Sons of Anarchy had a lot to live up to after last week’s return to form, but “Sweet and Vaded” was another great entry in what is proving to be the show’s best run of episodes in ages. There were doubts (and still are a few) with the Lee Toric saga and the school shooting, but while the ancillary stories are still a weak point, for SAMCRO, things couldn’t be better. After all, we’re back to car chases, shoot outs, and Tig’s confusing feelings towards transexuals — what more do you want from this show? Hit the jump for why “bombs will do that.”
Mid-season can be a difficult place for television shows. Fans of SOA who also happen to be fans of Boardwalk Empire will note that this week for Boardwalk was a textbook case of a purely functional building block episode. The show gave itself up entirely to plot points so that it could advance its seasonal arc. Yeah, ok. Yawn.
SOA has done a lot of this in the past, with an insane amount of twists and turns between the club and those trying to bring them down, but what’s nice about an episode like “Sweet and Vaded” is that it was functional (like the Tara craziness), but it also a lot of fun. The series has time to pause and have some more shootouts and car chases, because why not? Last week’s “Salvage” along with “Sweet and Vaded” felt so much like Seasons One and Two, and characters (like Jacob Hale and Margaret Murphy) being referenced and included serve to flesh that feeling out even more.
Essentially, the club had a break: things are quiet with the Irish for now, and Jax has learned an important lesson. So SAMCRO was at liberty to relocate to an ice cream shoppe, apparently, patch in new members (another great “fuck yeah, SAMCRO!” moment). The table scene provided a nice exposition of where the club’s finances are, and why they can’t really move on much. It’s nice to take a break anyway, and in doing so, help out a transexual friend maybe.
Venus Van Damme’s character has been little more than a punchline so far, but this week she provided an old-school plot line for us. The club needed to rescue her nephew/son from her crazy incestuous child pornographer mother (because of course. Sons of Anarchy doesn’t believe in anything that isn’t twisted all to hell). So be it! The ensuing chase and Jax putting the bullet in Alice’s head was fun and satisfying. Does it have future implications for the club? Does it matter?
What will be another bomb to the club though is still brewing. Tara has been hard at work this season to do everything she can to out-scheme Gemma and provide air-tight protection for her boys against her. Exactly how all of this, including her secret divorce from Jax, all plays out is uncertain. But so far we’ve seen her willing to go to extreme lengths to make it happen (faking a pregnancy/miscarriage by smashing a big of her own blood (?), smashing herself in the first place, manipulating Jax into signing papers against Gemma, etc). Tara is extremely smart and resourceful, and hasn’t been given a lot to do in the last few years. If this is her Great Escape, I truly believe she can and will do it.
The point is, SAMCRO never really has a break from the violence and crazy, and neither does Sons. Still, some light amid the darkness is night, and the last two weeks have really brought that home where the Reaper is.
Episode Rating: A-
— Would you let your kid take free candy from Chucky and an MC in Scoops and Sweets?
— D’aww, Rat Boy! Congrats! Even though your character was completely overlooked until the Irish killed Phil. Glad to see the table fatten up, and I wonder if we’ll get to know these new patches more this year (right now I wouldn’t know them from Adam).
— Margaret Murphy is basically Tara’s lapdog now. Although as we learned a long time ago, since she used to be a biker babe herself, she completely gets it.
— How much is Wendy in on Tara’s scheme? Did she know that last part was all a ploy to frame Gemma?
— I loved Eli’s face when he saw Gemma in lockup. So not surprised.
— Speaking of great face, all of Tig’s looks in this episode re: Venus were hilarious.
— I want to see a behind-the-scenes look on how they do Walton Goggins‘ makeup for Venus. Especially those knockers!
— Nero is so annoyed with that anal sex happening on his bottom bunk, as I suppose one might be.
— Incest is really in this year on TV, isn’t it? I swear every show I watch has at least once instance of it now…