Sons of Anarchy Review: Fresh Juice

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Jax Teller finally took some action on Sons of Anarchy this week.

Granted, that action involved more talking, but at least the SAMCRO President looks to truly be doing all he can to "Salvage" the future of his club.

Enough blabbing to Chibs about how he wants the MC to go straight and get out of guns. Jax brought that same platform to other SAMCRO charters this episode and I was banging my table along with them during his passionate speech. How will Jax actually follow up on his words and his promise?

That question is for next Tuesday. For this one, I was simply pleased to see real democratic movement from a President who has too often gone off on his own, making decisions that don't simply impact other bikers, but put them in the ground.

A New Clubhouse

I was also pleased to see a new, tough side to Juice. Way to go, brother!

For weeks, I've been wondering just where the storyline involving this tattooed biker was going. I theorized that he'd go join Bobby and the Nomads (more on that below), but Kurt Sutter has other ideas. He's hardening the character instead.

Gone is the mohawked joker we met to open the series, along with the quiet, contemplative soul who has largely been used as a pawn over the past year or so, helping to set up Clay and having little he could do or say in retaliation following his killing of a fellow SAMCRO member.

But now Juice has something to prove. He took a beating from Chibs and has been serving as the club errand boy for most of Sons of Anarchy Season 6. Does he have a long-term plan in place here? Was this a conscious decision to act out or an instinctual one when faced with clearly dirty cops? I don't know. I just know that Theo Rossi plays the role perfectly and this is a welcome evolution.

Like Jax at the table and Juice on the highway, the time for mere talking is over. Roosevelt summed it up perfectly in his speech outside the destroyed clubhouse at the outset of the installment: SAMCRO may have gotten away with small crimes here or there in the past, but bodies continue to turn up and the MC is involved in conflicts that go far above turf wars at this point.

It's one thing to beef with the Mayans. It's another to think you can compete with the IRA.

SAMCRO has always been about remaining local; one of the tenets of the club's creation was to protect the people of Charming. But that's clearly impossible when whole city blocks are being blown up and automatic weapons are being passed around.

In that sense, the season-opening shooting and the clubhouse explosion do go hand-in-hand. They do follow the same theme: SAMCRO is in way over its head these days. Too many innocents are dying, their ways of earning are too dangerous and there's no end in sight... or is there? Might their safe future be tied to the Irish breaking Clay out of prison in order to put him in charge of guns?

There's some irony for you: SAMCRO can only live happily ever after if the man largely responsible for its recent wayward decision is kept alive.

This was a strong episode overall. It set a new tone and new direction for the season ahead. My only issue centered around Bobby, whose arc has been a red herring. If he had planned on recruiting new members all along, why not just tell Jax that last season? Why go through the drama of taking off his patch and walking away?

It's a small point, but the amount of time dedicated to the storyline this season now feels like a waste. Or at least a contrived fake-out.

Still... it's nice to have Bobby back, isn't it? And it was nice to conclude an hour on a relative happy note, wasn't it? There are clearly dark times ahead for SAMCRO - and Jax in particular, with Tara planning a divorce - but it was refreshing to be reminded of the camaraderie that still exists within the club and the way these bikers can interact with each other when not fighting for their lives.

It was a fun reminder of what they're actually fighting for.

Salvage Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (75 Votes)

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

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