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.


Editor Rating: 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+.


anyone think Luis Torres is working with the lobos? He killed Pedro kind of looked like Pedro wanted to say something before the knife in the throat by Torres.


Whose heads were in the bag??


FIRST OFF I think the Sheriff is bluffing. I Don't think that Juices dad is black. Superb acting by all and last night's episode left me craving more, more, more.......Best Drama pm TV by far.....RIP Piney


I still can't believe Clay killed piney. After reading several comments I'm learning that Roosvelt could b JT but Gemma has met him. Wouldn't she regonize who he is? And I hope nothing happens to Tara & the kids. It was very sad last night to watch her & Jax talk knowing that when she leaves it could be the last time they see each other. This season is the best so far.


Im going to have to start taking anxiety meds before each episode. What an awesomely written and acted season!


Oh - and Chucky. Absolutely brilliant - exactly what a very heavy episode needed.


Piney. Man. I can't even. I knew it was coming and still... I can't even. Clay has now crossed the line into cartoon level villainy. I will be absolutely stunned if he makes it through this season alive. I still think Gemma's going to be the one to take him in. I don't think she realized just how deep Clay's darkness runs but Piney's death will shed a lot of light on that. She's going to kill him to protect her son and her grandchildren. I just hope Tara makes it out before something horrible happens to her. I agree with the person that stated her story is finally believable, at least in theory. I think it's been believable all along. She loves Jax and has for a long time but the danger is no longer just to her as Roosevelt pointed out. Her children are at risk now too and no mother worth her title would believe Jax can protect them. One armed prospect is no match for a hail of automatic gunfire. Now, Juice and Chibs. Fine performances from two excellent actors. Both have long been favorites of mine and I love that they're really getting the chance to shine, especially Juice. Theo Rossi is such a talented actor. It's great to see him front and center with a real meaty story to work with. Jax and Opie. I can't be the only person that thinks that perhaps Opie is going to suspect Jax had something to do with Piney's murder. I'd like to think that isn't the case but Jax went to 'check in' with Piney and then Piney winds up dead. I think Piney's death is going to bring such bad stuff down on the club. Another theory - is it possible Alvarez is the rat in the Mayans? He doesn't have the best history with Clay. Perhaps all this was part of a plan?

Matt richenthal

Not sure where this idea of Lincoln as JT is coming from, but no, folks. There's is a zero percent chance of this being the case.


I loved the cops eating the "Chile ala Lobos Chucky." What an episode! I believe Chibs will get Juice through the hard road ahead. But Clay killing Piney?! Does anyone believe the MC will believe it was LS? Gemma and Tara will definately know it was Clay. And how about Clay's public appearance to donate to the town and annouce the horse he backs for mayor in the next election! Does Sheriff Roosevelt begins to see the need for the MC in Charming? Will he begin to realize who the real bad guys are? Will he understand Wayne's relationship with the MC all those years? Will he begin to look the other way too, for the good of the town? Wow! I truly hope this show stays with us a good long, long time!!!
Goos job, Mr. Sutter, cast, and crew!


Almost forgot, Awesome Job Chucky. To see those Cops sitting there eating his Chilli, WOW What can one say, GREAT JOB GUYS

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