'Sons of Anarchy' Season 3, Episode 11 Recap (VIDEO)
by Maureen Ryan, posted Nov 16th 2010 11:10PM
['Sons of Anarchy' - 'Bainne']
'I'm done listening to dead men.' -- Jax Teller
One item has been checked off Jax's to-do list: He's finally gotten Abel back. But what will be the eventual cost of the search for his son, as welcome as the return of Abel was for both Jax and viewers who had grown weary of the "Abel the Adorable MacGuffin" story line?
The price will probably be high for Kellan Ashby, who left the country as Jimmy O'Phelan's hostage. The Real IRA wouldn't attempt to kill Jimmy as long as he had Ashby with him, for fear that Jimmy would murder Ashby if an attempt was made on the gun dealer's life.
Here's a question I'm left with, though: If the council's fear was that Jimmy would kill Kellan, well, isn't Kellan a dead man no matter what? As Jax said, Jimmy wouldn't wait long to take out his rival, once Jimmy thought he was safe. I'm not sure how much leverage Kellan provides is if Jimmy likely to shoot the priest anyway.
At least the final scene between Jax and Kellan allowed the priest to show, rather than tell, Jax, how much he cared about John Teller's family. Jax's speech to Kellan in the SAMBEL clubhouse, in which he made it clear that he felt used by the priest's machinations, was a long-overdue and well-played moment. It was about time someone called out Kellan for being a manipulative, self-serving liar.
The priest did use Jax and the club, and he played with Abel's life in unforgivable ways. But his last action showed that he truly believed in his own goals, even if he used slimy means to reach them. Ultimately, he wanted to get Jimmy out of the picture and secure John's legacy. That latter effort didn't work out the way he'd planned, but he was willing to sacrifice his life if it meant that Jax and Abel could be together.
Isn't it interesting that the final episode set in Ireland made me wish (not for the first time) that we'd gotten to know those characters better? Kellan, Trinity and Maureen were played by good actors, but we got sketches of them, rather than portraits, over the course of the season. There was so much going on that we got indications and clues about the the Belfast characters' backstories, rather than meaty examinations of their world and their complicated relationships.
Still, I'm glad the show took the time to give Jax a few parting scenes with Trinity and a proper goodbye with Maureen. Jax and Trinity may not ever be able to completely forget what they almost did -- nor will the show's viewers -- but the half-brother and -sister seem to have move past that incident as best they could. The hug that Jax, Trinity and Abel shared just before the Sons left was actually sweet, if sweetness can exist in that dank, grimy alley.
Gemma even hugged Maureen before she took off. Neither woman had much to say, but Gemma probably realized that, in the long run, Maureen wanted to get Abel back almost as much as she did, and that counted for a lot. Maybe they realized that they had more in common than they first wanted to admit: John Teller left both of them high and dry with small children to look after. The man may have been charismatic and idealistic, but as Jax is realizing, he didn't exactly stand by his families when they needed him.
The most effective scenes in 'Bainne' were the wordless ones, which is so often the case with 'Sons of Anarchy,' a show about people who find it hard to verbalize their emotions.
It was impossible not to be moved by Jax's face when he was following the couple who had adopted Abel. The emotions he displayed were heartbreaking -- there was simple relief at seeing that his son was safe, a dawning realization that this young couple were probably ideal parents, a desire to have that kind of uncomplicated life with his child, and a yearning to have had that kind of safe, happy existence in his own youth.
Without going over the top in the slightest, Charlie Hunnam was able to convey all of those emotions and more. The haunted look on Jax's face was one of the images from the season that will stick with me longest, and it made me believe that this man -- who had been raised to put family first, no matter what -- would allow his son to be raised by others.
As the sequence in the marketplace ended, Jax was no doubt pondering the wreckage and violence that had piled up all around him. How could he be a good father and subject his son to a life filled with that? After he found the bodies of the adoptive parents in the hotel room, I thought Jax might be wrecked for good. More dead bodies, more senseless destruction ("The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned").
When would it all be too much? When Jax arranged the wife on the bed, next to her dead husband, it was an impossibly tender and awful moment. It was fitting that the show allowed Jax a moment to pay his respects to the people who almost raised his son.
But sitting with Opie and looking at those corpses convinced Jax that his days of listening to John Teller's advice are over. Jax wanted to spare his child the pain of growing up with the legacy of the Teller family, but that avoidance only led to more bloodshed. Both he and Abel are in this life for good now; nothing can change that. John had left Gemma and the boys when he went to Belfast, and then he left Maureen when Trinity was only a baby. Jax had finally decided that his kid was staying with him, no matter what.
But will Jax emerge from this season with one child or two? It certainly doesn't look like Tara is going to be pregnant for long, given how Salazar was roughing her up after his girlfriend died. Tara could well lose her baby, and more lives might be lost as well. As was the case on 'The Shield,' the show 'SOA' creator Kurt Sutter used to write for, when characters wriggle out of one dilemma, a more terrible one usually crops up. Solutions generally lead to more brain-melting problems.
Salazar is one of two bad guys who need to make it to the end of the season alive: Unser and can use him to prove that Hale is making dirty deals all over town, and Jimmy O's capture will ensure (probably) that Gemma won't go to jail. Trying to find both of those men, and keep his family and club intact will certainly keep Jax busy when he gets back to California.
The Sons have left Ireland behind, but not their troubles.
A few more notes:
• So what's in John's letters to Maureen? Guesses? I have a few, but I want to hear yours.
• I didn't really dwell much on the Stahl doings or on Tara's situation, because in those areas, 'Bainne' felt a bit like one of those shoe-leather 'Lost' episodes -- a transitional episode that was mainly concerned with putting the characters in position for the next phase of the story. Also, most of the Salazar story line has felt mechanical this season; he's certainly not nearly as intelligent or interesting as enemies the club has faced in the past. Salazar has made me miss Zobelle.
• I wish that, in the meeting with the Real IRA council, we'd seen them give Jax or Clay information on how to find Jimmy in the States. Or perhaps the assumption is that the Sons would be able to find him through the club's Russian contacts? That seemed a little too vague to me; I don't quite understand how they're expected to find Jimmy now.
• Along those same lines, I'm not entirely sure I understand why Jimmy has to physically go to Northern California before he can go underground for good. (He mentioned being promised safe passage 'for a price.' Does that mean cash?) 'Sons' occasionally elides over important details in a rush to get to the next part of the story. That's happened more than I would have liked this season.
• Chucky apparently had an idea for dealing with Salazar, but Piney shut him up before he was able to share it. Given how badly the Stahl sting went, they may have to go back to Chucky to see if he has any brilliant schemes in mind.
• So let me make sure I understand Stahl's current state of mind correctly (and I may not): If Jax turns Jimmy O over to her, she'll stick to her side of the deal (i.e., the club will get reduced time and Gemma will avoid jail). I'm going to assume that she's selling her partner/lover a line of b.s. about what will happen next in the Jax/Gemma case, and that Stahl is still planning to pin Edmond's murder on her partner, per Gemma's statement. Or is Stahl planning to sell Jax down the river and put Gemma away regardless of what goes down with Jimmy O? Whatever's going on, you can be sure she'll screw over someone before all is said and done.
'Sons of Anarchy' airs 10PM ET Tuesdays on FX.
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