Sons Of Anarchy season 3 episode 8 review: Lochan Mor
Sons Of Anarchy finally picks up the narrative pace again, with a far improved episode. Stu checks it out...
3.8 Lochan Mor
After a very long wait, the boys from Charming have finally landed in Belfast. I'm sure I speak for most of us when I shout from the rooftops, finally! I know I've said it a few times in the past, but with this episode we are getting back to the Sons Of Anarchy that we know and love.
The episode was a good fifteen minutes longer than the usual ones, but it was one of the few times this season where I was left wanting more when the credits rolled. This week things have gone a bit Ireland-daft where the story is concerned, and at first it's a little bit nauseating, with one of the Belfast Sons shouting "Welcome to Ireland!" and then the remix of the opening credits music with added flute and bodhran, then later you get the excellent Flogging Molly playing over a fight. But once you get into the swing of things, it's forgivable.
One of the few things that really irritated me in this episode was that the opening dialogue suddenly had Chibs speaking in an Irish accent. If you've watched any episode with Chibs in it, then you will know that he is Glaswegian. After this incident, he switches back to his usual accent. It's baffling and I can only assume that whoever directed the episode assumed that Scottish and Irish were the same thing. They aren't.
Anyway, the Sons manage to get about three minutes into the episode before getting into trouble. They are stopped by the police, a scuffle entails and it emerges that the police were paid by someone to take the Sons into custody and deport them. Naturally, everyone assumed that it must be Jimmy. When the Sons are caught in a drive-by shooting later, it is also assumed that it must be Jimmy.
I really like how Kurt Sutter has taken it from season one to slowly turn Jimmy from a friend of the club to some sort of comic book villain, but the portrayal is also a bit irksome. His reasons for cutting out the Sons are genuinely interesting, but for anyone who doesn't know much about The Troubles, it must be a lot to take on. I can't imagine how complicated it is for someone who isn't from the UK or Ireland to follow.
I get the feeling now that the writers actually know where they're going with the rest of the season, which is very reassuring, as I wasn't convinced prior to this episode.
Jax finally gets to meet with Father Ashby, and is reassured that he will get Abel back very soon, but first he will have to get rid of Jimmy. We are shown Abel being picked up by a family at the same time and it is pretty clear that he is being adopted. Whether the Sons will ever find Abel, I'm really not sure.
There were a lot of themes in this episode regarding children. Back in Charming, Tara takes Lyla for an abortion and is told by her boss that Lyla is doing the right thing, because the child would grow up in an unstable environment. Whilst at the abortion clinic, Tara books herself an appointment. I guess what is being implied is that any child she would bring up with Jax would also be an unstable environment.
Abel hasn't had the easiest upbringing either. His mother has barely been mentioned since season one and he witnessed Half Sack being killed. I'll be very interested to see what happens next with that particular arc.
Kozik and Tig are back together for some comic relief back in Charming. After last week's joyride, Tig has had his license revoked for two years, and as a result, Kozik has to drive him around. There's a very small hint that the animosity between them has something to do with a girl and, as always, when Kozik and Tig get together, there's an opportunity for them to knock lumps out of each other.
One of the strangest things about almost all of the Sons leaving for Belfast is that they have left themselves wide open to any sort of attack from other gangs. The fact that Tig was left behind was just circumstantial, as he did what he had to. As always, Jacob Hale is cooking up trouble, and is yet again trying to buy Lumpy out of his boxing gym. He initially asks Darby, but Darby shows his sensitive side in an unusually tender scene between him and Lumpy. There's an incredibly powerful moment in the scene where Lumpy looks at Darby's swastika tattoo on his chest and his own concentration camp ID on his arm and tells Darby that he can't make many friends with that kind of hate on his chest. After Darby changes his mind, Hale brings in Salazar to smash up the gym.
Salazar has become something of a comical character and his plans to destroy the Sons usually end up in him being a laughing stock. I'd imagine there will be serious repercussions for destroying the gym and hitting Lumpy. In fact, I'd be really surprised if Salazar was even alive by the end of the season.
The Sons did leave a prospect in charge to defend the gym should anyone attack, but the prospect hid, and then ran away. I found it hard to believe that the Sons would recruit someone so cowardly. I would have thought that surely there'd be some sort of screening process to join a biker gang.
So, all in all, this week's episode was certainly a step in the right direction. The writers finally seem to know where they are going. While this is a relief, I really hope that next season we can go back to ‘Hamlet with bikers' and leave this below average arc behind.
Read our review of the episode 7, Widening Gyre, here.