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Sons of Anarchy Review: It All Comes Around

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On a tongue-biting, nail-facing, dog-fighting season finale of Sons of Anarchy, the main reaction from this viewer was not one of loud disgust... but rather stunned silence.

Clay is headed to jail. Tara is headed to jail. And Gemma has returned to where she thinks she belongs: alongside the man at the head of the SAMCRO table.

Indeed, "J'ai Obtenu Cette" (French translation: I got this.) concluded with an altered image from the one that ended Sons of Anarchy Season 4, as Gemma stood in the same spot Tara had occupied just one year earlier. A whole lot has gone down since - and with the exception of one rescued pit bull, is anyone in a better place now than they were then?

Sons of Anarchy Season 5 Finale Scene

Jax has gone against every word he writes in those journal entries.

He isn't the bigger man, he isn't taking the club in any new direction, he's no different than the traitor he replaced. Even Jax admitted as much to Bobby this week, just prior to Bobby resigning as VP.

It's been a fascinating, gradual decline of this character, who lost the moral high ground a long time ago. He tried to regain it to an extent here, setting up Clay to take the fall for killing Pope, but that was for purely selfish purposes - and it also required a few leaps in logic.

What if Pope had immediately killed Tig? What if Pope's men had actually searched Jax? What if Clay had never given Juice his gun? And, come on, I'm just a mechanic looking out for his family? Laying it on a bit thick there.

Many pieces, most of which were beyond Jax's control, had to fall exactly right for this plan to work. I don't exactly buy it, but I'll try to ignore those questionable storyline details. Focusing too much on plot can drive a fan crazy for any show, especially one where - for all its chases and bullets and gross-out scenes - really comes down to the characters and how they react to the craziness around them.

So, where do these characters stand heading into Season 6?

As previously mentioned, Clay has been arrested for murder. I don't feel an ounce of sympathy for him, but I do believe that he's a regret-filled, sorrowful shell of his former self. Note his reaction upon hearing the charges, upon learning that both Juice and Gemma turned on him: simple hurt and begrudging acceptance.

He didn't rage, he didn't scream or yell. He seemed resigned to his fate. Of course someone like him wouldn't have a loyal best friend or actually get the girl. He knows that can't be how his story ends.

Tara is in handcuffs. And she was oh so close to getting away! This was a tough one to take. With the babies crying in the background, with Tara having just delivered a winning speech about her role of being strong in Jax's weaker areas, with her quick turn from sullen to stoic... just great stuff all around, from the acting to the unexpected cliffhanger itself.

Gemma is back in charge. This is a woman who has always done what she can to survive, but has she lost any and all sympathy? Turning in the mother of her grandchildren is downright evil. Forget Jax or Nero getting out of the life... what about Gemma? She had her chance here. Her rotten husband was gone, she had a good man by her side, song birds in a cage. And yet that still wasn't enough. She still had the need to be in such control that she took the drastic step of sending Tara to the slammer.

Don't chirp for her, Carl or Carla. She doesn't deserve it.

Juice is off the hook. When it comes to Jax, at least. But it seems impossible to believe that guilt won't continue to eat away at this SAMCRO member, the most innocent and wide-eyed of the bunch. From Roosevelt playing him to Clay jerking him around, poor Juice never knows who to trust or what to do.

Tig has revenge. And a new furry friends! Who would have guessed that the biker whose daughter was recently burned alive would actually find the most salvation by season's end? Tig is a nut job, but what a great character.

Bobby has given himself a demotion. Still the most calm and collected of the group, it's hard to blame him for his reaction to Jax's underhanded machinations. But is a demotion really the right move? You can't affect change from the bottom.

And finally there's Jax, of course. Will Tara's arrest be a wake-up call? Opie's death sent this President spiraling down a dark path, erasing his mission to exit Charming, live a clean life and make his father proud. What even remains of his club? Of his actual family? Both are more divided than ever.

That's where we leave things heading into Season 6. I hope we see more of Nero next year. I'm intrigued by Donal Logue's U.S. Marshal. And, grrrr, I really hate Gemma right about now.

What did everyone else think? Sound off below and give Sons of Anarchy Season 5 a grade:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (163 Votes)

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

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Go Gemma, Tara has been a snot since she's been back to Charming!

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I really hope that things turn around, I really want Tara and jax to be okay!! He needs to fight for Tara and put his mom in her place!

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Kinda screwed up that people are more sympathetic to the dogs getting hurt than people getting blown up in pieces or beaten to a pulp. There are psychological reasoning to explain that but it's still very screwed up indeed. Charles Hunnam is a great actor but it seem toward the end he's a bit uneasy and uncomfortable delivering the developments of the plot. There are too many contradiction in characters between Jax in season 1-3 and Jax's downward spiral at the end of s.5

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"What if Pope had immediately killed Tig? What if Pope's men had actually searched Jax? What if Clay had never given Juice his gun? And, come on, I'm just a mechanic looking out for his family? Laying it on a bit thick there." It think its perfectly believable that he thought he wouldn't kill him straight away, he started to take his jacket off, that usually means your about to beat someone down in a movie\tv show. And it wouldn't have mattered if they searched jax, he didn't have it on him, he had it inside of his bike wrapped in a shirt, how likely would they be to search that? The part about clay giving his gun to juice is a stretch, but everything else is believable imo.

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Can't wait for season 6. Glad Tara got arrested. She is more manipulative than Gemma. She came back to Charming knowing Jax would kill for her. Sins of the Mother this time...Clay killed for Gemma Jax killed for Tara. I think Jax is finally wising up to her. After a lifetime of being manipulated by Gemma he has to be aware of Tara's tricks. I hope she stays away.

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i love this show freakin awesome can't wait for SEASON 6! But i have to say this JAX is better off an OUTLAW than a family man, he said back in S4 that he wants out of SAMCRO and leave charming for good. Tara gets the green light to work again and finally takes the risk to take her boys to oregon it's obivious that she can't wait for jax. Both jax and gemma don't deserve to keep those kids gemma ALMOST killed them! so i don't blame tara wanting out and let alone be the QUEEN OF SAMCRO she can't handle that shit. let gemma keep that TITLE since she doesn't want to give it up. Overall season 5 was 1 hell of a ride R.I.P OPIE and now w/ pope out of the picture is AUGUST (pope's right handman) is he coming back ???

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Great episode!! Tig was so awesome since the scene with the dogs until the very end, he played it beautifully. And though Clay is evil I did manage to feel sorry for him... the look on his face when he realised he was being arrested, and Juice's face too... sad moment. Nero & Gemma together I love! I really don't think Gemma actually dobbed in Tarah, the whole show was setting it up to look like that, but it was too obvious, there's a lot more to the story. Jax has been a bit ruthless but think about it, he chose between Tig and Clay, he has to be this way, in this role... This is Hamlet... it's not a happy story. Beautifully written episode. Ps. the reviewed never mentioned Otto biting off his tongue!! Such an ewghhhhh moment!!

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why is rush hour on? Where is SAMCRO tonight?!

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I seem to be the only one rooting for Gemma, she is afterall one of the founders if not the founder of the club, remember her remarks how she wasn't going to see what she build for so many years fall. I for one LOVE gemma, she has been and should remain the queen bee. Tara is no gemma. It would have been nice to have seen the relationship fall into Gemma "teaching" Tara to pass along the crown someday but not today or while she's alive. The only thing I would like to see of Gemma is being more of the person they say she is, all for her family and doing what she can to make things right for that family she claims is everything to her.
There has been to much chaos I think they need to pull back some and show a "brotherhood" because right now it is a mess

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It'll be interesting to see how Jax handles Tara being locked up. There's a chance Gemma came to him about her leaving and he set it up. Also, he didn't follow through too in depth with the US Marshall that was stalking his wife. If Touric was the one to arrange her arrest, that could have easily been prevented. Jax was just too wrapped up in getting vengeance on Clay, or he didn't care enough to step in. I'm glad Nero and Touric survived the season though. They're good additions to the cast.

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