A major complaint about Sons of Anarchy this season has been the fact that we were promised change, and it didn’t come (at least, in any real terms). Last week’s episode was particularly frustrating, because it illustrated more than most the concept of the show gaining ground only to lose it two-fold. But “Aon Rud Persanta” (meaning “nothing personal”) was, two episodes before this season’s finale, a game changer that — like many near-penultimate episodes for Sons of Anarchy — sets up an interesting season to come. For the season that is here though, hit the jump.
Sons of Anarchy saves its most emotional moments for the thing in trades in the most regularly — death. The show is filled with meaningless deaths, but we’re asked to specifically emote towards others. Granted, the deaths of SAMCRO members in the past have all been heartbreaking (including the near-misses, like Juice’s suicidal folly), but the situation with Clay is very different.
I mentioned last week, without any knowledge of what was to come, that if Clay died this season he would have an even more drawn-out death march than the beleaguered Otto. When Bobby was shot and lying in peril, I couldn’t help but think what an injustice it was that Bobby potentially was dying while Clay was a free man about to be sent off to Ireland. But by a unanimous vote, Clay’s time had come, dying in the way he lived — with the gun, and with the Irish.
The final break from guns for SAMCRO had to come down to eliminating Galen and Clay in such a way that would not provoke retaliation. But Clay’s death also meant a freedom for Gemma, as well as retribution for his sins against the club and Tara, not to mention a kind of closure to the school shooting that started the season. The guns that fueled that are still going to be on the street, just going through August Marks instead of SAMCRO. It’s not a comfort, but it’s satisfying enough regarding SAMCRO’s relation with them.
Clay’s real death came when he was removed from the table and his patch blacked out, though. He’s been little more than a shadow this season, making his death have less of an impact than it might have had at the end of last year. At the same time, having it occur now has helped potentially patch the Tara storyline. If she turns her back on Patterson and reunites with Jax, she can do so in the full faith that Clay, and his legacy, are gone from SAMCRO. Clay was, after all, one of the biggest reasons Tara got as messed up as she did.
I’ve had a lot of problems with the Tara storyline this year, but one thing I think “Aon Rud Persanta” did well with it was show just how bizarre SAMCRO really is. People have shifting alliances and occasionally betray each other (think of Juice, even Tig and Jax). In the end though, they get pulled back together by something bigger. For all that Tara has wanted to get away from the club, her presence in this hour was almost like nothing happened. She sewed up Bobby and comforted Gemma, and even had the opportunity to give Jax’s hand a little squeeze.
If all of her machinations these year are ultimately for naught, then I still believe them to largely have been a waste of time though. Of course, how things pan out in the last two episodes this year will tell us everything we need to know on that front, and I hesitate to speculate too negatively. Overall, this has been a decent season. “Aon Rud Persanta” has set things in a good direction, taking the best of what the show has had on display this year and leveraging it. But the emotions of the death are not what made this episode good or important — it’s more what getting rid of Clay means now for both SAMCRO and the show itself. It’s been a long time coming. The King is dead, long live the King.
Episode Rating: A-
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Programming Note: SOA will be on a break next week, but will return December 3rd.
— “So we pretend nothing happened, and I’m mob doctor again?” – Tara. Yep!
— What do you think Tara will do? I think law enforcement will lose out, because it always does with this show.
— Clay’s last look to Gemma was genuinely sad.
— Did we really need to revisit Unser’s obsession with Gemma? Still, glad he called her out to some realities. “This isn’t 1967 anymore, sweetheart. It’s no longer romantic and free. It’s just dirty and sad. And it’s only going to get worse”
— Interesting that Jax apologized to Tara. I think they probably needed to talk some more stuff out though before she makes this life-altering decision.
— Jax has been a kingmaker for August Marks and Conor O’Shea, and now they will be working together. He pulls the strings!
— Clay: “Where the hell are the Irish?” Jax: “In Ireland.”
— Nice fade from the cold open into the opening credits.
— Nero has had about enough of SAMCRO, and can he be blamed?
— “No offense Mama, but I’ve seen what happens to your husbands. It ain’t pretty” – Nero.
— “40 Sheriffs, 12 Irish guard, plenty of guns. Only one way it can go down.” – Eli. Unless the guard and guns don’t show up!
— Thomas and Abel get jerked around a lot, don’t they?
— It’s going to be a long night for everyone in Charming.
— R.I.P. Clay. You will not really be missed.