Now here’s the stuff! After a shaky few weeks, Sons of Anarchy gives us a great, dense episode that answers old questions, brings up new ones, and even has its own complete in-episode dramas. Jax is at a breaking point with everything surrounding him, pressures from the club, his family, Pope, Eli, Frankie, Nero, the RICO case, the cartel … the list goes on and on. Still, Jax keeps his cool, maneuvering his pieces to battle Clay as club business, meaning that the club could vote to exile him and kill him. It ain’t easy bein’ a Son. For more on the episode and why if you don’t do what I say then you’d better get used to living in a brothel, hit the jump.
First of all, Abel will be fine. Thankfully. And Chibs didn’t get shot in the head. There would be a TV smashed on the sidewalk right now had that gone differently. Thankfully, I was able to watch on.
“Ablation” (which, according to Wikipedia: “Ablation is removal of material from the surface of an object by vaporization, chipping, or other erosive processes”) was a welcome relief from some of the wackness and violence of the last few weeks, starting with Juice’s admission of guilt to Clay, which was a fantastically layered moment. Not only did Juice come clean about his father being black (which seems like such a non-issue now, even more so than it did originally. But in the face of all that’s happened, even Clay seemed to care more about RICO than Juice being half black), Juice also spilled the beans on everything from RICO to the brick of coke to killing Miles to Eli controlling him. Clay, nonplussed, admitted to sending the Nomads to the trailer and killing them (but not about the break-ins — could Juice surmise that? Or was that Clay holding a few cards back?).
It was a startling admissions from both, what with Juice having kept the info hidden for so long, and both of them realizing the only person in the club who really had their back was in that room (I don’t necessarily think that’s true for Juice, but I think it’s what he believes). Clay’s mention of how all of the members at the table have something to hide, and most have quiet alliances with other members to keep those secrets in check is true, and could lend sincerity to his words. Still, I worry for Juice, particularly since Eli seems ready to sell him out at any moment to Jax. What would Jax’s reaction be at this point?
Speaking of that, Jax must have thought Eli was talking about him as the RICO Rat at first, only realizing at the end of the conversation that there is another leak. At the moment, that’s not on his priority list (which is long, and dreadful). As I mentioned above, Jax remains calm in the face of incredible stress, only showing little bursts of his inner turmoil, like axing the hands of Charles Tucker (when even Tig looks concerned about what you’re doing, you’re doing something really weird) and shooting the hired gun several times in the stomach so that he could either die slowly and painfully, or fall to his death. I guess Jax would have a lot of feelings after discovering his mother almost killed his children, and then lied about it. Still, it was a nice moment to see him able to relax with Tara, who he can confide in totally now. At least the drama with them is quiet for a change.
As for Gemma and her betrayal, Jax’s arrangement with her is interesting. She can either whore herself out to Clay for information, or face exile from Jax, Tara and the kids forever. It’s a terrible position to put someone in or to be in, but Gemma has literally made this bed for herself. I’m surprised, in a way, that Tara went along with this, but if there’s one person she could have more than Gemma it is indeed Clay. The mini-drama of Gemma’s lies and punishment were a great arc for the episode, even though the resolution might have come a little too soon. Am I the only one who wanted to see her stew a little more?
I thought that last year was really the season for the Fall of Clay, but it seems that the deal will be done by the end of this one for sure. There’s no way he could stay around with how everything has played out, and watching Jax marshall everyone in place to take him down will be satisfying to watch.
So “Ablation” is about erosion, huh? There’s plenty of it to go around, with alliances and relationships cracking and breaking at every turn. I was particularly sad to see Jax and Nero at odds now (Gemma, again. What a surprise. Although this time, she’s only partially responsible). Jax and Nero made a good team, and though Nero is completely right to want to distance himself from SAMCRO’s problems, Jax could really use a levelheaded partner like Nero moving forward. For the sake of their relationship now though, maybe it’s time for them to take a break.
A very, very good week for Sons of Anarchy. Here’s hoping the rest of the season keeps it up — there are plenty of great, emotionally dense places to go from here.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Lots of great quotes this week, starting with Chibs: “what are you going to tell Tara?” Jax: “That there’s a dead black guy in the trunk of my car.”
— “My bowels get very loose in situations like this ” – Chucky
— Ron Perlman and Jimmy Smits really do exude so much Alpha Male power in their scenes that being together in the hospital room like that was a big deal!
— “That greaseball is smarter than he looks” – Bobby (?) forgot to credit that one. Frankie sucks, but Frankie Diamonds is a great name.
— Poor Lyla.
— “Hmm, well, the Nomads were all white, racist and violent, so that pretty much fits all of the requirements!” – Eli on SAMCRO membership
— Juice: “You’re gonna get me killed!” Eli: “That concern left me when I watched my wife die.”