A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×13 (At the end of the day…)

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There’s a history recorded in mayhem, etched in anarchy, and boiled in the sun. Sometimes when we cycle through that history, we do so with arms free and our minds clear. Seven more years came, and seven more years went. When she whispers to you It’s time, you go with the freedom to choose your fate. But destiny always brings you full circle. Sons of Anarchy draws it’s final curtain on the road, under the blue sky, riding alone. Jackson Teller brought us closure the only way he knew how. Though Abel and Thomas were the sons, Jax will always be of anarchy.

Where the blazes do I begin? I’ve seen parallels from another finale I’ll touch on, but speaking strictly of what I’ve witnessed tonight, this was a unique and bloody trail leading to one conclusion after another. Bodies we knew fell in expected and unexpected ways. Barosky and August met their makers while the rest were all a part of the plan to set Samcro back on top. Patterson has the promise that the bad guys lost and everyone answered for their crimes. I want to speak about the end first, but there’s a small journey to be made before we fully understand what happened on tonight’s finale “Papa’s Goods.”

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Firstly, Tio entering the charter was a move easily predicted. No longer a Grim Bastard, he joins the ranks as a new prospect and the Sons embrace him. He was a solid minor character who never wavered on any loyalty. I’m certain in all our minds the crew will be in good hands. Chibs and Tig are now the President and VP, respectively. Chibs sold every scene he was in once he knew of Jax’s plan. I can honestly say, those weren’t tears that were brought on by a person who acts. Those were real. I believe everyone’s was real. I suppose I should slap myself for ever believing that Chibs and the crew would carry out the Mayhem vote themselves. I thought maybe, Jax wanted it to be his family, and not a group of strangers casting eternal judgment. Yet, Jax had a different plan, one that set Samcro free from any of the murders that wiped away a season of horrific blood shed. Happy took the bullet and we held our breath as planned. Good one Sutter, I’m sure you got everyone on that.

A short moment to say that I don’t think Jarry and Chibs becoming practically enemies was a very believable segment. I watched those two making whoopie in the middle of a garage so they could prove to each other that they cared. Sure, I could believe that Chibs is doing this for Jarry’s good, but I don’t really believe that. I think Chibs needed to be cold and wasn’t holding any sentiments to heart. Jarry was left with a figurative punch to the gut which she didn’t really deserve and a practical promise that she would end up the same as sheriff’s of the past if she pursued the Sons. Sad tale, done and done.

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Skipping ahead, we come to a rather existential moment that many watchers have been waiting for, some conclusion with the homeless woman, often referred to as Brooke’s mother, but now something much more majestic and simple. For once, Jax looked back and point blank asked the woman who she was. She gives him her blanket and says “It’s time,” with a soft and serene smile. Jax uses it to his advantage to kill August, but we also get a very significant shot of wine in a bottle and a chunk of bread. As far as symbols go I shouldn’t have to dive into detail what wine and bread mean in the religious realm. What’s more fascinating is what the woman and those objects truly represent. There’s angels, and then there’s angel’s of death. When you tattoo the grim reaper on your back, I don’t think an angel is the one watching over. What I love about shows like these is the nature of what governs one’s existence. This homeless-looking woman was there for the Teller’s all the way through. At the cusp of major death’s she was there. I’m glad Jax finally had the ability to speak to her. Main characters can sometimes get that sort of privilege and step out of their zone of existence. True, he could have pursued her, but understanding is a far better result, and Jax understood what was to be done. The woman leaves behind her flesh and blood, much as Jax is prepared to do by day’s end. I’m glad they didn’t make it any more confusing, my brain probably would have bent in half had they tried.

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I also applaud Wendy and Nero, two characters I always thought had darker endings, but here they are having their own happy ending of sorts. Nero let Gemma go and that’s something I didn’t think he’d do. But he understood the brutal nature of what Jax felt he had to do. And Wendy gets both children, someone who would have done what Tara wanted. Wendy has become the spiritual successor and for once, I think the kids are in good hands. The only sad truth is that Jax knows and wants his kids to hate him when they grow up so they never try and become part of the club. It’s strange circular logic when he cares so much for those in it and wants nothing of his kids to be a part of. To us it makes sense, to Jax it makes sense. There’s nothing more to be said on it. They’ll grow up and what will be will be.

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What I speak of now are the closing moments, when all the dust had settled and the Sons hugged their former president goodbye. He fittingly rides off on his father’s bike and finds the old spot where JT was killed. Words are spoken from son to father, of understanding, and love, and then Jax rides off, allowing the police to chase him. We’re treated by another track from “The White Buffalo and The Forest Rangers” “Come Join The Murder” and the rest comes from a defining tribute and sets the wheels in motion and Jax to an end of his own machination, and a truck driven by Vic Mackey.

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Before I try and wrap my head around that last impossible statement, I do want to say the closing segment was hauntingly perfect. From the long shots, to the flying crow overhead, every second was a model of what made Sons it’s own unique brand of sophisticated outlaws and warring freedom. Jax doesn’t narrate, doesn’t flinch, and doesn’t cry. We cry instead, because the show is done, and the world continues behind our eyes somewhere in the deep. I’m impressed. I’ve dealt with other finales where all the onions are chopped in front of me, but this one made me proud to see the world through Jax’s eyes. What he gave for his sons, and his Sons, will forever be remembered.

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FAVORITE MOMENT

If Jax and the homeless woman had any longer of a scene, my jaw would have probably dropped, but it was short and extremely simple. What I choose as my favorite moment is the end. In seven years you build of a final moment like that and give us a return of fate for anyone who tries to leave the club on that bike. It was visually gripping because it lasted so long. They gave us an off screen death, but the sound was very real. All we are given is blood leaking toward that same segment of bread with soaked wine and two crows feasting on it. It’s eerie and it calls to the final quote by Shakespeare, one saying that anything can be doubted, but the man/woman’s love, and that is the crux of Jax’s spirit. The cut ends before Jax’s blood reaches the blood. There’s symbolism there. One can say he’s reaching for heaven, others might say the blood and bread are harmonious and to join is to become one with the world. Whatever the case may be, Sutter chose to end the life of his beloved character. And that was my favorite moment, not that it had to be done, but because it was done.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Jax is the solid foundation of what this series is based on. He deserves not just the character MVP, but the entire show’s worth. From the moment he put on those old boots (His father’s?) to placing those rings on Opie and Tara’s gravestones, to the last moments with his arms raised high. He married those moments and gave everything he had with sincerity and brevity. Every hug he gave and every word he said was its own echo and he made that character who he lived by and who he died by. Jax was a complicated but just character. Every law of the road he followed he followed till the end, riding through this world…

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ENDING THOUGHTS

In referencing Vic Mackey I just want to say that I will always firmly believe that Milo is Vic. Not just because of the theories or the speculations, but because if someone is going to take out Jax Teller, it’s going to be Vic. Elements of The Shield came with every season with actors and actresses filling spots and voids of the long ended cop show. For those who haven’t seen The Shield I recommend it. Vic will never be remembered as a “good” character but he was a well liked character and even loved. If this was Sutter’s plan all along I applaud him, although I think they only came up with it this season, my thoughts on it anyway. “Milo” chatted with Gemma and then killed her son. Michael Chiklis has real respect to get those scenes crafted for him. Can’t imagine a spin off taking flight after this though. One can dream.

Do I consider this the best season? I think I do. Two and everything after Three were suburb and it is tough to choose one, but considering the anticipation this season made for us, the seventh wins for me. Maybe that will change when I watch this show again, but we’ll see.

Seeing Gemma and Wayne’s bodies coldly reminded me that those two never shared anything beyond unrequited love. I still feel bad for Wayne and I’m sure in some way Jax did too. Yet, in the end, all he received was validation from Jarry that he was a good cop. And Nero had to say goodbye to Gemma by taking her grandkids away from Charming. Sad reflective moments, but necessary to give them a sense of closure.

I wonder if Chibs and Tig will make the smart decisions to keep the club running on top. Tyler and Alveraz seem like they’ll keep their sides in flowing order. I wish there was something that could be said to their future, some exert by Sutter telling us that things will be okay for them. I’d like to know.

Jax explaining to Patterson on tape with what happened to Tara and the bloodbath that followed was very similar to Vic’s confession to ICE at the end of The Shield. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who noticed that.

Venus De Milo…Shane and Vic…strange.

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OVERALL SCORE

The onions got to me. 10 out of 10. Solid performances all around, closure and closure met with mayhem. One last chase followed by one very last beautiful chase. Some dialogue with the homeless woman and Jax, and an end that Jax sought and claimed for himself. He went out his own way and not gunned down by friend or foe. Should he have died as his father did? I can’t answer that, but I don’t think it was the wrong choice. I prepared myself for this inevitable end, but it still hurt. And it was meant to. We’ll see Charlie again. To the sons, to the writers, to Sutter and the whole crew, I thank you for once more bringing the fans and I a remarkable trek through seven years of bikes, bullets, babes, and breedom, er, I mean freedom. I think I’ll go watch the pilot again, when everyone first started, and everything was new. Tara had longer hair, Opie is Opie, and Jax is…well, THE Son of Anarchy. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this run as I did.

 

 

No more words

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×12 (Numb is the road to unfinished dreams)

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I tried to imagine a different outcome, one with a sensible moment of peace and reflection without the need for bullets and mayhem. What I got, and what everyone watched got, was the most bittersweet form of retribution I think I’ve ever witnessed on television. It wasn’t cold, yet it was unquestionably necessary in the eyes of a man who loved to love those closest to him. His loves are nearly depleted, and soon, everything ends.

Tonight’s episode of SOA “Red Rose” ends a season’s long quest for absolute truth and unyielding woes. The facts are simple: Juice is dead. Wayne is dead. And Gemma is dead. Those are the harsh segments of truth that stick me right in the brain. For a split-second, the reasons why don’t matter. Then, slowly, the reasons do matter and they surface bit by bit until the moments return and you see the bodies lay as ice. I’m not angry or surprised, except that in the end, I hate the fact I wanted to see this since Tara’s passing. I speak on each of the departed as the filler moments of this episode matter little save for a few cameos and the climactic foreshadowing of Mr. Mayhem calling on a club president. Shall we begin?

Right up to the end, Juice maintained his dignity and kept Samcro in high regard for Tully and his group. He wasn’t angry, or defiant, or lethargic. He simply ate his pie and nodded. In the closing moments of his scene, I wondered still if there was some strange agenda he’d been saved for. But he wasn’t. No goodbyes from Samcro, no final request, he just bid the world adieu and let everything happen. In a way, he became Otto, someone destined to endure the sins of everything he had wrought in prison. I won’t expect much a sendoff in next week’s final episode, save for possible Chibs finding out from Jerry about Juice’s murder. Chibs will have a look on his face, that distant look that he’s keeping something buried inside, but he won’t let it out. He’ll simply move the conversation where it needs to go and breathe like he always breathes. And that will be that. Goodbye Juice, you met your end the best way you knew how, on your feet and ready.

We move to the more unexpected fatality, in that of ex-officer Wayne Unser. My SOA watching buddies and I would joke that Wayne was a dark mastermind who would somehow outlive everyone on the show regardless of how many times he had succumbed to injuries and his condition. Yet, it was Jax who had no choice but to put him down for trying to save Gemma from a dark fate. Wayne wasn’t a complete stranger to that kind of violence as only recently he had to take a life. Yet, he tried as best he could to resolve the situation at gun point. The problem was he was too involved and couldn’t accept what Gemma was about to go through. To put it bluntly, this death sucked. To hang on for so long and never waver from the person he loved from a far, only to be gunned down because he couldn’t let go. This is ultimately what separates him from Nero as they both loved Gemma with different hearts. Nero knew all too well what was going to happen but he sent Wayne after her. Did he really think Wayne would succeed and put Gemma in a place she was safe? I don’t honestly think Nero had those kind of high hopes and Wayne suffered for it. In the end, Wayne’s legacy is that he always protected and defended his morals even when they were scratched to hell. Gemma didn’t shed a tear and moved on to a conversation unrelated to Wayne. That makes his death as tragically sad as they can get.

And now we move onto the moment where my hands covered my mouth till the black screen and the logo bled onto frame. The moment Jax settled on his vengeance and shot his mother in the head. Gemma’s life came to an end just as our minds predicted when she ended Tara’s life. What everyone also knows if Gemma gave Jax the strength to do it. He faltered and lowered his guard, yet the caring and loving mother gave him tender words of acceptance. What came next was the shot and the echo and a vision of bloody flowers, just like Jax’s white shoes. This wasn’t innocence being stained, it was the blood of family raining on untouched futures. More than anything, I wanted Gemma to confess her role in John Teller’s murder. But the truth is, it wouldn’t have mattered. Maybe she left him something in that locker along with the manuscript that Jax will come to realize more on the truth of JT’s death. I’d like to wonder on this next piece of hypothesis and see if it strikes home.

I’m almost 100% certain the club will end Jax’s life before or by the end. The evidence is stupidly overwhelming which leads me to truly wonder if Jax accepts that end, that it made it easier for him to end Gemma’s life. If knew his life was over, how hard of a decision would it be to handle what he felt he needed to do about his mother? Without that certainty of death looming, I don’t think it would have been as easier a decision not withstanding the support Gemma gave him in the end. As morbid as it was, I know Tara’s death deserved equal treatment. Did I love Gemma? Absolutely not. Her choices led her down a surreal darkness there was no coming back from. Do I love Katey Sagal? Absolutely. She brought a character to life that is a mainstay in her career. Forget Peg and Leela, Gemma is who she soared with and she did an amazing job as a cunning and manipulative force on this show. For the wrong reasons, both Clay and Gemma were taken away by the son who never knew he was getting justice for the death of his father. Will Jax ever really realize that in the end? Does it really matter? We know, but we’re just the audience.

Now I want to speak of the elephant in the room. That’s right, I’m talking about you Michael Chiklis, resident supporting star of American Horror Story-Freak Show. The second he spoke, I knew exactly who I was looking at even though that hat and sunglasses tried to mask it. After all these years, the frontrunner of The Shield made it onto the penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy. And what’s more, there’s every single reason to believe that “Milo” is actually Vic Mackey. I know, I know, enough Shield alumni have appeared and none of them played their alter ego’s from that series. While that’s an easy out, there is one significant fact I can’t turn away from. Milo mentioned he had four kids last he knew. Vic also has four kids which includes Cassidy, Matthew, Megan, and Lee. If Vic ever wanted to leave the ICE and disappear, becoming a truck driver is one avenue he could go. It’s wishful thinking but I applaud Sutter for at least dabbling in the insane possibility that The Shield and SOA are set in the same universe. I’m happy Michael got to be on the show and he performed with notably the best actress on the show. Kudos to the team for making it happen. I approve.

I also want to remark on Charisma Carpenter’s appearance. I had read she was going to be in an episode but having been so long I had nearly forgotten until she showed up. It was good to see her outside of the obligatory horror straight to TV movie. Again she got to interact with Katey and for what it’s worth, she guest starred as fashionably well as was expected. It’s nice to see Charisma again even if it’s for a short time.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There’s no question, literally no question. Jax and Gemma’s final scene together. The gun shot made me put my hands over my mouth and I’m a guy who watches Game of Thrones with a stupid grin when every crazy thing happens on that show. Jax was so quiet and distant it’s so incredibly sad that there wasn’t more conversation between the two. They hung on simple memories and short sentences. She wanted to see the flowers and Jax allowed it with the sentiment that he was going to let her fall in the garden. Showing her body in the end was also equally sad because she didn’t get any kind of burial. Of course Jax couldn’t take the time or effort for reasons I suppose, but it just felt even colder than normal to remind us that she’s lying alone in a garden with no one to find her for who knows how long. That also includes Wayne. Still that scene was super intense because we knew it was going to happen and it kept hanging on all these threads of possibilities including when Jax broke down. What I commend is the effect of showing the shot and not just pulling away to some object or close-up of the gun, or just Jax’s face. It was Jax, and Gemma, and the bullet, and the rest of how it played out. The director showed respect for those two by making it clear, their faces were planted on the lens when it happened.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As a last act, I have no doubts that Gemma deserved tonight’s spotlight. She reflected, said goodbye, and if anything, seemed very peaceful with her end. It was so eerie that when she comforted Jax at the last moment, I was a bit stunned that she didn’t use that to her advantage to change his mind. Like Juice, there was absolutely no fear. In true Gemma fashion she lived her last day gaining a new friendship, saying goodbye to an ailing father, and telling her son she loved him. In a way, her being at peace meant Jax couldn’t really take anything away from her except her life. She deserves the MVP for tonight and for being one hell of a close quarter villain. Misunderstood, maybe, but she never backed down from a fight and knew how to get what she wanted. Gemma will always be known as a dirty fighter, but a very charismatic one.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Looking back as the homeless woman, Emily Putner, I really struggle to understand if she’ll have any more placement at the end of the series. I looked up her appearances and her history to better understand where she came from and considering she’s basically a ghost who was a direct result of John Teller’s untimely death, I wonder if the spiritual moniker is rooted in the supernatural, or if she really is a lady who can get around from place to place when Gemma and Jax are having their emotional moments. I just want Brooke to find her now, if nothing else.

Chibs and Tig won’t stand by and let Jax be executed by anyone, club or not. I just can’t see anything short of chaotic club bloodshed occurring, with the exception of what Jax is changing within the club. We don’t know what it is, but it’s entirely possible we won’t know until that ugly moment when they end Jax’s life, if it happens. It’s horrible to think about, but it’s a strong possibility.

Jax and Wendy are now back together. I doubt their coupling was a one time thing. Jax gravitates to what he needs and how he needs to feel. Being with Wendy is fine. It’s one of the many things that has and will probably come full circle as we wait impatiently for the final episode to air.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. When you get my heart pumping and you make me really sink my brain into the moment, I can forgive almost any lack elements the episode may have missed. Everything was riding on Jax finding Gemma, and it didn’t disappoint. I was glued and it takes a lot to make me that tuned in. The losses were enormous and there’s no telling if it will end by next week. Jax will save his club, that’s what he wants and that’s what he needs to do. His life doesn’t matter to him and that it was gave him the final push to put his mother in a place where he put Clay and many others in the past. There’s only one thing left to do. Yes yes, take out Barosky, but then after, there’s the final settling between himself and Mr. Mayhem. Who will come out on top in the end? Jax is a son of anarchy, and we all know how anarchy and mayhem get along. We’ll see you on Dec. 9th, when everything comes to a close. Keep riding, sons. keep riding.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×11 (The gatekeeper sings alone)

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Very few shows can get the brain rattling with such anxiety and fear over chaotic scenarios. Tonight, SOA gave in to the truth and mapped out a near perfect episode in “Suits of Woe”. Jax followed the clues and met Juice’s confession head on with a promise to make it quick as a reward for the tale of this season’s finale. Marked like never before, Gemma runs, and pursues her next dark chapter alone. Every conversation between Jax and those he knows and trusts, were layered in the brutality that was Tara’s murder. Jax understands who, and to a degree why, but where Gemma is going, we don’t know.

Two episodes remain and we have to put up with a week with no Sons before the penultimate episode erupts. Jax wants to make things right knowing how much damage his mother caused. He, as usual, shoulders the burden, promising to take all the blame for those who’ve perished wrongfully. But as the episode dawn’s its final minute, all he can do is weep and wail over why Gemma would murder the woman he loved.

Jax’s journey tonight was very much a journey for all of us. Every turn I expected something to rise up and block his path to the truth, yet everywhere he went, he found more answers. We’ll start with Juice. As the words hung between them, I stuttered to think that maybe Juice would spare Gemma the misery and say he was the one who killed Tara. There wasn’t much reasoning behind it, just my mind playing tricks at possibilities. But sure enough, Juice recounted his view of that night with perfect clarity, including Eli’s murder. His thanks for such information, a promise of a quick death. So much was riding on Jax’s reactions, and I don’t want to downplay Juice’s teary eyed moments, but you’ve got to hand it to both actors for pulling off a tremendous scene that took so long to get to. It was done right, without a single shred of deception. Now Juice must live fully with the consequences, however short of a time that may be.

On the other side of this coin lies survivalist herself, Gemma. Who had one more ghostly conversation before succumbing to the lonely road ahead. She tries to reflect and say goodbye to those she can get to, but Abel and Nero are essentially the only ones. Chucky did her a solid and you can tell even without him saying it that he always had a deep loyalty, very much beyond the club. Gemma has that affect on people, Nero especially since he lied to Jax so Gemma could drive away to wherever she needed to go. His heart broke just as much to find out as it’s been doing to Jax every minute he can’t find her. It only makes sense that he and Jax shared the last scene together in tears, knowing that a death sentence to Gemma would destroy Jax for the rest of his life. The finale is getting so much harder to think about knowing that Jax still loves her, despite the mayhem she’s caused since we’ve come to know her.

Another simple subplot put to rest is the reveal that Barosky was the one who told the Chinese about he gun trade. A few times I mentioned Barosky as a possibility, yet it was hard to completely commit to that theory because everyone thought for sure a Son member could only have been behind it, but in the back of my head, Peter Weller was put in that role to serve a better purpose than a background liaison to Stockton. Jax will likely deal with him very soon.

That leaves us with the unknown equation with how the charter will vote on Jax’s life for what he did in killing Jury. I have no idea on the mental state of the other members and can only speculate they’ll vote against putting Jax down, because he’ll appeal to them the only way he knows how. All Jax wanted was a change and a way to stop his charter from getting killed. Those that remain will have very hard decisions to make if they choose for an end to their president. Do I honestly think that’s going to happen? On the surface, I’d say no. I’ve expected bloodshed in a lot of scenes of past episodes and everything turned out alright. Plus, I don’t think I want to see the charter begin a schism war. Jax will think of something he always does.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Juice finally revealing what he witnessed to Jax. They dealt with it early in the episode because it was hard waiting on the moment. The acting was superb and It was a bit tragic that it will be the last time those two speak or see each other. No matter what, Jax always had it in for Juice and Juice keeps his neutral expression, relatively accepting of the judgment given to him. One thing’s for sure, Tully isn’t done with Juice yet and it’s frightening wondering what horrors may lie ahead for Mr. Ortiz.

CHARACTER MVP

Tough race between mother and son, but the breakdown at the end gave Jax the win for this episode’s MVP. Every gaze, angered shout, and tearful look were spot on as we are dragged through his path one step at a time. Nero deserves a lot of credit in this ep as well. He hung on some solid reactions and letting the scene play out with his face when Jax tells him on the phone what happened it nearly priceless. Great job on both parts.

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

The end is two episodes away. I still can’t wrap my head around it.

Jax and Gemma will either play out at the beginning of the finale, or right toward the end. And judging by Jax’s deep sadness, there’s no telling what will happen. If Gemma confesses that she purposely had the biggest hand in JT’s death, Jax could very well snap in half.

August is a definite wildcard. He could disappear or he could have something seriously horrible occur when he gets out.

This show will likely end the life of another major character before the end. Let’s hope the toll isn’t high.

Wayne has a bit more to play in this storyline, but will he side with Gemma when he finds the truth? He was always in love with her and that never changed. Since he’s basically done with Jax it stands to reason he’ll help her regardless of the circumstance.

OVERALL SCORE

It was hard to find fault with this episode. 9 out of 10. Every conversation was stupendous. Even the car chase scene was done to a better degree than we’re used to seeing. It felt like a real chase scene with speed and obstacles and a sense of urgency because it was Jax fleeing and not chasing this time. With no options, Gemma is leaving Charming and not looking back. There’s a lot to be said with her survival instinct, but she’s running because not only does she not want to face Jax’s wrath, but she’s afraid because she either doesn’t know Jax well enough or she knows him all too well given the context of the situation. This will not be a fun two weeks to put up with between now and the penultimate episode. We’re almost out of gas and Mr. Mayhem isn’t done with this show yet.

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×10 (Out of the mouths of babes)

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Through a path of righteous bloodshed and a lot of montage sex, Jax and crew settle in for a clear and peaceful evening. Then, suddenly, Abel asks the most brutal and innocent question a child can ask and Jax is left with a look of confusion that rivals any other previously. Welcome to the final three episodes left in the Sons of Anarchy franchise where the biggest domino is about to fall and start an arc we knew was coming since last season’s finale.

Sons always makes me work my way backward from the last scene to the main plot making it a bit difficult to give the overall impression because what leaves us hanging is cut into stone, marking us to remember until the next week. Here, little Abel asks Jax if Gemma killed his first mommy (Tara) so it would bring his second mommy (Wendy) back to him. Jax stares in confusion leaving us with impending doom. That worry will soon turn into questions and within, a burning rage will resurface the likes no Son has probably ever seen. This is a casualty sandwich waiting to happen and Though it took us ten episodes for Jax to know, it makes the most sense that it came from his son first and not Wayne discovering the truth from Juice. The pain fits perfectly because it remains completely in the family. Jax and Wayne will seek out this truth and with it, Nero will be caught in the middle of this chaos in a way that could spell upheaval for all.

It was fascinating to watch Jax reveal to Abel the truth about Wendy as his real mother. With a few short minutes left to watch I half-expected there to be a reunion of sorts between Wendy and Jax in the kitchen, but there wasn’t and it was very easy to tell what scene would play out next. I’m not entirely against Jax and Wendy becoming an item again, but with the truth in Jax’s ear as unsettling as it was, Jax will be on a one way trip of searching the truth. There won’t be any time to return to old roots. It’s sad, but expected. Will Jax retaliate or will cooler heads prevail? Sons of Anarchy isn’t called Sons of Order because everything works itself out. I’ve always been on Jax and Tara’s side and whatever needs to happen to end this show with jaws dropping needs to happen. We can’t wait much longer.

Another inspiring piece of character development came from Tig today as he goes through a bit of self-discovery with Venus and his love for her. It’s easy to attack others when they prod one’s choice in who they interact with, but to sit down, confront, and accept that part of one’s life was something I wasn’t fully expecting from Tig and it really brought his character around considering his crazy lifestyle. Goggins also complimented each seen he was in, turning almost masculine at the thought of leaving Tig, but after Tig reemphasizes their relationship, he melts and reverts back to Venus’s charismatic female persona. Tig’s path may be uncertain fate wise, but for now, he seems genuinely happy with his choice and that’s enough for him.

The arc of the episode deals greatly with Moses using Tyler to search for the pastor’s family and kidnaps Ratboy and Tio for interrogation. With the help of Tully’s second in command, Jax exacts revenge for Bobby and performs the same hellish torture on Moses that Bobby went through from the disgusting eye gouge, to his fingers being cut off and a final shot to the head. Jax has been full of vengeance kills this season and the worst is yet to come. Does this mark the end of the August plot or will there be one final farewell to the business man before the Samcro charter pass their judgment on Jax and the crew? As per Anarchy justice, Moses was barely given a few words of bravado before being handed his pain ticket. This leaves Tyler forever loyal to Samcro along with the Grim Bastards. In another fell swoop, things are looking for up, but we all know it’s a temporary peace. All things are temporary.

The mental state of Abel is something to consider in this storyline. Twice now he’s hurt himself to create problems for Gemma, who still can’t fully understand what is motivating him. Does she suspect? I think there’s always something rattling inside her mind that subconsciously is there as the truth, but processing it has been difficult as of late. There’s no point in her figuring it out now expect that she caused this mess herself, every single part of it. Abel has learned to inflict pain to get what he wants and it’s a scary thought because he’s mirroring his father but manifesting that pain more physically. I think we’ve seen the last his destructive attitude, assuming he doesn’t try and hurt Wendy in some allusion that Tara will return, because that would be a seriously unfortunate circumstance.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Tig and Venus had the best heart to heart between all the couples shown tonight, but as far as my favorite moment, it would have to go to the final scene. I’ve been waiting like many others for the other shoe to drop and now it was. We had but minor seconds to soak in Jax’s reaction and then cut to the logo. It’s amazing what Jax can show in such a short time and without words, he spoke mountains of questions and intentions to find out exactly what propelled Abel to say what he said. Great ending seen.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Tig makes the cut this week as his seen and character growth with Venus was the most out of any character in the last few episodes. Tig remained true to his convictions instead of crawling back into his chaotic nature. Will it be a permanent change? Tough to say for sure, but with only 3 episodes left, there may not be another chance for those two to indulge in moments like those.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Juice and Tully is a very strange forced coupling and knowing it’s Marilyn Manson just makes it all the more weird. Juice has no idea what’s happening to him making his future very dubious at best.

We may not get to see a Gemma and Jax confrontation next week due to her going out of town to help Nero and because SOA tends to drag out these kind of encounters till the end of the series. Rest assured, it will be epic.

Wayne handled himself rather well against Leland. Shame it’s his first kill, but considering the alternative, he fought hard to stay alive. He’ll outlive everyone yet.

Ratboy had sex with another woman to let off some steam, which is unfortunate for Brooke who may or may not find out about it. She’s already a fragile character, but how would she handle this kind of scenario that once more puts Ratboy in a precarious position? He may no longer be a dick, but now he’s just a cheater.

Not going to lie, that was a lot of sex in the first two minutes of the show. Talk about going out with a bang.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Consistent 7 out of 10. Action moments were cut to just a few carefully placed moments. The resolution with Moses didn’t take long and it ended with the cliffhanger that will have all the fans talking till next week. All around another solid episode with more promises for craziness to come. There’s a lot more to come and only three episodes to wrap it all up in. No fond farewells, just a lot of bullets and not knowing what direction they will be pointed. August could retaliate in one final showdown, or try and make the best business decision he can. We’ll see how far he takes it as the judgment of Samcro hangs in the background. Stay tuned.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×09 (Close to the cabin)

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When the shot goes down, there’s a lot to take in and memories to pour forth. For Jax, another Son has been taken from him by a force he thought he could control. In the background we know what caused this mess, but in the mind of Jax, he feels the most responsible and is clearing the way to set things right again, starting with Moses.

To begin with the obvious hurt, Bobby was a mainstay of the franchise. He was an older brother and in every way the most sensible of the group. It’s eerie remembering how Bobby spoke to Tara about how much Jax needed her and without her he’d be lost. Now Jax has lost both individuals, representing his heart and in some ways, his conscience. He’s dealing in his usual quiet way, but you can sense that there’s a deeper anger waiting to be unleashed again. His glasses are a way of showing us that he’s seeing through a new kind of lens on revenge. Bobby swore a Son would kill Moses and it’s a safe bet that this will become a reality soon enough.

I think it can be noted that Bobby didn’t get the burial detail he deserved. With the fierce aggression of August and crew, Jax doesn’t have time to give Bobby the most he can for the end. Even when Jax said he loved the cabin and wanted to be close, it didn’t feel like it was enough. Jax knows this, but he can’t stray from the path he’s on and it’s a short time table until the next iteration of retaliation. Gemma felt the sting and tried to apologize to a cold body with Abel once more innocently spying on grandma. She has no one to express her soul to about what’s happened, including Nero, who just wants her to leave with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up taking Nero up on his offer, if nothing else, to escape what’s to come. Would she take the kids like Tara tried to? How ironic would such a situation be in that regard?

The chapter’s judgment on Jax and his crew looms in the background with possible repercussions spanning many angles. I question what would occur if there is an authority capable of stripping down Jax’s entire charter in Charming. That’s the only blowback I can see happening short of mass murder on both sides. Jax isn’t poison to the club, far from it, but every kneejerk reaction has caused more chaos to run rampant and his club could suffer the worst of it by having their patches eliminated completely. If August and Lin get taken out, Samcro judgment will be close behind.

Development wise, this episode didn’t provide too much into with the exception of Jarry and Chibs, who gave in to Jarry’s ultimatum and took her right on top of the squad car with Quinn awkwardly watching passively. While the scene sold Chibs’s feelings on the matter, I thought her dive into a frantic sexual moment was dealt too abruptly and wasn’t a necessary “edgy” edition to the episode as it likely appeared on script. While they’re very much connected to a new core, I think Chibs will need to relinquish his secrets if she’s going to maintain her trust of him. I still don’t quite grasp her alignment on the show, and lately have been siding with Gemma on the matter. Jarry is doing things her way, but she seems too sensible to be acting in such crazy manners which leads me to believe she’s being written with deep issues we’re not yet aware of.

On the other angle, Brooke and Ratboy shared a tender moment of what it’s like to be in a new relationship. He apologizes and uses Gemma’s own words to describe what he’s not. She forgives him and now we’re left wondering if the pattern will reemerge or if the remainder of the season plays with those two a stronger unit. With so many alumni having departed the series, we’re left with more basic plots of minor characters, which may come off as poignant and comforting, but are a bit late in the series to be wrapping our heads around. Unless the goal is to rip one from the other in a future episode, it doesn’t place quite as well intermixed with Jax’s plot. I do think there’s a setup coming, I’m just not speculating what quite yet.

The episode concludes with August being set up and arrested by Jax. It’s a band-aid as Jax calls it, but it’s supposed to keep things quiet in Charming. We all know that won’t be the case as Moses is free to wreck what necessary havoc there needs to be to either force Jax’s hand or worse. Will August be sent to Stockton where Lin is? Will Juice be doing double duty now? Seems too simple. August has connections and probably won’t be in any gen. pop. situation. In fact, I don’t see why bail won’t be posted on the next day.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I’d be hard pressed not to showcase Bobby’s final scene as the highlight of this episode. It was done in a way that seemed confusing and strange as to how Jax and August treated the situation. It was unique in that there was no way for either party to engage in a fire fight but also painted August in a new sadistic light. Could Bobby have rolled forward and jerked the gun out of his back? Who knows. Either way, it was a tense moment with a finish that some predicted but others hoped wouldn’t occur.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Jax displayed a hefty set of emotions in this episode and deserves the spotlight. Every line he gave was displaying that critical guilt that he can’t save anyone and is making many if not all the wrong decisions. He pushes through because he has to, but you can tell it’s taking a toll on his mental state. While the glasses was an interesting way of visually showing his change, it was still an odd depiction. If nothing else it served to show he’s going to be much more calculating now with his strikes.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Abel remains unpredictable and silently disturbing. It’s going to culminate into something terrible, but will it be directed at Gemma or Wendy? Or maybe even Brooke?

With recaps and follow ups there seems to be a premise that one of Samcro ratted out on the strike earlier on the season. It almost seems moot now that the balance has shifted into judgment on the charter. Is it possible that Quinn, Ratboy, Happy, or Tig is responsible. Wild thoughts, but what do we really know about Quinn other than Bobby bringing him into the fold? I’ve been suspecting Barosky since day one, but it doesn’t seem like that’s a viable option at this point, not with Jax deadset that only the Sons were aware of the entire incident.

With Juice’s intel on Tara’s killer now a bust, Wayne is that much closer to finding out the truth. It’s been surreal watching him work the way he does and as much as I want him to succeed at finding the truth, I know it could very well be a death sentence. Gemma would snap if she was forced to kill Wayne over exposing that truth.

Nero still has a large part to play in this season. I get the sense he’ll do Gemma either a great right or a great wrong depending on how she manipulates the situation. He’ll be in the worst spot to be in because everything he does will be out of love and she knows it.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Losing Bobby was heartbreaking, but the episode didn’t shine too much more as a whole than others in the past. It gets a 7 out of 10. Moments with Juice, the scene with Jarry and Chibs, and some of the minor segments were a bit all over the place. It was more uncomfortable to watch Chibs and Jarry handle their issues than it was sexy. All the real secrets are still on the tip of a few tongues and we still don’t have resolution on it. Until it comes, we’re just holding our breath, waiting impatiently for it to play out as it will. The pace is all right, but the situation with August is more distracting now than it should be. Rest in peace Bobby. Ride on, noble Son.

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×08 (Pale shoes stained with a Jury’s verdict)

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Breathe in and exhale for another episode of SOA ends with darker territory to follow. A rich display of personal feelings continues to chisel at Jax’s marbled resolve paving the way for unfocused decisions and the blood of crows to flow. Just when one would think there was a sensible solution to be had between Redwood Originals, Jax takes matters into his weapon and murders a man who point blank thought John Teller ran his bike into the semi on purpose. Nevermind the fact that Jury said he’d never rat out the club. This marks Jax’s next step down that slippery slope his crew may not walk away from alive. Plenty of portents to follow in tonight’s episode “The Separation of Crows.”

To begin, Bobby is counseled by his captor, Moses, an ex Special-Ops soldier who works for August. The dynamic is solid and almost plays in the favor of Bobby if it weren’t for his obvious predicament. Unwilling to give the location of the pastor’s body, Moses attempts to give him an honest version of what’s to come. Bobby, resilient as ever only promises that someday a reaper will claim Moses’s life. Though things aren’t looking good for Bobby, you can rest assured that his statements will probably be carried out in due time. I thought a bit of unadulterated humor would be thrown into this scene as normally two people without fear may find joking at the other’s expense a form of chit chat. Not to be had here. I’m not counting Bobby out yet, but at the conclusion of this episode, we know he’ll never ride again. It was a brutally cringing moment when you could hear the bones scraping against the knife. Jax’s decisions are costing Bobby more and more, quite possibly his life in the coming episodes.

As Jax spirals at an uncomfortable pace, his son, Abel, follow suit as Gemma learns he attacked another child at school. During a conversation at home, Abel says it was an accident and Gemma asks if he knows what it means. Cue a most chilling response with Abel replying “Do you?” As dry and emotionless as Abel has been seen, those two words even put Gemma in an awkward stare. Abel has been translating everything he’s seen since the season began and now he’s slowly exerting the actions and explanations into powerfully violent responses. Now he’s verbally beginning to transgress into Gemma’s worst fear. I don’t think his violent tirades are over, but I certainly don’t want to see Abel attack Gemma out of some unexplainable anger. It’s too vicious to say the least. My second fear regarding this scenario is Abel may hurt Brooke by “accident”.

Juice continues to maneuver himself into a position to take out Lin. Wayne observes Juice’s negotiating tactics and admits to Jarry that he thinks a piece of missing between Juice and Gemma but knows Juice knows who killed Tara. He’s sticking close with that nose of omniscience and likely won’t stop until the truth comes out. Where I think Wayne is wrong is his assumption that Juice killing Lin will buy him back with the club. I’d like to believe that fairy tale, but it doesn’t fit with Jax’s M.O as of late. Jax is willing to spread any lie he needs to to get the jobs he needs done. I think as far as Jax is concerned, Juice killing Lin or dying trying to kill Lin is a win/win. The sooner Juice realizes this the sooner he can begin leveraging his real information to Jarry or whomever he needs to. Juice can still make it out of this alive, but if he kills Lin, he may have a permanent target on his back for the rest of his life.

Going back to the situation with Jury and Jax, I thought there was some critical moments that seemed to throw in some old tunes. First we’re treated with Teller’s point of death in a previous episode. Now Jury explains that he was once an outside friend who believes Teller would have known if his own bike was mistreated or sabotaged, leaving Jax to conclude for himself that Teller must have sacrificed himself for the club. Jury spells it out in such a way that Jax doesn’t care if Jury told the truth or not about being a rat. The shot was cast and the VP was left with a barren lie and likely enough fuel to start a fire of his own. Later on, Chibs tells Jax this will ripple out of control quick if they don’t get their story straight. I was surprised that Jax flat out denied Jury’s statement about not ratting him out. Statements like “I wanted you dead but I wouldn’t rat the club” are usually followed with some intense stares and a nod that brothers understand what they can say to prove their point. Jax didn’t care which means the culprit is still at large. My money has always been on Barosky, but the culprit may also be too close to home. What a shock that would be if it turned out to be a Son.

The episode concludes similar to last weeks when Tig brings another box to Jax regarding August’s response. Jax doesn’t open it this time but everyone understand the message. August isn’t playing at negotiating and is completely separated from anything that matters to him which makes Jax’s situation all the more grim. He’s beginning to lose all of his allies. I don’t see Tyler siding with him much longer and the other Redwood Originals out there will probably start to question Jax’s leadership as soon as they get wind of Jury’s death. Jax will keep his crew as always, but if they begin to fall at August’s might, it won’t matter who’s standing by his side. Jax may need to stop manipulating and start hitting first before Charming goes up in smoke.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I rather liked Bobby and Moses’s initial conversation. One supporting character and one minor rival sold their scene as if they were to two principle characters running this show. Hearing about Bobby’s military background and seeing how he kept his cool shows how incredibly dedicated he is knowing more pain is on the way. He knows he’s done for but swears that a Son will end Moses at some point. It’s good to see Bobby shine on his own and I very much enjoyed that scene just a little more than Jax facing against Jury. That just felt slightly rushed and a bit bitter overall.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As with the scene above, tonight’s MVP goes to Bobby. Had he caved in and gave Moses the information he wanted, we all would have been disappointed, but at the same time we don’t want to see him get hurt or killed. With a stalwart attitude he accepts his fate with the kind of defiance that a Son can offer up. It’s excruciating to watch but Bobby makes it believable and that’s what gives him the spotlight tonight.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Gemma burying her dead crows is more than a simple metaphor showcasing her role in the continued demise of Samcro. I played a thought that showed Gemma surviving this entire ordeal and leaving with Nero and the kids while Wayne shuts down the autoshop for good. It’s a seriously depressing final scene in my head, but It’s possible Gemma and Wayne could outlive everyone.

Jury was shot in the same place and style as Jimmy Darmondy and Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire.

How does Jax keep his shoes so clean?

More and more I see August as the arc that ends right before the final showdown with all of Samcro dealing with Jury’s death, followed by Jax learning of Tara’s true fate.

If things keep going the way of dark tragedy, I can also see Jax murdering Nero as retribution for Gemma killing Tara. It would crush her if we’re meant to see an eye for an eye knowing Jax wouldn’t hurt his own mother.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Consistency is key. Sons gets a solid 7 out of 10 tonight. My palms weren’t sweaty like they’ve been in the past, but the wheels were spinning a bit faster than normal. Everything I thought was handled well with the exception of Jury’s death the fact that this episode ended the same way as last week’s episode. Interesting choice of cover too. I did think we we’re given a lengthy plot point just to feed us into the next episode which I think will dominate before the unforgiving finale to come. Keep them coming as always. We’re getting close.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Sons of Anarchy – Season 7×07 (The times are a changin’)

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Some of the best laid plans are covered in tiny flaws, while those who pursue justice find vengeance the big brother of two evils holding sway. Tonight’s episode “Greensleeves” offers up the cold definition of miscommunication and the mistake of revealing dark secrets in empty rooms. Jax attempts to put all his pieces in play to remove the last piece on his chessboard, only, he found the dismal truth resting in a small box. That truth is that his crew is in every bit of danger as his enemies are.

Let’s begin with the moment where we all felt we missed the actual beginning of the episode. Juice is given his coat back by Jax and sent off be arrested by the cops by way of motorcycle chase. Later, we’re given the full run down and Juice was sent by the crew to be captured and placed in prison to personally take out Lin with the help of Tully. All we’re given as an explanation is that Juice will do anything for the club. Does this mean he was told there’d be a chance at redemption, or does Juice and the crew know it’s a one way ticket? Juice has had his survival instincts kicked into high gear since last season. There’s every chance he’ll succeed and every chance he’ll be flipped before that gets to happen just for the chance to stay alive. Who’s to say which way he’ll turn if the situation goes sour. Club loyalty has been on his brain and Jax knows this. But one thing’s for certain, he didn’t confess to Jax what he knows, and that information was utterly crucial for Gemma to know.

The mother of the crew prepared herself for the worst and was within an eyelash at pulling her gun on Happy and Rat at the cabin. Everything leading up to that moment knowing Nero was on route was fantastic and almost made me forget that I knew something was going to go down with Bobby. I’ll get to that in a second, but for now, Gemma lost her composure enough to tell Thomas the truth about Tara. But who understood it? Why little Abel in the hallway of course. His traumatic experience recently mixed with tonight’s revelation about the woman who he called mother will no doubt add to an already compounded issue in his mind. What will he do? Will his words come out during an most inconvenient time when Jax is at his lowest? Or will become violent again and try to take it out on Gemma herself. He may not be strong, but he can still swing a hammer. We all expect Jax to confront Gemma about the truth, but what if the poetry of this show makes so he never gets the chance to? Morbid thoughts all around.

Due to the season getting nearer toward the end I find I can’t avoid watching the promos for next week episode just to know if Bobby is alive or dead. Based on the promo, I know what I need to, but that doesn’t chance that the second he suggested driving alone, that something was going to happen. I was predicting something more close to the cabin, but that wasn’t meant to be. There’s a lot of pain and retribution Bobby is being forced to endure and somewhere in Jax’s mind, he knew August wasn’t going to be that easy to coerce. I have to give August credit in that he’s making a stronger point by keeping Bobby alive rather than kill him outright which Jax and crew have had no problem doing as of late. It’s meticulous and tactical and now August has all the leverage he needs to convince Jax to back off or worse, submit.

Our episodic subplot delivered it’s usual points of violence, extortion, murder, and comedic undertones. There isn’t much to comment on except that it served the agenda of the plot and gave Jax the same credibility he’s always had in that he does what he has to for the things he needs. He won’t make his crew do anything he wouldn’t do himself and even finds a bit of pride in it. He’s always dedicated and will help those in need even if the situation doesn’t appear altruistic.

As always, the episode ends with foreboding and a new breath of fear for Jax to live with. When you commit to praising your crew about love and family, you can always expect that to turn around and strike back like a curse of poison, and it did. Everything about this episode roared classic Sons. We can even take to heart that when Jax’s bike was trashed, it was a sign of things to come. His world is about to become unraveled in a way he’ll never expect.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Gemma reached the cabin. There was oodles of tension supplied and I wanted to believe things were about to go down, but Gemma plays her cool till the very end and breathed her biggest sigh of relief when what Happy told her was true about why she was there. She calms an arriving Nero and all is well. This shows why she’s so good at what she does. Gemma knows how to distract, deflect, and maneuver herself where the advantage becomes hers. Her one fleeting moment came when she told Thomas what she did to Tara. It’s interesting that she chose to tell the son who wouldn’t understand, the son whose mother was horribly murdered. Gemma has been talking to an emptiness and disguised it as Tara, yet she didn’t apologize to thin air, she apologized to Tara’s child. There’s a lot there to understand about how Gemma’s mind works but, ultimately it was the tension created by the cabin scene I thought was done really well. It played on my expectations and pushed them further down the road to wait a little longer.

 

CHARACTER MVP

With Jax being entirely too soft spoken tonight, I’m giving the MVP to Gemma. Watching her play every scene like it’s her slow walk to an execution really helped make her more sympathetic. But in the end, it’s the fear that’s causing her to confess and react the way she’s been. Once she’s back in control, it’s smiles and arrogance all over again. She did a wonderful job selling that fear and downplaying her knowledge with what’s happening around her. As frustrating as it is to know more than the main character does, I find how they pushed Gemma to be emotionally compelling.

 

LONG TERM THOUGHTS

Nice addition by having Juice and Jax part ways at JT’s site where he was killed. That could have happened anywhere, but it gave the short moment much more meaning and that’s good story telling.

Once again, Wayne is on the hunt and suspects too much. His intuitive nature makes him the most dangerous character on the show, most times. What would Wayne do if he knew first about Tara’s murder. Would he protect Gemma or tell Jax? Very tough questions.

With having two scenarios where someone could find out about Tara’s murder makes me think one will intentionally be a red herring while the other will be set up to happen at an unexpected and dismal time.

Brooke and Rat are still a thing and with Brooke still taking about him, it can only mean one of those two will eventually be suffered with a loss. I don’t want either character to expire, but there may be a law within all final seasons where not everyone makes it out alive.

By keeping August out of direct contact with Jax it sets a tone of hierarchy where a king would never deal with subjects, that’s what the court and guards are there for. It will be interesting to see if Jax can formulate an actual meeting with August. Then the real violence will unleashed.

 

OVERALL SCORE

Solid and tense as always, I’m giving it an 8 out of 10. Sons has had consistent high scores and doesn’t seek to slow down. Pacing is always high and on point. The subplot dragged a little bit as we’re forced to listen to the entire plan with getting Winsome(sp?) to flip on Greensleeves. Other than that, this episode brought all the correct emotions out and then some. Jax has been dealt his first seriously blow since Tara died and knowing him, it’ll have the exact opposite effect that August intends. Will Juice get the job done and how unpredictable is Abel at this point? Keep watching and thanks for reading!

 

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