet and the means to deliver it to Patterson which will seal Samcro’s fate forever. Logic dictates that with a season seven (and rumors of 8) on it’s way that Samcro cannot fold this early in the series which means that Tara’s plan will fail on three possibilities, her reluctance, someone’s persuasion, or someone’s interference with completing her plan. Now that she’s in bed with the DA, there’s really no backing out. Even if Tara confessed what she plans to do to Jax, how can he fix it? Don’t get me wrong, he’s sadistically creative and can probably salvage the situation, but then where does that leave Gemma, who just lost her second husband (consider that a divorce) If I was to put money down I’d say Wendy is the macguffin in this group. She could be the key to undoing either Gemma or Tara’s plans and it ending horribly. Is it a safe bet? Not at all, but she still has some part to play somewhere, just not sure where yet.

Not much to say about Gaalan (Galan) He was vicious and scheming and got an end that fit the character. One more villain to bury and forget. I’m glad Bobby survived. Even when the bullets came through the windshield my brain told me it wasn’t his time yet. He’ll live to drive another day.

Drama aside, I enjoyed the power shots of the bikes and tight shots of Jax and Clay right at the end. You get a pull back on Clay’s body and the semblance of a die cast on chest in the shape of a square. And of course, the looming shot of Tara’s dire moment when she uncovered the bullet that could undo Samcro altogether. These are all important shots and remind us and help build on stellar moments that hopefully will resonant for a while, at least until the next episode. While some characters may be safe from harm, I fear at least one more major member will fall by this season’s finale.

The Chinese will want answers which could lead to an other appearance with August helping the Sons and solidify his mark on the gun trade in Northern Cali. I like the last bit with Connor shooting the extraction plan. He’s got big shoes to fill and a story to sell to the Kings that could have interesting repercussions. We’ll see how that plays out in the coming plot.

Overall, I’ve been glued in every episode, and tonight’s did not disappoint. Wayne’s love for Gemma seems beaten into the ground, but maybe there’s something there that can turn Gemma’s hate around for Tara. If that’s not thinking optimistically, I don’t know what is. Jax is nearly out of forgiveness cards, any more grief and he’s likely to set fire to the whole damn town of Charming. That’s how anarchy lives.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×10 (Anyone make a ‘Good Guy Nero’ meme yet?)

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Twice in a row we end an episode with Tara’s fate unquestionably uncertain as Samcro moves into a heightened encounter involving the Irish, the Chinese, and whoever Patterson brings to take down the heat. In all this I’m bewildered at the concept that Clay seems the most innocent going into this likely bloodbath. A dozen questions surround the next few episodes, at the top, for me, is whether or not Tara will crack or skip town entirely. Some things I was expecting, others I wasn’t, and that’s good, and frightful at the same time. Patterson isn’t quite as devious as I had given her credit for. Same goes for Jax. He really knows how to put his anger aside. Everyone’s been abnormally calm in this episode making it one of the strangest I’ve ever seen. The calmer things are, the worse the unleashing will be.

(RECAP)

Tara wakes to find Thomas missing. She finds him with Jax, who gives him back to her and leaves, saying he needs to put some distance between them before someone gets hurt.

Clay informs the Irish inmate that he’s being transferred the next day due to a schedule change and Gaalan will have to act fast to stay on top of his breakout.

Margaret meets with Tara and tells her that Gemma figured out the truth from her and she fears for her life. She’s leaving to be with her sister for a few weeks leaving Tara without a lawyer and a friend.

Jax goes to Diosas where Colette shows him their new papers signifying their place is now official. Gemma arrives with the crew and tells Jax that Clay wants to see her. Chibs tells him that Gaalan is ready to meet with them. Jax sends Juice to continue watching Tara.

Jax and crew meet with Gaalan and tell him all the Jimmy from the Italians have agreed to continue the gun trade with the Irish. They’re supposed to meet with the Chinese later but Jax intends to reach him first. Gaalan mentions Clay’s transfer is happening sooner and that he needs Samcro to help with the breakout. Jax is reluctant but agrees to take a vote. Meanwhile Gaalan follow Jax to the rendezvous with the Italians.

Tara goes to Wendy’s place and they have a mild argument over what’s happened and Tara realizes Wendy is using again. Wendy suggests Tara tell Jax and Gemma everything but Tara refuses. She leaves and backs her car into Juice’s bike before driving off.

Jax meets with Jimmy when Gaalan and Connor approach to show off their weapons. Jimmy samples the product as the Chinese arrive with Lin. Gaalan demonstrates his weapon and fires at the Chinese killing some of Lin’s men. The Chinese flee and Gaalan negotiates a deal with Jimmy for their services which Jimmy eventually agrees.

Gemma and Nero return to the old clubhouse where Wayne tells her that Tara fled from Juice. Gemma has Wayne check on Wendy and Nero goes with him while she also has Rat and Juice go to the daycare to watch the kids.

Tara unlocks her pistol from home and runs into Gemma who was going to pick up stuff for the kids. They insult and reflect on their choices with Gemma revealing that Tara’s only choices are to leave or end up dead.

Jax confirms Patterson’s deal and plans to give her a location where the Irish can be caught. While Samcro drive on the road, the Chinese follow them and, through gunfire, lure them off the roads into a container zone where Lin and his men surround Jax and crew. Lin declares Northern California his territory and wants Jax to shut down the Irish pipeline. Jax plays along but is forced to relinquish Happy to the Chinese as collateral until the job is done.

Tara runs into Juice at the daycare and demands to know where Jax is. Juice gives her the address to Diosas.

Nero and Wayne arrive at Wendy’s house and smell smoke. They bust in and find Wendy passed out. They help her outside.

Gemma goes to Clay in prison. He gives her a letter of intent which turns over all his assets to her and explains when he leaves he won’t be able to file for divorce. She takes the letter and politely leaves.

Jax, Chibs and Bobby arrive at Diosas to unwind. Colette takes him to her room.

Gemma goes to Wendy’s house and has her brought to her place.

Tara shows up at Diosas and catches Jax in bed with Colette. Furious, Tara attacks Colette and then slaps Jax before leaving the house. Jax chases her down and sees she has her gun. Tara is hysterical and asks what happened to her several times before driving off.

Tara makes a call and goes to see Patterson asking that her deal still go through. Patterson informs her the deal is no longer available and Tara leaves, distraught.

(END RECAP)

I don’t want to overstate the fear that Tara is close to a breaking point that could launch her into a real serious situation between Jax and Gemma. Gemma revealed two choices to her which leaves Tara with the only other viable third option, steal the kids and leave town altogether. Does that mean there’s a fourth option? I’m not sure. She’s in desperate mode and in those situations she can’t be calculating and cunning. Tremendous credit to the team for making me believe Tara and Gemma had every opportunity to pull the guns from their purses and make this extremely messy. But that would cause a horrid reaction and dull Clay’s escape. Whatever is brewing needs to be saved for the last episodes. Her only chance to skip town may be while Clay is getting broken out.

I’m a bit surprised at Gemma’s caring of Wendy. I realize that she wanted Wendy to reinsert herself into Jax’s life, but with Tara out of the way, is that still something she wants. As far as I can see Wendy is still a tool to her and isn’t anything truly special. I’m just baffled by Gemma’s sense of family when it isn’t blood.

Gaalan’s overzealous selling points nearly cost Samcro their entire future. Jimmy stayed in the business mindset and even concluded with Jax that he never intended to follow through on trading with the Chinese. That puts August so far in the background, it’s hard to know if he’ll even have an appearance again this season. That doesn’t bother me. It’s more for the wrap up on the finale, however it shapes up to be.

I hate to say it, but I do not have high hopes for Happy. He was entirely too comfortable in his situation I almost want to cringe because he’s the one member that’s managed to stay on top and still not be a main supporting cast member. All things considered, I think if things go wrong, Happy will be the one to pay by the Chinese.

Jax is now playing a dangerous game with trying to appease Patterson, the Irish, and the Chinese with plans to bring everyone down. And it’s widely acceptable to conclude that if Jax wants to avoid a blood bath, there will be one ready to out do any previous seasons worth. They can try and break mold, but then again, what this show without the high intensity shootouts?

Clay is clearly in the hands of those who handle his escape. If the Irish are indeed respectfully removed from the gun trade that leaves Clay a fugitive of the law, at best. Unless he has other allies on the Irish side, the Sons won’t help with his escape further and, more than likely, Jax will see to it, he’s buried in a barren field. I’d like to see Clay last into the final season, I hope that’s not asking for too much.

I’m also bothered by how Gemma directs her family’s legacy and that Jax won’t forgive betrayal. She’s pushing a lot on the idea that he’s incapable of being any different than how she sees him. If Jax has proven anything is that he doesn’t have the strength to retaliate against his own family anymore. Jax knows how hurt Tara is. Catching him in the act with Colette wasn’t really an altogether sensible scene. She used her anger and desperate hope and directed it into a face pounding even something like that should have been beyond her scope of influence considering all she’s prepared to do to leave Jax. The stunned look on his face was all there needed to be. Outside Diosas I was expecting their real heart to heart, lay it all on the line, confession was going to come out, but instead, Tara was stuck on repeat mode and left Jax without any kind of further explanation short of confusion on what’s happened to her over the years. It’s probably the most tragic part of the episode because Jax, no matter what’s happened, would probably forgive her, despite what Gemma says, if only Tar would trust him again. He needed that trust.

Does Bobby’s foretelling of Jax’s demise without Tara still hold true? I’m not sure. He can still make decisions and act on them. In the future and long term, that’s a whole different story. The most surprising thing I can imagine happening is if Jax actually gives his kids up to Tara to leave the state. If Jax does that than we know he’s truly broken Gemma’s hold over him. If he’s forced to come down on Tara in whatever fashion, he’s going to draw tragedy and nothing but from here on out. There won’t be a recovery and Bobby will be right, the Sons will not survive.

Can’t wait for next week. Let me know your thoughts.

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×09 (I thought Clay was channeling Hannibal Chau for a short moment)

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My head is still spinning a wee bit. I kept wanting just one more scene, just one more moment that gave us some inkling as to Jax’s intentions. Then I realized, the last shot of the episode was the most important piece adding to the dreaded reality that Tara is in a whole different zone. I’ve never been more afraid for a favorite character’s life, except maybe Gannicus in the last episode of Spartacus, but that’s long over. Tonight we witnessed a major event unfold. Jax wanted answers, and he got them. Jax wanted to broker a deal, and he got it. Jax wanted to punch someone in the face, and he got to. Now he’s faced with one of his hardest decisions ever. What will he do? First, he needs a smoke, then he’ll decide.

The wheels keep spinning as old and new wounds reopen with the blood of truth. Good Guy Nero tries to stitch the unraveling threads of the Teller family and learns a few unconditional lessons regarding how that family handles their drama. And Clay returns with a bit of overzealous selling to solidify his role in the Irish relationship. Not withstanding was the anti-hero/villain meeting between this seasons enforcer, Patterson and one Jax Teller. How did their conversation go down? Who has the upper hand? Let’s find out?

(QUICK RECAP)

Jax is helping to feed Thomas when Tara comes in the kitchen and politely takes him to do it herself. Gemma kneels in front of Nero’s bed, presumably in gratitude over Nero’s return home. After she makes him coffee, she tells him about Tara while Jax tells Tara about the Sons’s plan to allow Clay to continue the gun trade after he’s broken out of prison.

Nero is surprised by Gemma’s confession and asks if she can prove any of it. She knows Wendy was in on it and thinks she’ll back Gemma up, but Nero believes it’s not enough. Meanwhile, Jax tells Tara he understands why she’s putting distance between them and that he’s tried to protect them and it hasn’t worked. Gemma is happy that Nero believes her.

Patterson informs Eli that she is giving him extra units and to begin surveillance on Jax 24/7. Eli says the Sons will stay out of trouble and Patterson says she won’t allow themselves to look away while something else bad happens.

Jax arrives at the sweet shop and observes a young girl sitting nearby and staring off. Happy tells him that the buyers support Samcro’s decision to leave the gun trade and will continue their business with the Irish. Chibs mentions that someone is setting up a phone-call between Clay and the Irish. Wayne arrives and speaks to Jax alone. Wayne defends Gemma while Jax notices the young girl trashing Tig’s bike with a blunt object. She then throws it through the window and runs away. Jax gives chase and catches her but is forced to let her go when she begins yelling, bringing attention on Jax. He let’s her go and she disappears.

Clay enters a prison church area as the reverend begins reciting a passage from John 8:32. The Irish inmate is nearby as well.

Wayne recognizes the young girl as Brooke, the daughter of Gary Putner, a mechanic who Clay once knew. Her mother died in the same car wreck that killed John Teller on hwy 18 just after Brooke was born. Eli arrives and lets Jax know that he’s going to be tailed for the time being. Jax gets a call from Barosky who he tells to have him meet at Nero’s escort house.

Ellie goes over Tara’s income plans and asks if she has any character witnesses. Tara doesn’t mention any. Ellie then shows her all the documents that were signed detailing her pregnancy and miscarriage. All were signed by Margaret. Ellie knows it was all a lie and says what Tara did was a felony and asks if Tara is planning anything else. Tara says Ellie knows everything.

Clay gets a signal from the Irish inmate and begins distracting everyone by mocking the reverend in his gospel with his own ideals. As he’s being held by guards, Clay bites the nose off of a guard and is then taken down.

Jax and crew go to Diosas to and are happy to see Nero again. Nero takes him to the kitchen and mentions the drama between Gemma and Tara. Jax gets defensive and tells him his family is off limits. Barosky and Colette arrive to tell Jax that he’s received health violations and that Colette’s escort house was denied rating for unspecified reasons. Barosky says he’s getting out of Stockton even though Nero and Jax persist he stay.

Gemma shows up, not knowing Jax was going to be there. The two argue and Gemma makes Nero tell Jax that Nero tried to give himself up for the KG9 but was released because he was innocent in Erin’s murder. Jax realizes what Nero almost did for them. He tells Happy to get the crew together for a vote he’ll explain later. Tig and Juice arrive with Brooke’s home address.

They arrive at the Putner house where Gary is. He’s looking for Brooke and mentions he just lost their house. As they were packing, Brooke found old pictures of her mom and the article detailing her death. She’s bipolar like her mother and blamed the Sons for her mother, Emily’s, death. Jax spots a picture of Emily and thinks she looks familiar. Gary offers to pay for the damage Brooke caused but Jax says not to worry about it.

Nero shows up at the daycare where Tara is and tries to smooth out the incident with her and Gemma. She gets defensive and tries to leave. He goes after her asks that they try and find a middle ground. Tara tells him that Gemma killed John Teller and suggests he get out before he ends up dead too.

Clay is strapped and bound with a mask in a patient room. A doctor arrives and sends the guards away. He gives Clay a phone to make his call and leaves Clay alone.

Margaret enters the hospital meeting room thinking Tara is in there and finds Gemma instead. Gemma fools Margaret into revealing that Tara’s pregnancy was indeed a lie and she tells Margaret that she won’t be safe after Jax learns the truth.

The club meet and agree to the offer that Jax presented to them off screen.

Patterson receives a call that Jax wants to see her. He arrives and sits in her office. He offers a deal stating that he’ll give her Gaalan (Galen) and the Irish Kings in exchange for immunity on and current and past gun charges. He wants to run a legit club business and promises no violence with the added stipulation that Patterson look at Tara’s case again and he reaffirms that Tara had no connection to why Otto killed Toric’s sister. Patterson agrees to the deal but warns him to deliver, else she’ll use her last 7 months in office to ruin Jax and Tara.

Jax talks to Oswald at the old clubhouse and tells him they’re getting out of the gun business and asks a favor to help Gary with his house situation. Jax will owe him one and Oswald says he’s running for mayor soon and will ask for future favors. They shake on it. Jax then gets a call from Tara who tells him about Nero’s visit.

Clay is strapped up again the doctor, keeping his relationship to the Irish secret, lets two guards in, including the one who Clay bit. They are left alone and they proceed to beat Clay.

Nero goes to meet Jax in his kitchen and the Jax punches him saying Tara told him Nero called her a liar. Nero defends himself but the two brawl until Gemma arrives and helps Happy break the fight up. Nero confesses to Jax that Gemma’s conjugal meeting with Clay ended badly as the guards forced them to have sex while they watched. Gemma then tells Jax that Tara lied to everyone and it going to divorce Jax and take the kids away, and if Tara won’t tell him, then he’ll need to find someone who will. Jax appears upset and leaves.

That night, Ellie arrives at Wayne’s trailer who says he wanted to talk to her and to wait inside. He proceeds to lock the door as Jax appears from the darkness holding a gun. He angrily forces Ellie to reveal the truth about Tara. She tells him everything she knows about the fake pregnancy and the divorce plans and that it was in place to prevent Gemma from taking the boys. Jax sends her away and she calls Tara while driving, presumably telling her what just happened.

Gemma cleans Nero’s wounds when he mentions what Tara said about John’s murder. He asks if what Tara said about what Gemma did was true. Gemma explains that John was trying to get the Sons out of the drug business and made trips to Belfast several times to help with the transition and fell for Maureen Ashby. Gemma lost her child, Thomas, and put her anger and resentment toward John who fell apart afterward. Gemma fell for Clay and gave him her blessing in killing John. She mentions she never told anyone, including Jax and walks away.

Jax goes to the new clubhouse and sees that Brooke is sitting inside. He talks to her alone as she explains what she went through and why she went after Jax. She apologizes for the damage and thanks him for saving their house. She also asks him why and he tells her because of what happened t her mother. She cries. When Brooke leaves, she passes by a woman fishing through a dumpster who takes notice of her.

Tara is seen singing softly to Thomas

Clay is in a strait jacket sitting in a padded room.

Nero and Gemma are seen alone as is Jax, who is smoking inside the new clubhouse.

Tara is last scene still holding Thomas with a six-shooter resting on her lap.

(END RECAP)

I almost forgot about the Irish, I was so wrapped up in Tara’s plot and Gemma’s return to dominance. The cat’s out of the bag and now Jax knows everything. Considering the surreal nature of how the Teller’s tend to end their feuds, I’m absolutely fearful for Tara’s life right now. Again, I don’t peek at future promos so if something’s going down, I’m just in speculation city at the moment. I’m still on Tara’s side, mostly out of principle and remembering what she’s endured, but I do have to say, Gemma almost turned it around for me. Almost.

Case and point, she told Nero everything about her involvement with John’s murder. That was a major step in the right direction to keep the muddy waters just as murky as ever. And by that I mean, I can’t just universally decide that Gemma’s fate has been sealed. I don’t think it has. She owned up to the person she loves and committed to a full confession, and what’s more, she owned it with no regrets. She will never forgive John for what happened all those years ago and in a cruel sense of situation, Brooke’s mother, Emily died because of Gemma’s blessing. I’m not necessarily torn over who’s right and who’s wrong in this, but Tara is seriously out of cards to play. Gemma has the experience and the gall to follow through strategically, and Tara’s endgame just wasn’t enough to put Gemma down for the count. Tara has a gun on her lap. She’s not going to sleep ever again, at least not until she’s in protective custody. Which bring me to that final scene.

Why stay? Why stay and confront Jax in such a violent situation. She had time to pack up and run. I know she committed a felon and her lawyer was forced to reveal that to Jax, but still, when one’s life is in danger, you flee, you run, you think about the ones you’re protecting. Tara is staying home and dealing with it. I don’t think she’s entirely naive to her dilemma, but I really have no earthly clue what she intends to do if Jax bursts through that door and reaps hell. Although, there is a flipside to this coin.

Jax took the time to return to the clubhouse and reflect. He didn’t go straight home to confront Tara. He’s really thinking about the situation. My guess is he’s either giving Tara the chance to run for the hills, or he’s really deeply considering the possibility that all this is his fault. The guilt he supplied in the beginning of the episode had to be eating him up inside. Tara’s committeemen for causing Gemma’s arrest and subsequent divorce plans Are all because he couldn’t leave with her when they had the chance. Jax doesn’t push blame like that. Whether he makes Tara answer for what she’s done is serious dark territory, but is Jax willing to take that into account when deciding on his next action? I hope so. The real twist is if he let’s her go. But the Teller’s have had issues with letting go of family. He loves those kids and as a father, he’ll cross the lines he needs to do what he feels is safe. Not right, but safe.

His meeting with Patterson was excellent. Characters rightfully calling each other out on their agendas and what’s more, there’s a certain flair for the dramatic when Jax mentions his status as a scumbag outlaw and her status as a pillar of justice and neither one enjoys looking at themselves in the mirror. He knows how to call the truth in the situation and even though he came and widely arrogant, It’s the brass he brings with it that convinced her to go along with the plan to lure the Irish. There’s a lot of echoes of past plots going over these similar circumstance, but as always, it manages to continue captivating as the Sons once more throw themselves in the fire hoping to come out only singed. Does that mean there won’t be fatalities? My money is out on some of the new recruits not surviving the season. And, as always, a major Son’s member may not make it either. It’s not practical. Everyone left is a character that deserves longevity. Even Happy has a place on that crew. The Irish will be blood and guns. Can Clay keep the peace to mark their end? Will he get cold feet? And worse, will he fold and try to eliminate the guards who forced him and Gemma to have sex in front of them. Nero’s confession was brought on for a reason. We can’t forget what happened, and shouldn’t. Payback is still around the corner, I’m certain.

Hayley McFarland guest starred as Brooke in this episode. It was good to see her back on TV again after her limited seasons in “Lie To Me” another show I wish that kept going longer than it did. Playing bipolar characters can’t seem easy but she did a decent job. So, I ask anyone who reads this to please inform me of the connection Jax has with her mother. Why is Emily familiar. I’m easily foggy on earlier seasons, but is this a secret we don’t know yet. And, not to sound completely off the grid, but is there a reason why Brooke walked past an older woman who stopped going through garbage to notice her? That’s not Emily, right? It’s really late and my brain is officially swiss-cheese. Any pointers would be well received.

Lastly, I had high hopes that Barosky would be more of a major player but it seems his jump to bail out of Patterson’s vision seems a bit anti-climactic. As a supporting role I think Barosky played the part that was needed, but I was thinking there’d be something more twisted going on. Who knows, maybe there is and I’m just not seeing it. Red Herring villains are nothing new, but he should still be around for future segments. Who knows, maybe they’ll prep for him to have a bigger role in season 7 if he makes it.

Overall, this episode had me gripped once Jax discovered the truth. That anger is rooted, and betrayal cannot sit lightly with him. I want him to forgive Tara and help her get out of Charming, but Gemma is so smart at what she does. She can be taken by surprise, but if you give a mouse a cookie, she’ll ruin your life with that damned glass of milk. Keep the tension coming, I’m loving every minute of it.

If you’d like to leave a comment or discuss any moments that had meaning or insight for you, feel free to post them. Thanks for reading!

And, it’s one line, but the quote for the episode’s title chapter is “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” Fitting with the name being “John”

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×08 (Was Juice wondering if he left the stove on?)

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Regrets are hard to face. In the misty blood of an uncertain path, Jax encounters hard reflection on the dawn of what he believes to be the loss of his unborn child. It’s diesel fuel to his confused state and unless there’s an anchor holding him tight, even Bobby recognizes that their new king of Samcro won’t make it out in one piece without Tara by his side supporting him.

The Sons start to feel the heat from DA Patterson’s method with creating villains on her quest to pin the school shooting on her two likely candidates, the Byzlats and Samcro. Nero is caught in the middle and Barosky has been yanked in with threats to cut his retirement plans off. That’s actually the tip of the iceberg. The real scariness is how Gemma and Tara are handling the fallout and of course, in this dark arc, Wendy is caught in the middle.

The initial shock of Tara’s scheme has since worn off now that we know she was more conventional in turning Jax against Gemma. What tears at the heartstrings is not knowing if Jax’s plea is even remotely reaching out to Tara at all. More on that after the recap.

(QUICK RECAP)

Gemma tells Eli that even though all the pieces seem to point at her she says that Tara staged the clash and that she thinks Tara wasn’t pregnant at all.

Wendy buys drugs from a local dealer.

Wayne goes to Tara at Jax’s house and tells her to drop the charges on Gemma saying that he won’t tell Gemma what really happened but can no longer help Tara with her situation.

Jax reads a paper from bobby detailing the headline of local gangs being tied to the school shooting, namely the Sons and the Byzlats. Jax and crew go meet with Fiasco, the Byzlat leader, who tells them his guys are spooked. Jax offers his help to keep order even with the police having a stronger presence. Juice notices someone watching in a car. The driver chases them down and runs over a young Byzlat member and drives away.

Wayne drives Gemma home and tells her she’s has two roads ahead of her, in regards to what she’ll likely do and what she should do to keep the kids in her life.

Tara distances herself from Ellie, unwilling to give her full disclosure on what happened with her and Gemma.

Patterson threatens to give the sheriff of Stockton jurisdiction over the port area if Barosky doesn’t find who performed the hit and run earlier. Barosky informs Jax who tells him that the Sons are trying to locate the driver.

Nero willingly tells Patterson that he alone purchased the KG9 off the street and gave it to Jennings. He tells her in agreement that his son will be taken care of.

Tara goes to Samcro’s new pad and speaks to Bobby, who tells her that Jax is still getting used to being the king but that she shouldn’t give up on Jax and he won’t have a chance of making it without her.

Eli shows Patterson the file that proves Toric killed Nero’s escort. Gemma says she’s letting Nero take the fall for the gun and Eli doesn’t agree with how she’s approaching justice and guilt.

Jax and crew find the Byzlats stationed outside the driver’s home. Jax phones in the location to Barosky to tell the police. Fiasco shows up and the Byzlats break into the home where the driver attacks them. Jax intervenes and stops him then sees a picture of a child he recognizes as someone who was shot in the church shooting. Jax convinces Fiasco to let the police take him in. When the police arrive, the driver stabs himself in the throat.

Patterson arrives on the scene and realizes the son in the picture was one of the murdered students and that the father was driven to attack the Byzlats due to the headline in the paper.

Meanwhile, Gemma goes to see Wendy and tells her that she can still turn this around in exchange for keeping Jax from killing her. Wendy gives Gemma back her gun and later is seen injecting drugs back into her system.

Jax runs into Gemma at day care and tries to tell him that Tara lied. Jax won’t listen and tells her that she’ll never see Tara or the kids again.

Patterson shows Nero the file of the murdered father and son and that Toric killed the escort. She no longer is following through with his admission and tells the guard to let him go but also tells Nero to stare at that file and know what caused it.

Tara and Jax put the kids to bed as Jax reflects on whether Tara regrets coming back. Tara says Thomas was worth it and Jax tries to convince Tara to let him back in because he’s lost. Tara only watches from an uncomfortable distance.

(END RECAP)

There’s a lot to chew on, so I’ll first get started with a simple moment. In a very clever shot, we see that Juice didn’t even attempt to avoid the car when it came after them. The shots were great, but more so was Juice’s reaction. Little by little he’s reminding us that he’s not operating fully up there in his brain. Whether this means his antics will only get harrier and harrier, who knows. Even a firm bro hug from Chibs may not be enough to pull him from his self destructive path. I’m starting to wonder if this season will mark an end for a Son, specifically Juice, with his downward path.

Wendy fell off the wagon again, and it was only a matter of time. The pressure between Gemma and Tara became too heated and she relapsed. I get it. Unless she does something really stupid like show up high as a kite the next time Tara talks to her, I doubt this will impact much, unless they push it to extreme factors like actually having her overdose. When Wendy dropped her purse, you could just hear the thud of Gemma’s gun in there and, like the director wanted, I flinched when Wendy went to grab the gun. My brain was telling me, something horrible was about to go down, then the logic caught up and remembered Wendy isn’t desperate like Tara is. Having said that, that doesn’t mean Wendy won’t do something heinous later on, but for now, she’s scared and tired, and needed a break from the drama. It’s unfortunate because from a health perspective she was doing good.

I for one was glad Tara’s pregnancy wasn’t real. I really fell for it, and I guess that was the point. Gemma saw through it, Wayne too. And Eli is smart enough to understand that missing pieces means something’s up. All that’s missing is Jax. My focus right now is Jax and Tara. Jax, at no point, brought up running into Gemma and what she said. He was so angry that even contemplating the Gemma was too taxing. So, for now, Tara’s plan is succeeding. I almost started believing that Tara might change her mind if Jax was sincere enough, which he really was by the end of the episode. If it wasn’t for Tara asking Bobby about Jax earlier, I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash with Tara’s overall plan. She means to run away. So why cast that scene with Bobby on us? To make us doubt what Tara will do. If Tara went to Jax to embrace him in the last shot, it would have been easy to spot the deception on our side, but she kept her distance, because she can’t emotionally lie to Jax in his moment of need. He’s good enough to know what’s real and what isn’t. What’s crushing is I think Jax is willing to contend with the truth if Tara decided to give in. Maybe not so much with her plan to alienate him from the kids as well as Gemma, but at least enough to know she wants out, with or without him. This is his moment to truly open up and so far, she’s not supporting him. This might conceivably be the last time he does it like this. Gemma has way of convincing people what she needs to convince them of. Pushing her lawyer away wasn’t a smart move either, especially since Ellie knows the truth regardless.

I give Nero props. He was ready to eat the bullet and go down for the sake of his son. Now that option isn’t available to him, which is good considering he can still make plans with Gemma, except if he gets put in a position like this again, he won’t be able to bargain for his son’s care. I hope Gemma doesn’t use him for anything sinister, but I wouldn’t put it past her.

My favorite scene tonight was with Bobby and Tara. It was placed to cast doubt in Tara’s eyes about her plan, even though I don’t think it feasibly worked. Bobby still understands club dynamics and pressure and what that toll is doing to Jax. Bobby can only watch and let the fates fall where they may. But he can influence people like Tara and he surely tried.

Overall, I think the episode worked. It needed to concentrate a lot on Tara and Gemma while still pushing Samcro heat with the DA. I hope Clay and the guntrade soon becomes the lead arc as it’s bound to get ugly soon. Will Collette return to help put Jax in a better mood? Is Barosky really teasing what he could do with Alice’s murder on Jax’s hands? Barosky is a tricky character, but easy to spot that he’s ultimately self serving and will save himself if it comes down to it. I fear Wendy will begin buckling just when Tara needs support to keep her plan moving forward. Harsh times ahead.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 6×07 (Did that just happen?)

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(UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE REVIEW)

This episode hurt. I’ve witnessed some intricate plans come to fruition but the latest act on this episode “Sweet and Vaded” had me cringing with portents of the worst fall-out this show will come to see and no amount of Irish retaliation will likely compare. Explosions, firefights, shootouts, hell, even skydiving with dynamite as your parachute is safer than what’s to come if and when Jax finds out what Tara has done to ensure her children’s safety from the MC.

Not withstanding the crushing moment that forced Tara’s hand, the bulk of the episode treated the viewers with a wrap up of Walter Goggins’s huge-chested alter ego to Cletus, Miss Venus Van Damme and her quest to liberate a family member from the clutches of a quite dastardly and sinister mother.

There’s genius tip offs in this episode that unexpectedly give warning as to what’s to come, both in this episode and in the series. I’ll speak to those moments after the recap. Here we go.

(QUICK RECAP)

Samcro shift as many working pieces of their clubhouse, including their reaper desk, to a new location, an empty sweet-shop. Jacob Hale lets them know that after his term is up, Samcro’s tenure in Charming may be short lived. Even though August is still on board with Pope Enterprises, construction is at least six months off, forcing the Sons to try and generate income by any legit means and somehow make good with the community.

The plan is sidelined when Nero convinces Gemma to ask Jax for help with getting Joey, Venus’s nephew, away from her diabolical mother, Alice. Jax agrees and takes the Sons to Alice’s house. A fight breaks out and Alice takes Joey away in a vehicle. The Sons pursue, but Alice gets away. Venus reveals that Joey is actually his son, but Joey doesn’t know.

Jax enlists Barosky’s help to finding an address that Alice is at. They find Joey inside a suite where Alice and her cohorts make illegal movies. Alice eventually returns and Venus grabs a gun, threatening to shoot her. Alice chastises Venus with the how he changed and verbally lashes out until Jax decides to kill Alice himself. Barosky offers to clean the mess up and dispose of the body. Venus is thankful that she is now free but won’t tell Joey the truth until she’s ready.

Meanwhile, Barosky was earlier contacted by Patterson and Eli, who tell him to help find leverage against the Sons for she’ll make it difficult for Barosky to enjoy his retirement. Patterson also gave Nero twenty-four hours to choose to testify against the Sons saying they sold the KG9 gun to him in exchange for dropped charges.

Jax releases Connor to be returned to the kings. He tells Connor to tell Gaalan that if the gun trade with Clay falls through that August is still willing to distribute for them. August shows up and hears Jax’s tale of the Irish hit on their club. He understands the situation and hopes Jax comes through with a deal in time.

Tara is at the hospital putting blood into a bloodbag as Margaret comes in and helps with keeping her focused on their plan. Tara is later told by her lawyer that the court will only rule against Gemma being a capable guardian if Jax also signs against her. Tara has Wayne procure a retraining order but doesn’t say who it’s for.

Wendy later convinces Gemma that Tara is moving against the, both and plans to give guardianship over to Margaret. Furious, Gemma confronts Tara and tries to choke Margaret. Tara returns to an office room and plants the blood bag in her skirt. Gemma enters and Tara goads her into a fight. Gemma holds back, leaving Tara to ram her stomach into the edge of the table. Margaret and Wayne enter as Tara’s skirt reveals blood. She feigns the injury and collapses saying Gemma attacked her. Security come and take Gemma away. She looks at Wendy before leaving.

Jax finds Tara at the hospital and she says she lost their baby. She pleads for him to keep Gemma away from the kids and Jax agrees. He signs the restraining papers and Gemma is held at Eli’s precinct. Gemma has a contemplative look as she realizes how Tara’s scheme has played out against her.

(END QUICK RECAP)

My brain tucked away the question with “Why is Tara putting blood in a blood-bag?” and that question didn’t come back up until she stuffed it down her skirt. Then everything became clear. I was expecting for Gemma to go full on violent and actually strike the blow, but when she didn’t, watching Tara flat out create the damage on her own, was completely wicked and raw. I’m left pretty much still stunned at the sheer magnitude of Tara’s half season long plan. Did she really lose the baby? I don’t think you can fib your way out of that, which means, unless the schemes keep piling on, Tara murdered her unborn child to set up Gemma. Forget what Clay and Jax have against each other, these women are dangerous. I’ve been rooting for Tara since day one, but, after seeing this episode, I’m really afraid for her life. Here’s where some signs come into play.

Bobby states in the beginning of the episode, “Home is where the reaper is”. In the direct aspect, it’s an endearing statement meant to reflect on how the table’s significance and more so, the charter’s symbol is the focal point of their continued dream. No matter where they drift or go, their home is where the reaper is. Tactically (writing wise), I think Bobby said those words because the reaper is really Tara and her act of (very damn near possible) murder was the home of her unborn child. Regardless of intent, Tara sacrificed that part of her life to save the old one. It’s dark wherever the reaper is.

Furthermore, there’s a clear sign of what’s to come based solely on Jax’s decision to murder Alice in front of the Sons and Venus. On one side, he couldn’t take any more of Alice lashing against Venus. No one else was going to subdue, strike, or punish Alice for what she did, but Jax chose to put a bullet in her head. We’ve seen Jax make split decisions for the sake of the crew and for the sake of others. He’s proved he’ll kill a woman, if the derangement fits. This isn’t a subliminal message. This episode is telling us that Jax could indeed go over the limit and make the same decision with Tara or Gemma. I don’t want to believe he’s capable of such an act, but that was before he put to death a vile character giving a verbally abusive speech. It’s going to take a lot more to fuel that scenario and I really hope it never happens, but the bug has been planted in our brains. When Gemma went peacefully and she had that look on her face in the holding cell, I feared the worst. Gemma can convince Jax the truth, of that I have no doubt. It might take a few episodes, but she’s resourceful. I don’t want to pick sides anymore, I just want the drama to not end in any one of those three getting killed over it.

Ratboy got promoted to full patch. Good on him.

I never expected a Venus centric episode, but we got one. It was twisted and Walter put the tears on several moments to capitalize on the trauma Venus went through. He’s a great actor and sold his performance as expected. Do we need more Venus? I think I’m good. Bringing in more Shield alumni wouldn’t hurt. Vic Mackey, anyone? Just a cameo, a voiceover?

Barosky kept his meeting with Patterson from Jax, which can only mean one thing. He’ll either choose a better time to tell Jax, which is likely never, or he’ll begin a self serving path. Barosky is smart enough to try and push back until he can’t hold his position anymore which could create hostilities in Stockton. Colette should probably be coming back real soon for more intrigue on her relationship with Jax.

Overall, I was expecting a basic filler with some poignant comedy and a few cheap thrills with chase scenes, then Tara completely owned her plan and put Gemma in the same place she helped put Clay in last season. This completely trumps the clubhouse exploding, and if Gemma has patience, she’ll spin her own agenda to turn Jax against Tara. It’ll happen, it’s bound to happen.

Those new members will have their work cut out for them.

(*UPDATE SPOILER* Since speaking with several Sons fans I’ve since realized that Tara conceivably set everything up including a fake pregnancy. A lot of my passionate thoughts regarding what she did may not seem as contextual because of unrevealed facts. Either way, I hope it was an enjoyable read)

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