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Sons of Anarchy Review: The Mad Kings

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BOOM!

With one death last week and countless near-deaths on "The Mad King," Sons of Anarchy Season 6 finally found its groove.

Gone is Lee Toric and his maniacal, one-note role as SAMCRO villain. In his place are far more interesting antagonists for our boys in black:

Jax with a Pen

There's CCH Pounder's Tyne Patterson, a district attorney rightfully trying to find a "bad guy" for the recent school shootings; and there's Timothy V. Murphy's Galen O'Shay, a grinning, lecherous leprechaun who is really just a businessman at heart.

Both have far more understandable reasons for wanting to take down SAMCRO - Can you blame Patterson for wanting to get to the bottom of that child's gun? From Galen's point of view, isn't it easy to see his beef with the Sons? - and the situation offers up a juicy dichotomy:

Patterson wants SAMCRO for its guns. Galen and the Irish want SAMCRO for getting out of guns. The former is operating like an uncontrollable force, the latter like an immovable object (with explosives). Something has to give and it will be interesting to see what - or who - that is.

But this installment was also my favorite of Season 6 not just for its external forces, but also for a focus on its internal ones. Sons of Anarchy is always at its best when the bulk of its storytelling centers around Jax and various relationships within the MC. Not of which are going very well right now. Consider:

  • Tara is plotting to literally give Jax's kids away.
  • Tig is wondering whether Jax tried to have him killed a few days ago.
  • Chibs is an outspoken critic of his President.
  • Gemma is... well... being forced by prison guards to have sex with Clay while they watch. I know we all partly enjoy SOA because of Kurt Sutter's nuttiness, but there are times when it feels like he's aiming for shock value purely for shock value's sake. This felt like one of those times. I mean, come on.

And it all comes back to Jax, of course. It's been building for quite some time now, the SAMCRO leader acting on his own, making major decisions, thinking he knows what's best for club.

As outlined last episode, that decision-making process nearly resulted in Tig being murdered (and it would have, if all went according to Jax's plans);and, here, it nearly resulted in everyone being murdered, as we once again learned that the pen really is mightier than the sword, especially when that pen is accompanied by a keg full of dynamite.

So the clubhouse is gone and one has to hope this explosive conclusion finally jolts some sense into Jax. He has picked a fight with the wrong enemy, one far better equipped for war than SAMCRO could ever be. The Irish are real, global terrors. The Sons - for all their talk and swagger and gun play - are bit players in the grand scheme of the crime world.

It's a world Jax keeps saying he wants to get away from, but it's one that has literally now been brought to his family's doorstep.

Oh, and Nero got arrested on the same day he learned his girlfriend had no choice but to sleep with her ex-husband. That sucks. Who doesn't adore Jimmy Smits as Nero?

What did everyone else think of this Sons of Anarchy episode? Are you happy Toric is out of the picture? Afraid of which SAMCRO member will fall next (without the gun deal, remember, Tig is once again owed to Marks)? Do you believe Unser is sincere in wanting to help Tara? Gemma is sincere in her words to Wendy? Worried about where Chucky will now sleep? Sound off below.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (77 Votes)

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

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I agree with what most people are saying about Jax's relationship with the Irish. What I don't understand is his foibles of late. What we liked about Jax besides his beauty was his ability to navigate deep waters, he was more than just a pretty face. His colossal underestimation of the IRA retaliation makes you realize that kids should really pay attention in school. Tara's and Jax relationship sliding downhill was inevitable from the moment she smashed her hand. Tara is a pediatric surgeon that left Charming when she was 19 with virtually nothing. Do you know what it takes to be a pediatric surgeon at least 10 yrs post college. Tara has given up alot for love and Jax hasn't even given her fidelity. He has cheated twice. Get real people, love needs work to survive the chaos of life.

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@ Aykme

Could not agree more. Jax is a dog; treacherous Clay was more faithful than him! I miss Opie SO much right now.

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Love the show, love Gemma, Tig, Chibs, all of them but I not feeling it for Jax. Where is that caring man from the beginning. He used to be conflicted with the all the killing, now he's the one instigating most of it. He rarely show Tara any love these days. If they don't stay together I'm probably done watching. Maybe they should find a man that Tara might find interesting (successful doctor). Maybe Jax would wake up and stop hanging around with unatractive whores. Sorry but this show is a love story with some explosions and murders. Lose the love story and you lose me as a viewer. So far the story line of Tara giving her kids to Wendy is pretty dumb. I know that Tara doesn't want the boys to grow up bikers but giving them to Wendy isn't going to stop that. Wendy is weak. Give Margaret guardianship, she's smart, she understands the life, she'll keep them safe incase Tara has to do jail time.

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@Carda...Clay has HISTORY w/the galen and the irish. Both of them has secrects that i think don't want out. In this ep. one of the irish guys who was talking to jax asked galen 'is there anything else we should know about you?' So yeah i agree that clay needs to just die already but right now he's the only soruce that SAMCRO 'still needs' regrading the kings. Even gemma told clay that jax needs him.

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dumb question of the week: why exactly do they want to keep Clay alive now? I couldn't really understand all that crap because they still want him dead and in Gemma's place I would've told those prison guards to f*ck themselves and then go ahead kill Clay o_O
SAMCRO has beef with the Irish anyway, so how can it actually get worse if he gets killed? It should actually get better because with him out of the picture the Irish would still somehow need SAMCRO. Also I totally knew that they would blow off TM the second this Irish guy made sure that they would all be in one pre-determined place at the same time.

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@Ano
Ally said that you said ONE of the deaths last week was Miles who was killed in Season 4. She did not mean there was only one club death last week. She meant Miles was not killed last week, because he was already dead. Phil and V-Lin died last week. Ally was just saying you should get your facts straight, me too.

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When Gemma was giving Wendy the "I love you, you're good for Jax" crap, all I could think of was when she brought Wendy a filled hypo in the hospital so she'd OD. I couldn't believe Wendy fell for it.

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To me there is no show with out Tara and Jax being together.. It can not be all blood and no love Sorry !!!!!!!!!!!

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@Ano I believe that the reviewer was referring to the fact that Toric dying helped SOA find its footing again. I'm pretty sure they are well aware four people died last episode. Anyways...I wasn't aware until this week that Tara was trying to give the boys to Wendy. I thought she was just trying to take parental rights away from Jax. The fact that she is willing to give the boys to Wendy is ridiculous. Wendy didn't have custody of Abel because she was an addict that used while pregnant and almost killed him before he was even born. Although I agree that Jax, at this point, isn't the best person to take care of them Wendy isn't a better choice. Jemma, for all her faults, would give her life to protect those boys. If anyone should have custody it is her.

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Gemma already knows that tara is trying to get away and spilling out her feelings towards wendy....is to trying to lure her in and maybe ''get custody of abel'' i don't know. Unser helping tara would be good....'the cop' in him just couldn't help it. He's been w/samcro for a long time since he was chief of police....i have a feeling he HAD A PART IN J.T'S MURDER...covering it up. If you go back to S4 were gemma was burning the other half of the 'LETTERS' his name was in it and queen b i believe she said 'don't worry you're safe' to him. It's just a matter of time when everything comes out!

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@Ano - not to start trouble, but you posted one of the deaths last week was Miles - Miles died in season 4 (shot by Juice). Phil was killed last week, so you may want to fact check before pointing out other peoples mistakes, just saying.

Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 5 Music

  Song Artist
Alt-j-tessellate Tessellate Alt-J iTunes
Song House of Fire Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown
Miz-dopesick-blues Dopesick Blues MiZ iTunes
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