Sons of Anarchy S5 Ep13 "J'ai Obtenu Cette" Director:Kurt Sutter Written By: Kurt Sutter & Chris Collins
As far as season finales for Sons of Anarchy go "J'ai Obtenu Cette" is one of the better ones. At least it didn’t leave me feeling dejected and mad at a certain character still breathing. Everything Jax has wanted for the club is tied up nicely, he has near total victory. That victory still manages to be pyrrhic. Pope is dead. Clay for all intents and purposes is dead. Opie is avenged. The club is free of the cartel. He only just lost his old lady and family in the process.
Jax’s masterstroke of revenge against Pope and Clay was well executed, though not as effective as the season 3 finale. Pinning the murder of Pope on on Clay was poetic. The lead villain is outwitted and undone for something he didn’t have anything to do with. His own wife puts her own nail in the coffin and as “Sympathy for the Devil” plays it is possible to have some sympathy for Clay Morrow as he is flanked by two large black men.
Keeping Clay around in last year's finale wasn’t handled well. It is a credit to Ron Perlman that he managed to still make a declawed Clay and interesting figure to watch as he limped on and tried to break free. While he isn’t going off as I imagined (an RPG takes out the plane he, Gemma, and Irish dude) his expulsion from the club and final humiliation have made up for any anger at the start of this season.
The villainous Damon Pope had all the makings of a memorable character in Sons, something they haven’t had since Ethan Zoebelle back in season 2. Pope started strong and firmly showed who called the shots. Then he just took on one of the many father figures Jax had this season and receded into the background. His initial barrage of violence against the Sons made you fear everytime him or his associates showed up. Than that fear just disappeared, they turned the fearsome lion into a lovable kitten and business partner. Pope would have to drop eventually but his death at the hands of Tig didn’t feel earned.
Season 5 has featured a marked uptick in violent acts from prior seasons. As much of a “pulpy biker soap opera” Sons of Anarchy is it was never violent all the time. Than Dawn was burned alive in the season opener, Opie is beaten to death and a bunch of other heinous stuff occurs. IT all became a bit to much and in the end probably took away from the shows overall quality. Of the several violent acts that occur, the one that really got to me though was when the club walked in on the dog fighting. Even if it was fake and staged it was wrong. This is then followed by Otto biting his tongue off which was visually more disturbing disturbing. “Way to commit” Lee Toric remarks as he watches Otto’s bloody tongue slide down the glass.
Nero is now fully committed to his old life. Having been pulled back in by his association with the Sons. Jimmy Smits sticking around a bit longer is a good thing. Jax is in need of another father figure/adviser now that Clay,Pope, and Bobby are out of the picture. Smits also just looks to be having a lot of fun as the wily Nero. It's tragic though known he is going to end up in a box, never really committed to getting out and buying that ranch. Making another deal with Jax to leave when Jax leaves. His gang affiliations should provide a reasonable amount of violence and chases sequences that can populate season 6.
According to Sons the only way to get out of the life is the same way you deal with pulling out thorns and bandages: quick and suddenly. Tara was ready to rip off that bandage. Jax is blindsided by this even though he knows it’s the right thing to do. A knock at the door later and Tara is placed under arrest for the murder of that nurse. All things point towards Gemma being the rat. One final powerplay to get back her family if only for a few minutes before Jax kills her. It all appears that way but Lee Toric is poised to be the villain next season and he might have had something to do with it.
At the start Gemma was like Opie, worn out and creatively not that useful anymore. So they front loaded the season with Gemma on a downward spiral until she got pulled back by Nero. It was boring, made worse by opening consecutive episodes with a hazy Gemma after yet another drunken night. She’s back as the power behind the throne and with it something interesting for Katey Sagal to do.
Season 5 was a bit of a mess that seemed to revel in it’s “pulpy biker soap opera” ethos. Instead of worry about pushing character and plot forward. The overall arc of Jax turning into the thing he hates was handled well but everything else just seemed like filler.
C+ Well that’s another season in the books. It wasn’t great but it had some good moments. Hopefully the show dose a better job at getting out of its own way. Bring on Justified and The Americans.