There is a fatalism and melancholy that runs through out “You Are My Sunshine”, it really drags an already bloated 90 minutes down even more. This is a show filled with people so entrenched in their ways that they don’t even seem able to think of life beyond the trench. All the best laid plans of Jax Teller have come to fruition: Clay is dead, the IRA are dealing with Marx, Happy is returned. Everything appears to be turning up Jax and the Sons but Charlie Hunnams expression shows no signs of positivity.
After eliminating the Chinese threat with the help of Mrax and the 09er’s, the purple clad street gang leader lets Jax know he’ll be seeing him around. Jax dryly replies “yeah right.” The gang leader just walks away and chuckles knowingly that something will end up bringing Jax to the table again.
There is no good reason why any of the Sons or other inhabitants of Charming have hope for a better tomorrow? Episode scribes, Kem Nunn & Mike Daniels & Kurt Sutter, constantly reinforce the cycle of violence that has plagued this show, the kind of violence the Sons claim to have finally divested themselves of. After taking care of Clay and Galen, there was still the matter of the Chinese and Mr. Lin (or Mr. Wu if you want make the Deadwood connection). Lin wanted vengeance on the Irish for nearly killing him and nephew and killing one of his men. So what do the Sons do? Team up with the 09ers and Marx to massacre the Chinese as part of a gambit to drive the Irish into Marx’ open arms and earthquake preparedness kits. So much of “You Are My Sunshine” revolves around the sale and distribution of guns, so much so it wouldn’t be hard to believe the Sons were still in the game. Sure they aren’t being the mules anymore, instead they are the ones taken potshots at the mules from the side.
When Nero meets with Alvarez (about time they showed up), the Mayan leader goes on about how Oakland was a delicate balance between white, black, yellow, and brown. All these factions are vying for limited territory and getting their guns from the Sons. Distribution has turned the Sons into defacto referee and peacekeepers of all stupid beefs. In reality this has turned the Sons into the main European powers pre-World War 1, the Sons have forgotten that Oakland is nothing but a powder keg ready to go off at the drop of some 17 inline gang leader. Jax’ decision to start dropping bodies without thinking about the broader consequences makes someone like Alvarez who knows the situation better than most, very worried. Alvarez warns the weary OG, that pretty soon it’ll be Brown and Yellow vs. Black and White for Oakland. If only Nero hadn’t picked Gemma up at the bar, he could’ve kept to pimping in peace. Now look at the mess he’s got himself into.
This endless cycle of violence has made it so that there is no payment for terrible action. Juice seems to be the only one cognizant of the debt going unpaid. The would be snitch has certainly tried to pay his debt multiple times: killing himself, setting Clay up, getting beaten up by Chibs, all actions meant to wipe a debt clean that just never seem to make it all square. His continued existence is something he wants to end. Now all of this has been sort of bubbling under the surface all season, it just hasn’t really been brought back up until now. Which makes Juice’s near over dose a bit sudden, he didn’t look that bad at the start of things (than again do they ever look that bad?).
In his stopper, Juice lets it slip that Jax ordered the mother of the school shooter to be killed. That’s something that’ll surely drive a wedge between Jax and Nero. That face Jimmy Smitts was making at the end of tonight’s episode was all types of angry. If there is someone operating in Sons of Anarchy who understands that debts need to be paid, it’s Nero Padia.
This only leaves Dr. Tara Knowels, striving for the third path out of this kobayashi maru she finds herself in. On one side there is DA Patterson and jail if she doesn’t give them the bullet. On the other side are Jax and the Club who will kill her and take her boys back. So what does she chose? Neither of them, and has run off into a motel with the boys, because clearly Tara knows how to hide from the Feds and biker gangs. Her taking back her sons should have been a much stronger moment but it really fell flat for me.
For as dour this episode was, there is plenty of excellent facial work going on. “You Are My Sunshine” is filled with plenty of actors just standing around and reacting in sometimes humors but mostly appropriate ways to the terrible stuff happening in front of them. Lots of nice little quips as well. Now, if only someone could explain to me what Tig was going about when he had some blood in his hair and he stared into the van all creepy like.