Juice lives (for now), but Piney dies. Wasn’t a big surprise – for a long time Piney’s singular role on the show was to bitch and moan about the club – but it was still an impactful moment, representing yet another short-sighted decision by Clay, whose methods of self-preservation have a long-standing reputation with both the community of Charming and us viewers alike. It wasn’t glamorous, thoughtful, or even well-plotted (is anyone going to believe this execution will look like cartel work to SoA?), and won’t have as much impact on the structure of the show as it may have felt at the end of last night’s episode. Piney hasn’t been seeing a lot of screen time lately (and never sober), so logically, killing off Piney makes sense: it allows the writers to give the feeling of a huge shifting change by the death of a club member (a rare occurrence on this show), without removing anyone integral or deeply invested in by the fans.
Moving onto the non-death of Juice, I’m really wondering how much legs this story has left. It was a nice touch to have Chibs be the one who realized why Juice was so out of it this episode, but I’m not sure really what direction this story has to go in. We all know Juice isn’t going to break under the pressure of the FBI and turn rat, so there are only two options: he dies or runs away. And with only 5 episodes left in this season, I’d rather us decide on the fate of Juice sooner, rather than later. He could serve a greater purpose for the rest of the show (he’s shown this season he’s got some dramatic chops), but all signs for now point to an ugly end for Juice. Let’s just get there sooner rather than later.
Overall, I didn’t think last night’s episode did much to further the plot, although there was a lot of head-rolling, the death of an Original 9, and Tara’s realization she may not be tough enough for the dangers of this life. Things with the cartel are moving way too slowly, and for the most part, unconvincingly. The quickly-resolved rat storyline had no impact whatsoever, and even the death of Tacoma SoA members (that’s what it looked like one of those headless bodies were wearing) felt like glossed over details. Then there are the oddities: how the cartel knew to show up right as the new president vote was beginning, how the cartel somehow knew they were waiting for them even when they found the rat, why isn’t the Charming Sherriff starting to wonder about this rash of violence… plus, where did Bobby hide those heads and guns when the cops showed up to search the place? As Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall put it in his column recapping last night’s episode, the strings above the puppets head are a little too visible at times this season.
Finally, the scene between Piney and Jax was well-acted, but badly written. Piney’s been looking to get himself killed for two seasons with his behavior, why wouldn’t he just tell Jax what was going on and stop with the pussy-footing around the subject? Jax even says ‘I’m not interested in the past.” Why not, Jax??? The past used to be all you thought about while you read your father’s book!!!!… it’s obvious Jax isn’t going to get those letters until the season finale (if not until next season), so I wouldn’t be expecting any resolution from that anytime soon. They’ve been in play since late last season, and Sutter is having way too much teasing this to give them up to Jax now.
Couple final thoughts:
– where the hell was Unser this week? I half-expected Clay to pull up at Unser’s trailer after lying to Gemma at the end, but there were too many red flags from Piney’s behavior through the episode – and most of the season – to suggest he would live.
– No Potter this week, but we still feel his presence every time Juice is on screen. Hopefully next week, there will be some attempt to define who Potter really is. Right now, I still don’t have a feel for his character, except that he’s slimy. Remember what a strong, crazy character Stahl was? Potter needs some personality if we’re to invest in his RICO story.
– looks like Jax has it in for the new sheriff… do you think he would take it lightly when Jax threatened his life? Kind of odd, and seemed out of character for Jax, who usually only gets violent when the situation calls for it. As a man with family, I don’t see him making such open-ended threats. Again, Sutter setting up story lines with implausible character behavior.
what did you think of last night’s episode? Stop back next Wednesday for a recap of Tuesday night’s episode, ‘Kiss’.