At the risk of speaking too soon, I’m starting to think that Kurt Sutter knows what he’s doing now. After writing rings around himself all season, he delivered an excellent episode last time around. This week, he’s managed to deliver an equally brilliant episode, which manages to tick all the right boxes, as well as free us from the shackles of some of the less interesting plot arcs.
As I’ve said in the past, Sons of Anarchy is usually at its best when it walks the thin line between hard hitting, emotional plots, and grown men knocking seven shades of snot out of each other. This week had a lot of the former, and not so much of the latter, but there were plenty of grown men lunging and frowning at each other anyway.
The biggest talking point of the episode is, of course, that after eleven episodes and more twists and turns than most people could stomach, Abel is finally back with Jax.
It was a long time coming, and even in this episode there were points where it felt like Sutter might string it out a little longer. I have to say he completely carried it off as well. There’s even a moment where Gemma points a gun at a baby and a nun, in order to get the location of where Abel and his newly adopted parents are. It’s about as uncomfortable to watch as it sounds.
The following scene follows Jax as he, in turn, follows the new parents and Abel around a plaza in Belfast (where the Californian sun isn’t belting down on it for once). All jokes aside, this scene left me in pieces. I thought I was going to have to leave the room for a while to gain some composure.
It’s testament to Charlie Hunnam’s acting. Just looking at his face you can see that Jax is almost happy to see his son in the arms of a loving, stable family. It’s due to this, and last week’s revelation about his father, that he doesn’t snatch Abel there and then.
Sadly, had he done just that, the two new parents probably wouldn’t have ended up dead in the scene that follows. Much like he was at the end of season two, Jimmy is desperate to escape again, and for this he needs Abel as a bargaining chip, in the same way that Cammy did at the start of this season. And, well, if he has to kill two innocent people to do so, then tough.
It’s particularly heartbreaking when the Sons arrive at the hotel room, just too late and find the couple dead. Jax simply utters “I did this.”So a deal is brokered where the Sons get Abel back, and Jimmy gets safe passage back to America. He also takes Father Ashby hostage so that no one will try and kill him, although the odds are pretty highly stacked against Ashby surviving the deal, which is a shame because he was one of the few characters who were memorable from the whole Ireland ordeal.
The Council also made a deal with Jax and Clay that they would get Abel back, on the grounds that they find and kill Jimmy when he arrives in Northern California, and attempts to reach out to his Russian contacts. Whether this will happen or not will be interesting, as Jax and Stahl’s deal specified that Jimmy had to be captured alive.
Back in Charming, the main focal point is that Tara and Margaret are still missing. Oddly enough, the ATF start co-operating with Tig, Kozik, and Piney to get them back, even ponying up the $250,000 required as ransom. However, some kids see Tig drop the cash into the bin, and try to take it.
Naturally when Salazar sees Tig and several ATF agents chasing some children with a bag full of money, he knows what’s happening and leaves.
Fortunately for Tara, she has a plan of her own. She manages to crack a piece of glass from a broken mirror and slashes Louisa’s throat. Salazar realises that Tara is his only chance of keeping Louisa alive, so he has no choice but to release Margaret.
Unfortunately, Louisa dies on the way to hospital, and Salazar, in a fit of rage, throws Tara onto the bonnet of the car and points a gun to her head.
The episode ends as the Sons are leaving Belfast for home and Bobby receives a phone call from Tig, which he passes to Jax, telling him that he’ll want to hear it. As Jax receives the call, there is a smash cut to the SAMCRO logo.
A lot of the time, these major cliffhanger endings feel cheap, and it has worked sometimes with Sons of Anarchy (definitely so regarding Donna’s death in season one). On this occasion, it certainly throws a lot up in the air over the future of the show.
I had always assumed that Tara would be in the show until it ended. To be honest, I think it would be terrible form to kill her off, as her character is pretty central to the show, and Maggie Siff is a fantastic actress. My own opinion is that both Salazar and Jimmy will be killed off within the next two episodes, moving Zobelle into main villain spot for the next season.
So this week, not only did Sutter manage to resolve the Abel storyline, but he managed to give it some weight and in many ways, make it brilliant. There’s still enough threads dangling to give us a really hard hitting final two episodes and allow the season to go out on a high, too.
After having so many throwaway episodes, I was starting to think that Sons of Anarchy was starting to lose the impact that it had, but the last two episodes have made me remember why I love this show so much, and I’m hoping the next two can keep that standard up.