This week Sons of Anarchy crammed more drama and character into one hour than the rest of my TV watching schedule combined. From the very opening scene, Clay kneeling and taking money from a safe, you can feel the tension and mistrust oozing out of every shot. Clay is no longer an anti-hero, or even some chaotic neutral force leading SOA. He’s just a villian, a bully, a brute, and the noose around his neck just gets tighter and tighter.
Cut to Gemma, it’s obvious she doesn’t trust him any farther than she can spit. She doesn’t buy his story for a minute, and as soon as he’s out of sight, she digs through his personals as only wives can and immediatly puts two and two together. She figures in short order that Clay is putting a hit on Tara as Tara is taking a trip to Oregon, or at least Gemma has a strong hunch. This episode she finds out exactly where she stands with Clay, and reality is a bitch.
Gemma tries to upset Clay’s plan by telling him that Jax is going along and it’s going to be the whole family on the road. Clay turns to leave and you can tell he just shit his pants a little bit, and then they cut to the opening credits!
All that drama before they even open the show. And then things get interesting.
Clay can’t stop the hit, the Cartel blows him off when he calls to try. But Jax is there to save the day, and instead of being killed, Tara is crippled in such a way that she’ll never work as a surgeon again. We see Clay starting to come unhinged trying to keep his part in this, Piney’s death, and dealings with the Cartel a secret. He won’t let Opie go check on Piney, and throws a lame excuse, he doesn’t realize Juice is getting leaned on hard and is somewhere between suicidal and surrendered to Potter. And then he makes the grandest of all blunders, he starts taking it out on his old lady.
The Cartel tells Clay that the hit stays on, and they give him all his money back for the botched initial job. They want Tara out of the way, because Clay convinced them that she had to go. Gemma catches Clay putting the money back in the safe, and she calls him on it. She flatly accuses him of putting out the hit. The result is a scene of domestic abuse that is disturbing in it’s realistic portrayal. Clay mercilessly beats the dog shit out of her.
I haven’t even gotten into Jax and Kara’s issues, or the split it’s causing between Jax and Opie, or the fact that Eli might finally be finding his nutsack, or of how much Potter reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. I keep waiting for the man to say “I gave you a baby tonight Jenny Hagen.”…but I’m rambling at this point.
We close with Gemma licking her wounds and Unser walking in on her. She’s made her decision, and Unser is so in love with her he’d follow her to hell and back no questions asked.
“Clay will die. At the hand of a son.”
Fade to Black. Hell yeah.
SOA is good TV because each episode is better than the last, and it leaves you waiting for the next one. You can’t miss this series, and you sure as hell can’t miss this episode.