SONS OF ANARCHY Recap: “You Are My Sunshine”

     December 3, 2013


In many ways, “You Are My Sunshine” felt like a repeat episode for Sons of Anarchy.  A few weeks ago I mentioned how the show seems to be stuck in a pattern of one step forward and two steps back.  All of the double and triple crossing that had Jax pitting the Irish against the Chinese, leading to — apparently — some kind of race war (or so Nero was warned by the Mayans) felt like an unnecessary coda to last episode’s show-stopping violence.  The scene Jax set up with Galen and Clay should have been the end.  Adding on to that only weakens its impact.  And then there was Juice … Hit the jump for more.

sons-of-anarchy-you-are-my-sunshineLet’s start with the good: “You Are My Sunshine” embraced, in a few places, some of the show’s early trademark gallows humor that has been sorely lacking for several seasons.  This season has been good about reclaiming that, and moments like Bobby saying you need two hands to help him pee, Tig’s necrophilia being brought back up, Happy saying “I love you guys” before putting a few extra bullets into Lin, and Gemma’s nasty diatribe about “Uncle Cancer” and “half-wit crow eaters smelling of cum and Tig’s aftershave” epitomize it.

But the rest of “You Are My Sunshine” felt tired.  Nero having to be put in position of choosing SAMCRO or his racial brethren was almost an interesting one, but Nero won’t disconnect himself from Gemma, which means he’s going to stick with Jax.  Him finding out about Jax’s betrayal about the death of Matthew’s (the school shooter) mother should also have been huge, but he ends up comforting Jax about Tara, like he’s given up on trying to extricate himself from this club that is clearly a vortex.

The vortex has once again pulled Juice in, and it couldn’t be less interesting to see him go through this suicidal self-doubt again just like he did about the race issue a few seasons back.  This time at least it makes more sense, kinda.  Juice is a gentler soul than the others (and hasn’t used his computer hacking skills in years.  Apparently “assassin” is the only gig left open with SAMCRO these days).  Him killing the mother was something Jax put on him as a test in a way, and he failed.  This, coupled with the loss of Clay (who Juice had grown so close to before ultimately voting for his death) clearly sent him over the edge.  But one of the reasons Juice had been a favored character for so many was because he was funny, punchy, sweet and different.  A depressed, suicidal Juice is not something we want or need to see again.  It’s too redundant.

The same has been true for everything Tara has done this season.  Jax’s boys have been kidnapped or endangered or generally taken from him before.  Tara waffling on her plan has been a theme all season.  Final shots of Tara with her eyes wide open as her sons sleep could be given their own montage at this point.  Her options are limited between the rock of the club and the hard place of the DA’s office, but choosing to flee from both seems the worst-considered of all.  Her confused and meandering slate of options this season will hopefully come to a close in next week’s finale, but no option for her seems satisfying at this point.

sons-of-anarchy-season-6-episode-12The bottom line is that the extra-long episodes this season have drawn out a story that didn’t need it, and is actually suffering because of it.  Season Six has had some good things going for it, particularly Bobby’s reunification with Jax, the end of the Irish Question, the shedding of that Clay-shaped albatross, and of course the general humor.  But the painful Tara/Wendy/Gemma plot and the advent of the Chinese, especially at the end, didn’t fit so well.  There’s also the shadow of the school shooting, which lives on in Nero finding out about the mother’s death by Juice’s hand, but ultimately, none of it really matters since SAMCRO just handed over the same gun trade to Marks.  The world turns.

Sons of Anarchy loses ground when it gets too wrapped up in its own import.  The show should, at the end of the day, be entertaining.  That doesn’t mean it has to be sunny – SOA is rarely that — but it means it needs to captivate us and interest us with new situations and further explorations of existing characters.  We haven’t even met the new members at the table, does anyone know their names?  When the season comes to a close next week, it feels like the show will end where it always does: like situations have been set up for things to get better next year.  Six seasons in, that’s a lesson we’re not learning.

Episode Rating: C-

Musings and Miscellanea:

sons-of-anarchy-season-6-poster– So has Teller Morrow been rebuilt since the blast?  I never know what the timeline is for the show.  Gemma mentioning that Chucky was going to let a customer barter suggests they reopened.  Who is even around to work on the cars?  When is the last time anyone in SAMCRO did?

– I don’t like the female on female violence in the show, but Tara smacking the shit out of Wendy after she called out she was Abel’s real mom was justified.

– Funny moment that Connor mentioned the BBC picked up on the Galen story.

– ”You’re just drunk lambs at a wolf party” – Jax to Connor.  Worst analogy ever?

– Absolutely loved Tig’s necrophilia being mentioned again after so long.  Also, him being faux-annoyed at getting blood in his hair.  “Not the hair, man.  Not the hair.”

– “Go back to dick, girls are shit.” — Gemma’s homespun wisdom.

– Good move by Tara figuring she could intimidate “Uncle Cancer” and the junkie whore to get her boys.

– Happy seemed pretty pissed at the Chinese, even though before he seemed to be having fun watching cartoons with them.

– Before Juice had a panic attack and took 6 pills, he was lookin’ correct!  The “son shine” tattoos though, given the episode title … I can’t anymore with this show and the “symbolism.”

– It would be preferable to have an entire hour devoted to Tig, Bobby and the others sitting around getting drunk and high and talking about electrodes on their balls to most of what happened in this episode.

  • Rjd12345

    Agree 100% on Juice. Sutter has not done the character or actor any justice. This episode was just repeat after repeat: Juice sad, Jax sad, the Sons “surprisingly” turns a meet into a blood bath, Jax’s kids going missing,… I hope next episode is better, but the promo does not look promising.

  • Shawn

    Wow, you’re whole article is bass ackwards. Seems to me that your on the wrong characters sides. The shop has been rebuilt as shown in previous episodes, Tara running, shows her love for the other club members. Happy is just the kinda guy that would have fun getting free Chinese food but justifiably pissed at being held captive for longer.. I don’t even know where to end without writing an article longer than what I just read. Only thing that you were right on was the humor. *Palm to face!

    • Leo Spaceman

      I agree. I read these reviews more for the comments than anything but I have always disagreed with her. All she does is complain that the show isn’t what she wants it to be. My problem though lies in the fact that she doesn’t really know the show that well and normally has at least one mistake in her review. A reviewer should know the series inside and out, not just the broad strokes at least not with Sutter’s show where important things are planned and intricately established and setup with great care.

      The Sons receive their paycheck officially from being mechanics and I believe it is the pilot episode where Jax says something to the effect of “Hey, I have a wrench in my hand 3 hours a week”. There are brief glimpses (usually in the montages) of the Sons working in the shop but it has been well established that the garage is a legit garage that employs actual mechanics and the Sons are mostly only employees on paper. Mechanics can occasionally be seen working in the background and occasionally they are mentioned. I believe a mechanic was one of the people that the Nomads attacked in season 5 when Clay was trying to stir s**t up. So to go and complain about the episodes being too long and drawn out is hypocritical when she is also worrying about the inconsequential things like seeing the Sons work on cars.

      • jack

        I seriously couldnt have said it better myself. This reviewer just keeps finding stupid things to complain about, and it sounds so one sided. The show is amazing…maybe im bias but i know im not the only one thay agrees!!

  • NiceGuy;)

    Not trying to be an asshole, but that has got to be one of the most poorly written, ill-informed reviews I’ve ever seen. Unsurprisingly, authored by a woman. Have you ever even watched another episode of this show? Do you even know the channel?

    Fuck it, I’m an asshole.

    • Leo Spaceman

      Well you certainly don’t seem like a NiceGuy ;)

      Don’t be sexist. This reviewer isn’t very good but its not because of her lack of penis.

  • K

    Whoa, guys, please take this down a notch – I am a woman who LOVES Sons of Anarchy and I know the show inside and out and can quote from every episode so don’t say that a review you do not agree with MUST have been written by a woman. For the record, I do not agree with this review either and feel the c- grade is WAY too harsh – but criticizing the reviewer on sexist grounds really lessens your argument – give real examples of what you disagree with and engage in a real discussion if you want but playing the “chicks don’t get it” card is really sad….

    • BiZzAr

      You shouldnt be watching tv either. Laundry needs folded, and the kitchen needs mopped.

      • Artemis

        which is something men do as well, some times even better

      • vdbss


  • 2aSupport

    Always amazes me how these “expert recappers” seem to miss 90% of what is actually on the show. Seriously, the clubhouse was destroyed…the garage wasn’t. Hence, they re-opened for business a couple weeks ago. How did this “writer” miss that? Do they even watch the show?

    • Leo Spaceman

      Experts are paid to be Experts. They write what ever they have to write to get a paycheck. Fans write in the comments because they are passionate about what they are watching. If you are a big enough fan to take the time to comment on the show you probably know the show inside and out. An “Expert” just knows enough to be able to get a paycheck.

      • 2aSupport


  • Steven Northrup

    If you don’t like the show don’t watch it. You also missed several episodes if you didn’t see the shop rebuilt. They even had a grand reopening. They killed off the Chinese to build up the Mark’s vs Hispanic’s feud for next season. The Chinese also had to die to show Conner that they have his back since they are already making him give up his racism.

  • Artemis

    Agree 100% on the substance althought some details (for example openning and work in the garage) are wrong.
    1) Repetition of the same pattern of killings and betray of the Club to all other mobs who seem like fools. I guess they all trust the Club very much until they end up so easily killed.
    2) Extreme stupidity in Tara’s writing and plot through the hole season.
    (Trusting the ex junkie and “Jemma’s pet” (Wane)….please…)
    It would be better to have her killed in the next episode, which is my guess.

    Excuse my errors. I do not live in English spoken country, nor is English my native language. The show has fans all over the world. For me not any more since i don’ t enjoy that much this season.

  • vdbss

    the line was “…drunk LIONS at a wolf party” not ‘lambs’. But it was said in a pretty deep accent. Basically the expression means ‘in the wrong place, in the wrong state’ or something along those lines.

  • Kaptain

    I think this is the first episode in a long time where the phrase “Jesus Christ” is not over used by everyone. Started out with Jax saying it here and there, then everyone started saying it. So over used was getting annoying. Anyone else notice this

  • Matt

    If you want a comedy show, watch The Big Bang Theory. I believe Nero didn’t go off on Jax for 2 reasons. 1. Because Gemma was present 2. Jax’s present situation. He would be stupid to go with Alvarez. Jax has August and he is very connected. If Tara did (she probably won’t) go into WitSec, Jax would find her so fast because of August’s connections. Anyways, Juice said to Jax last episode he wants to feel like he is doing something right. Not right or wrong kind of right. Well then wtf is he so beat up about killing Darvany then if he isn’t concerned about what is right or wrong?

  • Leo Spaceman

    Don’t attack the reviewer on sexist horses**t. Criticize her based on her reviews but be able to back up what you are saying. The kind of hate you bring isn’t called for.