Sons of Anarchy Review: Charming Heights & Lows

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Everyday is a new box. You're the one who determines if it's a gift or a coffin.

Dear Jax: I really like that quote. And I think it's great you're trying to fight off the feeling of hate, not letting it engulf your soul in order to teach your kids a lesson.

But forget about them for a moment. For the sake of Sons of Anarchy viewers, could you maybe get a little more mad? A bit more vengeful? A tad ornery? Becayse "Orca Shrugged" was the second consecutive episode that, relative to typical SOA fare, was light on the action and overall plot movement.

SAMCRO Members

It was heavy on the unexpected, ridiculous, uproarious Walton Goggins cameo, however. My goodness.

Such a cross-dressing role is against almost any actor's type, but any fan of The Shield or Justified knows that Goggins is as serious as they come. Making this appearance all the more ridiculous and welcome, of course.

But it felt like Kurt Sutter and company fell too in love with it. That blackmailing scene just kept going... and... going... and going. Pretty soon the kid was coming in and going off to the back and we even saw him get threatened with the cell phone pictures and it all just felt like a lot of filler.

Hilarious filler, but filler nonetheless.

The same can be said for Jax's fight with the Irish and their subsequent gun-down of the SAMCRO bikes. It's not news that these groups don't get along; heck, it's the entire reason Clay was kept alive. Only he can deal with the Irish. We already knew that.

I'm not sure how any of this served the overall storyline.

There were really only three significant developments to come out of the episode:

  1. Tara and Gemma are back on good terms. Thank goodness, too. As I wrote last week, the ongoing rivalry between past and current First Lady was growing stale and not even all that sensible. I much prefer their uneasy friendship.
  2. Jax is in cahoots with Mayor Hale. Makes sense from both ends. Perhaps - or most likely - there's more to come out of this down the line, but for one week, it played out like a very long way to establish what was already agreed upon last Tuesday: Nero and the club are in the companion business together.
  3. Poor Rita Roosevelt got shot by the home-invading Nomads and will likely lose her baby. Tough break for her and the sheriff, both of whom I like. But also incredibly random and out of nowhere. Safe to say it will help bring Eli into much further alliance with SAMCRO than he ever hoped to be before. Both now have a common enemy and a shared reason to track down the culprits.

See, this is the problem when you start a season by introducing a menacing new villain; and burn a main character's daughter alive; and then kill off a long-time club member. Momentum has to slow down at some point.

It's a terrific problem, one almost any other show on television would love to have, but the explosive beginning to Sons of Anarchy Season 5 has resulted in a couple much quieter subsequent episodes. We need some more Damon Pope in our SOA-loving lives. We need some real Jax and Clay tension. We need to see that damn prison sheriff get his limbs chopped off.

I have little doubt we'll get it all. Until then, hey, there are worse things to settle for than Walton Goggins in chaps and lipstick.

Isn't that right, Tig?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (100 Votes)

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


★★★☆☆TV Walton Goggins cameo nuff said.


Anyone else find it funny that Hale had such reservations about blackmailing the fat guy to get what he wants? I mean it's not like he's a squeaky clean character.

Jaxs girl

@ Donna, good point about Clay. I never thought about that. He's so pitiful now, I'd rather see him dead. Tara is smoking way too much pot. @ Maala, I was thinking the same thing about the drug testing. Last nights episode was priceless. I think Sutter was giving us some quiet before the storm. By the way, I LOVED BOYD! Those tits were so life like.


Love the SONS, Sutter is taking us on a fantastic RIDE,ENJOY!


Concerning the body parts in the cooler, the tittie and the finger. They were from Skeeter the funeral/crematorium guy. Ashley got away. As for last nights episode, I thought it was great. Needed a little breather because who knows when we are going to get another. And Walton Goggins butt looked fine in that buttless latex suit. Was a funny scene played to perfection. Hope somewhere before the series ends, we get to see Venus again. Tara is going a little heavy with the pot. Guess her hospital doesn't do drug testing... Gemma is kind of pathetic at this point,with her drugs,drinking and hooking up with women and men. Will be interesting to see how far she falls.


now we know why Raylan and Boyd are buddies. was a lighter episode, i guess some needed a break.ready for the heavy stuff. keep it up Kurt.


Who was the naked woman in the foreground with Gemma in the background smoking pot?


I liked the show last night. But I believe Tara and Jax should have more love parts... Clay should be the one behind the break ins.. So they can all die together..


I disagree. I think this epi hit all the right notes. S5 has been SO intense, we needed an epi that lightened the mood slightly & was a little fun. FINALLY some good news to celebrate. But of course, the heavier things were not far behind. I appreciated this episode & thank Kurt Sutter for it.


@Kita, wrong. @Ashley, the body parts were from an unknown source delivered by the cremator the club has used in the past. Emma Jean (Ashley Tisdale) escaped the Mexicans in the previous episode. Overall it was a decent episode, but I'm more interested in seeing the Jax-Pope relationship and how the end-game will play out for the two, professionally and personally.

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