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+.


More plot points: Clay is pushing to make Jax look incompetent to get that seat back. Clay may be behind the break-ins. Jax said he had an investor from Oakland; bringing Pope into Charming. Jax also mentions "long con". They are up to something we are a yet not privy to. Plus it's been a week. It's nice to have then find some joy in the madness. Even Jax's fight with Galen was tactical not reactiveor hot headed like Clay.


Now that Gemma and Tara seem cool again, anyone else think they're going to plot to take out Wendy?
Also, I love Walton Goggins idgaf!


@ashley - its the escort jax was trying to get out of town. looks like the mexicans found her


Good Article, but you gotta remember, Sutter doesn't leave ANYTHING hanging. (Ignore my spalling and grammar-I'm just brainstorming here) Everything he writes in happens for a reason. I'm sure we'll see blowback for Galen burning up the bikes, Chibs got real mad-don't blame him, loved that scene by the way. Also the home invasion scene involving Mrs Roosevelt, maybe pointless now? But we also now know they're white and not a "black problem", tho I think we already somewhat knew that, now we have confirmation. Then you wanted more Jax and Clay feuding? I'm almost positive Jax dealing with Hale to pass Charming Heights will cause some retribution from Clay. Clay was the main opponent to Charming Heights and I can't imagine him letting Jax get it passed without opposition. I'm sure this line will bring in Oswald again, and more controversy. So, I know what you mean about some pointless fillers, but I'm also sure the kid Devin? Will come in play in the future as well. Maybe he'll have some little role now like Chucky has. Some kind of go-between between Jax and the City Council or something. I guess what I'm saying is, Sons is an ever winding web. Everything we've seen so far that we've thought was insignificant, has come back to be very significant...we'll just have to wait and see!


Who's body parts were in the cooler that was delivered to Jax?

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