Sons of Anarchy continued its bloody final ride in “Greensleeves,” creating some excellent tension along the way. While it seemed like Juice could be the lynchpin regarding the revelation of Gemma’s sins and potential demise, “Greensleeves” made it clear that Gemma has now fully become a Lady MacBeth, or even a Raskolnikov figure (though given Sutter’s Shakespearean partiality, I would presume the former). What was once considered a righteous act begins devolving into paranoia and madness on her part. Hit the jump to find out “who puts the ‘oh’ in ho.”
Before anything else, we need to talk about Bobby. Damn it Sons of Anarchy, don’t let him be dead. Otto worked without an eye or a tongue for awhile … Bobby doesn’t have to be dead. Regardless, though, the pain and torture and humiliation he was subjected to was heartbreaking. The show has really raised the stakes this year, insofar as putting everyone at a potential risk. This is the final ride, after all — few will make it out alive.
Because of that, there’s a sense of foreboding regarding every action now. When Nero told Gemma about his plans to move up north, and gets with both Jax and Alvarez to sell off his portion of Diosa, there was a sense that he could be killed before he is able to get free (which is still a possibility). What the club had in store for Juice, too, was initially unclear — death by cop, maybe? But no — for now, they have him in jail to get something done with Tully. Still, his isolation, and the other prisoner being put in his cell at night, all suggested a variety of unfortunate outcomes. And finally, when Bobby was the last one to place his hands on JT’s memorial, with that extended shot of Jax alone before it, there was a terrible feeling of foreboding.
Throughout the series, Jax has shown a particular brilliance for twisted cons and machinations. Most don’t become fully clear until the end of each season, but even as the seasons wear on, the turns can’t often be predicted. The other element, though, is that there are always factors outside of Jax’s control and understanding that throw wrenches into those plans Even though he had been insisting that no one ride alone, he let Bobby do it, because he felt confident in his gearing up against Marks. But with that one mistake, Bobby was plucked off by Marks’ security team, and the horrifying sequence of events afterwards was documented, just like Jax documented the planted body at Marks’ construction site.
Last week, I criticized Sons of Anarchy for packing in too many plot points, and not giving enough space for character development mid-season. In “Greensleeves,” this was largely remedied: the conversations that took place between Gemma and Nero, Jax and Nero, as well as Jax addressing the table, were all great moments that weren’t just about moving the pieces around. They revealed fears, emotions, and context for those other plot points.
All of that played into Gemma’s increasing confusion and paranoia over what Jax knows, or how he might find out. As she begins to really break down, though, others are taking notice. Unser and Wendy both know there is more to Gemma’s saving of Juice than she has been letting on, and even Chucky has noticed that Gemma needs to unload her burdens. The setup for Gemma being taken to the cabin was an excellent source of extreme tension throughout the episode, too — we knew that it had to do with Jax needing Gemma to detox the mother Jax is using against Marks, but from Gemma’s perspective, the vague but firm order signaled the worst. So she unburdened to Thomas the extent of her guilt, as Abel overhears.
I will fully admit that I didn’t necessarily trust how Sons of Anarchy was going to handle the fallout from Gemma murdering Tara, especially since at the start of the season she was still portrayed as a heroine. But to its credit, Sons of Anarchy has been expanding the sprawl of Gemma’s guilt, and has it now radiating in unexpected corners — like with Abel. It’s going to make that final reveal, and the witnesses behind it (so not just Juice’s word, which Gemma could refute, but a pattern of anxiety and erratic behavior she’s now established with several characters, including Nero) that much more intense. But for now, this is Bobby’s moment. His torture and possible death (I’m holding out, here) should prove to Jax that doing things Clay’s way always has dire consequences.
Episode Rating: A-
— I wrote about all of the stuff I thought worked really well, and ignored the side-story with Greensleeves. It felt extraneous, and more than anything seemed like an excuse for SAMCRO to razz the Jewish people a little, one ethnic group they’ve mostly stayed away from.
— Some beautiful shots in this episode. Some might point to the action shots, but I preferred the quieter frames, like Jax waiting for Bobby by JT’s memorial, as well as the color splash of Nero’s car parked in front of Teller Morrow.
— “Greensleeves” also had a nice balance of humor, allowing it to diffuse some of the early drama (like Quinn puking when he opened up the body bag, and Happy and Rat saying how they’re all afraid of Gemma, etc).
— “This vengeance is personal, and all of you have allowed me to bring it here” – Jax.
— I’m incredibly surprised the club decided to use Juice in a way that could let him back into the club. After all that’s happened with his betrayals?
— August Marks is not going to go quietly.
— Marks’ head of security, Moses, was played by Six Feet Under‘s Michael St. Patrick (a.k.a. Keith Charles!)
— “I’m not really the kind of girl who you take the opera before I swallow your cock” – Winsome, keeping it real.
— I’m glad Chibs called Jax out on his sloppy suicide work. It was cool as hell, but not his smartest move.
— “You promise? Sorry, I’ve heard that a few times.” – Nero, finally waking up.
— ABEL THOUGH. Will he tell Wendy? Or save it for Jax? I’m glad they’re finally giving him a part to play, especially since the show has always been reflexive about repeating history. Clay killed JT, so Jax killed Clay. Gemma killed Tara, so Abel will have his revenge? (Of course, Gemma was involved in the conspiracy against JT, too, so).
— I love the Redwoody production clips we get, and that “Cocks and Bagels” related to the Greensleeves story.
— “I got serious love for you” – Nero.
— Yes, that was Katey Sagal singing Greensleeves at the end. (Click here to listen.)