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Sons of Anarchy Review: Playing with Clay

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Well, this should be interesting.

With the events on "To Thine Own Self," Sons of Anarchy has painted itself into a corner.

Can Clay Morrow really survive to fight, ride and scheme for another season? How can the FX thriller realistically keep this character alive, now that all his secrets and actions are out in the open?

Clay and Romeo

Juice and Gemma know about the Nomads. Chibbs and Bobby are up to date on Tara and Piney. Jax is more obsessed than ever with outing - and presumably killing - his stepfather.

The CIA gave Kurt Sutter a believable reason to keep Clay around last year, but that blackmail plot has also been foiled. It's certainly not beyond this series to kill off a major character (continue to Rest in Peace, Opie), but it's remains difficult to imagine Clay taking a bullet any time prior to the final season. It's also difficult to imagine him sitting around the SAMCRO table in 2013.

So color me intrigued regarding how this family feud will play out.

That was my main takeaway from an episode that mostly served to set up next Tuesday's Sons of Anarchy Season 5 penultimate episode. There wasn't a great deal of plot movement here, as both Jax and Clay continued their attempts to align players to their side.

The latter reached out to Tig, seemingly unsuccessfully; while Jax used less subtle and more threatening means of dealing with his mother and Juice. But it looks like it will all come down to Bobby. Why would he possibly intervene and save Clay?

We may find out more next week, but what we already know is enough to make this a reasonable maneuver. These two go back a very long way. And Bobby has grown disenchanted at Jax's renegade side over the past couple episodes, highlighted by his breaking SAMCRO's ties with the Grim Bastards on "Crucifixed."

I buy that he'd swoop in to rescue Clay, at least from death. He may not think his old pal belongs in the club any longer, but there's enough loyalty and years of friendship here to believe that Bobby doesn't think Clay belongs in the ground, either.

Elsewhere:

  • Tara took that job in Providence... without discussing it with Jax first. Probably not her best move. I'm all for her packing the kids and getting the heck out of Charming, but she had the right idea at the outset of the episode: be open, be up front and appeal to her husband's rational side.
  • Donal Logue debuted as - I'd have to guess - someone connected to the dead nurse, who now has it out for Otto and Tara. As a TV critic, I am now contractually obligated to urge all readers to go purchase Terriers, as we all wonder how this menacing man will make his presence felt in Charming.
  • Poor Nero. He was directly involved in both my favorite scenes this week: first proving he was back by gunning down two former running buddies; and then breaking down on Gemma's doorstep when he learned the killings were unnecessary. What a terrific addition to the season.

So that's where we are heading into the penultimate episode. Will Jax's focus on Clay's fate threaten both the club and his marriage? Will Gemma end up with Nero? Will Tig side with his new boss or his old? And will Juice ever catch a break?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.6 / 5.0
  • 3.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (100 Votes)

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

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I think tara will be killed off this season. They are going to save Clay for the opener or within the first three of next season.
There is obviously something exploitable about the compound bounty on Pope's assassin.
They have a lot to cram in the next two episodes

Snakethecritic

★★★☆☆TV @Deb H , Nice catch. Karina Logue. WTFiller episode.

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DonC: He said NEXT WEEK's episode will be the penultimate episode. Which means next to last. Which it is.

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Remember the exchange between Jax and Pope where Pope told Jax that he had a $50 Million life insurance policy? $50 Mil to the man who kills the man who kills Pope. That information was given for a reason. I think that is going to come into play. There are several ways it could play out, sadly all of them leave at least one key character dead.

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I can't believe noone has brought up the issue of Jax being expected to turn Tig over to Pope. I have a theory that Jax is either going to kill Pope or allow Tig to do it. This way he will not just be taking Pope out of the picture, but he will reaffirm Tigs loyalty by allowing him the opportunity to avenge his daughters death. It would be unrealistic for Jax to allow another member of his club to be killed by the same man who was ultimately responsible for the death of Opie. Although Jax does have reason to not care about Tigs fate, he realizes that they both want Pope dead and Tig would be a good ally to have with the ongoing Clay conflict. When Jax said something like being done with being under the thumb of greedy men who believe in nothing, I think it was foreshadowing, implying that Jax plans on making some drastic moves.

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Based on the previews for next week's episode, it looks like Bobby intervened with Clay in order to keep Jax from becoming a cold-blooded killer. He's actually protecting Jax, not Clay. He wants to keep him from turning into someone like Clay. That's what I took away from it. I thought this episode a bit odd at times. The station wagon/gun scene seemed out of rhythm for the show. And the fact that Jax got taken by Romeo just as he was about to bust Clay, hence Clay once again covers his tracks, seemed fairly unbelievable. Enough already - its time for Clay to go down!

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a great episode 9.6/10
also this episode was 60 minutes long not 90

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pe·nul·ti·mate/peˈnəltəmit/
Adjective:
Last but one in a series of things; second last: "the penultimate chapter of the book". He never said it was the last episode.

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A little off topic... Isn't the actress who played the nurse Donal Logue's sister? Didn't she also play his sister on Terriers? Gotta love casting!

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I'm starting to wonder if Tara makes it out of this season alive. If not, I don't even wanna imagine what kind of monster will emerge in Jax. And as much as everybody loves to hate Clay, and I'll admit it's unrealistic for him to survive this season, but his character is so interesting and such an endless pool for ideas and possibilities that I can very well see him surviving. I love just how vicious he is and how he's got a poker up his sleeve in EVERY scenario. I loved the gun-exchange-gone-bad scene where Jax and the guys broke through that gate and everything went haywire, the way they screamed sounded like a bunch of young boys doing some incredibly stupid, incredibly funny shit together. I really loved that scene. Cause apart from all the other reasons, to some degree, they do this whole thing for the kick they get out of it. And I love seeing that manifest every now and then.