Sons of Anarchy Review: The Mad Kings

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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.

The Mad King 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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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