If "Out" set the stage for season four - freeing SAMCRO members from jail, establishing new authorities in Charming and a new gun-running role for the club - then "Booster" focused on the players that take that stage every week.
And that's my favorite aspect of Sons of Anarchy.
Sure, I'm intrigued by the impending RICO case and curious about the steps a mysterious ADA and a strict sheriff, under pressure from the Mayor, will take to further it. But I'm far more anxious to sit back and watch as various Sons and Old Ladies deal with the internal struggles and disagreements that were laid out so perfectly this week.This show is at its best when external forces shine a bright, dramatic light on the individuals that comprise SAMCRO and their relationships with each other.
It all starts with Clay and Jax, of course, who surprised me here by talking openly with each other. Clay wants a big score before he gets out, and Jax wants an agreement that he can depart when Clay leaves. They now share the same ends, but it's clear Jax will continue to question the means.
Our favorite short-haired Vice President finds himself stuck in a paradox: he wants to be a good father to his children, but the only way he sees how to do this is by doing some very bad, dangerous things that involve - gulp! - the Mexican cartel. Does he really believe this is a safer path for his family than simply departing the club, Gemma and Clay's wrath be damned?
Gemma, of course, has her own internal struggle going on. Does she confront Tara with Maureen's letters and that accident report? We asked that question in our first-ever Sons of Anarchy Round Table and I have little doubt the truth will come out eventually. Until then, it's clearly on the minds of both Gemma and Clay, although the latter doesn't know the full extent of Maureen's letters.
Then there's Opie. He's being kept out of the loop by the two people closet to him. Lyla hasn't told him about her abortion, while Jax isn't coming clean about why he supports the club's new drug interests. It's something Jax might wanna bring up, considering he's recommended Opie for President. Kudos to the show, meanwhile, for citing Donna every so often. There's no attempt here to paint Lyla as her replacement; she's merely Opie's Old Lady, while Donna was truly his wife.
There's a big difference, and Opie himself acknowledged it here in a nice moment with his best friend.
Other SAMCRO-related tension includes Bobby taking it upon himself to put an end to any cocaine business, manipulating Tig in the process. As tough as the latter may seem, he's always been sensitive about his standing with Clay. All it took was the mere hint that Tig isn't inside Clay's inner circle and his suspicions were raised, his anger apparent. Bobby is the least physically intimating member of SAMCRO, but he's easily the most intelligent. Watching him line up support for an impending vote has the feeling of a contestant on Survivor creating an alliance.
I've gotten this far in the review and haven't even mentioned how awesome Danny Trejo is as Romeo Parada. Seriously, how awesome is Danny Trejo as Romeo Parada?!? The guy just radiates cool. It's the ideal role for this veteran actor.
The Sons may not find their relationship so ideal as events unfold, however. Clay is thinking about his long-term future by trying to use the cartel for a major score, but he's only thinking in the short-term about the affect this connection will have. For every insider the group has within other organizations, such as the Russians, that's how few qualms it has about killing. You don't exactly make a deal with the cartel and then go your separate ways a couple months later.
Just a terrific episode all around this week. Do storylines feel similar to season two, with a couple of outsiders in Charming creating problems for SAMCRO that largely serve to escalate the feuds within SAMCRO? Yes. Do I really care, when these characters are so well drawn and the tension so rich and I legitimately have no idea who will live, who will die and how various alliances will play out?
Not one bit.
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