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October 9, 2015

Review: Sons of Anarchy - Service

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 18th 2009 8:13AM
Mark Boone Junior and Ron Perlman
(S02E11) "If Gemma had gotten raped on John's watch, he'd have written a whole different book." - Jax

Forgiveness can be a funny thing. Assuming you're on the receiving end of something awful, It's not always easy to determine if you'd even be willing to forgive. That's the beauty of forgiveness though -- the act that led you to it might have been sincere, but that doesn't mean your capacity to forgive has to be. Unlike quietly accepting a situation, forgiving a situation has the power to pacify the parties at fault.

As we learned with Opie last night on Sons of Anarchy, his capacity to forgive is huge, but that doesn't mean he ain't lying through his teeth when it comes to his true intentions.

That isn't to say that Opie's a bad person. At the end of the day, he's arguably the one truly good person left in SAMCRO, which makes what happened to him that much harder to swallow. With the truth about Donna finally out in the open (we've been watching Tig crack under the pressure all season and he finally let go), Opie should have nothing to lose but he instead played it like he had everything to lose.

He could have killed Agent Stahl, but instead, "the outlaw had mercy." He could have done what Piney feared and made an attempt at Clay's life, but he didn't. Hell, he could have put a gun in his mouth and it wouldn't have seemed out of place given the circumstances -- his club killed his wife -- but he didn't. There's truth and justice out there and Opie wants, and deserves, all that rather than just acting on all his impulses.

Opie, siding with Jax, is determined to "un-make" Clay. The club put him in power, gave him the say to put a hit on Opie, and now it's time to make sure that can't happen again. Once Opie told the club that he saw Chibs with Stahl, he made sure they wouldn't treat him the same way -- do your homework instead of blindly accepting whatever lies Stahl has laid out for you.

A few more thoughts --

  • That quote I used -- what if things had gone differently? Jax seemed convinced that his father would have written a different book had something like Gemma's rape happened then, but I'd argue the opposite. Had something that terrible happened while John was in charge, it seems like it would have been an even bigger reason to write the exact same book.
  • After Gemma and Tig's "almost" sex, it really became clear how much the two of them were hurting that something like that was a possibility. Gemma just needed anyone to want her and Tig was essentially willing to commit suicide. However, the scene before it, where Gemma talked about a man needing to "own his pussy" was far more telling, especially since it led to the scene between Tara and Jax where she basically let Jax own hers for the first time. She asked him not to cheat and to assure her that kids and a family were in their future.
  • Now that Unser has put Hale in charge, this might be the end for him. All season long we've seen The Chief suffering from cancer and now that he's determined to help Gemma and the club with Zobelle, it would certainly make sense if he had made peace with his demons. This was the last episode FX sent out in advance, so this is pure speculation on my part, but it seems a safe bet to assume that Unser is going to die soon and it won't be because of his illness.
  • Despite the sad theme of the hour, there's always room for a laugh on SOA. Half-Sack showing Tara his swollen and infected neuticle was laugh-out-loud hilarious.
  • The episode did feel a little anti-climactic on more than one occasion -- Tig's confession and the truth about Zobelle. In both cases, though, the mellow unraveling of the truth worked. Revelations don't always have to be big scenes and these were two great examples.
  • Regarding Zobelle, I doubt Alvarez is going to be happy once the gun supply dries up. Can't run heroin without AK-47s and without AK-47s, Zobelle can't keep making money. The bigger issue is Weston. What's he going to do when he finds out that his boss is dealing with Mexicans? Weston is nothing more than muscle; his personal beliefs were just another hurdle for Zobelle to overcome.
  • Regardless of whether or not you believe Stahl felt guilty for what she did for Opie, it seemed to me that her tears were less about guilt and more about the fact that she would need to keep doing things the same way to do her job well. Look how she strung Chibs along. The real test for Stahl will be to see if she follows through and sells Chibs out to Jimmy O.

With only two episodes left (the finale on 12/2 is another 90-minute ep), there are still plenty of conflicts that need resolution and that means plenty of fighting. Anyone got predictions on who'll be left standing?

[Watch clips and episodes of Sons of Anarchy on SlashControl.]

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November 25 2009 at 7:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a great episode...Tight writing, believable acting (without over-acting, which would be really easy to do with a series like this) and some real heartfelt moments that didn't seem forced...I'm loving it.

I love how the Opie story line is taking shape, and can't wait to see where it goes from here. Also, I loved that they used the Two Gallants song "Fly Low Carrion Crow" - it's the song that plays when Piney is at his house and holding the gun in his hand...such a great 'Americana' tune that fits the show perfectly. (scene can be watched at : http://vimeo.com/7695650)

November 18 2009 at 8:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charles Runyon

I don't often watch TV but I really enjoy this show. I too am in a club and what I see as for the loyalty and brotherhood with these characters is how life is in a club. As for the outlaw part of it, well that's-- that. It's not everyday in real life you end up in a shoot out, but I know its television.
I am going to have to watch this again because last night had so much going on. I'm worried that with two more to go they seem to be answering all the questions and it may not be on again next season. I hope that's not true.
Very well done to all those responsible.

November 18 2009 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've always wanted to see Henry Rollins with a fork tube sticking out of his ass.

November 18 2009 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Part of me thinks Stahl was crying because she realized that most of these guys wont hesitate to kill her (lets face it she is a bitch). (on a side note isn't she from the show pretender? she has had entirely too much plastic surgery) She knows what she did to Opie was over the line and was probably expecting someone to come after her for it and when it finally does happen the guy shows the mercy she couldn't.

I wouldn't be suprised if Weston doesn't try to kill Zobelle when he finds out what he is up to. He might even throw in with SAMCRO to kill him.

The fact that Clay is finally listening to Jax is a long time coming. Jax has been trying to tell Clay that going after Zobelle the way they always do things wont work. He finally figured that out when Gemma told him what happened. Zobelle is not following the rules. Women and children are always off limits (even the mob follows that rule). With Clay realizing that it made him be able to listen to Jax. Granted he is listening to him about Zobelle but not making the club have more legal businesses. I think Tig is not going to make it. I don't think Chibs is going to make it either. He will see that his wife and kid are safe then die.

I do hope half-sack lives. Him and the one with the shaved head are the comic relief on this show.

November 18 2009 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charles melrose III

Don't care to speculate on the rest of the story--I'll let the writers do it better than I could. But thanks for one of the most thoughtful, nuanced and sophisticated reviews I've read on this site in a long time. This show has layers on layers of characters and agendas and contradictions and you did a great job of working through all of them.

November 18 2009 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unser is going to kill Zoebelle very publicly, but do it in such a way so everyone (the Feds, the public, his church, etc) finally sees him for the scumbag he truly was.

Also, what happened to Vic Trammel (the sherrif)? He just got left bleeding in the middle of the street after getting shot by the transvestite. Did he die? Is he in the hospital? Does SAMCRO feel no sense of debt for sending him to that state on what was essentially an errand for them?

November 18 2009 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike's comment

I asked that every episode since it happened, I love the part where he was like "I guess that bitch didn't want to be set up."

November 18 2009 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not only Trammel i'm wondering about.

What about Darby and Chuck? Neither Unser nor Hale mentioned them finding two bodies (or even one) in the burned down Caracara.

My guess is that Chuck somehow got Darby out of the building, and that while SOA will definetely take care of Zobelle and most of his crew, Weston's going to have to deal with a few pissed off Nords..

November 18 2009 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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