One of Kurt Sutter’s long time favorite places for emotional scenes is good old St. Thomas’s chapel, which is enjoying a nice renaissance this season (after having so much presence in season two, you could call it a secondary character). This time, though,the stakes were a bit higher: we finally got to see what Gemma’s face looks like when someone exposes her for who she is. Best part about it? It wasn’t a Son or family member: it was Margaret, the hospital administrator whose probably best remembered for receiving a nice fist sandwich from Tara back in season two. And it wasn’t a long speech, but in one phrase, Gemma’s finally face to face with the truth she’s been trying to hide under her “family loving” and “Queen Old Lady” exterior:
“This is all your fault.”
Little does Margaret realize how true this statement is. Gemma’s been pulling the strings of Charming’s alpha males for decades, with Clay being the biggest dummy of them all. He took care of the John Teller problem, took her beloved son under his wing, and made sure she had all the power and money that came along with being the most powerful old lady on the west coast. And like we’ve seen Clay do for four seasons, her abuse of that power and influence has been so widespread and lengthy, they don’t even realize how far off the deep end they’ve gone.
Even after her blow up with Clay, Gemma still doesn’t realize one important factor of Margaret’s comment (doubled when you consider the visual importance of their scene in the chapel, with Margaret sitting behind Gemma’s left shoulder, a representation of a voice of reason and truth): Clay isn’t the only who isn’t savable anymore. Gemma is in the same boat as Clay…. and once again, it’s her self-tempered sense of morality that keeps her from taking what Margaret says to heart.
But enough about Gemma (for now). ‘Hands’ was the greatest episode of the fourth season so far, and honestly, one of the strongest of the series. Like I said in an earlier recap, Sons is strongest when it focuses on the internal dramas, rather than the external plot lines. With the death of Piney, and the untenable situations of both Clay and Juice, the stakes are much higher than in seasons past. Which, as Opie reminds us in a conversation with Jax, were pretty high to begin with: season one culminated with the death of his wife Donna (among other things).
A lot of great one on one scenes last night. Tara’s conversation with Jax in the hospitable was a particularly great one to watch: the semi-aware, brutally honest rantings of Tara hit home so hard, and both Maggie Siff and Charlie Hunman as always, are on top of their games in their scenes together (always have been… remember the bedroom scene with Agent Kohn?) However, they were met with stiff competition for the best scene: Gemma and Clay, Gemma and Unser, Roosevelt and Juice, Jax and Opie… the list goes on and on.
There are still a lot of story lines to hit on, so I’m going to transform into Bullet Mode to hit on them all, without having to be professional with transitions and proper paragraph structure:
– is there anybody left in the Mayans who is both a ‘good soldier’ and alive? In sticking with my belief of internal beef over external beef, the unnecessary scene with the One-Niners, Mayans and Sons getting mixed up in a One-Niner bar (which just looked like a redneck bar with urban art on the walls) seemed to serve one purpose: contrive a beef between the Mayans and One-Niners, so later on, Jax can bring them together against the cartels (and possibly, Clay).
– I’m wondering if it will be possible for the show to abandon the cartel for the rest of the show. Like The Shield‘s Armenian Money Train in season two, once you introduce an all-encompassing entity, they must remain viable for the run of the show (whether in the foreground of the season arcs or not). Then again, has anyone heard from any of those white supremacists? Where has Darby been since the middle of season three?
– The homeless girl again. First we saw her in the season one finale at the graveyard (or at least, a similar homeless woman) near Jax, and again, after seeing his son with the adopted family in Belfast. Keeping my eye on this, and will share my theory on this soon.
– Gemma and Clay scene at the end was brutal, but something brewing for awhile. I remember a lot of people being angered in the first season because of Gemma’s widespread influence over the Sons…. I guess Clay finally exposed the reasons why in the pre-fist yelling match.
– Can Clay survive this season and still remain a viable character? I doubt he’ll die in the next four episodes, and I wonder if keeping him alive might be more of a detriment than an worthy sidebar. What else do we need to know about Clay and what he did that we can’t learn from Gemma or Unser?
– Are there any betting lines on Juice’s survival through the end of the season? If so, it’s been all over the meter the last few weeks. Sutter is playing with us right now regarding the fate of Juice, but with the season starts to come into its final quarter, I suppose we’ll find out soon.
– Potter is a little too mysterious sometimes. Not really buying the whole clause in the contract, although such things do exist (as far as my knowledge goes). Roosevelt is the wildcard in Potter’s organization, and looks like he might be the one to solve it. There were shades of David Hale in Roosevelt’s actions last night, forgiving Juice and having a little more self-awareness than normally allowed.
What did you think of ‘Hands’? A fantastic episode, and looks like with all the changing situations of characters like Gemma, Clay and Tara, season five is going to bring about a new status quo (something we thought was going to happen this season, but nonetheless).