Sons of Anarchy Review: Broken Bones, Bonds

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My. Goodness.

Just how intense was this week's episode of Sons of Anarchy? How riveting was "Hands?" Consider this admission: I forgot Piney was dead.

Tara in the Hospital

Seriously. I know we saw Unser covering up the crime, and I know Clay halted Opie's trip to the cabin early on, but then Tara was abducted... and her hand smashed... and we learned Potter was a fan of cartoons... and Eli offered up his services to Juice... and Clay went all Chris Brown on Gemma and... what can I say?

By the time Jax made his major apology to Opie and told him to go see his old man, I had forgotten all about the most significant development from season four, even though it only took place two episodes ago. That's how much action went down this week, and that's how deeply it was all seared into my brain.

No scene more than Tara's meltdown in the hospital. From silence to resignation to rage, Maggie Siff ran through every emotion in less than a minute, nailing her portrayal of a woman who only hours earlier was shining brighter than the sun she was under in the park, surrounded by her children and fiancee. Tara's dreams were coming true, until her biggest nightmare became a reality.

"No one will want me now," she bemoaned to Jax, post-surgery, clearly talking about far more than her profession. Tara now sees herself as damaged goods in every conceivable way. She's no longer a successful, independent doctor. She's merely an Old Lady, someone whose entire existence is defined by a man. She may be tough, but Tara has never wanted to be Gemma 2.0. She's never wanted her life to be the club. She's just wanted to be with Jax.

And now she is, at the cost of her self-confidence and her talent and with danger constantly looming over her kids. Heart-breaking, powerful stuff all around. The most jarring sequence of the season.

But it had competition from Clay's shocking, violent beatdown of his wife, which may have actually hurt Gemma less than Margaret's words inside the hospital chapel. You're an awful woman, and all this suffering landing on Tara? It's because of you. Hard to argue with that assessment, isn't it? Katey Sagal brings so many layers and such emotion to Gemma that it's easy to forget... this woman is rather despicable.

She played a role in one husband's death, she's complicit in the murdering ways of another. She's leading on an old man with cancer, and to what end? To keep her family safe? How is that working out? No, Gemma doesn't deserve a battered face, and at least she draws the line at her grandchildren, but consider Gemma's response to this blood-filled mess. She isn't Tara. She's not (angrily) lying back and accepting her fate. She remains at her most manipulative, refusing to accept Unser's solution to turn Clay in for killing Piney.

Clay can't be saved. He's not going down by law. He's gonna die, by the hand of the son.

A bit heavy-handed? A tad theatrical? Absolutely. But so what? The show has earned it. This is the sort of declaration that could easily pass for a season finale cliffhanger, yet we still have four new episodes remaining this season. What could possibly happen next?!?

Not everything this week was centered on the show's main two women, of course:

  • What a great moment between Jax and Opie in the waiting room. The former manned up with his apology, even referencing Donna and admitting Opie's family would still be intact if not for his actions. What could Opie possibly say in response? Nothing. Does anyone convey silence better than Ryan Hurst?
  • All that dropped on him and Ope still doesn't know about his dad! Man.
  • Not sure I totally follow Romeo's reasoning for needing to take out Tara. Is he even aware of what she knows? It's a SAMCRO problem Clay outsourced to the cartel. It doesn't actually impact their deal. Unless this is a power play of some kind. Perhaps he just wants to send a message to Clay: This is the big leagues, biker man. There's no going back on any agreement.
  • On a conference call this week, Rockmond Dunbar said Eli's storyline could extend into season five. Doesn't mean I have a clue how he'll play a role in helping Juice unsqueeze himself from Potter's grip... just passing along the intel.
  • Is The Jetsons really still available on rerun?!? Thank you, Kurt Sutter, for getting that theme song stuck in my head.

I'll conclude a review of this amazing episode by revisiting a still-relevant poll question: WHO WILL DIE NEXT?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (161 Votes)

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


Weeds is pretty good and last ssoean was awesome. Have you watched Dexter? If not, that's always my no. 1 recommendation for a new tv series. And I saw some pretty cute little short/romperes at Target yesterday, so..just sayin.


wendy can't do nothin she signed away custody of Abel to Tara/Jax. She's just back to try to ramp up the drama. I also agree with Richy...Romeo needs to go thru with the hit for 2 reasons: 1. To leverage Clay into not backing out of their deal. 2. Clay lied to him and told him that Tara had info that could undermine their deal, so on that fact alone they gotta take her out. Clay could have told Romeo that he was wrong she didn't have said info, but it's funny how he chose to remain quiet about that and take his refund back.


oh my god! maybe its time for gemma, tara and unser to realise that some one of them needs to speak up soon? our else they are al in danger very soon! im so freaking worried about wendy showing up in the next episode? tara isn´t her self right now and good knows what kind of plans wendy has.. im thinking about abel.. jax and tara doesnt need more shit right now! i just hope that in the end of all this drama, clay dies and that gemma is the one who sacrifice her selve to make that happen. I also hope that the doctors are able to fix taras hand!


poor juice,having to suffer the repurcussions of his dick head prez.,he's proved himself to the club he should come clean and let em' know his past.clay as a prez."gotta go"."an american mc club dealing w/cartels,,,,bullshit!!!,i"m an mc memeber in the b.x.,nyc-shit like that don't run here.we deal in house!!clay"s a prick!a couple of our members watch the show and we citique the shit outta of it.(great show/very realistc),but man some of the shit in there is unheard at an mc club(at least 1 percenters)kurt you must had done your homework on this one,life in an mc is almost that real.,,,love the show,hope my other brothers who disagree are not online.


Freakin AWESOME, I've never enjoyed such a show, look forward to next week, and you who doesen't like the show, go somewhere else, this show rocks.


cant wait for jax to find out what clay has done to tara jemma an pinney.cant wait to see him get the treatment that he gives to everyone else. he is an evil they havent even found poor pinney yet that poor sweet old man. clay u r a pig. you go get him jax an do your mummy an girlfriend proud. jax is a real man an will fight for his family


Great stuff, no doubt, but have to agree with Bonnie about one thing, overdoing the drama. Where's the humor, SOA writers can write it with the best of them, and sadly, it is entirely missing this season. Grit without humor is so one dimentional---it's just girt. Other then that, the actors are fantastic and the directing is top-notch.


I am pretty sure Gemma said "... by the hands of a Son" and not "... by the hands of the son". I would put my money on Opie killing Clay in the end, for all the shit he's done to him. I also put my money on that Opie will be the only Son left alive when the shows end.


HATED IT !! Can't stand goody=two=shoes broad anyway!! shows getting too full os stupid DRAMA!!Attempting to make it like ALL the other shows on TV, please stop, your starting to destroy one of the reasons I loved the show was to get away from all the frickin DRAMA !!!!!


OK- first off- GREAT episode! But- hey-- was that Wendy and Miles I saw or ghosts?? WTF? I hope Opie offs Clay- he's caused so much pain for him. I think Unser is next to go- either by Clay or the cancer. I'm surprised Gemma missed when she shot at Clay. And she did look truly hurt by what Margret had to say to her in the chapel... but you never know what Gemma is thinking. Kurt Sutter, you are a master storyteller! Can't wait till next week! PS- loved the cartoons Juice was watching.

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