There was a lot of talking on Sons of Anarchy this week.
As opposed to fascinating conversations over the first two episodes, however, which opened up new rivalries within the club and provided insight into Jax's desire to move on; Clay's fear of growing old and broke; and Opie's understanding that Lyla is no Donna, just to name a few examples, the interactions on "Dorylus" were far more expository in nature.
That's fine, and even necessary to move the season along, but the reliance on discussions that were far more plot-revealing than character-revealing made this my least favorite installment of the opening three.
But while the seed planting was a little slow to watch at times, it did leave open the possibility of intriguing dilemmas that are sure to blossom over the next few weeks.Let's start with Juice. He's always been a side character, mostly around to keep things light. But it follows the progression of an organization that take time to promote members for different individuals to be moved into the spotlight each season. Last year, we got to know Chibs a lot better via the trip to Ireland. Now, it looks like Juice's family history will give Theo Rossi a chance to shine.
Or to yell in pain as his back tattoo is burned off, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
The not-so-subtle racism of SAMCRO is something that hasn't been explored over the first few seasons, but given Juice's heritage, and the color of Sheriff Roosevelt's skin, I'm excited to see how the show deals with it on episodes to come. Is the club and Ethan Zobelle really so different? The latter was made out to be a monster on season two, but viewers tend to overlook how intolerant these bikers can be.
Especially this season. Clay is on edge like never before. He'll promise anything to Bobby, raise his hand to Gemma, do and say absolutely anything to make his big score and move on before Father Time/Arthritis wins out. How will Gemma respond to this sort of treatment? In front of SAMCRO members, no less? On the premiere, Jax said his mother was "just an Old Lady," which we know not to be true... except that it is true.
Can she really do anything to stop Clay and the cartel-based slope on which the club is about to slip down?
Major props, as always, to Katey Sagal for her performance. It's hard to think of any character on any series that depicts such a range of emotion on a weekly basis - heck, practically on a scene-by-scene basis - as Gemma. Here, she was tough with Tara, then open about her past with JT, then confrontational with Clay and then finally downright terrified of him. Question of the week regarding these two:
Might Clay have not been in on JT's death? Could Gemma have orchestrated it herself?
My least favorite character on SoA also made an appearance this week. It's a major stretch to believe that Tara's boss was formerly affiliated with a club and would be this understanding of her employee bringing that life into the hospital. Seriously, how great of a surgeon must Tara be?!? The supervisor showed up on "Dorylus" to hint that Tara was thinking about moving a few months ago, when Jax was still in prison.
This isn't a major reveal, as it's no secret Tara doesn't want the SAMCRO life for her kids. But it's just another secret between family members, as Jax is now keeping his plans to depart a secret from Opie; Tara isn't telling her man about this or about the letters; and Juice, as previously stated, has an African-American skeleton in his closet.
The tension is mounting between members and that's when Sons of Anarchy is at its best. This episode mostly served to move various pieces into place, confirming the club's involvement with the cartel and the obstacles that go along with it, but when those pieces are so well-acted and well-layered, who can really complain?