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October 9, 2015

Review: Sons of Anarchy - Culling

by Danny Gallagher, posted Nov 25th 2009 11:16PM

(S02E12) "Either you or me goes home in a bag." - Jax to A.J.

The showdown we've been waiting all season to see finally happened tonight and even though it didn't end the way the antagonists deserved (i.e. heads removed where the shoulder meets the neck, placed on a stick and paraded around town on a substandard Japanese import), it still had my head spinning.

The show opens with SAMCRO preparing for their big, inevitable smackdown with the League by keeping all of their loved ones under lock and key at the clubhouse. But instead of just jumping into the fray head first with baseball bats twisted in barb-wire and all, they do what they should have done from the beginning: they plotted and planned. They turned the tables on the League and by doing so, turned the League on each other.

The easiest screw to loosen in this IKEA coffee table of evil is AJ, Zobelle's big dumb guard dog, which is a compliment at this stage. SAMCRO could have tossed the dumb racist lug a big, marbled piece of meat and he would have turned on Zobelle like a Sit 'n' Spin. Henry Rollins has done a great job as AJ on this season and brought a bold fierceness to the character that no one else could, but the character is very one-dimensional and single-minded in purpose. Simply hinting at Zobelle's working with a non-Caucasian affiliation would send the man to Defcon 1.

But on the polar opposite of the character changing scale lies Tara, a doctor who went from a gentle healer to a bigger face kicking badass than Gemma. Tara put that nosy administrator in her place by finally introducing her fist to her face and using the air of the club to get her off of her back. Something tells me it may not be once and for all.

Then after some scheming with the Niners and the Asians, Special Agent Stahl returns to exact the revenge she vowed to way back in season one, only to end up with more egg on her face than the opening band of an Air Supply reunion show. This not only gave the club a chance to get that pesky agent off of their collective back, but also the Irish gun runner who's been scheming with the League all this time.

It seems all the club's anti-dominoes are falling nicely until the very end and what an ending. It fulfilled both my inner need for wanton face beating and controlled justice for AJ without resorting to total annihilation. The two sides break out in a big Altamont style fist fight with AJ getting hauled away for arson by Hale after he's fingered by J.O. Hey, don't want me to do a stupid pun? Then don't dangle it in front of me.

But just as things seem to be going the club's way and they literally have Zobelle in their gun sights, Hale has to ruin the whole mess by remembering he's a cop and busting the club for taking justice into their own hands. Zobelle's save was also genius and sets up the final episode of the season for an even greater final showdown. If you aren't drooling over the big final 90 minute episode, check your neck for a pulse.

Some other observations:

- I was glad to see that Gemma's religious conversation hasn't completely overtaken her. That's not to say it won't happen but it's serving as an interesting and introspective guide to her personality and her character.
- The tension for this whole episode was just amazing. It had the right amount of slow, steady climax that you expect from a show and it peaked when Tig went face first into that League member and ripped his ear off with his bare teeth.
- Was anybody else as psyched as I was to spot the Kenny Johnson cameo as Tig's in-club rival? This is a pipe dream, but a cameo reunion of the entire Strike Team would be an awesome Christmas present or if you want, you can save it for my birthday (May 9th).

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Definitely the kiss was odd, more than once it seemed that way. Would love to see Kenny Johnson, but not at the expense of his Saving Grace character.

December 02 2009 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I rewatched this episode, and thought it was great. Feel so sorry for Half/Sack and his regection. I don't think Tara went too far, She was taking back her job in which is not at all at a desk, defending Gemma because somehow the administrator knows about it, and showing that she is tough too. If the SOA used the guns on the League, it would of been too easy and liked the brawl myself. I am starting to love Unser, he knows what he is doing and not stupid at all.. Can't wait for next week!!!

November 28 2009 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great penultimate episode! The Weston/Jax throwdown was so hilariously West Side Story-esque (Jets vs Sharks). I say, let Zobelle go to jail - SOA has got allies in there to 'take care' of this sicko.

November 27 2009 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey! I ain't the only one:


November 26 2009 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think that Polly is really Zobelle's daughter either. He was jealous and kissing her a bit too much. If it is his daughter, I spy some incest storyline coming up.

November 26 2009 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The young blonde is indeed zobelle's daughter. I was so totally stoked to see Kenny Johnson, and am hoping he'll have more of a story line. Loved this episode, can't wait till next week!

November 26 2009 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show. In season one, early on, I wasn't so sure but this is one of those times that I am glad I stuck with the show to see how fantastic it became.

I may be in the minority but I never really liked Tara and now that she has gone all "Jax's Woman" on the town, I don't like her any better. She just isn't the kick-butt woman that Gemma's character is.

November 26 2009 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode as is the whole series. I agree with everything you said but I would rather of had Zobelle and his gang killed rather than that saved by the cops ending. But who knows, Jax was really "seething" at the end with Clay watching on. Paternal sacrifice coming up?

Oh, and did anybody else think that Zobelle kiss to his daughter was a little longer than usual? Can't say I blame him though.

November 26 2009 at 8:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to smwvc's comment

I don't think that's his daughter.

November 26 2009 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree, Love this episode.

The more Chief Unser is on, the more I like him, and I HOPE, even though I know the man is dying that he doesn't sacrifice himself, though if he does for Gemma, I will just love him even more.

As for AJ, of course he is one dimensional! He wants one thing, white supremacy, and nothing will get in the way of that-come hell of high water. THAT is what a true White Supremicist is...simple as that. ON the other hand, there is some nuances in there, I mean, he really cares about his kids right?

Great episode, and I am beyond bummed that there is one one more episode for awhile.

November 26 2009 at 6:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This was a fantastic episode. It's exactly what I was waiting for all season. From beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat. I was so happy to see Tara stand up for herself. I love this show.

November 26 2009 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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