Recap: ‘Sons of Anarchy’: A lesson in blackmail
If FX was waiting for the opportune moment to begin airing ‘Justified’ teasers for the new season, it was tonight. Because when Kurt Sutter can get Walton Goggins to appear on his show with breasts and ass-less chaps, that’s basically $1 million in free press. FX marketing really dropped the ball tonight.
If none of that made sense to you, then stop reading, go watch tonight’s episode of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and then come right back.
Look, I’ve always known that Kurt Sutter was a mad genius. I’ve been watching this show long enough to trust the man and trust that he knows what he’s doing. But if you’d have asked me this morning if I thought he’d ever get Walton Goggins (whom he worked with on FX’s ‘The Shield’ and who currently stars in FX’s ‘Justified’) to play a transgendered prostitute on ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ and that I’d love it, I would have laughed you out of town. The fact that Goggins was so into playing the character perfectly made the entire silly bit of stunt casting hilarious. (Read about how the entire thing came about here.)
But let’s rewind for a minute:
The building that Jax and Nero want to use for Nero’s prostitution setup featuring the CaraCara girls is owned by, who else, Mayor Jacob Hale, Jr. (RIP David Hale, we miss you!). Hale is, unsurprisingly, unwilling to lease the location to the Club.
But Hale is also still one vote short for his Charming Heights development. So Jax and the boys set up an elaborate blackmail scheme involving the city council member and, you guessed it, Goggins’ Venus. The setup involved drugging the city councilman, and then arranging him in some compromising situations with Venus. But Hale’s greediness gets the best of him and he eventually relents, meeting Jax outside of his house with the lease and Jax tells him they’ll move forward with the blackmail plot.
But I’d be remiss if I let you believe that was the only thing that happened in this episode. Because Rita Roosevelt, also known as the pregnant wife of Sheriff Roosevelt, was the victim of another home invasion, but naturally, she grabbed a gun and attempted to fight back. In the struggle she managed to scratch one of the intruders badly enough to draw blood (and end up with his DNA under her fingernails), but was shot in the abdomen herself.
Now, we know from earlier this season that the home invasions were the work of the three new members of SAMCRO who came from the Nomad charter and who were voted in to the Club during the season premiere. We saw them throw out most of the stuff taken from Clay and Gemma’s house, except for marriage licenses and birth certificates.
But with everything else that has happened this season (RIP Ope!), I’d kind of forgotten about that entire storyline until it resurfaced tonight. There is talk on Tumblr that Clay is behind the invasions, ordering them to sabotage Jax’s presidency. But while it’s an interesting theory, I’m not certain I believe it.
Sabotaging Jax’s presidency by attacking the sheriff’s wife? That’s not just hurting Jax, that’s definitely going to blowback on the Club. And I like to think that Clay, even with his new position as Resident Old Man, is smarter than that. Yes, he’s angry that he was pushed out as president, but I don’t see him going so far as to sabotage the entire Club. Unless, of course, he is over the brotherhood altogether. But when you go through as much trouble to keep secrets buried and to keep hold of your power as Clay has done, I think him being behind the home invasions is probably unlikely.
I haven’t got any other theories yet though, so any others that you’d like to throw my way, I’m all ears.
On the Tara front, her arm is now in a soft cast (and she never told Jax about the run in with Nero’s madam from last week), and has actually healed quite well. So well, in fact, that she might be able to be a surgeon again. And when she heard that her prognosis was better than anyone could have ever imagined, she looked the happiest we’ve seen since before the accident.
But when Tig is bitten on the ass by the man the Club plans to blackmail and Tara is charged with sewing up the wound (oh, the fun things that come with being a doctor!), she visibly shakes and is unable to finish the procedure. Dr. Chibs and his Sexy Glasses take over and we get my favorite line of the episode: “I did shit. I can’t even sew up someone’s ass.” As much as I enjoy a darker and badass Tara, I haven’t really cared much for her storylines this season.
Tara is an intelligent woman. She is fierce. She is strong. But the Tara I know and love would never let herself be manipulated as easily as she has been this season. And Gemma, the expert manipulator herself, has also been a shadow of her former self. Instead of being a badass who doesn’t take shit from anyone, she’s taken to manipulating her daughter-in-law to do her bidding. She’s become a one-note character this season and she reeks of cartoon villainy. I hope that Sutter has something planned to redeem her, because as it stands, this is Katey Sagal’s weakest season to date. And that is not OK.
While Gemma and Tara attempt to mend their broken relationship (Tara actually invites Gemma to feed Thomas, something that you could tell pleased Gemma very much), her relationship with Nero is on the rocks courtesy of her son – who may or may not (rightfully) blame her for his father’s death. I have to say that as much as I love Jimmy Smits, I really, really don’t understand the appeal for Gemma. Smits is still turning in stellar work, but I haven’t seen enough of Gemma and Nero to actually give a damn about their non-relationship.
In other news:
- There was not one scene involving Theo Rossi without a shirt. I think Kurt has been sending all my e-mails to the trash can again.
- Only one mention of Opie.
- Bobby: “It’s pink, it’s wet and it tastes like sunshine.” / Happy: “Pussy.” / Tig: “Or Italian ice.”
- Tig could not fight his attraction to Venus. And thus the borders of Tig Territory have been expanded once again.
Note: Photo courtesy of FX.