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Sons of Anarchy Review: Life Isn't Beautiful

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Give Jax Teller credit for this: he's no longer in denial.

The SAMCRO President fully acknowledged his new dastardly ways on "Darthy," embracing them as a matter of fate and responsibility: "The gavel corrupts," he told Bobby. "You can't sit in this chair without becoming a savage."

Of course, he uttered this dark line just minutes after writing to his children that he was determined to make them "proud," that he will no longer be a coward… or a killer… or a fraud. He will be the man his "father tried to be."

So much for that vow. 

Pope and Jax

Jax has lost sight of everything, living and breathing solely to bring Mr. Mayhem down on Clay.

Such revenge-fueled rage is blinding him to the well-being of his club and his family; he might as well take Pope's advice at this point and scratch that visceral itch however he can. With the Irish deal gone very south, and an ex-U.S. Marshal on Tara's case, and Wendy seeking to take custody of her son, and Tig promised to Pope within 24 hours, every area of Jax's life is in disarray.

Does anyone really think he's in the state of mind right now to handle any of it?

Jax's idea of a "beautiful life" used to include leaving SAMCRO behind and settling somewhere with Tara. Now, it's sticking a needle in ex's arm and taking every violent, extreme measure possible to stay one step ahead of those looking to bring him down. There's very little long-term thinking going on here, as Bobby rightfully pointed out.

With Jax growing darker and more desperate by the minute, Clay was left to simply wallow. For a bit, at least, before making new plans of his own.

Kurt Sutter and Ron Perlman have done an outstanding job on Sons of Anarchy Season 5 of humanizing the ex-President, of adding depth to someone who last year was as cold and calculating as it gets. I don't necessarily feel bad for Clay, I will cheer very loudly when Jax eventually takes him out.

But I buy the crying scene soon after he lost his patch. I was invested in the look of despair on Clay's face when Happy blacked out his SAMCRO ink. Clay is no a cartoon villain. He's evil, yet he's legitimately hurt and lost at this point.

How will the show believably keep him around when he's no longer a member of the club? And might Tig join forces with him after all, assuming Pope doesn't actually kill him? No politics, no beef, just money. That can be awfully enticing to some folks.

Elsewhere:

  • Nero continues to be the coolest hombre in SOA history. He's back in the game and he's aligning himself even deeper with Jax and, in a very different way, with Gemma. Sadly, I don't see him surviving the finale.
  • The show has done such a stellar job of molding Clay this season that I legitimately don't know when he's being sincere or when he's playing a game. Did he really give that gun to Juice as a no-strings-attached thank you? Or is he continually working an angle?
  • Run, Tara. Just grab up those cute kids and make a run for it.

So this is where we stand with one episode remaining: Jax is on the war path. Clay is plotting a run to Belfast. Tig has been promised to the enemy. The Irish are after SAMCRO. Guns are being run, drugs are being traded and the man in charge of it all is out of control.

Will Season 5 conclude with Jax living up to the pleas of his father? Or truly becoming the guy he wants to kill?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (125 Votes)

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

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Jaxs girl

I think season 5 has been great so far. I am hoping for a surprise ending like season 3. I want Clay to die, but last night my heart went out to him. Clay Morrow (one of the original 9) stripped of his patches and blacked out. Poor Juicy, was the gun a set up? What Jax did to Wendy was horrible. I really thought he was going to kill her, but I guess he took pity on her because she is his son's mother. I think Tara will be upset when she finds out what he did. When season 6 starts she will have beat the conspiracy charge and living in Providence with "her" boys. She will probably leave Jax. I hope Jax can forgive Bobby. I love him. @ Chili (I love Happy too). He's wild! I think Gemma went to see Nero to say goodbye. She may follow Clay to Belfast. Stranger things have happened. I hope Clay doesn't kill Nero. I think Jax has a plan up his sleeve. He's not handing Tig over to Pope. He's smart and a thinker. He'll find a way out, somehow. I wonder will Pope survive the season finale. I can't wait until next week. I just hate we have to wait almost a year for the next season. I wonder how much time will pass between seasons this time.

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Well last summer Sutter tweeted that 3 PH would be gone by the end of Season 5 and so far only Opie has gone..do not think he counted the Nomads in that count. However the thing is this is a story in the end about Jax and his journey and everyone else is really just supporting cast in a manner of speaking. It really has nothing to do with the others except how they play into it. I am curious about Tig as he in a way is the reason this all went South to begin with.....well and Clay when they decided to take out Opie eons ago and got Donna instead until they worked up to that CF with Pope's daughter. Pope is the one that has my curiosity grabbed as will he be taken out be someone also and if so by whom. I am not sure that Clay gets away yet it is very hard to imagine a season 6 without RP.........
Wendy I could care less about she should have been smarter but she chose to play right into what happened/I realize how cold that sounds but she played right into Tara's hands by doing what she did/it was no accident that Tara put things out there to her as she did/ Tara knew that Jax would somehow neutralize her if that is what he thought she wanted. And he did.

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Clay is totally the show. You kill Clay and you kill the show. If Clay is gone, what does Jax do, play with the kids in the park. Clay brings the suspense and danger to the show. Clay needs to go to Ireland and then come back stronger with his own club as rivals. At some point I'm sure Clay will be killed but when that happens the show will lose a great character and a great actor,probably the best.

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While Jax is moving toward the dark side, I can't help but continue to love his character. I don't see him remotely becoming like Clay who is just an amoral character. Jax is a complicated man with many issues who is trying in the only way he knows how to make things right for the people he loves. I will be surprised if he actually hands Tig over to Pope, but he is having a hard time overcoming the fact that, save for Tig's reckless actions, Opie would still be alive. While I don't agree with what he did to Wendy, he is desperately trying to protect his family, and made a bad decision to accomplish that goal. Given his background, and the atmosphere he grew up in, his reaction to adverse situations would realistically be quite in character.

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I hope that Karma comes & bites Jax & Tara on their collective behinds. Tara has lost her class & become just another biker skank, but all the same, I hope she realises that if Jax could give-make that FORCE-hard drugs on Wendy in order to forward his own agenda, then he's fully capable of doing that or worse to HER if she gets in his way. And the thought of this punk, white tennis shoe wearing poser sacrificing Tig-unthinkable! Gemma & Nero need to ride off into the sunset in his lowrider & never look back. All the characters except a very few have become hateful backstabbers-oh well, typical bikers.....

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It also needs to be said that FX and SOA are screwing fans with extra commercials and ending the shows early.

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I think Tig will live. I think Jax will turn on Pope. Just something with the talk he had to popes right hand man. I think Gemma will not go to Ireland, and Clay will kill Nero so he and Gemma don't get closer.

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Remember the carefully crafted well thought final to season 3?
Well, this isn't going to be that...this is a mess. I misread the title "Darthy". I thought Clay was going to pull the "Jax, I am your father. Search your feelings", garbage.
Instead it was more of Jax following the path of the dark side. That needle in Wendy's arm is one of the most awful things ever done on TV. (And have we come full circle from the Jax that beat the drug dealer to protect Wendy..) I'm not sure how any of this is going to pan out, but I'd bet none of it will be satisfying. Jax CANNOT hand over Tig. Clay CANNOT escape to Ireland (PLEASE NO MORE IRELAND, I may be the only fan that enjoyed Ireland the first time, BUT NO MORE!)... And of course we all know some out of left field twist is coming... I still have not forgiven Sutter for the end of season 4 (GOD AWFUL) and it looks like more is more of the same is coming. Sutter could have created a very good show about an MC living off the grid...instead his hamlet fetish has created too many subplots for him to control.

Snakethecritic

★★★☆☆TV It really felt like nothing happened. Why have an extra half hour when it's mostly forgettable. The last scenes were okay along with Nero, and Pope. The stretching of both story and characters, only leads to okay TV.

Razorofpow

I totally agree with what Jax did to Wendy, she threatened him after being saved by him. As well throughout them bringing her back it has been nothing but threats from her, and working the angles with Gemma. I think Clays death should come by the hands of Nero, he needs to fight for Gemma and Clay is his biggest opponent.

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