Before I get into survivor and counts and death tolls, let’s take a moment to relish in how much like the early seasons of Sons of Anarchy “Wolfsangel” felt like. The biggest criticism lobbied at the show in the last two, even three years is that it had lost its sense of scale and, more fatally, its humor. “Wolfsangel” restored some of that, and actually provided several decent twists. It also kept the drama local — old foes were dredged up, old scabs picked, and all of it was related very closely to the club, and how where SAMCRO is not headed where Jax wants it. Hit the jump for more.
First of all, I’m very happy Tig is alive. His weirdness is an integral part of the humor and irreverence of Sons of Anarchy, and to have lost him would have been a blow. At the same time, it would have worked within the context of the story. Mercifully, Kurt Sutter (who co-wrote this episode) threw us a bone. August played God in the story of Abraham and Isaac, asking Jax to sacrifice one of his own to prove loyalty, a measure which ultimately saved Tig’s life. Still, there’s suspicion and unrest between Tig and Jax on a number of levels and for a number of reasons.
Of course, August is not just about good will, and wants in on the Irish gun running as a trade-off. Jax doesn’t have a problem with this, but his defiance of Galen and the Irish let to a horrible outcome for poor Phil and his associate. Losing Phil is important because though he never had much to say, he represented the next chapter of SAMCRO, beings its newest member to have a seat at the table. Perhaps that’s why Rat suddenly became important in the neo-Nazi storyline. Jax is searching for replacements quickly, because the ones at the table keep dying off.
Jax is losing favor both at the table and with those around him, though. Nero considers getting out of business with him, after he catches even more blowback from Toric aimed at SAMCRO. Bobby is in the wind, and Chibs seriously questioned Jax, calling him, essentially, another Clay — someone who blindly justifies their unilateral actions “for the good of the club.” Tig is giving Jax the side-eye, Phil is dead, and the SoCal charter is voting down a personal request. Even Tara seems ready to cut ties. These seeds were planted at the end of the fourth season (that the club would undergo a schism), but only now are we really seeing the results. Jax may be de facto in charge, but it’s looking mighty precarious.
“Wolfsangel” revealed things about a number of schemes aside from the business dealings (and recourse) of SAMCRO. Tara is manipulating Wendy against Gemma to think that their dealings are about childcare when it looks more like divorce. Toric did he best to set Nero up (my bad on thinking it was Gemma’s SUV last week), a rouse which Eli saw through almost immediately. However, Toric’s machinations came to a close when he let Clay and Otto embrace. How did he not see that coming? Ridiculous. His story is very much over, but will Eli pick up the torch? More importantly, will that school massacre that opened the season still have relevance in another few episodes?
For now, Sons of Anarchy has done well to regain some of its original charm and humor, and has even set up some interesting things to come: where’s Tara going with her business with Wendy? What will happen now that Toric is dead? How will Jax deal with the Irish and not lose his club? And of course, is Unser immortal? Because nothing seems to ever do him in (not that I want him done in, he is just the most unexpected survivor of all things). Though SAMCRO seems headed for disaster, the show has regained some sense of self.
Episode Rating: B+
Musings and Miscellanea:
— R.I.P. Otto. The other immortal, so it seemed, on the show. What a way to go out, though.
— “Brother, nothing here works. I’m trying to change that.” – Jax
— Jax losing Chibs’ support is pretty huge. Who does he really have on his side now, Juice?
— The show bringing back Darby and reminding us of all of that neo-Nazi shit from earlier seasons was very good. Keeps things grounded.
— “There’s no dignity in what you do” – Eli to Nero.
— I liked Unser calling Gemma out for how she leaves the kids with him so much, and with SAMCRO, anyone could be at the garage looking for blood.
— “Your sister’s blood tasted as good as her pussy” – Otto.
— Tig: “Old man used to rape me.” Juice: “And now it all makes sense…”
— Rat: “I’ll blow his shit up!” Tig a.k.a. Alan Whiteman (hah that name): “He means brains. He’s a little excited right now.”