Sons of Anarchy Review: Charming Heights & Lows

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Everyday is a new box. You're the one who determines if it's a gift or a coffin.

Dear Jax: I really like that quote. And I think it's great you're trying to fight off the feeling of hate, not letting it engulf your soul in order to teach your kids a lesson.

But forget about them for a moment. For the sake of Sons of Anarchy viewers, could you maybe get a little more mad? A bit more vengeful? A tad ornery? Becayse "Orca Shrugged" was the second consecutive episode that, relative to typical SOA fare, was light on the action and overall plot movement.

SAMCRO Members

It was heavy on the unexpected, ridiculous, uproarious Walton Goggins cameo, however. My goodness.

Such a cross-dressing role is against almost any actor's type, but any fan of The Shield or Justified knows that Goggins is as serious as they come. Making this appearance all the more ridiculous and welcome, of course.

But it felt like Kurt Sutter and company fell too in love with it. That blackmailing scene just kept going... and... going... and going. Pretty soon the kid was coming in and going off to the back and we even saw him get threatened with the cell phone pictures and it all just felt like a lot of filler.

Hilarious filler, but filler nonetheless.

The same can be said for Jax's fight with the Irish and their subsequent gun-down of the SAMCRO bikes. It's not news that these groups don't get along; heck, it's the entire reason Clay was kept alive. Only he can deal with the Irish. We already knew that.

I'm not sure how any of this served the overall storyline.

There were really only three significant developments to come out of the episode:

  1. Tara and Gemma are back on good terms. Thank goodness, too. As I wrote last week, the ongoing rivalry between past and current First Lady was growing stale and not even all that sensible. I much prefer their uneasy friendship.
  2. Jax is in cahoots with Mayor Hale. Makes sense from both ends. Perhaps - or most likely - there's more to come out of this down the line, but for one week, it played out like a very long way to establish what was already agreed upon last Tuesday: Nero and the club are in the companion business together.
  3. Poor Rita Roosevelt got shot by the home-invading Nomads and will likely lose her baby. Tough break for her and the sheriff, both of whom I like. But also incredibly random and out of nowhere. Safe to say it will help bring Eli into much further alliance with SAMCRO than he ever hoped to be before. Both now have a common enemy and a shared reason to track down the culprits.

See, this is the problem when you start a season by introducing a menacing new villain; and burn a main character's daughter alive; and then kill off a long-time club member. Momentum has to slow down at some point.

It's a terrific problem, one almost any other show on television would love to have, but the explosive beginning to Sons of Anarchy Season 5 has resulted in a couple much quieter subsequent episodes. We need some more Damon Pope in our SOA-loving lives. We need some real Jax and Clay tension. We need to see that damn prison sheriff get his limbs chopped off.

I have little doubt we'll get it all. Until then, hey, there are worse things to settle for than Walton Goggins in chaps and lipstick.

Isn't that right, Tig?

Orca Shrugged Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (101 Votes)

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

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