It’s been an emotional season for Sons of Anarchy, but the feelings in “Darthy” were some of the deepest and most difficult yet. Though the season has put us through some horrendous deaths and near-deaths, to see the club and its members at such a crossroads, breaking apart more and more after each incident rather than rallying together, has been unsettling. This has been especially true as members are picked off one by one, and the morally grey lines become increasingly blurry for every character, even those who have traditionally been on the side of right (at least, as right as any SAMCRO member can be). Hit the jump for why Opie was right: the gavel does corrupt.
It’s difficult to not allow Jax, Bobby and friggin’ Clay’s tears cloud the fact that there was a lot of weirdness in “Darthy.” Bobby’s “betrayal” of Jax to save Clay’s life felt like the last few episode of a competition reality show when, despite all reason, the “producer’s pick” is allowed to stay to keep causing drama. But it does make some sense for Bobby to have exercised his diplomatic status with both Jax and Clay, both of whom he loves despite all that’s happened (particularly on Clay’s part). Sons of Anarchy doesn’t always give enough time to pausing and really deeply considering emotions, but I thought it did an ok job of grounding the severity of both the patch strip and the Mayhem vote with emotion. You have a table of men who are being asked to cut a member out of the club, his life’s love and work, because he did too much against the membership. Fair. But then to vote to say that you would kill him? A friend, mentor and de facto brother?
I was surprised Bobby’s was the only no vote, even though Tig and Juice were justifiably torn, though ultimately agreed with Jax from fear or because of Jax’s leverage, if nothing else. Tig is a particularly interesting case, because he’s always supported Jax and stood by him, having his own personal beef with Clay. Yet Jax seems ready to sell him out to Pope (which I can’t exactly believe would happen. I think Jax has a plan, and that plan could really fuck things up for the MC for good by starting another war for next season). He also hasn’t been easy for Clay to convince and manipulate back to Clay’s side, and that’s a good thing. After all, it was Clay whose lies lead to the death of Veronica Pope and then Dawn Trager. Not to mention his violence against Gemma … it’s just not something one can get over easily.
But damn Ron Perlman and his ability to draw you back in. His tears after getting his cut taken from him were sincere, and seeing him there without that vest on made him look old and much slighter than normal. Getting his ink blacked in was an extremely difficult moment as well, and even though there’s no going back and Clay’s lifeblood has been taken from him, it’s still not enough for Jax.
Here’s where things start to get a little wacky. This business with the IRA and Galindo and the Chinese and Hamas and … no. Just. No. In fact, I’m not even going to go there. The bottom line is, SAMCRO can never seem to extricate themselves fully from the business, try as Jax might. Clay’s side deal with Galen also seems fishy. How could he alone orchestrate an operation of that size without the MC and even other MCs to back him up? Clay is just going to drive up and down the highway with exceptionally large weapons in his trunk?
Most SOA fans agree that one of the weakest seasons of the show was Season Three, with the Belfast story line. Look, I love Ireland, but this is a story about a California MC, and bringing international interests in complicates things beyond a scope that is necessary. Bringing back some of those Irish elements, with Clay wanting to take off there with Gemma for awhile, Wendy learning about Abel’s kidnapping and threats that it could happen again surfacing doesn’t portend well for upcoming seasons.
Lest we forget, we’re right at the end now of Season Five when things should be wrapping up. In some ways they have, but it’s clear now that Clay is not going to be killed, at least not for awhile, nor is the club going to get away from the guns or drugs. Meanwhile, with almost no time left in the season, a new person (villain? Yet he’s the one with the slain sister) Lee Torrent (Donal Logue, who apparently briefly and confusingly last week) has been introduced in a story line that I guarantee almost no one cares about. I seriously cannot imagine there is a single person out there who says “yes! I would love to learn more about RICO and see Otto suffer more!” Likely this will all have some kind of direct impact on Tara and her (possible) jail time. But would Sons of Anarchy really go there?
There were moments in “Darthy” that felt great — Jax and Bobby hashing out their stuff, Clay breaking down alone in the office — because they recalled the true crux of the show, the brotherly love of the MC. The rest of it fills time, but it doesn’t give that same gut reaction. Both SAMCRO and Sons of Anarchy feel in limbo right now, and the finale is going to have to do a lot to make it feel like this season, which was set up so beautifully by last year’s finale, wasn’t just about biding time.
Episode Rating: B+
— I know that I should be moved by Jax’s journalling, but there’s just something about it I cannot take seriously.
— Speaking of serious, those weapons that Lin is trading in are ridiculous.
— Does anyone else have the uncomfortable feeling that Clay could be Jax’s biological father? Remember that picture in the second episode of this season when everyone is looking at the camera except Clay who is looking at pregnant Gemma? Sutter is rarely subtle, so …
— Tara looked wholly unconvinced when Jax told her that he was going to give her “a beautiful life.” In a prison cell!
— Poor Wendy, I really did feel sorry for her in this episode. She gets to see her kid, then gets kidnapped, then gets drugged up and blackmailed for thinking all of this is pretty shitty.
— Has Juice always been this soft?
— Ugh, so since Galindo crashed the Irish meet, all of this shit is going to blowback on Jax and the club? Great.
— Oh hey Dave Navarro. Also, I feel bad for Nero but like him. Out of all of Jax’s current mentors, he is the best for him. But are we really convinced about Gemma and Nero? I think she really does have some feelings for Clay again.
— “Revenge is a visceral desire. The itch must be scratched. It distracts strong men” – Pope, paraphrased (my pen ran out of ink).
— “I’m trying to stop you from becoming the guy you wanted to kill” – Bobby to Jax