Review: Sons of Anarchy ‘Stolen Huffy’ – It’s Not Trust, It’s Fear

When a show kills off a well-known character, there are normally two approaches: either the death hangs over the show’s universe for a period of time, or they simply try to make everyone forget the character ever really existed. If ‘Stolen Huffy’ was trying to do the latter, it certainly kicked off the post-Opie era in deceiving fashion, appearing not to give a shit about the poor bearded guy until the end of the episode arrived for the obligatory “we all care” montage. Maybe I’m just a little shocked about the lack of originality through the episode, but it felt like Opie’s funeral was pushed off to the side for lots of Gemma dramatics I really didn’t need – a major misstep for what should be the show’s most important emotional thread at this point.

The last five minutes were full of sad faces, vague statements about ‘family’, and Jax letting out some man tears… but with all of the episode dedicating itself to the weakest material of the season (anything involving Gemma and/or Carla), I felt like the emotional impact of Opie’s death was completely sapped out of the episode. With none of the show’s real players anywhere to be seen in the episode (not even a mention of the Mexicans, and only passing references to Pope), it certainly had the room to show us the ripples of Opie’s largely meaningless death (in big picture terms) on the club, especially his best friend Jax.

Instead, ‘Stolen Huffy’ spent its time building up to yet another fist fight between angry women, something the show revels in. At some point, females watching this show HAVE to be getting tired of all the ‘piece of gash’ references and constant violence and belittling of women. In earlier seasons, I was willing to defend Gemma’s character, but this season her short-sighted manipulations feel like cheap thrills for the audience, wasting the show’s most important character on petty nonsense. And her bullshit pulls in the rest of the females: there’s no reason for Wendy to be around getting fake love from Gemma (she tried to KILL HER, remember?), and Tara’s convenient idiocy leads us to what I’m sure many people thought was an awesome action scene – but was really nothing more than a pointless act of brutality. People put Jax’s life in danger every day – how many of them will Tara be trying to fuck up? Let’s be serious, people.

There were spatterings of plot spread in between the whole Gemma/Carla/Tara/Nero/Clay/Jax nonsense, the most interesting of which is Nero’s new partnership with Jax. My first thoughts on their agreement were probably the same as the rest of the audience’s: how the hell does getting paychecks from hookers get him out of RICO? Wouldn’t this just be pulling more people in? It’s funny how Jax stops and takes stock of his life for an instant after he watches Opie get killed… and then he’s back to business, offering up members of his crew for dangerous missions and contradicting himself at every corner.

Seeing Opie die should push Jax into an important realization: that as much as the club wants to be a ‘family’, it’s more like a flesh-eating virus. If Nero and crew get pulled into RICO somehow, that’s another group of people affected by Jax’s short sighted attempts at solutions. He’s watched the Winston family drop like flies (along with his own), when will the simple reality that they need to get the ones they love away from them begin to kick in? Yes, I know this is counter-intuitive to the logic of the show, but wouldn’t it make for more compelling material than hooker beatings and porn star lodges? Jax – and the club – got off way too easy on Opie, disrespecting his character by writing his death off as (and I quote from Jax himself) “he’s been looking for a way out”, which feels like a middle finger to anyone who ever cared about his character.

There were still some entertaining moments in the episode – Hunnam is fantastic as always – but it all just feels staged and goofy with the silly prostitutes and Mexican bangers looking for titties (what happened to that?) taking up the spaces where something emotional and valuable to the characters on the show could’ve been. Overall, a disappointing follow-up to what I thought was a promising move forward for the show.

Grade: C+

Other thoughts/observations:

– the “including Tara in the family picture” is one of the most unoriginal things I’ve ever seen on this show. Nobody really cares if Wendy gets to see Abel or not… we don’t even know Abel!

– does anybody know what Gemma is motivated by anymore? I struggle to understand what she’s trying to accomplish by pissing off everyone she can to personal ends that are foggy at best.

– Lyla’s seasons-long journey from strong single mother/porn star into whimpering “I don’t know what to do” emotional cripple comes full circle in this episode… and another intriguing female character falls to the way side. Yes, she was never that interesting, but her initial presentation was one of strength and independence, not weeping and making excuses.

– I’ve been waiting for Tara’s Chekov’s Cast to make its way into the narrative, and Sutter didn’t let me down as Tara let loose on Carla’s face.

– why would ANYONE want help from the Sons? Nero’s calculating eyes deceive his mindless ways.

What did you think of ‘Stolen Huffy’? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!

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