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+.


I know she had nothing to do with it, but I didn't feel a heck of a lot of remorse when Tig blew the guard's wife away. He helped kill Opie-I wasn't upset to see her go too. (again, she was NOT at fault for that...I know that...I just miss Opie) When Jax said she was 'collateral damage' I remember sitting there thinking that he just wants to do the work he has to for the club, get his money and get the hell out and away from the club and start his life with his family. I don't think he would have been so casual if a child had been involved. And, as the article says-she could identify them. They had to get rid of her, IMO. Sad to see Eli's wife die. I liked her. Clay may not have wanted her to die but he's still responsible...and I fear Wayne is next, based on next week's previews. I was stunned to hear that Carla was Nero's half sister...she was in LOVE with him! EW! I think I'm in the minority when I saw that I DO believe Tara is going to get down on her knees for Otto. And for the same reason I listed above about Jax...she wants out of that club and she wants her family out of Charming and I think she'll do whatever it takes to get there. I don't think (but I'm NOT clear on this) that she can kill Otto because his written testimony about the club could be used for RICO??? (again, I'm NOT clear on that...can someone help me that please?) What a season! This show truly gets better and better each year!

Jaxs girl

@ Pam, I've been wondering that too. Why is Juice so devoted to Clay? I doubt he knows he is the "rat", but you never know. He's held worse secrets.
And using the others (Niners included) in his plan is good food for thought. For the record, I miss Le'Roy. Loved him!! I think Jax does have an end game like he did in Season 3's season finale. Still my favorite by the way. I think gettig rid of Tig will also be in the plan. Only Jax knows about the $5million pay-off to track down Pope's killer, if gunned down. I think Jax will give Tig an opening to kill him for burning his daughter. This way he kills two birds with one stone. Just brainstorming.......


Tara will kill Auto


What does Clay have on Juice? Does Clay know that Juice is a rat and is blackmailing him to do his bidding? Or is Juice just still in love with Clay for giving him that Men of Mayhem patch? I don't believe that Jax is that naive about Pope...Jax has a plan just the way he planned for Agent Stahl. Maybe he is planning to take down the CIA/Cartel, IRA and Pope...but is keeping it close so Clay and his crew can't find out about it. The meeting with the other three gangs showed me that the Niners are positively unhappy to be under Pope. The other two are just going along with Jax but you could tell they are not thrilled. This will be important when Jax needs help to take Pope down. One thing is certain...Clay intends to kill Unser, Gemma, Tara and Jax (he has already killed Opie because he manipulated him to protect Jax). If I can hope for just one thing, it's for Clay to be gone and Juice along with him! If Jax can show Eli that Clay was behind Rita's death too, maybe we can finally be rid of Clay. I hope that comes soon! Clay and Tara are both hiding the fact that they are on the mend...Clay has a certain amount of days where he must ride or he's out of the club...they both obviously have plans.


I too am a bit concerned as to where Jax is going to take the club. For 4 seasons its been made very clear that Jax wants just a motorcycle club, now after dealing with Pope a few times Im not so sure. The review sums Jax up perfectly, he did like charmed and impressed with Pope. I'm guessing Sutter has an end game with only a couple of seasons left to go in the show, but for now I'm not liking where the club is going. For the people that watched The Shield the writers, Sutter being one of them, did a brilliant job of getting the tv audience to hate and despise Vic Mackey after 5 yrs of everyone rooting for him. I'm sensing similiar things might be happen with SoA. I for one at least for last night, was pretty disgusted at the actions of Jax and the reast. I have to make myself remember sometimes, these are not people I would ever have anything to do with in real life.

Jaxs girl

@ Wes, I'm leaning that way too. She wants to prove herself. She can't do what he's asked of her becaue if she does it once he'll never let her go. For some reason my DVR stopped tapping at the sceen with Eli/Jax. I missed the Clay/Nero coversation. DANG! Unser stood up to Gemma, but that may have been his last stand. Carla killing herself was a stretch, but we can go on without her. Gemma hooking up with yet another randon guy is getting old. I hope she calms down before she makes a different name for herself. When Samcro finds out about the break ins do you think Clay will die too, or is it too soon in the season?


This was a great episodeI I did not make the connection it was lay behind the nomads, wow! I feel like Carla killing herself was shocking but random like it was said we didn't really know her. Sadly, I wasn't too broken up about Tig's decision to kill the guard's wife. She had to die she could id them all and it would've actually irritated me more if they danced around and tried to avoid that end; that would not have been authentic. Tara is not going to get on her knees, I can't see that but she is going to try and be Gemma 2.0 with this Otto thing and make the save herself. Speaking of Gemma, I wouldn't have trusted Clay to get rid of a body that may implicate me in a crime. She of all people should know he's not trust worthy. Go Unser! He really broke it down for Gemma I guess he's tired of being used. I wonder how long before Jax catches on that it's Clay....


Old hellboy is a wicked bastard !!


WHat a brilliant slut..Jemma had to set up Clay AND Nero to come by her house at the same time, showing their need for her while she's out at the bar cougarizing


I think tara is going to kill auto if he doesn't agree to reverse his statements that way they have no testimony

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