Welcome to the latest edition of the Sons of Anarchy Round Table.
Coming off a terrific season finale, panelists Matt Richenthal, Dan Forcella, Arlene Gonzalez and Christine Orlando have gathered to discuss Jax's reluctant rise to power, Clay's survival and a lot more from "To Be, Act 2." Join in on the discussion now...
What was your favorite scene from the episode?
Matt: Jax confronting Clay in the hospital room. An obvious one, but an obvious one for a reason. Charlie Hunnam sold every emotion resonating through his character's body with a few facial expressions alone. He scarcely even needed the knife or the spit, but, hey, those didn't hurt, either.
Dan: Not for Jax and Tara's sake, but for Sons of Anarchy's sake, I couldn't have been happier than when Jax immediately told Tara about Romeo and the CIA. This series has struggled with its characters not telling each other vital information for the sole purpose of dragging a plotline out longer. I was glad to see that not happen again. It gives me hope that fiascos such as keeping these letters a secret for an entire season are now in the past.
Arlene: Oh man. Just one?!? Okay, I'd have to say the final parting scene. Jax at the head of the table with Tara's arm wrapped around him? Stunning. The way it should have been back in the day and the way it had to be now. It seemed almost regal in nature and the way Kurt Sutter was able to demonstrate that was incredibly artful. It pained me to say goodbye.
Christine: I was thrilled when Jax told Tara the truth about the CIA because I don't see how he pulls this off without her knowing. Then he offered to let her go. My favorite moment was when she went to him at the head of the table giving us a great set up for season 5.
Are you happy Clay survived?
Matt: Yes, as long as he truly remains marginalized. Clay filling a role such as Piney's has potential. There's also the apt comparison Sutter made in an interview between SOA and The Shield, as Vic and Shane remained in each other's lives even after the latter committed the most heinous act possible. There are plenty of directions a series can go when former friends are now complete enemies and, well, compare anything to The Shield and I'm pretty much sold.
Dan: No! It's a cop out. Yeah, they came up for a reason for why he needs to stick around SAMCRO, but that doesn't mean it was necessary to do so. As always, if characters aren't at risk of consequences - especially ones that completely wear out their welcome in the given community like Clay did in season four - it makes the series much less interesting to watch. Taking away his presidency, and sidelining him for the time being is nice, but the bold and frankly more believable move would have been for Clay to die... like a lot.
Arlene: I actually felt bad for Clay there at the end. He may still have been unrepentant even while Jax was cutting into his jugular (!) but the scene when Gemma peered in on him and he looked like a broken down old lion in that hospital bed tugged at my heart. Ron Perlman is nothing short of Emmy worthy. So am I glad Clay survived? Absolutely! Something wicked this way comes in Season 5.
Christine: Surprisingly, yes. As much as he deserved to die, I think a castrated Clay could be even more interesting and dangerous. I hope he gets his due eventually but I'm looking forward to seeing this play out a bit longer.
Will we ever see Opie again?
Matt: Okay, Sutter already revealed the actual answer to this question. But I'm looking forward to how, exactly, the great Ryan Hurst is woven back into the story.
Dan: Yes. Unlike Clay, Opie's arc cannot end like this.
Arlene: Of course. He just needs to take time to absorb all that's happened. Dude's a thinker. He's hurt. But ultimately his love for the club and Jax will win out. Nothing like the future to erase the past.
Christine: I hope so. I'd miss the big guy if he just disappeared. I think he'll take some time to regroup then hopefully come back and take his place next to Jax. What I can't imagine is how he deals with Clay from here on out. I think Opie deserves to kill Clay more than anyone.
Romeo working with the CIA: Cool twist or lame twist?
Matt: I can see both sides. It removed all the tension from the finale as soon as it was revealed - it instantly meant Jax stayed, Clay lived, and no RICO operation would touch SAMCRO - but I appreciated that the surprise took place so early on. It allowed us to just spend the rest of the episode watching these great characters react to it.
Dan: It was a cool twist for sure. I didn't see it coming. The fact that it was almost like pressing the reset button on all the problems SAMCRO had going for them doesn't mean that it wasn't both cool and reasonable. Nothing about what happened over the course of the season made me think that Romeo and his crew couldn't have working with the CIA, and in fact, it makes the botched Tara abduction make a whole lot more sense now.
Arlene: Total cool twist. My jaw dropped. Didn't even think about that possibility. That's how scary Danny Trejo's face is. LOL! Love him.
Christine: Cool twist but they gave us a huge hint at it last week when Romeo told Jax that Otto hadn't flipped on the club. That Romeo was deep undercover was the only reason I could come up with for him saying that.
Give this season a grade.
Matt: A-. I knock it down a bit only because I was never sold on the Juice/racism storyline.
Dan: It's easier for me to do using comparisons. Season 2 was an A, which means Season 1 was a A-. The travesty that was the third season was a B-, so I'll give Season 4 a solid B+.
Arlene: A-. And that's only because I don't want to seem like a Sutter kiss-ass. The man is brilliant and I love the way his brain works.
Christine: For me, this season was right up there with season two. Grade A.