Sons of Anarchy missed a great opportunity in “Huang Wu.” Instead of a talky episode devoted to more Irish BS and Tara’s unravelling, we could have spent an hour with Happy eating Chinese food and watching cartoons. Best kidnapping ever? Instead, of course, there was more of the former. The rules of SAMCRO don’t change much. One step forward with guns, two steps back with the Irish. One step forward for Tara, two steps back thanks to Gemma. There was an opportunity in “Huang Wu,” and in the final episodes this season, to show us some real change. For now though, the story remains a little too familiar. Hit the jump for why you are a stupid, weak, junkie whore!
After a dramatic few moments to end the last episode where Tara laid in wait for Jax with her gun, things played out rather peacefully in this hour. Jax, in a level-headed move, said he needed space to process her betrayal. As I said last week, even if Tara didn’t face any retribution for her actions somehow, she still wouldn’t win out. Her goal is to remove herself and her boys from SAMCRO, so even if Jax forgave her, her circumstance (and reasons for leaving) wouldn’t be alleviated.
Wendy told Tara that she needed to talk to Jax and Gemma about what led her to this point, which I also have mentioned in prior weeks. What makes Tara look especially unhinged is the fact that we don’t see her really explain anything, or see her thought process. Her few outbursts this week illuminated a little bit about where she is, but how did she get here so quickly? Yes, her wariness and dissatisfaction towards the club and Charming have been in play since the first season. And her reasons for wanting to get her boys out of there actually make complete sense. It’s also not new — where are the wives and children of the other members of SAMCRO? In other countries, in the wind, or dead. The dead wives (and ex-wives) club for SAMCRO should tell any Tara detractors everything they need to know about why she wants to leave, and yet, the show still makes us believe she’s crazy, because only Gemma prevails.
Of course, Tara has tried to be Gemma in a variety of ways — her shadow, her confidante, her rival, and her superior (in terms of placement in the club). Nothing has worked, because the odds have always been stacked against her. That realization came when she left Patterson’s office. No one can help her, so where does that leave her? Are the extended shots of the gun foreshadowing? Gemma gave her a harrowing option, but you can believe it to be true: “Thomas and Abel will never be raised by you. What you do now determines how we deliver that message. Mommy moved away, or Mommy passed away. Your call.” Are these the kinds of conversations you’d want to be having with your mother-in-law?
How things play out with Tara in the next few weeks will be crucial not only to this season, but to the show’s legacy. As much as Season Six has improved upon the last few, it’s had its issues, and the show continues to rely too heavily on plot points rather than character development. Still, there were a few scenes in “Huang Wu” that did allow us to see unusual pairs interact, like Unser and Nero, in a way that helps ground the absurdity. Gemma’s conversation with those two and Teller Morrow (or whatever’s left of it) was such a bizarre conversation in context, but it played out completely casually. Go see your estranged husband in jail about the Irish guns, check on the junkie, leave the crazy woman to roam. Go Team!
Plot-wise, getting the club out of guns is a must for the show to move forward, and the same is true for the Tara situation on the character side. Whether or not SOA is willing to take those steps though remains to be seen.
Episode Rating: C+
— So Gemma has taken Wendy home with her now?
— Tara should have seen the fact that Jax and Gemma’s intimidation would make her house of cards (Wendy, Margaret, Llewelyn) fall apart. For her to not have any kind of backup plan is still uncharacteristic.
— Jax stopping off at the school where the shooting took place made almost no sense, but I’m still glad the show is keeping that sequence alive and meaningful in its own way.
— “Guess I misjudged you. Didn’t know you had a line you wouldn’t cross.” – Tara.
— I abhor the violence against women on this show, especially women against women, but I did kind of like Tara’s beatdown of Colette. “That’s the wife.”
— “I don’t want our last push out of guns to end with a pile of dead cops” – Jax.
— If Clay dies this year, which I highly doubt, he will have the most dragged out death of any character other than Otto.
— Happy has been a star this season. His comments about the traffic were so funny, and then to have the Chinese pick him out as “the crazy looking one,” but then having so much fun with them … I love it!