He says “you can’t sit in this chair without being a savage.” Well, if Jax was out to prove his theory in ‘Darthy’, he certainly accomplished it, continuing down the dark path his character’s taken through the season. Tonight’s episode is a LOT of set-up for the finale (and season six), but at its core, it is a troublesome study of what kind of person Jax has become.
Through the season, we’ve seen him do some pretty reprehensible shit: most of this season he’s been on a rampage to avenge Opie, a streak of violence that has spiraled into sociopathic behavior. Tonight’s conclusion is the epitome of this, injecting Wendy with drugs for threatening to take Abel – but mostly because she gave him a big heaping dose of reality. At this point, destroying Wendy’s life again serves nothing but a selfish purpose – this felony doesn’t help the club, and despite her past, Jax’s ignorance to see the changes in Wendy since her recovery are bothersome. She raises a valid point when she questions Tara on the insanity going on around them – to which Tara has nothing to say but “you don’t understand what I’ve been through,” a pretty hollow response from a woman who only a season ago (and every one before it), was desperate to get Jax away from the club. , so choking, threatening, and drugging Wendy is just another notch on his belt.
Wendy being attacked by Jax was sickening to watch – although not surprising, considering the club’s on-screen history of violence towards women, be it FBI agents, ‘crows’, or former girlfriends. However, Jax’s actions raise a lot of troublesome issues for future seasons of the show: the entire premise of the show is Jax trying to save his club from his father’s murderer, returning it to the vision of the original 9. In many ways, what’s going on with Jax now is similar to Vic Mackey’s arc on The Shield, going to any length to protect himself and his team. But through all that terrible shit, Mackey still had some redeeming qualities (even if it was clear he didn’t deserve or earn his redemption at any point), he was still human right to the last episode, which was necessary to keep us interested in the character. I feel like Jax has entered dangerous territory with the heinous shit he’s done this season – and laying the excuse on the seat he’s sitting in doesn’t really cut it for me. If he can’t forgive Clay for what he’s done, how is he going to expect everyone else to when it comes around to him? Bobby keeps telling him he doesn’t want Jax to turn into Clay, but until Jax stops making angry eyes and makes some explicit gesture to suggest he understands what he is becoming (except saying “I’m a MONSTAAAH!!”), his convenient ignorance to self can be tough to watch.
However, all things are not pointing up for Jax – ‘Darthy’ has a lot of foreshadowing to what could happen in the future. My prediction last week that Donal Logue’s character was related to the nurse who Otto murdered turned out to be correct, and the shot of him sitting in a hotel room full of pills and weapons reading fucked up poetry suggests he’s going to be a cause of some mayhem next season (maybe in the finale, but since he’s “still looking for a new job”, I don’t think he’ll do too much just yet). It’ll be interesting to see where they go with the character, a man who is hiding in the shadows, the latest threat hell bent on getting revenge against the Sons.
With a shitload of plot lines to touch on, there isn’t really any room for nuance in the episode (even after ANOTHER 90 minute airing), and lots of things are overtly hinted to. There’s Juice and his new gun: Clay gives him the gun Piney gave him for his five year (“I was going to give it to Op,” Clay says, reminding us how wasted the Winston family was on the show), the same weapon Juice uncovered looking for papers a few episodes back. Tara gives a look when Jax hugs her (“I’m going to give you a beautiful life” he says), after waving off every danger facing the club nonchalantly, suggesting she may be on the move sometime soon, or at least stirring up some marital issues. We also have the death timer, with Pope telling Jax he has 24 hours to deliver Tig or he will kill all their deals and crush the club…. oh, and don’t forget Clay, who’s trying to plan a trip with Gemma to Belfast to let things cool down before opening a new independent shop to run Irish guns.
‘Darthy’ moves at a really quick pace, and it certainly had some great performances in it – but it didn’t take me out of the unshakable feeling that too many plots are leading to underdevloped arcs and unbelievable, delusional characters. It’s hard to buy into Nero just embracing the game he was trying to avoid all season – a decision that is most likely to kill him, solving the problem of the snore-inducing Gemma love triangle, probably the most pointless plot of season 5. this applies to Jax also, who can’t stop flip flopping from wanting to be in the club, redefine the club, or quit the club for the past two years. So while I found the episode entertaining, I can’t shake the feeling that the show is losing its grip on its own character, and they’re slowly turning into leather-adorned chess pieces for Sutter to move around and torture for two more seasons.
Or maybe I’m just nervous for another season finale revealing some ‘big plan’ bullshit or some hidden twist, involving something we haven’t heard or talked about in weeks. We shall see.
– what is Bobby’s end game? Letting Clay die would put everything to rest, and prevent the awaiting shitstorm when Clay starts up his crew. Clay’s a fucking idiot thinking he can maintain peace with an independent crew (didn’t he run the Sons for 20 years?) and Bobby isn’t really a reliable character until we know what his motivations are. There is a reason he’s keeping Clay alive – it just doesn’t make sense otherwise that he wouldn’t just send him off to good ol’ Mr. Mayhem.
– can we NOT go back to Belfast, please?
– obviously the conversation we didn’t see happen between Jax and Gemma was important… and of course, that means we didn’t see it. *shakes fist in air*
– another obvious placecard for future plot: Jax talks up Pope’s right hand man. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jax use him to kill Pope and somehow wrangle the million dollar reward Pope conveniently mentioned earlier this season. The whole friendship with him feels like a facade, one that hopefully ends next week.
– One interesting thread this season: the more Jax assumes he is in control, the less control he really has. Clay, Bobby, Pope and the cartel have more control over what the club does than Jax, and somehow all the bad shit that goes down ends up at his door. I wish this would be explored a little more, and we could get less Jax screaming and angry face, maybe hear some more writing segments like the fantastic one that opened the episode tonight.
– Nero seems to be on an almost suicidal path. Dave Navarro certainly isn’t helping him out any.
– anyone hear from Eli lately?
– Tara lying like a pro almost makes me proud of how far she’s come in five seasons… but her “durrr?” reaction to Wendy’s harsh truths stamped that right out.
– The Irish/Mexican shootout was contrived. After never showing up for another deal (no matter how hairy it sounded) they show up out of nowhere: “hey, got a call, just wanted to pull some guns, surprise you at a gun deal, shoot some people, make sure it all went smoothly.” Ok…
– after playing it cool all season, Jimmy Smits is slowly starting to overplay The Return of the Vato arc he’s going through.
– I don’t see Clay as a person who would cry. I just don’t – it didn’t ring true for his character, and the scene was so short and quick, it screamed of “OBLIGATORY CRYING SCENE” – something Gemma’s had about eight times this year.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below!