What are two things that the second season finale of Sons of Anarchy and this week's penultimate episode of season three have in common? Well, both "Na Triobloidi" and "June Wedding" were fantastic hours of television, and not coincidentally they both featured Agent June Stahl going absolutely crazy.
After a wild and crazy journey to Ireland, the Sons returned to Charming this week, and things felt a little more familiar. The first half of the episode progressed slowly as most were getting their bearings on what was currently happening in the States.
Jax and Stahl were working out their deal, Gemma was trying to figure out what that deal was and stop it, Clay was figuring out what would happened to SAMCRO while they were in jail, Jimmy O was just trying to stay alive with the Russians, and everyone was trying to figure out how to get Tara back safely.
Yeah, there was a lot on everyone's respective plates.But as the back half of the episode unwound, things heated up quickly. Once Salazar took Hale as a second hostage and made the call to start negotiating his demands, I tensed up for the rest of the hour. Jax offering himself up to trade for Tara was nice, but the triple team of Jax, Tara and Hale on Salazar was better.
Jax chasing down an axe-wielding Salazar? Fantastic action.
What I didn't enjoy, though, was Jax's utter disregard for the plan to use Salazar in order to reveal how dirty Hale is. Was your need for revenge that severe? I thought Jax was supposed to be the thinker of this crew?
After the hostage situation was cleared up, and everyone except Salazar was safe, Agent June Stahl went into evil mastermind mode. I mean this woman is an absolute monster!
I was fine with her placing all of the blame for the Edmund Hayes stuff on her girlfriend, because Stahl is a complete b*tch, but this blew me out of the water. When she shot her girlfriend dead in an alley, as calm as can be, and then burst out into a fake scream cry, I had a difficult time realizing that it was actually happening.
Then she recounts the whole Hayes/Gemma story to IA, with tears no less, in order to verify Gemma's story? Well it was Stahl's story to begin with, but still, this woman is all sorts of crazy and brilliant.
Before witnessing Stahl's genius plan, I thought the Russian was the only one thinking clearly in this universe. I mean he was keeping Jimmy hidden so that they can get enough money to safely send him to South America, where Jimmy will then make more money for the Russian.
A simple and obvious idea, I know, but most characters on this show don't understand simply and obvious. Take Gemma for example. She can't just trust her son in his plan; she has to go snooping around looking for answers, and threatening ATF agents.
Gemma has absolutely no idea what the deal is that Jax made with Stahl, yet she is trying to force Stahl into canceling it. Why? You don't even know what it may or may not do for you?
"You need to keep it together, son," Clay said to his step-son after Jax had his first outburst about Tara being kidnapped. Personally, I was glad to see Jax show that emotion.
I know he has spent what seems like forever looking for his kidnapped baby, but for the first half hour this week it looked like Jax could care less that his girlfriend was being held captive by a crazed lunatic. Sure he made up for it with his heroics and revenge stab on Salazar, but I wanted Jax to show as much emotion towards Tara's absence as he did Abel's.
So now that Tara is home safe, and her baby is as healthy as ever, there's only one more thing on the season three bucket list for SAMCRO. They need to find Jimmy O so that Jax's deal can go through and everyone can get off Scott free... Well except for Agent Tyler, who was murdered by her own girlfriend.
Other thoughts ...
- Quietly a great Opie ep. I loved how he went to Gemma for advice about Lyla. He's such a romantic, "we should get married." Will she say yes? I doubt it.
- Really?!?! This thing with Tig and Kozik was about a dog? Tell me I'm dreaming. He "loved her too." What did Kozik do, steal Tig's dog? I'm a bit confused.
- Juice is a Puerto Rican from Queens that speaks better Yiddish than Spanish. Classic.
- Was that actually supposed to be a fake out with the girl lying under the bloody blanket? Because if that really was a dead Tara, it would have been the most anticlimactic main character death I have ever seen.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.