Sons of Anarchy ‘With an X’: The Turning Point

(Spoilers ahead, be warned.)

Last night’s Sons of Anarchy episode was uneven, like much of the fourth season to this point, but contained what might be the single most important event of the series to date: Clay entrusting his cartel friend Romeo to put out a hit on Tara.

How is this bigger then the kidnapping of Abel, the shooting of Opie’s wife, or the funeral shootout to open Season 3? Because we’re finally getting to the point we were waiting for: the end of Clay Morrow. For three and a half years, we’ve watched with the knowledge of Clay’s involvement in John Teller’s death, and waited for the moment where Clay would finally take things to the point of no return. All the fistfights and empty threats have led us to this point, and AT LAST, Sutter and co. have revealed the emotional focal point of this season.

There are many ancillary events happening right now, of course, many of which seem to hold more importance than Clay vs. Jax (although I’d argue there is nothing more important on the show), a melange of stories that are working for the most part, if only to a certain degree. Last night spent most of its time with Juice’s racial and legal problems (thanks to the police threatening to expose his heritage, Juice is responsible for a kilo of missing cocaine), which are still unknown to much of the club. This is in part due to the murder of Miles, which is going to drive Juice into some seriously dark places. Remember, he’s not as violence loving as Happy and Tigg, and the morality he’s always had is going to tear him up, as he deals with the fact he killed a member of his own crew – something that’s hard to live with and cover up, as Jax and Gemma are quickly realizing.

The rest of the episode dealt with a really boring porn chick storyline, bringing back the crazy girl from season 2 who wanted a piece of Jax’s ass (and got it while Jax exacted some pussy-centric revenge on Tara). The reason the story doesn’t work is that unlike Opie’s family in the first season, there is no organic drama to be had (if you remember, his first wife Donna wasn’t a motorcycle enthusiast in the least), and its too clear the problems between them are synthetically derived…. even the abortion story thrown in late last season felt like a push, and something I really didn’t find too compelling for either the characters of Opie or Lyla.

Most of this season is feeling weak or slow paced, because the writers are relying too heavily on writing techniques used previously (particularly in last season’s finale) where we are deliberately fed overtly-vague dialogue, leaving the mystery (and point) of the story for later in the episode, or in most cases, later in the season. Some of these should be there: personally, if we never found out the true details of John T’s death, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. But they are using it so much, its beginning to feel like a cheap convention. Last night’s scene with Jax and Ima was a great example: we see Jax embrace Ima in one scene, and its not until 5 minutes later we find out why: he visited to bash her face into a make up table and warn her away from the club. Even when it’s done on a short leash like that example, it still feels cheap when we can tell the words out of characters mouths are simply plot devices to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Finally, last night’s conclusion was quite underwhelming. If I’m Unser, I’m not fucking around with the new sherriff or trying to do things in a quiet fashion. Dying of cancer, feeling the pressures of both Gemma and Clay, I was waiting for Unser to go on a pot-smoking suicide mission to make things right with his conscience before he died. Although its becoming more clear that role is going to be observed by Piney (who has another fantastic Patron-guzzling moment in the montage near the end), I still want to see Unser use his balls, and stop being the walk-on he’s been for the Teller family (and the Sons in general) for the last three seasons (and the twenty years before that).

Couple final thoughts:

– Did people enjoy the brief Tigg storyline? Felt rushed and underdeveloped. If there is more Tigg family drama to come, let’s hope it comes in large bunches, and not the small, weak plot line from last night (with an ending we all saw coming a mile away, although it is nice to see Tigg have a small sliver of soul remaining).

– Will any of these new recruits (now down to 2), ever become larger characters? I’m hoping the answer is no, and some random violence comes out of the blue to take care of the annoying two left, who don’t look like they fit into the crew at all. If all Miles was there for was a solution to an implausible situation, then what the fuck, Kurt.

– hey, no Kosik? What the hell, we can’t get anything going on with Lemonhead since he did his best Woody Harrelson ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ impression?

Stop back next week to talk about next week’s episode, and keep your eyes open for the Mid-Season Report, also coming next week!

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