Sons of Anarchy Review: A Small World of Pain

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How far is too far?

Sons of Anarchy asks viewers to root for an outlaw motorcycle club, taking us inside a makeshift family and hoping we get to know the characters on such a personal level that we overlook some of their more dastardly deeds and cheer them on at every juncture.

For the most part, by a long shot, it works. We believe in the SAMCRO ideal and we love each and every member of the SAMCRO table.

But Tig shot an innocent woman in the head on "Small World," Jax simply referred to her as "collateral damage" and I was left to wonder whether the show has finally taken these bikers down a dark path from which they can never recover.

Otto and Tara

Every viewer out there was anticipating the day when Jax took revenge on that corrupt prison guard. We knew it was coming and we hoped it would be as brutal as the death of Opie that this gambling man oversaw and happily permitted.

And it was most definitely was. I may never look at snow globes in the same way again.

Within the world of SAMCRO, the beating was understood and deserved. But Tig casually pulling the trigger on the man's wife? Sure, you can argue he had no choice because she could easily identify all her husband's killers. And, yes, the ho-hum nature with which Tig ended her life is consistent with what he has gone through on Season 5. Never hesitant to kill, he's now more number than ever.

Still, it happened so quickly and was brushed away so easily by Bobby and Jax - the supposed rational side of SAMCRO - that it felt more disturbing in a way than anything else SOA has depicted in recent memory.

Is this really who we are rooting for now? A group of guys who are so oblivious to their own roles in their friend's demise (trace the steps of Opie's death back and SAMCRO is to blame above all else, considering its drug and gun-running deals) that they kill anyone and everyone who gets in their way?

Moments of introspection did follow the double homicide. Chibbs gave Tig a peck on the cheek. Jax asked Tara for a weekend away. In these small moments, we see the humanity that is meant to rise above the club's often evil actions.

Elsewhere... A LOT went down. Following a relatively slow couple weeks, the episode ratcheted up the action across all fronts.

We learned Clay is behind the Nomadic home invasions. Not exactly a major shock, but one that still very much holds my interest. We all knew the former President was up to something and it's safe to assume his end game here is simply to bring down Jax. He's leaving plenty of blood and a few bodies in his wake, however.

We watched Carla kill herself, a somewhat random and slightly forced turn of events. Viewers didn't exactly know this deranged woman very well, not learning the details of her life until after she died and Nero simply provided a bunch of exposition. I suppose the act is meant to bring Nero and Gemma closer, defying Jax's demand that his new business partner stay away from his mother, but both the suicide and the requests leading up to it by Carla mostly came out of nowhere.

Otto made an appearance! It's also a welcome sight to see Kurt Sutter in this role. The imprisoned death row inmate represents what Jax and company may become someday. In this case, though, he shed more light on Tara than anyone actually in the club. She lied to Jax about seeing Otto, and even though she remained standing during the doctor/patient visit, we're left to wonder: Just how low, literally, will Tara go for SAMCRO?

Jax expanded the club's drug dealings. Just temporarily, of course, or at least he claimed for the 12th time. Does Jax even believe his banter at this point? He's talked about making SAMCRO clean for a long time now, but he's the man in charge and he seemed both charmed and intrigued by Pope in that backseat.

The man does talk a good game about risk and fear and greed and what it takes to become a successful "businessman." But don't be fooled by those nice clothes and that big office, Jax. Damon Pope's idea of a clean, risk-free business is most definitely not what your father had in mind.

All this and Joel McHale picked up a downtrodden Gemma in a bar! It was a seriously busy night on Sons of Anarchy, filled with bullets and beating. What did you think of "Small World?"

Small World Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (116 Votes)

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

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