Sons of Anarchy ‘Call of Duty’: The Set-Up

Will Clay live or die? This is the big question at the heart of Sons of Anarchy‘s fourth season, and ‘Call of Duty’ spent a lot of its time re-establishing the growing amount of enemies around Clay. Personally, after what a strong episode ‘Hands’ was, I thought ‘CoD’ was a pretty weak, way over-extended episode of Sons, with only one or two strong character moments to drive a 59-minute (without commercials) episode.

At this point, I’m hesitant to jump on board with the ‘Clay will die’ direction the show is pointing toward: in all honesty, I don’t think Sutter is done with Clay, and won’t be able to help himself by allowing Clay to live on at least into the next season. Whether it is a necessary story move is an interesting debate, and one which I’m still reserving judgement on. There is a lot Sutter and co. can do with Jax and the Sons if Clay is dead, but there is something tugging at me not to buy into all the walls closing around Clay. Remember the cop-out in the season 3 finale? Let’s hope we’re not headed there.

But enough of what might happen to Clay. What I’m interested in is what will happen to Gemma. If ‘Call of Duty’ served any purpose to the canon of the series, it was to reinforce Gemma’s ability to manipulate the men in her life – and having a few bruises and cuts on her face doesn’t hurt. We get a little glimpse into how she’s been able to keep the men of Charming on strings for decades, although it’s looking like Clay might’ve blown that bubble once and for all with those half-busted hands of his. In all reality, Gemma is just as likely to die this season as Clay is: she may have less enemies, but she’s gone way beyond the reach of her Old Lady status by concocting a plan to have a Son kill Clay (which makes me think she’s said the same sentence before, except for John Teller instead of Clay).

‘Call of Duty’ opened and closed with some strong scenes (Opie’s scene at Piney’s cabin was Ryan Hurst’s greatest scene in the series, at least since the death of his wife in Season 1), but in the middle, it largely floundered in time-wasting storylines, like heavily-alluded to RPG use, the death of Kozik (who left to be on the recently-halted Prime Suspect) and a return of Wendy at probably the weirdest time possible. It was nice to Drea de Matteo return, but now of all times? It’s a bit of a stretch the woman who wordlessly disappeared at the end of season 1 simply jumps back into the fold three years later, with nothing but a quick point-by-point recap of her life since Donna’s funeral (including that she now is a lover of women?), it felt cheap and contrived…. but who knows, I’m hoping there is an actual reason she is around, besides driving Tara even farther into the Ophelia-hole Sutter appears to be writing her into.

Other notes from last night’s episode:

– the Lobos/Sons gunfight felt a little too staged, and before it even started, I think we all smelled the RPG weapon being used at some point. Also, a nice little bit of product placement with the title and Juice’s line about ‘Call of Duty-type shit.’ Yes, it’s a pop culture reference, but with MW3 recently being released, it felt about as authentic as when Jesse was playing Rage during an episode of Breaking Bad this season.

– Odds on what characters could die by the end of the season:

Clay: 4-1

Gemma: 8-1

Juice: 3-1

Happy: 10-1

Tara: 6-1

Wendy: 20-1

Unser: 5-1


– why did last night’s episode need to be 90 minutes? I understand Sutter got an extra episode to work with this season, but last night’s extended episode didn’t do much except re-establish the status quo, and bring all the season’s storyline current so everything is set up for the last three episodes, including the two-part finale.

– Charlie Hunnam really needs to get some Emmy noise this season. He’s been fantastic this season, and now that he has short hair, maybe he will garner some respect from those posh out-of-touchers in Hollywood.

– So Opie has to kill both a club leader AND a porn star? Sheesh, what a tall order.

– The reveal of how Luann died felt like a cheap diversion in this episode, further cheapening the arc of Luann and Otto…. and speaking of Otto, is this really how he plans on going out? How is the show going to go on without Otto taking his lumps in jail for the next three seasons? I suppose this is  a season where the club is getting smaller, but every tragic character eventually meets their end, I suppose.

Next week’s episode is titled ‘Burnt and Purged Away’, and (I haven’t seen the preview for next week, so I apologize if I’m wrong) it looks like the IRA will be coming stateside for a little meeting. Expect a lot of Juice looking nervous, Agent Potter being annoying an mysterious (the way his character is written is one of this season’s MAJOR sticking points), and Jax making some important decisions.

What did you think of ‘Call of Duty’? Was it worthy of its ‘special episode’ moniker?

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