Last night's episode of Sons of Anarchy felt like it had several themes; people die, everybody lies; don't piss off the Clay Morrow. Sons of Anarchy has never been a show to shy away from killing off characters, but this season has especially been filled with a lot of pretty big and shocking deaths. So far none have been more harrowing than that of the beloved character Opie, but it seems to be becoming a theme over the past few episodes. The death toll in last night's episode was a fairly high 4 people, and included two completely innocent women. The death of Rita Roosevelt was not altogether surprising after seeing how brutally she was wounded last week, but I hoped somehow she could pull through. I think it also was expected that Jax would make good on his promise and find the guard that was responsible for putting Opie up for "death bets", but it was the way in which that one was carried out that was shocking. I'm not sure that I will ever be able to look at a snow globe the same, and that song is still ringing in my ears. The one that was most surprising was Carla's death, because that came out of nowhere and I thought felt a little odd and out of place. I'm not sure that I really appreciated the "she's off her meds" and "in love with her half-brother" explanation for her suicide, because that seems to simplify mental health issues in a way that is irresponsible and somewhat unbelievable, but I won't harp on that. However, what her death will do is make things very interesting between Gemma and Nero. After having this strange experience, I'm not sure that Nero will be able to stay away from Gemma (as he promised Jax he will do), which could lead to all sorts of problems with their new deal…and Clay.
Which leads me to Clay Morrow, and the fact that we finally got confirmation that he is the one behind the home invasions and is doing everything that he can to undermine Jax and split the club into two different factions. I have suspected that he was involved, but there was this tiny little voice wondering if something else was happening and we were only being lead to believe it was Clay, as this show is known for its bait and switch tactics. Now, after Clay busts in to the house with his "guys" and gets pissed as hell they killed the Sheriff's wife, we know that what was suspected is true, and he is behind all the home invasions. I also thought it was interesting that there was a very clear split between the two clans at the table. "Clay's boys" are very clearly being ordered to follow whatever he says, and side with him. This scene was also interesting, because it seems as if the writers are leaving little "clues" for Jax and Bobby, as to what is happening, but they are so blindsided by the supposed loyalty of the members of SAMCRO that they can't imagine there would actually be any shady dealings happening.
Speaking of Clay, this is also one of the points in which the "everybody lies" theme enters the equation. Clay is deceiving (almost) everyone by pretending that he is still incredibly weak. Gemma is softening up to him slightly after he helped her, and he is using Juice as his little errand boy who will do anything for him because he thinks he is still sick and fragile. Clearly, the doctor told him he doesn't need the oxygen pack anymore, but if he looks weak to everyone on the outside, it is likely it will take them longer to suspect that he is pulling the back-handed bullshit that he is to undermine Jax's authority as President of the club. In all honesty, I really am starting to hope that Clay would just get offed. I like the show so much better with Jax running things and Clay seems to now be a superfluous character that comes in and out, but doesn’t create a lot of reason to like him or want him to succeed in his devious plans.
I also have to say that I was surprised by how much I like the relationship between Jax and Damon Pope. That is not something that I expected, and I'm not sure that I should trust it, because Pope could turn around and completely screw Jax and SAMCRO at any moment, but for some reason I don't see that happening. He is becoming a mentor to Jax, and I think that he likes it. They are almost building a father/son relationship, and I think we all know that Jax could certainly use a better father-figure than that asshole Clay. I like that Pope is teaching Jax to be strong and imparting words of wisdom on him and how to put SAMCRO in the best standing possible. I also wonder if he actually knows that Clay is involved in the home invasions, after he suggests that Jax needs to look at everyone close to him, because it could be anyone. This might be because he has knowledge or is just smart, but I certainly hope that Jax will soon listen to him and look inward at the club.
In the lying realm, we once again have Tara, who will not tell Jax what actually happened with Otto at the prison. I cannot figure out if it is because she still wants to "work on Otto" or doesn't want to disappoint Jax, but this seems like a terrible decision. Perhaps, also she is just lying so much these days, she kind of no longer recognizes the difference? I was happy that Jax finally realized and acknowledged that he and Tara have not been very close and actually made an effort to spend time with her. I will like to see them spend some time together, but somehow I fear it won't go very smoothly, and something will come between them, yet again.
Gemma's story, which has been fairly boring this season, also seemed to finally make progression forward with the encounter with Nero and Carla, and Unser finally calling her out on all of her bullshit. It felt like a bit of an "ah-hah" moment, because Unser recognized all of the bad parts of Gemma, and how she just likes toying with peoples emotions so she can feel loved, admired and appreciated. Of course, it didn't do anything but send her deeper in to her hole, and will add possibly another point on her little love quadrangle. However, I must say, holy Joel McHale!! I have been waiting for his appearance this season and was very curious how he would fit in to a show about motorcycle gangs, but I am excited it is finally time to find out. I am a bit disappointed that his storyline is going to be involved with Gemma, because she has become one of my least favorite characters, (besides Clay) but really, I am happy to see where his character will go at all.
We are getting close to the halfway mark of the season, and I have a feeling all the exposition we have had is really going to start ramping up the action. Clay is sure to be found out soon, and I assume sparks will fly when they do…but the real question is how many deaths will result from it or in between then and now? Tune in next week to find out!