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'Sons of Anarchy' Season 3, Episode 2 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 15th 2010 2:00AM
['Sons of Anarchy' - 'Oiled']

The second 'Sons of Anarchy' episode of the season opened with a man going to confession.

But given that this is the world of the Sons, it's a safe bet that no amount of prayer or penance can fix the club's immediate crises, not to mention problems that appear to be years in the making.

Sons of Anarchy's Charming chapter had a full plate even before the Mayans coordinated the assault at Half Sack's funeral, and the Sons' Belfast connections haven't yet produced a reliable lead on Abel's whereabouts. Though Jax gets an absolution of sorts from Sheriff Unser, who releases him from the local lockup, his problems are far from over.

In fact, the full array of the club's problems are still unfolding. As I wrote last week, this is a different season of Sons, one taking place on a bigger stage. Given that not all of the Sons' problems are on the club's doorstep, it'll take some time to set up all the situations and challenges the characters will face this season.

The episode closed on a lyrical note, as Maureen fed wee Abel in Belfast. Seeing a quiet moment like that on this show makes you think that something much more intense, if not shattering, is coming down the road. It may take some time to get to that point, but the brisk pace and the forward movement of 'Oiled' compensated for the mild disconnect that arose from the audience knowing where Abel is while a frantic Jax does not.

It might be helpful to discuss the three main threads that unfolded in 'Oiled,' one by one:


It's not hard to see that there's no love lost between Jimmy O and Father Ashby (if I learned anything in grade school, it's that you do not cross a priest, especially when that priest is built like a linebacker and strongly believes that he's on a divine mission). I've watched each of these episodes a few times in an attempt to pick up all the nuances, and I've begun to wonder exactly how much Mo knows about what her brother, Father Ashby, is up to.

Ashby said he'd wait for the Sons or Jimmy to get hold of the traitorous Cameron, and that the end results would be "brutal." Yet at the close of the episode, Ashby himself ordered the murder of Cameron, in a church no less. It's hard not to wonder if Ashby wants Mo to think that he's merely a member of the True IRA council, but it would appear that he may well be the most powerful member of that group.

Ashby, who is played with consummate skill by James Cosmo, made sure that Cameron had the sacrament and was on "the right side of God" before he was killed, but it may be more important in Belfast to stay on the right side of Ashby.

Poor little Abel is simply a pawn in the whole drama. Already motherless, he's being treated by everyone but Maureen as an asset to be fought over, not a human being in his own right.


Speaking of Jimmy O, he's not exactly sweating but he's not very comfortable either. At his meeting with Jax and Clay, he feeds them a lie about the whereabouts of Cameron and Abel. Jimmy, whose own rep is affected by what happened with the ATF, Edmund and Cameron, appears to be playing for time as he tries to sort out his growing problems at home while he's still in the U.S.

Jax, Clay and the club, on the other hand, have more than just Abel's disappearance on their plates. They've got to find out who's behind the drive-by at Half Sack's wake, and it is not surprising that progress on that front is quick when you bury someone up to their neck and ride motorcycles dangerously close to the informant's exposed noggin.

The news that the Mayans are executing a patch-over (essentially a takeover of another MC) couldn't come at a worse time. Even before the kidnapping of Abel and the drive-by, the club ranks were getting a little too thin for comfort. Now SAMCRO is confronted with a growing Mayan threat even as they attempt to track Cameron Hayes and keep Gemma safe. It's a lot to handle, which is why their alliance with a local African-American MC is coming in handy.

Jax and Clay have had their differences, goodness knows, but once they finally understood what the Mayans were up to, they both made the same call -- the club isn't in a position to go to war right now. There are just too many other things going on. The reasonable thing to do is to wait until they are in a better position to deal with the Mayan threat.

Speaking of alliances, David Hale's politician brother, Jacob, attempts to enlist the support of Sheriff Unser, who isn't quite ready to commit yet. Though I never had a problem with David Hale as a bit of a thorn in SAMCRO's side, it was a wise move to put Unser unambiguously in charge: With the club facing threats from all sides, it couldn't afford yet another potential challenge from local law enforcement. It's yet to be seen if a potential alliance between Hale's brother and Charming PD would have negative consequences for the club, but so far that is the least of SAMCRO's problems. If nothing else, the loss of David Hale means we get to see even more of Dayton Callie, who's always a treat as the town's sheriff.

Nate Madock's house

Gemma's story line is the quietest one but her tender scenes with her dad and the moments of comic relief with Tig were a welcome break from the intensity of everything else.

I'm not quite ready to call Tig the Roger Sterling of "Sons of Anarchy," but he is providing a fair amount of the 'Sons' brand of dark comedy these days. The sight of Tig wearing a skimpy silk robe and detailing why he had to use baby oil while getting busy with the live-in nurse was quite amusing, as was Gemma's deadpan line about Tig's hookup: "I hope that's the Guatemalan hottie in there, not my dad."

No family reunion could ever go smoothly in this world, and Tig's fling with the Guatamalan nurse earns him a bullet in the shoulder (the way Kim Coates delivered the line, "The old prick shot me!" was priceless).

The caregiver soon figures out that Gemma is a wanted fugitive, but really? She thinks she's going to get the drop on Gemma Teller-Morrow? Please. Gemma's been getting the drop on people since before this young lady was born.

At least there was one bit of good news regarding Gemma: She won't be charged with Murder 1 for killing Zobelle's daughter, given that the daughter had a gun in her hand. Still, it's not as if she's in an easy spot. And it's tough to see everyone lying to Gemma about Abel. Last season she was the one keeping a secret, and this year, Jax, Tara and Clay only have the best intentions when it comes to lying about the kid. But the betrayal of Gemma, one of the most loyal and trustworthy people in this world, has got to be killing them.

A few final notes:

- FYI, my previous 'Sons of Anarchy' stories are here, here and here.

- Did anyone else notice the Shield logo on the pumps the gas station the crew stopped at? You are most likely already aware of this, but 'Sons' creator Kurt Sutter used to write for 'The Shield.'

- Tig's abhorrence of the Hummel figurines was priceless.

- Speaking of line deliveries, I loved this from Bobby Elvis: "Of course. Let's go visit the crazy red-headed rattlesnake."

- However the line of the night belonged to Clay: "I don't recognize your bullshit MC." I want that on a T-shirt. It'll go nicely with my flowery Tig robe.

'Sons of Anarchy' airs 10PM ET Tuesdays on FX.

@MoRyan on Twitter.

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What about Tara?
She's evolving nicely into Gemma. I think it's great that she's taking control of her life (not that I condone her violence against the administrator - and btw, what an amazing scene between these two discussing what's best for Tara and the hospital and the subsequent scene with Jacks and the administrator), but I suspect it's going to lead to trouble. She's not Gemma and one does not start to play at a new level without some mishaps...

September 17 2010 at 8:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Excellent stuff Mo! Your observations are great. I thought, as well, that Ashby told Mo that if it were left to the council or SAMCRO, then Cameron would be dealt with brutally. I think this is all coming back on Jimmy...he told SAMCRO that Cameron was "still on this rock", and the writers clearly had Fr Ashby say to leave the body of Cameron in a public place so everyone could see that he "came home"...which means Jimmy lied about his intel

September 15 2010 at 12:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

Ah, Robub, that's a good point. If that's the case, though, I would have liked to have seen Mo talk to Cameron and convince him to go to the church.

Though I guess when I saw him there in the church, I assumed that Cameron had decided that was the only way to go.

I guess I thought one possibility was -- Fr Ashby wants Mo to think that he's not in charge of the True IRA Council, when in fact, he is. Cameron is their cousin, Ashby may not want her to think he's the one who personally ordered that Cameron be killed. Though Mo might know that that's a foregone conclusion, I don't know. We still don't know that world well enough, I guess.

September 15 2010 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had the impression that Father Ashby told Mo about the "brutal" consequences that Cameron faced at the hands of others in an attempt to have her convince Cameron to return home and receive a more decent and less painful death in the church. Cameron already knew his life was going to be forfeit for taking Abel. He received communion and sat on that church pew knowing exactly what was going to happen to him. He didn't fight, never pulled at the wire around his throat. He chose the manner of his death - at the hands of his clan - instead of what would most certainly have been a more violent death at the hands of the Sons or Jimmy.

September 15 2010 at 9:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bridgett Vinson

You can watch the full episode on the following site

lovely recap
But I guess 1st episode was better than this one

September 15 2010 at 6:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, why hold back? Tig *is* Roger Sterling, if Rog got hold of a hog after being released from the Navy, decided to go about getting his young stuff on the road, and if he had no particular attachment to suits.

My Vanity Fair dream pictorial? A long hiatus where the SOA and MM cast could switch styling -- at last, Jon Hamm could wear his hair sloppy... Ms. Hendricks in street leathers.... g'night....

September 15 2010 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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