Sons of Anarchy Review: Playing Jax

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We knew it would come down to this, didn't we? Son vs. stepfather. Vice President vs. President. Charming vs... anywhere but Charming.

On "To Be, Act 1 - the first part of a Sons of Anarchy season finale that will wrap up next Tuesday - the shocking conclusion to last week's episode was revealed to be mere fodder for the decision that will alter the future of SAMCRO, as Tara and Gemma played a game of Jax and viewers were left wondering which path their pawn will choose:

Destiny or family?

Jax in Jail

Jax sees into his possible future. Will he escape SAMCRO being turning out like Lenny?

Gemma initially made a compelling case for the latter. This has been her end game for the last few weeks: get the letters, come (mostly) clean to Jax, give him the motivation he's been seeking since season one to truly make a move on Clay, take over the gavel and become his father's son in the way those manuscripts inspired him to be many years ago.

But Gemma underestimated her protege. Tara may never want to be Gemma (she has no interest in being the de facto SAMCRO Old Lady), but she's clearly been taking notes, both in manipulation and in taunting.

I'm smarter than you and I know Jax better than you do. He's mine.

Did anyone see that coming?!? Tara has seemed on the verge of losing her mind over the last couple weeks, but she apparently discovered it just in time to outmaneuver the woman who is always planning six steps ahead.

I do question why Gemma needed to wait this long to make her letter-based move. Couldn't she have gone to Tara right after Clay killed Piney and made the same plea then? Urged Tara to give her the letters, so she could hand them to Clay and end his murderous mission to destroy all evidence of his hit on JT? I'm not clear why Gemma insisted that Unser frame the enemy cartel for Piney's death when Clay as the trigger man was a key argument in her discussion with Tara.

This season has been absolutely riveting, but if you stop and think about a few plot points, it feels like the show has had to contrive a few secrets/machinations in order to drag out the tension for 14 episodes.

But that 14th installment won't be a series finale. We know Jax will stick around Charming. We know there are at least three seasons remaining of Sons of Anarchy if Kurt Sutter gets his way (at the very least; with its ratings, FX may push for more). We know the club will look different next year, but not so different that Jax won't be a part of it. So what could keep the vengeful SOAer in town?

I hate to speculate (editor's note: that's not true), but... he could get caught trying to kill Clay... Tara could get killed... the Niners could blow up Charming and cause the entire club to move.

Okay, the final guess is unlikely to go down - but, damn, Tig. Show some restraint. It was touching that Clay's closest pal felt so guilty over his failure to be there for his friend, but his reckless, rogue actions might also serve to keep Jax at the table. Look what happens when there's no leadership. Jax may admirably want to choose his real family over his leather jacket-clad family, but will be be able to walk away if the latter truly falls apart without him?

My only complaint from the episode was how much it marginalized Opie and the cliffhanger from last week. Ryan Hurst has been so incredible over the past few episodes, and Opie has such a legitimate reason to be in the middle of everything at this point (Clay is responsible for the death of his wife and his father), that it's a bit disappointing to see him shoved all the way out of the picture in favor of a full focus on Jax.

But who knows what role Opie could play on the finale. The same mystery surrounds the Irish. And the cartel. (although... hmmm... Romeo says Otto didn't rat out the club? Hard to believe this was just bad intel and not a clue into something more going on with Galindo.) And Potter. And now the Niners. All are converging on SAMCRO and Charming just as Jax is looking to leave them both behind. Will he fulfill this promise to Tara? Will he have no choice but to renege?

And, whichever path Jax chooses, how many more bodies will he have to step over to arrive at it?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (250 Votes)

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


Yes the similarities are interesting between "lincoln Potter" and john teller. If you go back to season 1, Gemma states to Jax that Tellers don't give up easily. That his father was dragged 168 yards and live two whole days before dying. Then you have to think about his life being threatened before he died, his story and with knowing his life would be on the line, he could have signed a deal and faked his death. "Lincoln Potter" knows the ins and outs of the club. And Otto actually asking him, "who are you?" to be told he is just district attorney Lincoln potter and Otto just nods and smiles. But the comment as he walks out the door,,,hmmm yes its interesting.


Donnie- your comment made me laugh! I still can't look at "Aceveda" the same. I've seen him on a few shows and always fast forward his scenes. That was truly the most disturbing thing ive ever seen.


why does everybody think potter is john teller?! gemma *talked* to him face to face. don't you think she'd remember what her ex-husband looks like?? i mean yeah he has a similar look going but there is no way potter IS jt. maybe he knew him, maybe he's... i don't know a far cousin or something if we're gonna stick with that idea but there's no way the guy *is* jt. that's bullshit. that would change the *entire* story of the series, i mean come on! and as for sutter saying there won't be any cliffhangers, i'm honestly curious how he's gonna tie up ALL those loose ends in one 45 minute episode. seriously, there's so much left, there's juice's dilemma, bobby's incarceration, otto's ratting or not, romeo's deceit, the deal with the irish, the whole clay thing, the rest of the club finding out about piney and possibly the letters, wendy's threat, the niner's retaliation, the club finding out about opie shooting clay, jax killing clay OR NOT, and isn't romeo's hatchet man still after tara..? there's soooo much o.O how is that gonna fit into 45 minutes? well. as long as it doesn't end the way season 2 ended... ha, when that final episode ended i was like staring at the screen going: "this can't seriously be the end of it now. you're trying to KILL ME, sutter." and as for tara possibly dying... i don't know. i can't really see it happening (meaning there's enough other things that would permanently keep jax in charming at this point) but if it happened - hats off. killing her off would be a really ballsy move of sutter. then again i honestly wonder how jax is supposed to recover from that shit. i mean give that boy a break.


Tara - I think that aspect about medical expertise is an interesting angle. The syringe probably has Tara's fingerprints, but definitely has Jax's. We could see Tara in some serious trouble with the law due to attempted murder charges. Clay - Following the Tara point above, I don't see how he can be killed off. He's the guy we love to hate. I think Tara will be charged with attempted murder and Clay will be moved into WITSEC; the manhunt is on to find Clay's safe house next season before the trial. Potter - No way Potter is JT, that would be nonsense. I could see some connection being made that Potter and JT served together or are distant relatives, but definitely not JT. I'd really love to see Potter and Happy in a room together though. Man, I loved that line "He's gotta a lot". Happy is stone cold. Romeo - I don't think he's the rat. My money has always been on Torres (Formerly known as "The Mouth Raped Aceveda"" - craziest scene on cable). I just kind of cringe whenever I see that guy on TV now, but yeah, I think he's the rat. Gemma - I never count her out. No matter how much Tara has learned, Gemma is going to have some way to outmaneuver her. Only way Gemma will lose is if she dies and I don't see that happening. The finale should be great. See you all on Tuesday.


Tara doesn't need to die for Jax to stay. "I'm smarter than you and I know Jax better than you do. He's mine." Gemma does not like to be stepped on or to lose. I think Jax will hesitate at killing Cliff but Gemma will inject Cliff and conveniently leave the evidence in the room which she can tell Jax that she dropped it because someone walked in on her as she was doing it and couldn't recover it before it was found and she is really, really sorry (right,sarcasm here, it's Gemma, you know!). They will determine that one would need the special knowledge that only a doctor would know and it is traced back to Tara. This keeps Jax in Charming so he is near Tara through the legal proceedings. Sets the stage for more turmoil for Jax with his ex around and a set of new circumstances for child custody battle. Gemma remains the Queen Bee.


I thought Romeo was a rat from the first episode where Jax and Opie are ambushed. He shows up, guns blazing, when they literally had only been being held for a very short that point I said he's a rat...not saying he's a cop but he's a rat. I think that Potter is related to JT and Jax, and is out for Clay. I dont think we will have any idea though until next season, but we will see! I love how Tara's character has evolved and I think wont die...she will probably play an even bigger role in the series next season. I think Niners will be postponed until next season, Wendy too.


nice touch with sonny barger in this episode that was real.this is gonna be some last episode I can`t wait a whole week!


No way potter is John teller. JT wouldn't put a young member like juice in such danger. Plus they have a photo of JT at the clubhouse, juice would recognize him.


First off I loved Tara's tell me that you love me that she used to gauge how truthful she thought they were. As far as Romeo goes he did not make the call to Stockton himself and I cannot help but think that who we thought was the rat at the beginning of the Season was not and that Romeo got bad intel or else he gave Jax bad intel because he is dirty/not sure which yet.
Worried that Tara will get it either still through Clay's hit or the 9er's eye for an eye thing in retaliation. Gemma overplayed her hand and not sure why as she is usually smarter than that.....
I also read more into things than I should I think at times but cannot help myself as Sutter is good with those subliminal messages like the homeless lady who pops up from time to time
Finally who was Jax talking to(himself)when he walked away from Tig??? Also Sutter Tweeted last night that there would be no cliff hanger per se and I do not see this all tied up in a bow next week
Lastly best line of the night goes to Happy.....
I absolutely love Happy I mean his wonderful insight on the 9er's situation. "He's right bro this dude gots to die like a lot". No could of said it better.


Romeo obviously lied to's his way of making sure his deal with Samcro is secure. Unfortunately, despite what Jax says and hopes, he won't leave Samcro. I'm not sure exactly what will keep him there (Tara dying, the club falling apart with missing members and attacks from all sides), but he'll find a way to prolong his stay and somehow I don't see Tara staying with him (if she doesn't die).

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