Sons of Anarchy Review: Family Matters

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Sometimes, you need to bribe your mother to sleep with your evil step-father in order to expose the truth about the man who turned on his fellow brothers in the name of vanity and greed.

Such was the lesson taught on this week's Sons of Anarchy, as "Ablation" dealt with the fallout from Gemma's lowest of high times that concluded "Toad's Wild Ride."

Gemma in the Hospital

It was an hour of shifting and questionable alliances - Clay/Juice, Jax/Pope, Jax/Nero, Roosevelt/anyone who can feed him information on Frankie Diamonds - and let me start by commending the show for not dragging out the states of Gemma, Thomas and Abel.

While I question how each survivor could have fared so well following such a horrific crash, I'm glad the series didn't try to pretend as if any lives hung in the balance here. We all knew everyone involved would come out intact.

The accident served instead as a jumping off point for the final third of the season. It provided Jax with a reason to blackmail Gemma in order to finally prove that Clay has no place at the SAMCRO table. He really has committed the ultimate sin here: brother on brother violence.

And Jax is desperate enough to prove it that he's pushing for his mother to fall back into the arms of the man responsible for so much death. Desperate and angry, that is. Desperate and angry and cunning, really. This is another example of the President taking Pope's advice to heart, whether he realizes it or not: Jax is turning tragedy into leverage, just as he did with Tig following the death of Opie.

He's a man whose only emotion is rage, as evidenced by his cold-blooded killing of the paid wannabe assassin on the rooftop. We've undoubtedly seen a metamorphosis of Jax Teller on Sons of Anarchy Season 5. Gone is the biker who only wanted to get his family out of Charming; in his place is someone Damon Pope can be proud of.

But is that someone JT would be proud of? I somehow doubt it.

Jax and Clay are aligning their pieces now for yet another confrontation. The latter hooked in Juice, whose blind allegiance to Clay this season has been a bit hard to believe, with their shared stories of murder; while Jax has Bobby and Chibbs on his side, once the Irishman wakes up from that blow to his noggin.

Kurt Sutter has backed himself into a corner here: the show is heading for a showdown between Jax and Clay, just like last season. Can they both really make it out alive once again? Will that feel like a cop-out if so? Many (not myself) took exception to the way Clay was written to survive Season 4, with the last-second CIA reveal and the convenient fact that the Irish would only deal with him.

It will cheapen the character's eventual demise if it continues to be dragged out past the point of believability. I'm not judging any storylines here before they take place, I'm simply noting the similarities between what each of the past two seasons has been building to and I'm wondering: Can SOA pull this off successfully?

Elsewhere:

  • Nero continues to be The Man. I legitimately felt for the guy when he was tied up and volunteered the 130K - which he's been saving for his son - to Frankie. He then delivered a perfect speech to Jax about escaping life in Charming and seems to be consistently focused on just that for himself.
  • Don't listen to Unser, Jax. Fingerprints on a glass definitely would not suffice, not in terms of gnarly action.
  • Yes, Nero, Chucky lost his fingers because he couldn't stop pleasuring himself. You should have known that.
  • Where do you stand on Juice? Is he too easily being swayed by Clay? Should he be on to the old man's manipulation?

Overall, a solid if not spectacular episode. It set the Jax vs. Clay 2.0 ball in motion and it raised the stakes across the SAMCRO family and the Teller family. One is now being used against the other. How did it all come to this?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (113 Votes)

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

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