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September 2, 2014

'Sons of Anarchy' Season 4, Episode 3 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 20th 2011 11:00PM
['Sons of Anarchy' - 'Dorylus']

This week is crazy-insane crunch time for the fall season, so this might be one of my shorter 'Sons of Anarchy' reviews.

Clearly, the most compelling part of the episode was the vote at the end. But there were some interesting moments amid the political wheeling and dealing that went on before the big gathering around the 'SOA' table.

Well, here's a fine mess: Clay has promised Bobby that when he exits the president's office, he'll give the leadership of the club to Bobby. But we already know that Jax has made Clay promise to support Opie for president when Jax leaves. We know Jax and Clay's assumption is that they'll leave around the same time -- but there can't be two presidents. Many questions are raised by this particular bit of double-dealing, not least of which is, what happens if Jax finds out about this promise to Bobby?

More questions: Is Clay making an empty promise to Bobby, one he has no interest in fulfilling? If so, damn, that's cold. Bobby's one of his best friends from way back (and Bobby would probably do a solid job of leading the club, if it ever came to that). Or does Clay truly support Bobby over Opie as the next president? That may well be true; Clay seems like the kind of guy who'd support a member of his own generation over Opie, who he may well still regard, in some ways, as a kid.



Any way you look at it, Clay has betrayed several people here -- Bobby, Jax, Opie, or some combination thereof. And to drive home the point that the head of the club has got his mind on his money and his money on his mind, he flat-out lied to the man who's coordinating ammo production for the club -- and then he killed the unfortunate Russian who happened to hear the truth about the club's markup on bullets.

Naturally, because this is 'Sons of Anarchy,' the Russian is buried up to his shoulders and being consumed by killer ants. Not a pretty way to go, and Clay put him out of his misery early.

Clay is being incredibly ruthless this season -- of all the thing he did this week, getting rough with Gemma may have been the most shocking moment. It doesn't seem out of character with their relationship, but Clay putting Gemma in her place -- or attempting to -- seems like a very bad idea, one that could have disastrous repercussions down the road. As I've said before, the challenge of the season will whether 'SOA' can do what 'Breaking Bad' does -- make the tension and the character studies so compelling that you have to watch, no matter how terribly the people on the screen behave.

Having Jax and Clay acting as both as allies and as separate political operators and dealmakers, having Piney and Opie and others try to rein them in, having Gemma try to have Clay's back and fend off Tara's inquiries while Clay is pushing Gemma around and potentially pushing her away -- those are the kind of loaded interpersonal dynamics that 'SOA' tends to do well.

That big-picture stuff is interesting, but, at the risk of getting more "Shut up, hater!" comments this week, I have to point out that, this week and last, I had problems with the contained, episodic story of the week. This week's adventure relied on Kozik being really, really dumb. I'll admit, we don't know Kozik all that well, so maybe he was always the kind of guy who would leave a truck loaded with valuable and illegal firearms unguarded. But that seems like a stretch. I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan of the fact that much of the mechanics of the weekly plot relied on Kozik's gullibility.

Even though Jax's line after the chase scene ("License and registration, please") was amusing, and even though Marianne Jean-Baptiste was terrific as a local fence in her scenes, I was also taken aback when the club members just happened to spot the car they were looking for. Kind of a coincidence, eh?

To turn to other matters briefly, it was interesting to see the sheriff (and Potter) find new and interesting ways to create pressure for the club. Juice may not rat out SAMCRO, but I'm betting Roosevelt and Potter have other tricks up their sleeves. And I was glad that Gemma finally confronted Tara about her suspicions about John Teller's death. If the plan is to air out that issue and finally put it to bed without dragging it out too much, I'm on board with that. Many of you have pointed out that it appears that Clay may not know as much as Gemma regarding how JT died; again, I'm cool with having this be a thread for the season as long as it isn't the only thing the women get to deal with.

The whole hour all led up to that vote, and clearly the whole Kozik story was about getting him to vote Jax's way. Aside from all that, however, I can't deny that that final scene around the table was effective. Now the club is committed to a very dangerous path, and the vote was anything but a pure expression of democracy, given the pressures brought to bear on various club members.

One question I had at the end of the episode -- why do you think Happy voted the way he did? I am a fan of the character but I don't feel I know him well. Leave your theories on why our favorite former Nomad voted the way he did -- and any other 'SOA' thoughts and reactions -- in the comments below. As always, thanks for stopping by.

'Sons of Anarchy' Season 4 airs Tuesdays, 10PM ET on FX.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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Jesus

When it comes to watching TV, the main channel I watch is FX and in particular Sons of Anarchy. I have been anticipating the fourth series of SOA and that is why I am glad that I'm not a Directv customer. Directv is currently in contract negotiations with FOX, which means that when it’s over they will have to remove all FOX channels. I am just happy to be a DISH Network customer so that I don't have to worry about missing my favorite show.

October 29 2011 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Smurd

Who cares what Gemma wants. I don't understand why she won't show them to Jax. If my wife didn't show me letters written by my deceased father. I would never forgive her!!

September 26 2011 at 7:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Smurd's comment
Smurd

I don't understand why Tara won't show them to Jax... Sorry

September 26 2011 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blessedbebrandy

anybody know the name of the last song playing?? been searching for it but come up empty. help is greatly appreciated..

September 24 2011 at 12:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to blessedbebrandy's comment
blessedbebrandy

woops, sorry i found it!! anyone interested, its Shooter Jennings - "All of this could have been yours"

September 24 2011 at 12:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
renegadetatuwalker

brandy, the last song played at the end of the show that was rrearranged and actually an old 60s song by ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS called "House of the Rising Sun"

December 07 2011 at 2:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

Did anyone notice that one those kids who stole the truck called Kozik Lemonhead. Kenneth Johnson's character on The Shield's nickname was Lemonhead. Also did anyone notice that one of Marianne Jean-Baptiste son's name is Luther and the other son is Vandross. Get it? She named her both of her sons after the singer Luther Vandross, lol... Anyways there is so much suspicion over John Teller's death, I think that Jax and Clay will come to blows at the end of the season.

September 23 2011 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miss juice

This is bothering me because it is such a great show. WHY DOES IT MATTER IF JUICE'S DAD WAS AFRICAN/ HISPANIC/AMERICAN?
I mean really? They deal with the 9'ners, Happy and Juice are both Hispanic, so is that really an issue? Does anyone else here get it? Or am I just being really naive about Samcro? Or is it going to be the "tell" that law enforcement has some new tricks for SAMCRO?
I agree with someone else here who said Clay lying to the Chief was a BIG problem, I also think killing the Russian is going to really blow back on Clay and Bobby.
This season is going more and more Hamlet, I'm happy I finally figured out who Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are (Kozik and Happy)

And to MAUREEN RYAN ---- THANK YOU !!! I have been waiting for someone to cover SOA and actually watches the show (unlike some other websites....cough....ew) Kudos to you and I am bookmarking the page.

September 21 2011 at 4:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to miss juice's comment
fxfan

I am willing to bet that the police report on JT's accident was filed (and fabricated in order to make it look like an accident) by Unser and that entire situation will be revealed by the end of the season. That reveal will lead to the final showdown between Jax and Clay with Gemma backing Jax (even when she originally conspired with Clay to off JT).

September 21 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cfaddct

If critics wrote nothing but glowing reviews every time, they'd be called sycophants instead of critics. :)
Now, that said... There were more than a few interesting turns in this episode. Clay talking out of both sides of his mouth is not a new dynamic, but, just like Bobby said about Clay bolting for the door, he's not even trying to hide it anymore. With that, and everything else that went down last night, Clay's in serious danger of losing the club, and if that happens, I can see him going full Vic Mackey in order to regain control.
And am I the only one who thinks that Unser finding out that Roosevelt and his wife were seeing a fertility specialist might end up being used against the good sheriff down the road? That's his vulnerable spot, and the Sons are all about exploiting someone's vulnerability. Oh, and Vivica naming her sons Luther and Vandross? Priceless.

September 21 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GamerVid

It's mentioned during a short conversation between Clay and Jax about the upcoming vote that being a former junkie, Happy would vote against deal.

September 21 2011 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to GamerVid's comment
S Simmons

No, it says that Kozik was a former junkie.

September 21 2011 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
G Smith

Two things really stood out for me this week.

Clay really really puts himself in harms way if he pushes Gemma too hard. The wrath of that woman is deadly and we've seen it before. Threaten her at your own risk. The added info about the killer ants and this weeks episode name "Dorylus" makes a LOT of sense.

The other thing that struck me was Clay's lie to the Indian Chief. NOT something I think is smart... lying to a man who kills with killer ants, with all the convictions of his belief system and NO remorse. You could also see him catalog Clay's comment about them not making any more money off the ammo with the cartel. And not in a favorable way I think.

And I think those two blunders more than anything may really come back to bite Clay in the butt big time.

I enjoy the political gamesmanship of the club. Playing different members against one another and Jax/Clay both thinking they have an understanding but yet neither of them really being on the same page evidently. Playing with fire, someone is going to get burnt no doubt.

The bonehead move by our favorite "surfer dude" Kozik, I actually think was right in line with his character. He's never been the brightest bulb in the pack and he just reenforced that in this episode. Of course, using that story arc to get his vote didn't hurt. And I LOVED the local fence and her family bit.

Bobby knows Clay is trying to play him. . . good on him for not buying it. Happy? He knows the drugs will cut right through the only "family" he has.. and he proves he still has a moral compass IMHO.

Jax's closing line "License and Registration Please" ? Priceless!

September 21 2011 at 11:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to G Smith's comment
Smartypants

Geez, I really have to stop late night posting late night comments. Aside from the embarrassing typos and grammatical errors, it completely slipped my mind that the Indians were using ants to kill the Russian. If the tribe is the army ants of this week's title, Clay is just begging to get bitten.

Great point point about Bobby and watching Cliff give his word to the the chief immediately after saying the same to Bobby about becoming head of SAMCRO. Bobby is smart -- recall how he immediately put 2 and 2 together about the deal between Clay and Jax to let Jax ride free when Clay retires in exchange for Jax's support for running coke for the cartel. But Bobby is also content to make a comfortable living from their gun business. Without the ambition or desperation of the current prez and VP, Bobby would probably be a better leader for SAMCRO in long term than Clay or even Jax.

Aside from his fundamental opposition to getting into the drug business, Bobby's "No" vote could have been a way to position himself for leadership of the club when Clay's scheming and double-dealing blow up. Because if Clay keeps playing everyone, he's not going to have any allies left. Not Jax, not Bobby, not Piney, not the Indians, not the Cartel, not the Mexicans, maybe not even Gemma.

This will be interesting to watch.

September 21 2011 at 1:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

"And I think those two blunders more than anything may really come back to bite Clay in the butt big time.

I enjoy the political gamesmanship of the club. Playing different members against one another and Jax/Clay both thinking they have an understanding but yet neither of them really being on the same page evidently. Playing with fire, someone is going to get burnt no doubt."

Totally agreed with you there. Thanks to all for the great comments!

September 21 2011 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ali Katt

You didn't even touch on Tara looking to leave town. This season is getting really interesting FAST!

September 21 2011 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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