Recap: ‘Sons of Anarchy’: Driving for Dummies, by Gemma Teller
I guess if we’re never going to return to the greatness of the second season of ‘Sons of Anarchy,’ at least there’s one good thing to say about the show: at least the characters are consistent.
This week Clay proved, once again, just how badly he needs to go, and Gemma, one again, does some really stupid shit that ends with dire consequences.
If you recall, we learned last week that Clay was behind the home invasions. He ordered the three new SAMCRO members to do his bidding in order to make Jax look weak so he could eventually reclaim his spot at the head of the table. Newsflash, bro, that ain’t gonna happen. I mean, can you even hold the gavel anymore, old man? Your arthritis has to be really bad now. And after Rita Roosevelt died from her wounds, there’s really no chance in hell you’re going to escape this one with just a bullet to the chest.
But let’s back up a second, because I’d like to start with Gemma, since her over-the-top car crash at the end of the episode has left me wondering if Kurt Sutter will soon be adding child murderer to his already long list of sins committed on the show.
For weeks we’ve watched as Tara and Gemma pushed and pulled at each other while trying to claim the top spot, both in Jax’s heart and in the Club. I know that Gemma’s going through a rough time – she started the episode in a dirty motel room with guest star
Jeff Winger Joel McHale, who steals her wallet and her SUV as soon as she wakes up for a post-sex cry session in the bathroom – but I find it hard to believe that a woman as fiercely loyal and protective of her children and grandchildren as she is, would actually endanger them by getting in a car when it’s obvious that she’s wasted. But then again, what do I know?
Gemma’s so happy that Tara and Jax have asked her to watch Abel and Thomas while they go out of town – this is the first real test of trust that we’ve seen this season – that she’d probably do just about anything to prove that she’s capable of handling them. Shutting her out of her grandchildren’s lives has to have been pretty rough for a woman like her.
If the confession scene between Gemma and Jax in the Teller-Morrow office is any kind of indication, she’s desperate for love and desperate to keep her family at her side, especially now that her relationship with Clay is over and her quasi-relationship with Nero has gone mostly belly-up (at Jax’s insistence).
“I made you make up for the love [Thomas] couldn’t give me anymore,” she said, explaining why she treated Jax the way she did after his brother died. “I’m sorry that I’ve always been too much.” (That’s putting it nicely.)
But Jax had a confession of his own. “When he died, I felt so bad,” Jax admitted. “It wasn’t because he was dead, it was because I’d have you all to myself. I knew how wrong that was. I love you mom. We’re gonna get through all this, I promise.”
Those words should have been a warning bell to my experienced viewer ears, but they weren’t. I took the scene at face value: as a sweet and sincere apology, a step in the right direction for the mother and son. I should have known that Kurt Sutter would do something to make Jax regret those words and regret ever having left his children in the care of a woman who’s thisclose to losing it.
Because if Abel dies (it was unclear to me whether those drops of blood we saw were Abel’s or Gemma’s – thoughts, anyone?), I don’t think Jax will ever forgive his mother. Especially once he finds out that she was an accomplice to Clay’s murder of his old man, too.
But even if Abel and Thomas both survive (pretty, pretty please let this be the case – killing Opie was bad enough, Sutter), you better believe that Gemma can sure as hell kiss her family goodbye. Once Tara finds out about the accident, I’m certain the choice words she had for Clay in this episode – “To me, you’re already dead. Stay away.” – will be echoed – and probably accompanied by a punch to the face – in Gemma’s general direction.
After missing the initial warning signs about the car accident – though, to be fair, I realized later on that something was going to happen, they were spending too much time on Gemma and the kids to not – I think my entire night was off. I really thought Clay was going to take out Unser since he knew the truth about the home invasions.
After everything that Unser did for Clay while he was in charge of Charming PD, I was never going to forgive Clay if he didn’t respect that loyalty. Unser has been a friend to the Club for a long time, and even though he’s not exactly friends with Clay (or Gemma, really) right now, I think it would be the wrong call to off him.
But I still thought it might happen. Kurt Sutter’s an evil son of a bitch sometimes and I really can’t rule anything out at this point. So when Clay shot the second nomad who rushed into Unser’s trailer (Unser’s shotgun got the first), I was confused. Of course, I soon realized that Clay was pulling a patented Clay Morrow and covering his own ass, but at first I didn’t know what the hell was happening.
Clay always turns to violence and murder when someone is thisclose to uncovering something that could bring him down. He killed Piney in an attempt to keep the secrets regarding JT’s death buried, and he tried to have Tara killed for the same reason. This time it wasn’t so much killing the person who could be his downfall, but killing the accomplices to his former crimes. He was tying up his loose ends, if you will.
Now would also be a good time to point out that Unser himself was an accomplice to JT’s murder – as was Gemma. Clay’s love for the latter is the only reason she’s still alive, and other than loyalty and the fact that killing a former police chief might look bad (and also because there’s no way to spin Unser’s death so that Clay will look innocent), Clay’s keeping Unser alive too.
The question you have to ask though is this: How long will Clay be alive? Because Jax knows that Clay’s behind the home invasions and is indirectly responsible for Rita’s death. And because there’s still one nomad left alive – Frankie Diamonds. And if I had to put my money on who I thought would be the hardest of the three nomads to kill, it’s Frankie. Just look at the guy.
So it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes during the second half of the season. Will Clay live to see season six? Will Gemma? Will Jax ever find out his mother doesn’t deserve even an ounce of his love, no matter what Nero said (“She’s still your mother … Women like your mom, they don’t do so good without family.”)? There are a ton of questions begging to be answered, and even though I missed a lot of the warning signs this week, you better believe I’m going to be on red alert next week.
Some stray observations:
- Juice seems to finally be snapping out of his recent idolization of Clay as he realizes just what a shit bag he is and that the death of the nomads was planned from the get-go. This makes me fiercely relieved, because I’ve been aching all season long for Juice to snap out of his reverie, but I’m also very afraid at having Juice return to a prominent place in the story. Whenever Theo Rossi gets ample screen time, it usually means something bad is going to happen to Juicey. And since the fact that he turned rat last season was never fully dealt with, I can only imagine that it’s about to come to light.
- Jax and Chibs, while on their way to meet Tara and Tig at the cabin (Piney’s cabin?) are run off the road and shot at. Jax manages to return fire and takes one down. When he rips off the mask you see that the shooter was black. What does this mean for the Sons relationship with Pope? Is Clay behind this too?
- I rather enjoyed Joel McHale, even though he had about 48 seconds of screen time. He had some pretty funny lines, including “You wouldn’t do that right?” and “So, let’s call it even?” But my favorite, because it really did remind me of Jeff Winger, his character on ‘Community’, was when he said, “I guess I’m walking,” after Jax and Nero caught up with him (the first time). Nero delivered his own brand of punishment by way of fists and feet later in the episode. The entire time I was yelling at my TV, “NOOO, NOT THE FACE, JIMMY. ANYWHERE BUT THE FACE.”
- Lyla is the new Carla – which means we’ll likely be seeing a lot more of her as Nero get’s closer to opening open at his new location. I’m looking forward to this storyline. Because I need to see Lyla mourn Opie. Because right now, it feels like I’m the only one left mourning that big hairy muscle. And that’s not right.
Note: Photo courtesy of FX.