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.


  • 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?


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+.


This season sucks balls. The only redeeming feature is Nero. The death of Opie was a major mistake and the survival of Clay is unconvincing. Heck, who didn't guess he was behind the home invasions from the get-go? We all did so why didn't Jax? Ughh, barely watching tbh but still clinging by my fingertips.


Darthy by far has been one of the most intense episodes of the season. Clay needs to die and soon, not only because all the damage he has done but he is dangerous. At the end of season 4, he was lying on his death bed, stripped of his President patch, then by season 5 he came full swing and did some more damage. If he survives season 5 he is going to be deadly by season 6.


I agree with @swingjay - that was totally ridiculous. I felt the same way about the scene last week with Jax being 'snatched' by Romeo just as he's on his way to bust Clay, giving Clay the opportunity to hide the documents. It all seems a little too soap opera-esque for Kurt Sutter. And I don't understand why Gemma is still fawning over Clay. He confessed to everything, so she she's off the hook. I figured she'd be out the door immediately. That final scene with Jax and Wendy was the first time I have not liked Jax. That was brutal. Wendy didn't ask to be in that situation and she's just trying to protect her son also. Jax has definitely crossed to the dark side. Can't wait to see how it all wraps up this season.


The CIA guys disrupting the gun deal with the Irish was just stupid.


1st time I noticed that Robo Cop directed this and so many other episodes. I think Tig will survive. The preview for next week showed him looking at the end of Jax's gun barrel making it look like Tig is done, but the previews on this show rarely give away any real secrets for the next episode. There is only 1 thing that makes me not feel any mercy for Tig and that is the way Tig smiled when he shot Opie's wife like he was enjoying carrying out that order (mistakenly thinking it was Opie he was shooting).


Well I loved the 1st 4 seasons of Sons of Anarchy, but season 5 sucks point blank, to much going on, the show is to busy and lost alot of substance this year, it seems like sutter rushed writing this season and over looked the details of what makes SOA a very unique show. Anyhow hopefully season 6 is better cause season 5 falls short of.the 1st 4 by alot


Silly Jax. He should have made sure Wendy's fingerprints were on the syringe before he left....


Weeeell, that was a little all-over-the-place. I loved the last scene with Jax and Wendy. I initially thought he was gonna shoot her because of what Tig said to him, and that would've been bad. But loading her with drugs? Genius. For some reason I can't help but love Clay and Gemma together. I know they *won't* be together but I wish they were. They're my favorite couple, both evil, manipulative, backstabbing bitches and I love them for that. I wish they'd get on that plane together and escape to Belfast. But I guess that's not the plan. Jax butting heads with Bobby was scary. Up until now Bobby had a good influence on Jax, but after this episode... it's getting seriously scary. Also, I want a Happy storyline next season. I love that guy.


Jax is nothing like Clay. His "angles" are for all the right reasons. I don't see the character looking for trouble; it's finding him the whole time while he's trying to make a "clean" exit. What a great show!


First off, I am still not enjoying this as much as the first four, but it is entertaining. I want to see Jax realize what he has become, make everything right and take his family away. Some how I don't think that is going to happen because in this episode I think he crossed that line that he can't get back across again. Putting the needle in Wendy's arm is that point and it should come back to haunt him. Jimmy Smits is one of my favorite actors so I hope that Nero survives into next season. The only real way to keep Clay in the series is to send him to Belfast. There is a story there that could be very interesting and it would be fun to revisit the Irish characters. Will Sambel side with Clay or will they be after him like the rest of the Sons? I am looking forward to what happens next.

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