Sons of Anarchy Review: Life Isn't Beautiful

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Give Jax Teller credit for this: he's no longer in denial.

The SAMCRO President fully acknowledged his new dastardly ways on "Darthy," embracing them as a matter of fate and responsibility: "The gavel corrupts," he told Bobby. "You can't sit in this chair without becoming a savage."

Of course, he uttered this dark line just minutes after writing to his children that he was determined to make them "proud," that he will no longer be a coward… or a killer… or a fraud. He will be the man his "father tried to be."

So much for that vow. 

Pope and Jax

Jax has lost sight of everything, living and breathing solely to bring Mr. Mayhem down on Clay.

Such revenge-fueled rage is blinding him to the well-being of his club and his family; he might as well take Pope's advice at this point and scratch that visceral itch however he can. With the Irish deal gone very south, and an ex-U.S. Marshal on Tara's case, and Wendy seeking to take custody of her son, and Tig promised to Pope within 24 hours, every area of Jax's life is in disarray.

Does anyone really think he's in the state of mind right now to handle any of it?

Jax's idea of a "beautiful life" used to include leaving SAMCRO behind and settling somewhere with Tara. Now, it's sticking a needle in ex's arm and taking every violent, extreme measure possible to stay one step ahead of those looking to bring him down. There's very little long-term thinking going on here, as Bobby rightfully pointed out.

With Jax growing darker and more desperate by the minute, Clay was left to simply wallow. For a bit, at least, before making new plans of his own.

Kurt Sutter and Ron Perlman have done an outstanding job on Sons of Anarchy Season 5 of humanizing the ex-President, of adding depth to someone who last year was as cold and calculating as it gets. I don't necessarily feel bad for Clay, I will cheer very loudly when Jax eventually takes him out.

But I buy the crying scene soon after he lost his patch. I was invested in the look of despair on Clay's face when Happy blacked out his SAMCRO ink. Clay is no a cartoon villain. He's evil, yet he's legitimately hurt and lost at this point.

How will the show believably keep him around when he's no longer a member of the club? And might Tig join forces with him after all, assuming Pope doesn't actually kill him? No politics, no beef, just money. That can be awfully enticing to some folks.

Elsewhere:

  • Nero continues to be the coolest hombre in SOA history. He's back in the game and he's aligning himself even deeper with Jax and, in a very different way, with Gemma. Sadly, I don't see him surviving the finale.
  • The show has done such a stellar job of molding Clay this season that I legitimately don't know when he's being sincere or when he's playing a game. Did he really give that gun to Juice as a no-strings-attached thank you? Or is he continually working an angle?
  • Run, Tara. Just grab up those cute kids and make a run for it.

So this is where we stand with one episode remaining: Jax is on the war path. Clay is plotting a run to Belfast. Tig has been promised to the enemy. The Irish are after SAMCRO. Guns are being run, drugs are being traded and the man in charge of it all is out of control.

Will Season 5 conclude with Jax living up to the pleas of his father? Or truly becoming the guy he wants to kill?

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Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (125 Votes)

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

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