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Sons of Anarchy Review: Tales of Heads

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The past of Clay Morrow collided with the present dangers of the drug world on Sons of Anarchy this week, resulting in the death of yet another SAMCRO member and a future for this club that looks bleaker than ever.

Two First 9s

"Family Recipe" wasted no time answering the most pressing question from "Fruit for the Crows." Yes, the tree branch snapped, Juice survived his suicide attempt. But only in bodily form, really. His guilt-ridden, cornered mind was elsewhere from the moment he hit the ground, forced to not only adjust to life again - but to be thrown into an escalating war between the Galindo cartel and Lobos Sonora.

How do you fight for your life when you only just wanted to take it? How do you stand up for a family you only just betrayed? Theo Rossi has been nothing short of outstanding in this role over the course of season four, depicting Juice's pain and confusion with quiet, sullen looks and eyes that are somehow always on the verge of all-out waterworks.

And the reaction of Chibbs - a friend who was blackmailed by Stahl and can relate to the predicament faced here by Juice, even if he isn't aware of it yet - when he stumbled upon the truth? Anger... followed by shock... followed by sympathy? Riveting. Emotional. Perfectly done all around.

From Juice's second chance to Piney's final breath: Wow. Of those involved in the Clay/Tara/Piney threat triangle, this member of the Original 9 was the most likely to take a fatal bullet, but that didn't make the closing scene any less powerful, especially considering Piney's previous chat with Jax.

Piney is was a man who returned to an active life in the club for reasons as opposite as can be from the motivations now driving Clay at the head of its table. The latter wants money and to make a comfortable exit. The former wanted respectability, brotherhood, inspiration from the son of his late best friend. Jax screamed at Piney that he didn't want to talk about the past, but will he ever understand how the past holds the key to a safe future for SAMCRO? And also for Tara and his boys?

Will Piney's death - even if the club believes it was committed by the blood-smearing LS - finally wake Jax up to the dangerous path he has agreed to go down? And even if it does, at this point, what can be done about it?

And then there's the affect Clay's actions will have on others:

  • Tara. It's unknown whether or not she'll learn of this incident before departing for Portland, but imagine if she ever discovers the truth. Piney was murdered, after all, via a chain of events that started when she told him about Maureen's letters.
  • Opie. Father and son often fought, but no one could doubt their love for each other.
  • Gemma. She was aware of Piney's threats toward her husband, and certainly aware of Clay's murderous side. How much inner club killing can one woman take?!?
  • Bobby. On a practical level, he just lost one surefire vote against Clay for the Presidency.

So, RIP, Piney. I can't say at the moment whether or not your death was in vain from a storyline standpoint. But from a dramatic standpoint? You died a martyr for the cause of cold-blooded entertainment.

Piney's death and Juice's near-death were the two key developments on a packed episode that also showed us how Clay and the Sons have been able to survive in Charming for so many years. It goes far beyond intimidation. There are politics at work here, as Clay proved in his shrewd speech, donation and support for Elliot.

There's also the occasional need for chili, though you'll understand if I never go near any meal made by Chucky again.

That light moment eased the tension for a few seconds, but SAMCRO finds itself a key player in the middle a world it scarcely understands. Clay may know how to work the residents of Charming, but he and his crew have no idea how to respond to a bag of heads being dropped at their doorstep. Jax admitted as much when he bid goodbye to Tara.

This is war, Romeo's right hand man said. And he's right, of course. But the Sons have been at war for most of the season. Their biggest enemy isn't slicing up bodies and driving by in a hail of bullets. He lies within.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (155 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Please Directv don't take FX off of your channels!!!! we beg of you i can't live without my Sons of Anarchy!!!!! Every one needs to call Directv and beg them to keep FX.. as of Nov 1st we are gong to lose our FX channel, which means we will miss the last 5 episodes of Sons of Anarchy... this tuesday it will not be on Directv cause they suck and will not pay the money for the show... We are they ones that pay for Directv so we pay for the show we should have a say in what you can and can't take off!!! KEEP OUR FX & KEEP OUR SONS OF ANARCHY!!!!!!!!!!!

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Angela, Clay will not say that's Jax who killed Piney. Clay wrote with Piney's blood " LS " for " Lobo Sonora " on the photography with all the first 9

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I dont think Potter is JT but I think he has other resons for going after the sons than just enforcing the law

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I'm sorry - I thought the whole branch breaking thing was weak. That seems so amatuerish to me, like what other network shows would do. They should've either had Juice actually kill himself, which would've been true to the show for its shock value, or have Chibbs find him with a gun to his head, and then have that whole heartbreaking scene between them. I love Juice - he's one of my favorite characters and I'm glad he's still around, but the whole thing seemed 'out of place' for me, which a lot of stuff does so far this season.

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At this point, with the exclusion of Clay, it's going to be incredibly sad no matter who dies. I'm just not prepared to see Juice go. I just can't.

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Clay will not die this year...his story should be the main focus next year...but like every good Shakspearian (?) love story, there needs to be a tragic ending. My feeling is Tara is out, one way or the other, this year. She's a good actress and has the "look"...I'm sure she's in demand.

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Pineys last words were about Tara. I think they were more like a warning, like going after her will make it even worse for Clay. Like Tara said to Jax a few episodes back, about if you hurt her you hurt them all. Sutter does not do anything randomly or so they say . . .

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Great episode and if Directv takes away FX next Tuesday I hope Kurt Sutter sicks Clay on them. Will make Piney's death look like a paper cut....

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For the scene between Jax and Tara last night you could litterally see how defeated they both looked at having to make this choice to seperate even for a little while in order to protect thier sons. But when Jax eached for her hands you knew that they were still in this together. Their family first, safe and together.

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Me for one is not liking that Jax keeps crying & whining, Tara whining & complaining about the same thing she new what she was getting into getting involved with Jax,Clay killing Piney & want to kill Tara was is that & why Juice worrying about is race last time I checked Happy is looks african american to me,I was loving the show until this season I just do not like the way it is going, like their run is coming to and end, I would think a show that has dedicated viewers loving the show is not ready for this to end oh & one last thing none of the new propects is nothing like White Sack I loved his character & the club did not have to question his loyalty. Hope Kurt Sutter has something better in mind to change things besides putting mother against son, Gemma her son or Clay, I know real bikers do not have much loyalty but how do you love a club that you killing the people in it.