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?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (100 Votes)

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


HOPE HOPE next season Tara comes back and her and jax leave charming where Gemma never will see them again


Last nights show sucked bad Gemma does bad over and over and still kicking poor Tara. Jax and Tara was the 1 thing i liked bout this show. Next season this needs to be a dream that Gemma had while she was smoking pot and Tara needs to be alive. Come on now do some of tha creative writing and find a way to bring Tara back


I'm really not loving the season too much. I really hope it changes, and soon, cause this is one of my favorite shows.


I don't see any alliance between Sheriff Eli Rosevelt and the club. He blames the club for the home invasions because of their issues with Pope and now with the DNA under his wife's fingernails and the mark on one of the guys who attacked her, that will lead him to SAMCRO. If anything Eli will have an axe to grind with the club.


I have to say that this episode was needed. I also do not agree with your review. Levity was needed, and Walter G. gave it to us. I am not sure how the actors got through the scene but it was priceless especially Tig. The show provides us with much action so this was a bit of a break and yet the episode was great, par usual..


As soon as I saw the wife in tonight's episode, I felt sure something bad would happen to her... they just looked to happy and in love as a couple... something needed to push the sheriff off the sidelines. Jax's brawl with the Irish, brought them back into the spotlight, and let us see how little regard he ultimately has for them. I liked the little details of tonight, such as how Gemma reached out to touch Tarah's hair, but she flinched and Gemma walked away - how Nero wanted Gemma so bad, but he couldn't do it thinking of his son, Clay's overall reaction to the merger with Nero, caving so easily when previously he would have been so stubbornly against it. You're review was disappointing tonight, you were so gun ho for action that you didn't give any attention to the finer points of what makes this show stand out....


I totally disagree - It was a great episode.... Sutter is a genius the way he has written this script... the problem with so many high action drama shows such as True Blood for example, is there are so many intense scenes, and plot pushes one after the other that the characters cease to feel real - alot hapens and yet nothing happens, the characters go around in circles. Sutter gives us these slower paced episodes and allows his audience to breathe, letting us enjoy the humanity of the characters, and watching them develop.
.And how could you miss the look Jax gave Hale when he said, 'I'm not Oswald's son'. This is not the look of a man who has gone soft, but a man who is cold, lethal, deadly and surely preparing the perfect revenge.... Far scarier then rushing out in a mad gory blood spree.....


Forgot to add: looks like the sheriff will be gettin' together with the Sons to find out who is behind the home invasions. And to get revenge for his wife's shooting.


Awesome episode! I think the funny episode was needed, after all the darkness and Kurt knew this. OMG- Walter Goggins in chaps! And the boobs looked so real. At first, I thought, I know this actor... finally dawned on me who it was- hilarious! Especially the line "you can't judge a penis by it's cover." And I swear during the whole sequence, Charlie Hunnam was holding his laughter- I'd love to see the outtakes on this one. And Tig's reaction to Venus was epic! And him getting bit on the ass again! Gemma and Tara have an uneasy truce- Wonder how long it will last? Hale agreeing with the blackmail didn't surprise me. I hated to see the sheriff's wife shot. Notice it was an accident. And we all know it's the Nomads, whom Clay got into the club- he's behind this. Notice all the birth cert. missing from his safe when it was found? Cranking up the season- very well written, Mr. Sutter- can't wait till next week! ;)


Love the different dynamics of the day to day happenings, we need to have the "quiet" days so the impact of the bad days give a "wow"
I hope Tara can get back to surgery it will give the prospect that they can get out. You do realize Kurt that this can not finish WHAT will we do. I am in Western Australia and hate the time delay to America's showing. Keep it up.. Jan

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