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'Sons of Anarchy' Season 4, Episode 7 Recap (VIDEO)

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 18th 2011 11:00PM
['Sons of Anarchy' - 'Fruit for the Crows']

FX sends out episodes of 'Sons of Anarchy' in advance, which makes life easier for those of us who write about the show on a weekly basis.

This week, the network sent out a DVD containing 'Fruit for the Crows' and next week's episode as well, and it took a generous helping of self-control not to watch the Oct. 25 episode as soon as the credits rolled on this week's outing. Even though I was dying to see what happened next, I wrote this review without knowing. It's killing me a little bit.

It was a very eventful episode; well before that cliffhanger, many of the residents of Charming had to deal with all kinds of unpleasant truths. For the love of God, two different bikers were near tears this week. All hell broke loose at the Mayan compound and things only went downhill from there.

Of course, things were most dire for poor Juice. If there's one thing that's given me just a little pause this season, it's that there are so many internal tensions and beefs brewing, and Clay in particular has been so manipulative and brutal. These guys live in a brutal world, sure, but I want to root for at least some of them some of the time.

So it was good to see that we saw a slightly different side of Clay in that meeting with Juice, just as it was a relief to see the club working together against a common foe. Some of the best episodes of 'SOA' showcase the club coming together to defend itself even as internal divisions threaten to tear it apart, and 'Fruit for the Crows' was a well-calibrated and enjoyably intense example of that kind of 'SOA' hour.

Another smart thing the show has done has been to take the club's most sympathetic member and put him in a very tight corner. I mean, I love Happy, but nobody would be all that worried about him if the authorities came after him (mainly because I think he would enjoy dismembering the authorities before breakfast). But Juice is the epitome of a standup guy, a good dude who, as Piney once said of Jax, "loves the right things." Already this season, Juice had to steal from the club, and of course, last week he killed a fellow member and set him up to die a traitor, acts that were eating him alive as the episode began. Sure, Juice has always gone along with the club's criminal enterprises, but he is a smart, standup guy with his own ambitions and dreams. In many ways, he's a reminder of what the club used to stand for.

But as the club tried to fend off the threat from the Sonora cartel, Juice was trapped in a nightmare. The club used to be about unity, but Juice was all alone as Roosevelt confronted him with a choice that, as the sheriff acknowledged, wasn't really a choice at all. A few weeks ago, Juice may have had options before him: He could have gone to Clay and the club and revealed who his dad was, and taken the chance that he'd be stripped of his patch and thrown out (or worse).

(I know some have questioned whether the club would have really kicked Juice out over having had a black parent, and I wondered a bit about the club's racial policies when I spotted a prospect who looked part-Asian or part-Hispanic in the clubhouse toward the end of the episode. But to me, what matters is that Juice believed there was a chance of him being drummed out of the club, and I can understand, given the backgrounds and outlooks of the men who founded the club, why he thought that possibility was real. SAMCRO is his only family, and I can see how even a 10 percent chance that he could lose that patch and those connections would have been, in his mind, a big risk.)

In any event, the time to explore SAMCRO's diversity policies has been over for a while. We've had intimations before about who would sacrifice whom this season, and Juice's sad case is a prime example of sh*t running downhill. It's now very clear to Roosevelt that Lincoln Potter would easily sacrifice the sheriff's career in the attorney's quest to take down his RICO targets. And an uneasy Roosevelt made it clear that he would sacrifice Juice to Potter's cause rather than risk his own livelihood and future.

So Juice was left with no good options: He could either rat out his brothers or get killed in prison. After his heartbreaking moment with Clay -- who I think both cares about Juice and is also a little worried about his loyalty to SAMCRO -- Juice tried a third option, but did it work? I distinctly heard the sound of a branch breaking just after Juice flung himself off that tree with a chain around his neck. Something tells me we haven't seen the last of young Juice, given that Tig may find him in time to get medical help. We'll have to see.

Speaking of seeing, so many things became clear in this hour of painful revelations. The Sonora cartel isn't about to let the Galindo operation expand its business north of the border -- both SAMCRO and the Mayans now know that. Tara now knows that the price of Jax "making bank" could be her family's safety and even their lives. Opie has lost another woman thanks to the dangers of the world he lives in (and Ryan Hurst did powerful work in that wordless scene in Lyla's bedroom. The fewer words you give this guy, the better he is). Even Unser knows that Clay is on to him and the ex-sheriff better step very carefully if he wants to keep Tara (or himself) alive.

But for me, the episode's best moment (even better than the excellent Clay-Juice scene) was Bobby's challenge to Clay's authority. The time for plotting and sniping in the background is over; we're halfway through the season now, and it's time for chickens to come home to roost. As Tara pointed out, two weeks into the cartel deal, the entire club has landed in a world of pain -- and all that blowback is exactly what Bobby predicted. But as Clay is proving with vehemence this season, having him for an enemy is very dangerous.

Next week, we'll find out the results of the vote Bobby instigated -- if the vote even happens. There's every chance that the next twist in the Juice story could change everything for the club. But there's little doubt that things are likely to get worse.

A few final notes:

* In case you hadn't heard, 'Sons of Anarchy' was renewed for a fifth season on Monday. No surprise there: 'SOA' is FX's biggest hit.

* One of my favorite moments in this very solid episode was the brief glimpse of Opie and Jax playing with their kids on the club's swingset. Glad someone other than Tig is finally using that thing.

* Nice action sequence courtesy of an enraged Jax, who clearly thought whoever hit the Mayans could well be connected to the threat on Tara. And the taut scene in the unfortunate shooter's apartment was about as well shot and tightly edited as could be; it reminded me of the kind of tension confrontations you'd often see on 'The Shield,' the show creator Kurt Sutter wrote for before this.

* The closing musical montage is a go-to move for 'SOA,' but I generally think the show does a good job of weaving together various strands of the story in those segments; I certainly don't have the "this again?" response to those sequences (as I often did when I used to watch 'Rescue Me'). Those 'SOA' scenes work well partly because the music choices are usually so good, and the subtle ominousness of Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' was an excellent accompaniment to Juice's Gethsemane moment. Holiday's song is about lynching, and Potter, for all his bearded weirdness, quite clinically engineered the situation that Juice is in. Potter didn't lynch Juice, but he gave him the option of turning rat or dying. It's hard to say who's more scarily determined this season -- more Gus Fring-like, if you will -- Clay or Potter.

* Another favorite moment in the episode was the look on Tara's face when she was outside the clubhouse talking to Clay. Her look and body language very clearly said that she trusts Clay about as far as she can throw him (she didn't quite go Crazy Eyes on him, but I wouldn't rule it out in future). The woman is no fool, and as she tried to remind Jax, Clay is not about to let anyone -- including her or Jax -- get in the way of what he wants to do. I can certainly see a scenario in which Tara (with or without Jax) begins plotting against Clay and/or Gemma down the road. Or she could pull a Lyla and just get the hell out of town (with her kids, of course). In any case, does anyone want to start a Tara death pool? I love Maggie Siff as an actress, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure how much more deeply Tara can get into this world without either ending up dead or deciding to get out, with or without her man. It's very clear to her now that her family is not safe at all, despite Jax's reassurances. At some point, she's going to have to choose between her kids and her man, and I don't think the engagement ring on her finger is going to sway her toward sticking with the club's V.P., as much as she loves him.

* You will notice that at no point did I make a pun about Juice being squeezed. But it was there. And it was so tempting.

* If we're talking about potential deaths, obviously Juice is a candidate for that (if he's not already gone), but I also don't see how Piney lives out the season. Things are also looking dicey for Unser and Bobby. Your thoughts on who's most likely to take a dirt nap?

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

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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I love this show, thank you so much for your recaps. They are direct and no nonsense. SOA - can't express how much fun it is to watch. Sometimes before the episode is over, I want to watch it again. The story telling is phenomenal. OMG, I love this show. Juice, good grief, is one of my favorite characters. Don't know how he'll get out of this or if he will. It might be kinda cool, if his brothers find him with the chain around his neck and he claims the cartel tried to lynch him. What the hell, one story is as good as another. Anyway, there is something that I can't quite put my finger on - but yes, we all assume Clay killed JT. Clay says it, Unser agrees but then there is Gemma behind the scenes working with Unser like Unser and her have their own secret going on. Time will tell. Any time you make grown folks get so involved in a fictional story you know you are a master story teller. Mr. Sutter - I bow to you and I bow to your actors and everyone else associated with the show.

October 20 2011 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best musical choice ever on SoA: John the Revelator at Donna's funeral. Ominous, foreboding.

October 20 2011 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Samantha T

This is my first time commenting here. I really like Maureen's reviews, you can tell she likes the show.
Somethings gotta give when it comes to Tara. I really don't know if the Cartel is going to get her or her own decisions, but Sutter seems to be writing toward something with her. Which is too bad because Tara is the character I connect with the most and I think Maggie is great. Plus I usually like the balance that the Jax/ Tara relationship to the craziness of the club. But then again I am not sure about Jax this season he seems to come out of prison with two mindset getting out of the club and being all in and I not sure which one is winning.
One last thing, a few others have comment on Tara's indecision about coming or going but I really like that about her character, she still question the right and wrong of all it, plus the danger. In addition, I think she is in entirely different spot than Lyla, first being her long time love of Jax and him for her, Plus Abel I don't believe is legally hers which means that Jax would have to give her permission to take him and I don't think she wants to leave him behind. ;)

October 19 2011 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

miss juice: I agree with your reply to Smartypants about the hit on Tara - it was definitely Romeo and not Alvarez. So, I agree that she's not out of the clear yet. However, I just don't see Tara going out this season. I can see her leaving town more so than getting killed. I would hate for the writers to take out the mother of Jax's children, especially when Abel's mother was obviously not fit to take care of him (and now Tara is basically taking on that role).
I will agree with the Piney verdict, although at times I wonder if it will be by Clay's hands or his own.
Another thing I agree with is that Chibs knows what is going on with Juice, or at least has a good amount of suspicion. Chibs, in a previous season, worked with the Feds himself so I think he knows what it is like to be pulled in a direction that may seem to question his loyalty to the club.
Regardless, I am excited to see how the rest of the season plays out.

October 19 2011 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tara may have unknowingly bought her ticket to survival this week by patching up Alvarez after he was shot. He may be reluctant to carry out a hit on the doctor who potentially saved his life.

Not much else to add except Mo's explanation why Juice is afraid of having his father's race revealed makes sense. His reluctant willingness to cooperate with Roosevelt and the Feds has been a distraction all season. Now it seems plausible.

My guess on the end of season body count: Unser by Clay's hand, Clay by Piney or Gemma, Piney kills himself.

Tara won't die until late season 5.

October 19 2011 at 11:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Smartypants's comment
miss juice

Only problem is that Clay took the hit out with Romeo, not Alvarez. And I don't think the Mayans know anything about it. I think it'll be the cartel that carries out the hit, not the Mayans. If anything, even if Clay tries to stop the hit, Romeo will tell him it's too late.
Leverage is what this season has become. Who has leverage on who and how that if affecting not just the power within the club but who will remain in the club.

October 19 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to miss juice's comment

Well color me **BLUSH**. Not sure how I confused Alvarez and Romeo -- chalk it up to wanting to find a way for Tara to survive the season.

Looking back at the episode, I'm wondering how Clay will deal with Bobby and Chibs. Bobby could be an unexpected addition to the body count if he's not careful.

October 19 2011 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
miss juice

Next week's preview you can see the back of Juice's head when they open up the van.
Juice has always been a character that delivered comic relief. I have no doubt he was serious about ending it (in a way that implicated the cartels), but i don't think he will try again.

Tara signed up for being an "old lady" to a dude in a biker gang who sold guns, NOT a biker gang involved with mexican drug cartels. Annoyed at Tara? Half the club appears to want OUT of the cartel biz. And Tara had those reasons down pat. Tara is not the only one not feeling "love" for the club these days..

Also Chibs KNOWS about Juice, evidenced when he asked Clay to take Juice off the cartel ops and get him out of the warehouse. Chibs is going to protect Juice period. Which is why he was the angry second to Bobby's request for a new president. He blames Clay for all of this and for good reason. And of course, heaven forbid Clay respects ANYTHING anyone wants him to do All he did was make it worse for Juice, as if he didn't deserve the "men of mayhem" patch before?!

Speaking as female, I don't hate Lyla but Opie should have known better. When she told him she wanted to continue in porn, he should have ended it. Leaving her kid with the club after she split says everything you needed to know about her (or as Opie said "she's no Donna"). A round peg being forced into square hole never really fits and imagine what Opie's going to do when he says Ima's face!?

In a perfect season ender, I want the good Sheriff to pull the trigger on Potter and report him to his superiors, because witness intimidation and entrapment are dirty words in law enforcement.

Here's my death pool. Tara, Piney, and Wayne. I think Juice is going to live because Chibs is going to protect him, and at the end of the day I think regardless of who his daddy is, the club is going to protect him. The same way the club protected Opie (season 1), Chibs (season 2) and Jax (season 3). Tara has no chance, not against cartel hitmen. Piney and Wayne have become liabilities as far as Clay is concerned. And if he could put a hit on Tara, I'm sure he'd have no problem putting it on Piney and Unser.

October 19 2011 at 10:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to miss juice's comment

Chibs was not the angry second to Bobby's request for the vote. Rewind and look again. It was Clay who seconded Bobby's motion....

October 20 2011 at 2:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am not sure why other women hate Lyla. But I don't like her because she had the abortion without telling Opie. I understand the whole her body her choice thing. But you don't live with a man for 14 months and marry him without telling him you aborted his kid. It isn't right and for that reason I find her to be untrustworthy.

I am a little annoyed by Tara. It reminds me of something Tony Soprano said to Carmela. You knew what you were signing up for. Where do you get off being miffed about the way things are? I've always loved Tara and I don't envy her position but Gemma's rape and the ensuing fallout from that should have been her put up or shut up moment. I think we need to bring back Gemma's line from season two: "Love the man...Learn to love the CLUB"

Juice's storyline has been heartbreaking all season. From the beginning I've never had a problem understanding his fear. Blacks are not allowed in white motorcycle clubs. Just like whites are not allowed in black motorcycle clubs. As an African-American person I have cringed all season feeling just awful for Juice. And the ending scene tonight was heartbreaking. Truly hope that he is alive. In fact I am fairly sure that he is but it was moving that is for sure. And Katey Sagal's cover at the end of the show was powerful!

October 19 2011 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to LilyBlue's comment

Actually there are two 1% black motorcycle clubs that let whites in that I can name. Chosen Few from LA and Wheels Of Soul from Philly.

October 19 2011 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to drtbgdan's comment

Thanks! I didn't know that.

October 19 2011 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Ashanti bundy

I agree on Tara. Im not necessarily annoyed with her and if she did up and run itd be the most rational thing anyone has done all season next to Lyla of course. If the rape wasnt her deal or no deal moment then being kidnapped by Salazar shouldve been. Thats two horrific events that were caused not because your neat hospital friends, but because the man you choose to continue to stay with. While everyone says Tara is so smart, im beginning to see less of that. Go back to before this season, before Jax made his cute little promise to leave and get them to their white picket fence life. It was not a sure thing to fans whether Jax would become president or not but to him and every other character it was. Take a gander into what Gemma puts up with being the queen of samcro. Dont block it out because it isnt your life right now. One day it just might be and its finally caught up to her what Gemma said to her in s1 about operating on kids during the day patching up bullet wounds by night. I dont know why its taken so long for it to set in. Why she would wait until a death threat is delivered to her front door. She left the first time because sh*t was chaotic. She came back sh*t got more chaotic but she was determined to make it work for the man she loves. Now jump forward sh*t is chaotic again. When does she finally process in her mind the cycle is never ending? She may leave but I believe she will be back again after things settle down which at that point I will be annoyed. She doesnt see that things only stay that way for a little while. I get it though. Shes blinded by love for the father of her children. Very common occurrence among tons of women in the world. I just always looked as Tara as being the smartest one and really i see shes in that same trap tons of other women get in. I guess for me this time she just have to leave. Not just until things get settled but for good. This life is not for her and this battle of should i stay or should i go will always be there. Theyre outlaw bikers and jumping out from talking about it like theyre real people to the writing, I dont see Jax taking over and making everything all honky dory. The show is called Sons of Anarchy. Its base is outlaw bikers. JT's hippie vision may come but it will be at the end of the series. So either Tara just has to leave or KS will have to change the show to fit around her character. For me I kinda wish he wouldve just left her in the same "I wanna be with my family" mode she was in last season because I love Maggie and Tara and it would be nice for her to stick around. Plus her and Gemma have become one of my favorite things to watch since s2 and I cant imagine watching without that friendship. And as I said before Im sure she will have to make a deal with grandma to see her grand kids so maybe KS can still work it out where she has some appearances through Gemma and possibly Jax coming to see her and the kids.

October 19 2011 at 4:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"But to me, what matters is that Juice believed there was a chance of him being drummed out of the club, and I can understand, given the backgrounds and outlooks of the men who founded the club, why he thought that possibility was real. SAMCRO is his only family, and I can see how even a 10 percent chance that he could lose that patch and those connections would have been, in his mind, a big risk." You nailed it. That's exactly it. It's not about what the club would do. It's about what Juice was scared the club would do and that's entirely believable. My guess on the death pool (there really, really needs to be one by the way) is Piney by his own hand followed by Clay. Mark my words - Clay isn't going to see season five. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether Jax or Gemma will do it.

October 19 2011 at 12:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kitten's comment

Would it be too blatant for Piney to push him off a tall building (perhaps against what looks like a bad green screened backdrop?) for his greed? :)

October 19 2011 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Orilion's comment
miss juice

as my mother would say "If you don't have anything nice to say, shut your trap"
What a tool

October 19 2011 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Skinny Black Girl

Theo Rossi. Man, did he break my heart tonight. I wasn't shocked, but I was indeed hurt.

I like that Lyla left Opie. For some reason she gets such a bad rap among female fans for being in porn, like Opie isn't a drug-muling, gun-running, ex-con, explosives expert. But I like that she wouldn't tolerate both Opie treating her like crap AND a possible threat on her life.

I'm sure there's more to say, but honestly, I'm still in shock. It's only halfway through the season and I already need Xanax...

October 19 2011 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Skinny Black Girl's comment

I love your take on Opie...too funny! You've got it right!

October 19 2011 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps it's just me looking for a scenario where Tara doesn't end up dead dead, but I kinda wonder if her way out will eventually be faking her death with the help of Gemma, Unser, Jax, or some combination thereof. I too don't see a future for her on this current club trajectory, but I really don't want to see her get a bullet to the back of the head. I don't think Gemma does either, and she might just catch wind of what Clay has in mind. That's my wishful thinking at least.

And poor poor Juice. I can't see him dying here and now, but I can't imagine a way out for him either. Spared this time around or not, he is mightily screwed. Course, if it's only been two weeks and the club has already got more problems than it can handle, Juice isn't the only one in waaaaaay over his head with no realistic way out. I mean, how do you say "thanks drug cartel, but we'll be going now..."? That's what's at the heart of the Bobby vote isn't it? Something tells me they don't care if you're under new management though.

October 18 2011 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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