One of Sons of Anarchy‘s biggest successes this year (after a questionable start) is that it has called back to some of its earlier style, and some of its earliest villains. White Power, for instance, made a brief appearance this year, acting as a target range for the MC to take their rage out on. Now the Irish are back — not that they ever really left, but they’ve moved, once again, out of the shadows and into the forefront of the club and its future. They haven’t stolen any babies yet, but it got damn close. It seems the club needs to be visited by each of these ghosts before they can move forward (or shut down). Hit the jump for why “Micks don’t like any skin they can’t see through.”
Much of “The Mad King” was about moving pieces into place: Tara and Gemma continue to use Wendy as a pawn, with Unser nearby helping possibly both sides; Eli is staking out the club, but knows there’s a lot more to the story about Toric setting Nero up; Jax, Nero and Charlie look after their business interests; the Irish try to bring Clay in line while teaching Jax a lesson; Bobby (presumably) is collecting more Nomads.
Jax has undone much of Clay’s influence and legacy with the club in a very Clay-like way, but this final break towards legitimacy rests with the Irish. Like anyone who has tried to cut ties on the show — Juice, Tara, now SAMCRO — things never separate easily. But Jax made his biggest mistake by not bringing this particular club issue to the table. He believed the Irish Kings would do business with anyone of any race, so long as the money kept coming in. Chibs knew better, and once again questioned Jax’s trust. Ultimately though, it’s Clay who continues to hold the key: the Irish will do business with and through him, but Jax is dead to them. Clay offering this up to Gemma to give to Jax was a huge moment, shadowed by the final explosion.
SAMCRO has been dwindling in faith and in numbers over the last few seasons, and the last things they had to hold onto — the clubhouse and Teller Morrow itself — are now ashes. The club has been through having a trashed clubhouse before, but this time it feels more symbolic. As Jax himself said, the MC’s time may be up. To truly stop the bloodshed and violence, they may have to completely close their doors. The Irish gave them a head start.
But pride is a big part of Jax’s personality and more generally, the MC’s. They won’t roll over, and how Jax chooses to proceed from here, and who will follow him, will be interesting. SAMCRO has always eventually united over their need to fight back against enemies on the outside: Pope, White Power, the Irish, various federal agencies. But this time it doesn’t seem so clear cut. And if this splinters them, what next? Right now it’s a waiting game.
Episode Rating: B
— What exactly is Tara up to? And can Unser be trusted? (is he putting the wellbeing of the boys first, before his allegiance to Gemma?) What we do know for sure is that Wendy isn’t smart enough or emotionally stable enough to get mind fucked by both Gemma and Tara.
— The Irish almost killed Abel. Again.
— Interesting that Gemma didn’t know that Jax wanted out of guns, and didn’t seem pleased by it.
— The shootout and chase to apprehend Conor was fun.
— The guards making Gemma and Clay have a proper conjugal visit was disgusting. Gemma often seems to get put in sexual assault situations. It didn’t seem to change her relationship with Nero much though, which is good.
— “Make me three hours younger.” – Gemma
— The show even referenced Otto’s sacrifice for Chucky. Lots of “remember when” stuff, which is good.
— “Either one of you know a thick, black sheriff?” – Barosky
— I have a feeling that Eli will come to Tara’s rescue in her trial and get her off the hook, citing Toric’s own issues (and that his war with Otto started and ended there). But, it’s probably going to be in exchange for something big.