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October 10, 2015

'Sons of Anarchy' Season 3, Episode 5 Recap (with Intel from Creator Kurt Sutter)

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 5th 2010 11:02PM
['Sons of Anarchy' - 'Turning and Turning']

Three women end up in vises on 'Sons of Anarchy' -- Gemma Teller, Maureen Ashby and and even Agent June Stahl confront difficult if not impossible situations. One desperate man figures out a solution that could help all of them.

Below is my take on this week's episode of the show, and there's also a bit of input from 'Sons of Anarchy' creator Kurt Sutter. (If you've seen Tuesday's episode, the information is not spoilery; it just consists of Sutter's thoughts on a key development in the episode).

After confronting yet more obstacles in his search for his son, Jax Teller, a man who still has the occasional impulse-control issue, doesn't take the violent path. He thinks up a clever scheme that will give him time to find his son, take care of club business and, most importantly, help Gemma. And uf the deal goes down, Stahl will get out of the DEA doghouse and Maureen will have one less problem to deal with in Belfast.

Charlie Hunnam has been exemplary when it comes to playing Jax's rage, pain and anger this season. But in 'Turning and Turning,' he gave us a cool, collected Jax who realized that taking a baseball bat to Agent Stahl's car -- or Agent Stahl herself -- would not solve his problems.

Show of hands -- how many of you thought he followed her out of the hospital to either deliver a beatdown or at least a ration of verbal abuse? The thought of Gemma going to prison -- or giving up the Sons to avoid it, which she would never do -- must have been intolerable to him, and he's already dealing with an intolerable situation when it comes to his son.

But Jax has had to step up this season, not just in a leadership conflict with Clay and not just in armed or strategic conflicts with local threats (though they still remain a problem). As the show has expanded its scope, Jax's problems have gotten much bigger. The infernally complex situation that landed Abel in Belfast has forced Jax to grow up and call upon resources he may now have even known he had. He can't be a reactive youth anymore. He has to be a man and make some tough choices.

And if you think about it, this is not a solution that Clay would have come up with. Don't get me wrong, Clay is a very smart man and resourceful in a crisis, and he's been steadier and stronger than Jax has been at times. But the solution that Jax came up with was one born of a combination of intelligence and sheer desperation. Clay fights his way out of problems, but Jax realizes he'll have to bargain his way out of this one.

Not that he wants to help Stahl, but she is the only one who can really help Gemma or the Sons, much as they all loathe the federal agent. Jax is man enough to admit that she could be part of the solution to his many problems. If he gives Stahl what he's promised, the Sons have a chance of surviving the present crisis.

Now all Jax has to do is invade a foreign country, bring back one of its most fearsome leaders, rescue his son, and all the while the home front will be exposed to multiple enemies. What could possibly go wrong?

That's the thing: Jax's solution is sheer elegance in its simplicity, but it hinges on him being able to bag and tag Jimmy O, on Jimmy's home turf. The gun runner may have his share of problems in Belfast, but, speaking of resourceful men, Jimmy's going to be even more formidable enemy on the other side of the pond. The Sons, of course, have a chapter in that city, but who knows if those men can be relied on to help Jax?

It's important to note what Sons of Anarchy Belfast president Keith McGee does and doesn't know. He told Maureen that he knows Cameron Hayes arrived in Belfast with a baby (and he could have alerted SAMCRO, but he notably failed to do that, presumably due to his dealings with Jimmy). Does McGee know that Liam O'Neil, the club's sergeant at arms, backed up Jimmy's claim that Abel was not in Belfast? The Belfast president may not know that. I suspect that Jimmy cut a side deal with O'Neil to get him to tell Jax that lie. Why else would Cherry have found that stack of cash in O'Neil's clothes?

McGee is a wild card in all of this -- he may have known Jax was misled or he may not. He may side with Jax or he and the club may still be under Jimmy's thumb, at least for the time being. Maureen, however, is clearly unable to put the club first, given her True IRA connections. Like Gemma, she's torn between her commitment to the club and her family (in this case, her brother Kellan Ashby, a True IRA leader). But she also clearly views Abel as family, given her past relationship with John Teller. She's in one hell of a mess.

But there are divided loyalties all over the place; Jax will have to deliver on the deal he's struck with Stahl without letting the club know what he's up to; the competing Sons of Anarchy and True IRA agendas are bound to cause grief for Jimmy, Maureen, McGee and Kellan Ashby, not to mention SAMCRO; Clay's got to ponder leaving for Belfast even as his wife is handcuffed to a hospital bed; and Gemma is torn between her roles as grandmother and steadfast old lady.

On top of that, we're told that long-buried secrets will come out when Jax visits Belfast. We've seen Gemma in a lot of difficult situations, but when Jax announced he was leaving for that city, it's one of the few times we've seen real fear on her face. She and Clay are clearly terrified of what Jax will find out in Belfast. Will the history that Jax uncovers screw up his search for Abel or somehow derail his deal with Stahl? Or will it destroy his relationships with his mother and stepfather? Clearly it's something big, or Gemma, Clay and Maureen wouldn't look so anxious.

Back on the home front, there was a smoother integration of the non-Abel story line this week. The club's little escapade with the methbillies last week is bringing in not only some much-needed cash but also some intel on the Mayans and on Jacob Hale's machinations in Charming. Someone is buying up all the property in town, for reasons yet unknown, though it's reasonable to guess that Hale is behind it all. And just after Unser tells Clay he can't protect the club anymore, Jax and the others find out where the Mayans are processing heroin, the sale of which will cause that rival club to become much more powerful in the region.

Now that the season is really cooking, the Sons have more problems to deal with than ever. And watching Jax take on those problems -- and find out what kind of man and leader he is in the process -- is getting more and more interesting.

But Jax's deal with Stahl comes at a cost. I wasn't quite sure if Jax's deal with Stahl involved jail time, so I emailed 'Sons' creator Kurt Sutter to ask if Jax entered into that deal knowing, upon the deal's completion, he would go to prison. Here's his answer:

"More will be revealed," Sutter wrote. "But, yes, Jax will go to jail. The deal with Stahl will become their secret. It's in the vernacular of the scene. If Jax delivers Jimmy and gives intel to prosecute, Stahl will reduce the federal gun charges (minimum of 10, usually 15 years) to short time (under five). Then they all go to jail. He can't get immunity or they will know he ratted. Seeing his mother and Clay in such pain, knowing he needs to find his son, motivates Jax to take the risk of trusting Stahl to help his family and club."

A few final notes:

* Did the 'Shield' fans out there note David Murciano (The Barn's Det. Steve Billings) in the role of Chickenman?

* Good lord, Jax puts a lot of sugar in his coffee. He has the look of a man who hasn't slept in days, but still. I haven't seen a character put that much sugar in their coffee since the movie 'Diner.'

* The hospital should just rename the chapel "SAMCRO's Lil Getaway," given how much it gets used for club business.

* War with the Mayans appears to be more and more certain by the day. You don't take a man's cut without serious consequences. The question is, what resources will the club have to devote to that war if they have to take care of business in Belfast? Presumably some SAMCRO members will be left behind in Charming but the last thing the club needs is a war on two fronts.

* That was a tough confrontation between Gemma and Tara, showing just how far apart these two women still are. As far as Gemma's concerned, Tara should have been willing to die to save Abel, and she fell short by not doing so. Some trust had been established between the women, especially this season, but they may be back to Square 1 in their relationship. At least Gemma didn't shoot Tara, which, for Gemma, almost qualifies as a form of forgiveness.

* Once I realized in Season 2 that Agent Stahl sees herself as someone who is performing a role -- the role of a swaggering law enforcement type -- I sort of understood that character for the first time. Still, I find with Stahl, a little goes a long way with me. But I like the different energy that Ally Walker brought to the closing scene with Jax -- this was a Stahl who was off her game and too taken aback to play her usual role. That was a perfectly played scene by Walker and Hunnam.

* I'm curious to see how Jax gets to Belfast. Of course he can fly to New York, but will he be taking a boat from there? Presumably the club has contacts that can help him get out of the country safely, or perhaps they can strike a deal with someone who has access to a private plane and who won't ask questions.

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

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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They said this is the a main issue you guys like Len Wiseman can nveer touch,I wrote him im sure you have it somewhere,and im sure you heard about Rowdy Busch!!! and I on a LacaTousch ahh. this Episode im refferering to is the Ora of ALL TIME!!! for whats going on Ty! each one of these no's here is worth a billion each that you guys will never get / / / /

November 09 2010 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great write up Mo. The next series of episodes will be great to watch.

And yeah, I totally thought Jax was going to lay a beating on Stahl.

October 09 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Always nice to see David Marciano getting work. Due South might be my first TV-show love.

October 07 2010 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One other bit -- Jax has no worries if he does what any good criminal does -- get shipped into Belfast as *cargo*. If coyotes do it for south of the border crossings, it'd be a snap to be placed in a container (or just be in a cargo plane, buckled in) and get shipped direct from California to the UK, provided there's enough cash to grease the right palms. Also, Jax told Stahl he needs a lift -- that might mean she can refer him to someone shady enough (and bought by both sides) to get him there.

October 07 2010 at 2:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What does the title of this episode and Yeat's Second Coming tell us?

October 06 2010 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So Gemma would have been happier if Tara was dead and Abel was still kidnapped because that would have been the outcome if she had tried to stop the kidnapping.

October 06 2010 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bev Vincent

I timed it -- Jax poured sugar for eight seconds. Seemed like forever!

October 06 2010 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew Tara was pregnant!!! That would be the only reason not to "Jump in front a bullet". I think Gemma forgave Tara for Abel when she figured it out. I definitely think Maureen had a child with John Teller. I can also understand why Tara didn't tell Jax. How can he be happy about a new baby when his son is still missing and in danger. I can understand her wanting it to be special and have him excited about it and so she will wait as long as she can to tell him.

October 06 2010 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maureen's daughter is Jax's half-sister. That's my prediction anyway. The secret is this whole other life JT had over there that Jax never found out about, stuff that will tarnish dad's halo a bit.

LOVED this episode. I read Gemma's talk with Tara, once she figured out she had another grandbaby, as a little more understanding, but still needing to be the harda$$.

October 06 2010 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

I definitely should have mentioned that Tara is pregnant. That is big news. But there was so much else going on that I forgot to throw a mention into my review.

October 06 2010 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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