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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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Jax may not realize it but he's turning out less like JT and more like Clay.

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JAX TELLER IS A BEAST! He is being motivated by his need to take care of his family (Tara, Able and Thomas), his need to put the club back on stable ground, his need to get rid of Clay and his need to deal with the Opie's death. Yeah, the rage is showing, but it's controllable. Gemma is going to do what Jax has asked because like Nero said, without family she's got nothing and she knows it. Juice is wimping, but my theory is Juice confessed all to Chibbs and Jax and now he's working Clay for Jax. Everyone thinks Juice is the rat, but what if it's someone else? I'm loving this show!

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Juicy has been a disapointment since last year. hope he doesn't screw up jax. loved the glass line by unser, also the look on tigs face when jax had the axe. hope tara did not do additional damage to her hand.

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Sorry, but this season is a bit jumbled. My fav has turned out to be Nero. It's interesting how everyone wants a showdown between Jax and Clay. Jax wanted Clay out - he is out. What I feel and dont think to many have picked up on is that Jax has BECOME Clay - murdering, lying and thieving all continue just with a different leader. Also, the Gemma storyline is very disappointing to me. SAMCRO is in total disaray and Jax is not going anywhere no matter what b.s. he keeps telling everyone.

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I feel the same as a few of you- Jax is going too cold. I know he's had a hard life so far, seeing things no one should have to see. But, him shooting that kid in cold blood was a bit much. I know this is your story, Kurt, and I love your writing. But something's got to give with a few of the story arcs. Clay has outlived himself. I can't believe how Juice is acting; in earlier episodes, he seemed so self assured and smart. Now he is coming off as a wuss. And I hope Chibbs is alright! I can't wait to see how Roosevelt deals with Frankie Diamonds. I think there's only 4 or 5 more episodes to go. With them being 90 minutes each, (or so I read), it'll be a killer- no pun intended!

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I HOPE GEMMA DOES NOT GO WITH CLAY SHE IS TO GOOD FOR HIM SHE HAS SOMETHING GOOD WITH NERO I THANK HE REALLY CARES ABOUT HER PEOPLE IS JUST MAD AT GEMMA FOR LIVING HER LIFE THE WAY SHE WANTS TO CLAY IS A ASS AND GEMMA DONT NEED HIM JACKS NEEDS TO GET OFF HIS HIGH HOURSE AND COME BACK DOWN TO EARTH HIS WIFE IS NO BETTER THAN GEMMA SHE HAS KILLED PEOPLE BEFORE AND NOT TOLD JACKS SHE LIKES GENNA WHEN SHE NEES HER MESSES CLEANED UP I HOPE THAT SOMEWAY THAT THAY CAN BRING OPIE BACK FROM THE DEAD HOPE THAY CAN SOAPS DO LOL

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There are some characters that are untouchable - Gemma - married to the writer/creator and, unfortunately, Clay. Sadly Clay has run his course. He should go. Can Kurt bring himself to get rid? I doubt it. Trouble is, on a long running show like this, everyone becomes friends, and they chip in with places they'd like their characters to go. And it's hard to sack your friends. Hence Clay will most likely carry on scheming; Gemma will carry on snarling; and jax will continue thrashing around until he gets tangled in the plot too far and suffocates.

Jaxs-girl

Last night's episode was great!
@ Couchpotatoe, I can't wait to see how that unfolds too. @ jr, I have to agree....why is Juice so gullible now, and to share that intel with Clay was stupid as well as dangerous.Clay is going to throw Juice under the bus.
Jax is spiraling out of control and Tara is a close second, but I think he'll eventually come back himself and she will follow suit. "The pretty boy they gave the gavel to" has more tricks up his sleeve.

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I don't know why I keep feeling that Clay is going to end up being Jax father.. step father or not why does he keep calling him Son over and over again.??? After Jax told him never to call him son again weeks ago.. Juice is a wimp and needs to go.. Clay will die by the hands of Tara believe me...

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Best season by far. SOA had to start turning this direction IMO. After watching the last couple of seasons it was as if I was watching those Duke boys get in and out of trouble unscathed. While it was sad to see Opie die, it hooked me in big time. Hope it continues!

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