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Sons of Anarchy Review: The Truth Hurts

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What happens when the Scumbag Outlaw meets the Pillar of Justice?

You end up with the best episode of Sons of Anarchy Season 6.

Of course, what made "John 8:32" stand out was not necessarily the tense confrontation between Jax and ADA Patterson, nor the plan it put in motion of Jax setting up the Irish to earn gun-related immunity for SAMCRO.

It was the meaning behind the episode-titled bible verse: Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Patterson and Jax

Of course, Jax doesn't seem especially free at the moment, despite the many hard truths he discovered on Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 9 .

Gemma slept with Clay in the most humiliating way possible. Nero was willing to give himself up to protect the club. Oh... and Tara faked her pregnancy, conjured up a miscarriage/assault story and is planning to divorce him.

Ouch. Ouch. And triple ouch.

It was a painful, enlightening hour for the SAMCRO President and that's what made it so engrossing to watch.

For most of this season, Jax hasn't been especially likable. He's been taking extreme measures on his own, believing he knows what's best to push the club into legitimate businesses... only he's ended up crossing the Irish in the process, getting clubhouses blown to bits and actual members killed.

He's also been ignoring troubles at home, of course, while causing plenty more by sleeping around. In short: the guy has been a self-centered jerk.

And it all came crashing down around Jax this week. The know-it-all realized he didn't know it all. He was in the dark about Nero, in the dark about Gemma and in the pitch black about Tara. He was hit harder by these truths than by any punches Nero threw, visibly startled and shaken as each figurative blow landed.

Where will it all go from here? It's tempting to say someplace very, very bad, with Tara rightfully holding both a baby and a gun on her lap, petrified of what will happen when her husband walks in the door.

But the Jax who sat down at the ice cream shop table with that troubled teenage girl didn't seem like someone with revenge on his mind.

It was someone who personally knows what it's like to grow up without a father and with a rather effed up mother. It was someone who saw first hand this week the effects that the club, even indirectly, can have on a child.

Jax admitted in his chat with Patterson that he doesn't like looking in a mirror, but the presence of Brooke forced him to hold up a mirror to his own family life - and he didn't rage in response. He lit a cigarette and sat pensively.

Might Tara not need that weapon after all? Might Jax actually now realize the impossible corner his wife has been placed in and her desperation to get out of it by any means necessary? Might the truth actually set him free? Yes. But Tara should probably keep the safety off just in case.

Elsewhere:

  • My affection for Nero knows no bounds. The guy is honest, straightforward, unafraid of confrontation and able to throwdown one minute and then wrap his arms around his enemy the next. He oozes empathy.
  • Clay going all pussy crazy at bible study was one of the funniest scenes in SOA history. It's so rare that Ron Perlman is given a chance to smile, let alone go bat $hit crazy, and he clearly reveled in every second of it.
  • But considering all Clay has gone through just to stay alive in prison, it now must be asked: Do you have any sympathy for him?
  • Gemma gave her blessing for JT to be killed because he was a "weak link." Nothing we didn't really know already, but more evidence of how different Gemma's relationship is with Nero from nearly every single one on the series. It's actually based on - gulp! - honesty.
  • Many viewers will be analyzing the latest sighting of the homeless women. But I don't have much to say about her. She's clearly some kind of ghostly entity, popping up when Jax struggles with his conscious, seemingly meant in this case to be Brooke's mother. But it's very abstract and I don't envision Kurt Sutter ever giving a real answer. I prefer to focus on what we know and what we can discuss among the actual characters.
  • Not much from other SAMCRO members this week, but a kazoo and Tig realizing that every teenage girl hates him were a couple funny side notes.

Overall, a terrific, emotional, tight episode. It moved the narrative forward via the deal with Patterson, but it mostly took us inside Jax Teller's head and heart.

Those are confusing places to be right now. But they are also incredibly entertaining.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (97 Votes)

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

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    20 Comments New Comment Subscribe

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    Few highlights of this episode :
    - Chucky 's new hobby
    - Bobby saying Hi to Unser
    -Gemma's new birds (why crows ? What happened to Carl and Carla ? )
    -Patterson's new haircut and the officers talking about it

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    I'm finally up to speed ! Took me almost a month to watch this show but, hell this episode was one of the bests ! Clay going bad ish crazy had me saying amen and laughing out loud ! This character has always been tricky and not so much fun. Cannot believe he had to go to jail to do that ! Bitingthat nose off though...that had me put my bowl of chili down for a second lol. Reminded me too much of when Otto bit his tongue off !
    Gemma and Nero ROCK !!! I love the man ! However, Gemma needs to be stopped...worse case senario, permanently ! Tara has become this awful person so she could beat Gemma at her own game, how disgusting is that ! She shouldn't have to go to such extremes to protect HER kids ! Poor Red, good thing her face didn't get smashed again ! Wendy...whenever the tough gets going she slips. So weak... I think her character needs to go.
    I don't think Jax will hurt Tara. Almost everything that has happened to her is because of him. This season, the guy has been a total a-hole ! With the club and with her, not taking care of her properly. I am actually surprised that she hasn't met a man who would give her a glimpse at a better life. However, the last 2 episode haves shown us that Jax is coming to the realization that, well, he's done both the MC and Tara wrong. I knew it was only a matter of time until Unser flipped. His loyalties lay with Gemma and then the club. Tara...not so much.
    Now, Jax's deal with the ADA makes sense, but is a bit fishy. Taking down the IRA ? Seriously ? Well THAT is something I cannot wait to see.
    Oh yeah, that homeless woman, so had me thinking that she was the mother. Like seriously, but hey, if Kurt Sutter said we ain't gonna know for sure, then I'll leave it at that !

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    Does anyone else think Nero is an undercover FBI agent?

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    This has to be the best review of John 8:32 that I have read. I think you are SPOT on.

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    Loooveee this show so much!!!
    Credit to the writers and actors for putting together one of THE best shows in TV history!
    Jax will not harm his wife in any way (he won't even go home next episode, so really Tara with the gun is a tad dramatic; there's no way she'll shoot her husband), he realises he had quite a number of opportunities to leave WITH Tara and their boys but always put the club first.
    I mean yes it's something his father built but goodness to let it turn him into someone he doesn't even recognise?? No Buenos!
    Yes he loves his kids, yes he loves Tara but he has to let them go if he himself is not willing to leave Charming and SAMCRO.
    The biggest threat to Tara has always been Gemma, who really and truly needs to sod off so Abel and Thomas have a chance outside this life!
    Yes Tara loves Jax but there comes a point where you know what you love is poison, and that's the realisation she's come to this season.
    Please let this end with her and the boys leaving Charming (and make sure Gemma is not waiting on the outskirts of the town to take the boys back!!!)....icing on the cake would be if Jax goes with them.
    It would break my heart to have a repeat of Jax's life for them.

    PS: dude who almost lost his house+homeless woman = wrench wielding spawn!
    The homeless woman most likely lost her memory in the crash is why she never went home.
    Can't wait to figure out her significance to the story thus far.

    Lots of SAMCRO love from Ghana! (even though I swear I feel like I'm the only one who watches SOA here!!lolol)

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    loving reading everyone's thoughts on this complicated episode. I say Tara is safe from any violence on Jax's part...he knows he's an accessory to her pain. He's put in place a way for her to avoid prison and I think he watches her leave after that...wouldn't be surprised if she takes the boys, too. I think Jax is having a moment...realizing that his wife is right - they've got to get out to survive. She didn't actually kill their baby...he knows how desperate she was and he knows that it's just as much his fault. I LOVE Jax but he's been far from an angel as a lover and a husband. He deserves his comeuppance but I think he will surprise us and wear it well. Nero is AWESOME and the best thing that ever happened to Gemma. But she is still a class A bitch. She has only one concern - herself. Told Jax about Tara only because it served her needs, not because she was worried about her son or grandsons. I know it's not possible, but I'd love to see her die. I think Nero and Bobby will try to smooth the waters for Jax and Tara...would love to see them 'get past' this, but there may just be too much blood under the bridge.

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    so clay bites a guard's nose off and so when the guards come in for a revenge beatdown, clay ends up with a black eye in a straight jacket?
    I would have thought he would have been in line for some serious cosmetic realignment.

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    @Sally i have a sense that tara MAY go crazy and kill herself......but i really wnat to see those two...... jax and tara come face to face alot of people probbly would like to see that as well but at this point who knows. I can not wait for the next ep. can't believe this season is almost OVER!

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    Your review, both well written and spot-on, sums up my feelings EXACTLY! Season 6 Jax is not a very likable Jax (alas) and the mess that he's in is of his own doing, like really. As for what will happen when he walks through the doors at home...maybe not what I originally expected. But my heart does go out to the poor guy, can't really catch a break.

    Now, Nero. Firstly, I adore Jimmy Smits and was beyond excited when I heard he was sticking around. You described him perfectly. He is such a great guy, with a good heart; I hope his loyalties don't land him in any further trouble. And interestingly enough, I was thinking about this as I watched Gemma confess to Nero, he brings out the honesty and truth in her. It's refreshing. I can actually stomach Gemma when she's with Nero!

    Anyways, this was definitely a great episode; this season has been such a roller coaster ride. I'm sure it will end with a bang, though I'm hoping more figuratively and not so much literally. Then again, it is SOA!

    Avatar

    Your review, both well written and spot-on, sums up my feelings EXACTLY! Season 6 Jax is not a very likable Jax (alas) and the mess that he's in is of his own doing, like really. As for what will happen when he walks through the doors at home...maybe not what I originally expected. But my heart does go out to the poor guy, can't really catch a break.

    Now, Nero. Firstly, I adore Jimmy Smits and was beyond excited when I heard he was sticking around. You described him perfectly. He is such a great guy, with a good heart; I hope his loyalties don't land him in any further trouble. And interestingly enough, I was thinking about this as I watched Gemma confess to Nero, he brings out the honesty and truth in her. It's refreshing. I can actually stomach Gemma when she's with Nero!

    Anyways, this was definitely a great episode; this season has been such a roller coaster ride. I'm sure it will end with a bang, though I'm hoping more figuratively and not so much literally. Then again, it is SOA!

    Avatar
    @ Maryam

    You're so right about Gemma. I fell like it's love AND hate with her. But since Nero came in her life she has been this better person, going as far as admitting that she helped killing JT. I love the man. Such a great character. I love him and Gemma together, the $hit the've been through and yet they still are together. This truth however... I don't know. We'll see.




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