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Sons of Anarchy Review: Low on Juice

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Sons of Anarchy was due for a letdown, following what many (myself included) consider to be one of the best episodes in show history. So I was prepared for "Call of Duty" to dial back the action a bit, to let the awesome insanity from last Tuesday night sink in for both viewers and characters.

But, while there was a lot to like about this installment, I wasn't ready for a couple of major storyline snaufs to pop up, the first of which I especially must address.

Romeo and Clay

Let's talk about Juice. Consider the two options with which he was faced after getting approached by Roosevelt with information on his father:

  1. Go along with Roosevelt and Potter's demands, which included stealing a sample of the cartel cocaine and ratting out his club's role in gun and drug running.
  2. Tell fellow SAMCRO members about the blackmail attempt.

Juice, of course, chose the former. He reasoned that it was actually safer to side with the law than to trust his supposed family members, even though Sons of Anarchy has spent very little time establishing the motorcycle world's racist rules. It's the only complaint I've had about this season, never really buying into the basis for one of the most important ongoing storylines.

It has seemed hard to believe the club wouldn't be understanding of such a loyal member's predicament and now it turns out... I was right? Assuming Chibbs isn't misleading Juice, the African-American heritage really isn't a big deal and Juice simply made the world's most dangerous assumption?!? That makes the entire arc seem rather contrived. Think of all the dangerous actions Juice undertook. I'd have thought they were at least grounded in a fear that couldn't be brushed off by a few words of assurance.

It's still possible that Chibbs was lying. He might still go to various club members and Juice could still be in major trouble with SAMCRO. But I doubt it, and that makes this storyline feel a bit cheap.

My other beef rests with the return of Wendy. It's not as big of a deal because it's certainly conceivable that she could be clean and anxious for some relationship with her son. It just feels like too much at this point. I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the show tacking on yet another obstacle for Jax and Tara to overcome.

Isn't her broken hand, the attempt on her life and Jax's overall involvement in a cartel war enough?!?

Those complaints out of the way, there was a lot to like about "Call of Duty," starting with Juice's funny reference to the video game with that title. But we had Otto painfully agree to work with Potter, while soothing his conscience as much as possible by putting in a request to help Lenny, a member of the Original 9.

We also watched as Gemma lined up her own little army against Clay, never outright calling for anyone's assistance, but making a point of showing her face to Jax and Tig in order to get them on her side. Unser, of course, is already there and while Clay may have meant to belittle him with that cancer remark, the bottom line is that he's correct: a dying man has nothing to lose. I'm assuming the initial plan was not to keep Unser around past his retirement, but Kurt Sutter has adjusted and made outstanding use of this character.

Then, finally, we witnessed that final scene. What raw hurt and outrage from Ryan Hurst, an actor who isn't typically asked to emote beyond Opie's grave demeanor. But that just made his reaction to Piney's death that much more effective. Couple it with Tara's outburst at the hospital last week and no show can depict such enormous pain as Sons of Anarchy. These scenes are far more explosive than even the most advance's grenade launcher.

And that's where we left things, in nearly the same spot as the prior episode: Clay must die by the hand of the son. But which son? And why did Unser call an audible from Gemma's request that Piney's murder not fall on Clay? Everyone has some kind of agenda at this point, and almost everyone is aligned against the SAMCRO President. It's starting to seem too obvious that the season will conclude with his death.

I smell a swerve. But I'm not about to make any actual predictions. I'm just gonna take as many breaths as possible over the coming days in preparation for whatever SOA shocks me with next.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (181 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Sutter said this season is the second act and plans on going ahead for 7 years (if possible) to finish the story arcs. Unlikely to kill Clay, unless Ron Perlman's phone is ringing off the hook offering movie money.I sense a serious accident based on Jax threat, to his HANDS. Tis a shame that Sutter blew up Kozik/Lem ...AGAIN!
I would love to see Opie as president until Jax can get his shit together and how poetic for Gemma to take on another SOA husband - in the form of Tig? I predict the next dead man is to be Unser. Sutter as Otto gives new meaning to puppet master - he pulled one over on ATF agent,Stahl , didn't Lincoln read her jacket?
Has anyone else noticed dead president's Lincoln and Roosevelt?
Also; what's with the homeless lady turning up at the park -(this is the 3rd of 4th cameo) is she an omen or muse?

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I think Opie & Jax are the obvious choice for Clay's demise , but I think we could be in for a surprise and Tig could just be the one that finishes it. It is obvious he loves Gemma, and with the end of last night you could see the disgust in his face for Clay! I do agree with previous statements and I do not think Clay will die this season. He is the guy you love to hate! Sutter in his GENIUS writing has said he never saw the show going past 7 seasons and staying original, so Clay could possibly last until atleast the end of season 5 or middle of 6. But either way weather it is this season or in the future, Clay has to go!!! Mr. Sutter is one of the most talented and Awesome screenwriters to ever exist! I

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1. Team do your research..an external fixater for a broken hand??? Not last time I checked, and 2. she is first and foremost a surgeon no way she would have done the re-break unless it was to kick Wendy's ass. 3. All that being said, I want somebody to beat Clay THEN let him KNOW he's gonna die just not when...love this show

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I don't think they will kill Clay this season.
There is too mud stirred up by Potter. Saving that for next season.
I think Clay will go into witness protection. They have at least one more season and I don't think anything will come to any of the principles in the cast in the next 3 weeks.
Tom Arnold isn't dead. I was very surprised they didn't check after the shooting stopped and the bullets were too high.

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Didn't season 1 end with Jax looking like he wasn't long for this world? There's gotta be a way to keep Clay, I love the man so! Maybe race isn't such a big deal with Chibbs (his ex is black), but it may be for the others? I didn't think attempted suicide was a expulsion worthy crime, but that's what Jax said.

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another thing: how cool would it be for Bobby to have his sit-down with Otto and explain what went down with Georgie/Luann, let him know what's up with the club and find out from Otto about Potter. Then the both of them conspire to have Otto turn over info regarding Clay and the Irish connection. I think that to have Clay killed off would be too easy for Sutter, I feel like Clay will either be hurt real bad and stripped of his patch and forced out or get locked up, finally. That would torture him! Clay is too vital to the show to be killed off, as is Tara. I think this week we see Gemma react to Clay going into Tara's room by getting him arrested in the hospital w/ a gun.

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I disagree with the whole Juice storyline being a waste of time. Potter was/is looking for ANYTHING, any angle to get one of these guys to think he had him. It's plainly easy for me to see from the portrayal of the character, that he got caught up in thinking that they had him. There's a reason Juice isn't out front dealing with issues like Tig or Bobby. The only time in the show that he has dealt with the cops/feds is with the other members of the club. Clay or Jax don't put him out there as point man on things other than electronics/IT type stuff...and I think that's why he's in the shape he's in cause he's got the guilt of being the one the cops singled out, and he bought into it, he killed Miles to cover his ass, he attempted to kill himself, and every other death since he has in some way put on himself. Of course he was gonna call and check in after talking to Chibs, he's scared sh**less! But i think last night also laid the groundwork for Juice to seek out Roosevelt and work with him to get him free of this. There's no other alternative, he can't bring this to the club now after all this time!

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I think I may have missed it in the reviews, but is anyone going to comment on Tig giving up his "Sargeant at Arms" patch? Tig's loyalty to Clay has always been without question, that blew me away, watching that scene...

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So basically EVERYONE was right. The club doesn't give a sh*t about Juice having a black dad because all that matters is what's on the "papers". So he killed Miles, almost got the prospects killed, and almost killed himself over nothing. Absolutely nothing. Really? This whole plotline seems like such a waste of time now. And I'm convinced now more than ever that this is Juice's last season.

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Tara's a wuss and Jax is turning into such a whiney bitch because of her, she needs to die! The sooner the better!! As for Clay, he's a dead prick but he just doesn't know it yet! And I'm hoping Otto will get out some how & take his club back to what they should be- some badass bikers who wanna have fun! This cartel crap is just so predictable it's gettting boring.
And a huge THANXX to Kurt Suttter for such a phenominally amazing show, I stay all a quiver waiting for Tuesday nights & SOA!! :O)

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