Sons of Anarchy Review: A Small World of Pain

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How far is too far?

Sons of Anarchy asks viewers to root for an outlaw motorcycle club, taking us inside a makeshift family and hoping we get to know the characters on such a personal level that we overlook some of their more dastardly deeds and cheer them on at every juncture.

For the most part, by a long shot, it works. We believe in the SAMCRO ideal and we love each and every member of the SAMCRO table.

But Tig shot an innocent woman in the head on "Small World," Jax simply referred to her as "collateral damage" and I was left to wonder whether the show has finally taken these bikers down a dark path from which they can never recover.

Otto and Tara

Every viewer out there was anticipating the day when Jax took revenge on that corrupt prison guard. We knew it was coming and we hoped it would be as brutal as the death of Opie that this gambling man oversaw and happily permitted.

And it was most definitely was. I may never look at snow globes in the same way again.

Within the world of SAMCRO, the beating was understood and deserved. But Tig casually pulling the trigger on the man's wife? Sure, you can argue he had no choice because she could easily identify all her husband's killers. And, yes, the ho-hum nature with which Tig ended her life is consistent with what he has gone through on Season 5. Never hesitant to kill, he's now more number than ever.

Still, it happened so quickly and was brushed away so easily by Bobby and Jax - the supposed rational side of SAMCRO - that it felt more disturbing in a way than anything else SOA has depicted in recent memory.

Is this really who we are rooting for now? A group of guys who are so oblivious to their own roles in their friend's demise (trace the steps of Opie's death back and SAMCRO is to blame above all else, considering its drug and gun-running deals) that they kill anyone and everyone who gets in their way?

Moments of introspection did follow the double homicide. Chibbs gave Tig a peck on the cheek. Jax asked Tara for a weekend away. In these small moments, we see the humanity that is meant to rise above the club's often evil actions.

Elsewhere... A LOT went down. Following a relatively slow couple weeks, the episode ratcheted up the action across all fronts.

We learned Clay is behind the Nomadic home invasions. Not exactly a major shock, but one that still very much holds my interest. We all knew the former President was up to something and it's safe to assume his end game here is simply to bring down Jax. He's leaving plenty of blood and a few bodies in his wake, however.

We watched Carla kill herself, a somewhat random and slightly forced turn of events. Viewers didn't exactly know this deranged woman very well, not learning the details of her life until after she died and Nero simply provided a bunch of exposition. I suppose the act is meant to bring Nero and Gemma closer, defying Jax's demand that his new business partner stay away from his mother, but both the suicide and the requests leading up to it by Carla mostly came out of nowhere.

Otto made an appearance! It's also a welcome sight to see Kurt Sutter in this role. The imprisoned death row inmate represents what Jax and company may become someday. In this case, though, he shed more light on Tara than anyone actually in the club. She lied to Jax about seeing Otto, and even though she remained standing during the doctor/patient visit, we're left to wonder: Just how low, literally, will Tara go for SAMCRO?

Jax expanded the club's drug dealings. Just temporarily, of course, or at least he claimed for the 12th time. Does Jax even believe his banter at this point? He's talked about making SAMCRO clean for a long time now, but he's the man in charge and he seemed both charmed and intrigued by Pope in that backseat.

The man does talk a good game about risk and fear and greed and what it takes to become a successful "businessman." But don't be fooled by those nice clothes and that big office, Jax. Damon Pope's idea of a clean, risk-free business is most definitely not what your father had in mind.

All this and Joel McHale picked up a downtrodden Gemma in a bar! It was a seriously busy night on Sons of Anarchy, filled with bullets and beating. What did you think of "Small World?"


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (116 Votes)

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


Sons of Anarchy Review: A Small World of Pain Comments (Page 2) - TV Fanatic


Uh...Tig killed Pope's daughter, got all teary eyed with Clay about it, saw his own torched before his eyes because of it and got the club in a sh!tload of trouble because of it. Now he's on a short leash with Jax. What's new? He even said to Clay, "You had me kill an innocent girl" or something to that affect.


I definitely think Jax is holding alot inside. He is not holding hands with Pope like everyone thinks. I believe he is learning from him so that he can eventually beat him at his own game and truly avenge Opie. He has not let that go so easily. The guard was only the beginning. Tara is very interesting as she spirals further and further into darkness. Gemma unravels and Tara tightens it up; the new matriarch. Jax has pulled her into the pit with him. Tig is wound like a spring right now; holding in his daughter's death and he will eventually snap in an epic way. Clay will end up killing Juice when Juice realizes he is faking his illness. I miss Opie so much; like someone I knew personally but the show is very complex and interesting this season for sure. It may surprise us all.


I'm so disappointed in this review. It was such an amazing episode with so much happening and you chose to focus 3/4 of your review on something so minor, it barely warranted mentioning. Yes they killed an innocent woman... they have done that countless times, when Gemma was on the run Tig killed her father's carer, when Donna died, the daughter of Pope... this is horrible but not new. You didn't even mention the fact Clay is faking his recovery speed, you briefly touched on the death of the Sherrif's wife, and Unser finally confronting Gemma. Not too mention, the suicide was far heavier for me to watch then the death of the nameless wife. - maybe its a women thing. Plus all the power plays between different characters were just flawless! And the gangster meeting when Jax, Sais, 'We should do it more often" was priceless!! The subtle mentoring of Jax by Pope is amazing to watch... How can you leave all these things out Matt! Look at the bigger picture! This is still such a brilliant and intricately written show - things don't happen in one episode - they develop with time!


Tara - Otto was speaking metaphorically... he wasn't asking for a prison hummer... he asked if she would get down on her knees to him and when she didn't he asked why would you expect me to do that for the club... Nero - any chance he's Galindo? Clay - what a d**k... every time you would like to hope he's not horrible... WRONG!!! lol Overall violence - come on people... Let's not forget this is an OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE CLUB/GANG THAT RUNS GUNS FROM THE IRA... they AREN'T good people... they are self fulfilling their own MC name... ANARCHY... why be surprised when bad people do bad things... All that said... BRILLIANT writing... this show is the best on TV... highly entertaining even when it stretches the realm of reality...


What an episode! Most people seem to have a problem with Tig killing the guard's wife. Although, it's a brutal act, it's not the first time that Tig has killed an innocent woman. He shot Donna and was willing to kill the young witness back in season 2. So it's not really out of character plus considering what he's been through so far, it's just Tig. My interpretation: It was, in a way, a re-enactment of the guys having to watch Opie die. The guard had to watch someone he loved die before his eyes, knowing that he was powerless to save her much like the guys were powerless to save/help Opie. It was karmic in a way just as Jax saying,"I got this" with those being Ope's last words. Also, it served the dual purpose of not leaving a witness.
I was really bothered by Otto and Tara's scene. I was wondering if she would do it. I still see Tara as Jax's way out of the violence. I think she's going back to make a deal with Otto or she's about to get hurt. Otto did give a threat when he walked away. I don't want to see her hurt or have her walking down Gemma's path step for step. Tara is intelligent. I want to see her reason out a plan that get's the club and Jax what they need without sacrificing herself in any way.
Gemma is off the rails and I'm afraid it's going to take something drastic to get her back on track. I'm thinking that since the preview pretty much showed Unser's last moments with Clay, that it's going to be his disappearance or death that shakes her up. I can't wait to see the moment when Clay's actions have been discovered.


Every week it just gets better and better,Carla was a jeckel & hide she plaid us like schmucks blew everybody away as for the colateral damage it needed to be done can't have loose ends as I said before best dam show on tv.


I think Tara will take one for the team and give Otto a BJ. I also think she's going to like it but try not to mentally. Then Otto is going to give it to her Big House Broken Condom Style. This going to confuse and darken her more, which is all part of her becoming Gemma Jr.


Season is half over.
Anyone recall anything chibs, juice,happy and all the other "stars" of the show besides, gem/jax/clay having anything to say to show they are actors. Not "stands next to" actors? Cant keep up as theres a plethora of "one line acting".
How do actors get by with one or two lines a month? Do they also work at Ralphs?
Why does Opie/Piney die and Unssor doesnt?


I think Tara is going to give Otto the needle to end his life in exchange for recanting his testimony. He wants to end it and now that he knows RICOH is on hold indefinitely - he'll take it. Unser is definitely on the way out - I'm not quite sure how yet but I think Clay will set up the Nomads for the break ins then take them and Unser out together. He can make it seem like the Nomads killed Unser and Clay retaliated by taking out them... Or Jax will see Clay with the Nomads at the cottage and put two and two together finally...

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