I found this episode of Sons of Anarchy very interesting, because although not many big events actually occurred, it kind of felt like an old school classic episode from season one or two. Ever since SAMCRO has become involved with drugging running, dealing big guns and the Irish, everything has been such high stakes drama, that there hasn't just been a lot of day to day activity around Charming. It was nice to see the guys together at the table, and Jax really running things, but not in a big over-the-top way. It made me realize how much I had missed that, and how out of the ordinary this season has felt so far. In fact, when sitting at the table, it felt a little strange to see some of the other members that have not really had a huge part of the show. There was a time when we knew the names of all of the members of the club, down to the prospects and I miss that. Like I said last week, I'm not sure if this is going to serves to set up the divide between Clay's boys and Jax's but I really would be happy to have some more integration of the club in general.
On the other hand, this episode really brought to light the juxtaposition between the two factions of the club that exist right now. While Jax is writing letters and makes it seem as if he is really wanting to get out of the extremely dangerous part of the club (which is also apparent in his dealings throughout most of the episode) Clay and his guys are pulling them deeper in to trouble than they ever could imagine. Now, not only are they invading homes, but they almost positively have killed the baby of the Sheriff, and possibly even his wife. This cannot turn out well, especially because for the first time the police will have physical evidence as to who is committing these crimes. I'm still trying to figure out what Clay's endgame is with these home invasions is, because it doesn't seem to have much purpose. Perhaps, as I said before, he might be trying to break up the club and undermine the momentary truce with Damon Pope and his crew, (as everyone is trying to pin the crimes on his guys) but beyond that, I just feel confused and in the dark. Whatever it is, it is not going to turn out well, and I fully expect Clay to somehow fuck up everything that Jax is attempting to establish for the club.
This then brings me to Jax's schemes and dealings with the people of Charming, and probably most notably, the blackmailing of the "big orca", as they like to call him. I actually liked this scene more than I expected to, but wow, did it drag on for a long time. It gave the show some much needed comic relief, as the last few episodes have been decidedly dark dealing with Opie's death. However, I probably could have cut a good 5 – 10 minutes off of the entire scene. I know it was disturbing, but the banter with Tig made me laugh and I appreciated that it showed his true comedic chops, and how can you be mad at seeing someone get bit in the ass. Yet, I could have done away with a lot of the rest of the scene. Jax also really showed strong leadership with his dealings with Hale, and I liked seeing him actually act like the President of the Club. He is so much more interesting to watch than Clay, and I am more than happy with this new development.
I'm trying not to harp on it, because I know I keep bringing it up every week, but Tara and Gemma's relationship left me very confused in this episode. They seemed to come to an understanding, but I have zero idea what caused them to do that. Other than Gemma telling Tara that there is not much "grey" when it comes to actions in this life, I didn't find any part of their conversation to be particularly profound. In fact, I was quite surprised when Tara let Gemma feed Thomas, because it felt very out of place.
The other notable thing in this episode, is how much a huge divide between Jax and Tara is being set up. Although they just got married, they are farther apart than ever. They aren't sleeping together, they aren't talking, and Tara isn't even opening up about what is truly going on with her hand. In fact, the distance between them is so huge, I can't remember the last time we actually saw them together and happy. Perhaps at their wedding? Was that really the last time? Tara is also hiding a lot from him. She admittedly didn't tell Jax that she beat up Carla, and I'm certain hasn't told him how much pot she has been smoking. I also get the sense she has felt very disconnected from Thomas, because she seems to pawn him off at every opportunity she gets. In fact, maybe her allowing Gemma to feed him had nothing to do with Gemma, but rather her own desire to be left alone? I also noticed that she had highlights in her hair that look very similar to Gemma's distinct, contrasty, blonde highlights and I wonder if this is some sort of symbolism or foreshadowing.
Overall, this episode really served to move some plot points along, but nevertheless, I appreciated the Sons focusing on life around Charming. However, I fully expect that next week is going to be an explosion of some sort as the deception of half of the club comes to light, and I can't wait to see how it unfolds.