“Suits of Woe” delivered another dense and emotionally rich episode of Sons of Anarchy, and possibly one of the best the show has ever done. Like “Faith and Despondency,” it had a little bit of everything (character building, plot advancement, car chases, prison humor). But “Suits of Woe” was the first step in a reckoning that is going to not only define these last two episodes of the series, but the series itself. Hit the jump and “put some pants on. We need to talk.”
Abel’s bombshell that closed “Faith and Despondency” was both a first and final step. It was the last piece of the puzzle regarding the build-up to the revelation, but it was Jax’s introduction to the horror. “Suits of Woe” addressed Jax’s feelings about everything perfectly, and for as much criticism as Charlie Hunnam has weathered over the years regarding his wavering accent and growling performance, he was absolutely incredible in this hour.
All season, Jax has been in Punisher mode, ready (and very willing) to destroy anyone and everyone who was possibly connected to Tara’s murder. But as we have logged all season, the lie about the Chinese, and Jax’s retribution, caused a cascade of unnecessary deaths, including the massacre at Diosa, Jerry and his son, and of course, Bobby. That last one weighs heavily on Jax, especially since Bobby was one of the first to pledge his support to Jax to begin with, but also cautioned him as things began to spiral out of control. The truths Jax is forced to face in “Suits of Woe” are brutal: his mother killed his wife, and that stacked up a body count that included, essentially, another family member in Bobby.
Those revelations caused Jax to go from narrow-eyed, killer precision to wide-eyed hurt and sadness. Him pleading with Juice for the truth, and breaking down in front of him, as well as Nero, was heartbreaking. And yet, Gemma’s ultimate betrayal still can’t fully overshadow the impact of support and love she’s given to Jax his whole life, as he admits to Nero: “I still love her. She’s still my mom.” It’s complicated.
SAMCRO will all be looking to Jax about what next step to take; it is his mom, and it’s his call. Nero cautions him not to kill her, because it would wound Jax forever, beyond repair. But is it reasonable for Gemma to go free? To potentially continue to have a relationship with the club and with her grandchildren? Or has she gone to Oregon to hide out forever? Jax is Gemma’s life — it seems impossible for her to consider living without him, which is exactly why she murdered Tara.
These incredibly intense scenes (with their surprising honesty — no tricks, just truth from everyone) weren’t even allowed to wholly define the episode, though. There’s still the issue with Indian Hills, and Jax’s unprovoked murder of Jerry. Jax plans to sit down with the other club presidents and come clean to make things right, but Chibs and the others seem to think this is a bad idea. Sons of Anarchy, which won’t let anyone escape this season, also pinned the rat as Barosky, who the club now also plans to hunt down and kill.
There’s also the question of Marks, who will (per Alvarez) be posting his bail soon. But with Lin dead (something Jax might have called off, had he been able to talk to Juice before it happened), Jax is readily positioned to create a strong and lasting alliance between SAMCRO, the Mayans, the Niners, and possibly even what’s left of the Chinese. With that structure in place, Marks will have no choice but to back down. It also means that the Irish will be back in the picture (which never seems to end well).
At its heart, Sons of Anarchy has always been a show about family. Its early seasons were built around the cover-up of Clay and Gemma colluding to kill J.T. (although Jerry suggested he might have offed himself), and Jax struggling to find his place within the club. Later, as Jax started his own family with Tara, the struggle turned to not just the direction of the club, but whether or not Jax and his family should even be a part of it. Gemma made that deliberation for Jax by killing Tara, which has made the show, in its final season, about the complete destruction of the Teller family. Through it all, though, SAMCRO remains as the real family, the chosen family. There’s something powerful in that that will be playing out over these final episodes.
Sons of Anarchy has two episodes left to deal with Gemma, and to leave its legacy. There’s been some talk of a Mayhem vote against Jax regarding the Jerry killing, but would it really come to that? Will Gemma and Jax both survive this season, or both exit it? (Or some other combination). Despite a few shaky seasons, Sons of Anarchy has really positioned itself in this final run as a show that can’t be missed. In its last two episodes, we’ll also see if it can make itself a show that won’t be forgotten.
Episode Rating: A
Musings and Miscellanea:
— Sons of Anarchy is on hiatus next week because of the holidays, and will return December 2nd.
— Sometimes Unser annoys the absolute shit out of me, and this was one of those times. I thought he had himself together regarding Gemma’s questionable behavior, especially after Jax confronted him the first time, but instead, he goes and tells Gemma every move Jax is making, and everything he knows. Your big mouth, Wayne, is what got Tara killed in the first place. Shut up, please.
— Unser and Chucky sitting at the table, traumatized that Gemma might not be coming back … those two, I just don’t know.
— Chucky on a shy-blue scooter and a glittering red helmet, and him telling Gemma she’s his best friend — this show!
— Another amazing thing about this episode is that it actually showed Jax working on a bike for a second.
— It was nice to have a few moments of comic relief, like Jax’s getaway to experimental jazz, as well as Tig and Chibs trying to figure out the SAMCRO bookkeeping, which Bobby had always handled. “We’re going to have to patch in another Jew.”
— “I’m a rat. What’s makes you think I wouldn’t be a liar, too?” – Juice. As soon as Juice said to himself “this will all be over soon,” I knew it wouldn’t be. There was never a chance he would get back with the club.
— “Trust me, all I am in here in someone’s asshole” – Juice.
— Lin really believed Juice that he would be ok once he gave him the info? What a fool.
— Jax hearing the truth from Juice though almost killed me.
— I’m glad they brought up the fact that the way Gemma murdered Tara was so brutal that it seemed gangland in nature.
— “Gemma knows every truth behind every lie inside every secret. She’s the gatekeeper” – Juice.
— Lyla is a notary!
— Unser pretending to be done with the club … as if!
— Nero hearing the truth about Gemma while she stood there was another really powerful scene.
— “I hope you know I love you all very much” – Jax.