This review contains spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the episode.
You’ll recall last week that I had an inkling that either a trip to Belfast or more Stephen King was imminent. Unfortunately, I was wrong on both counts, but at least one of these things is on the way.
This week’s Sons Of Anarchy, Turning And Turning, isn’t a terrible episode by any stretch of the imagination, but considering the way the season has been building so far, it feels a little disappointing. Let’s start from the top, then.
The good news is that the separate strands of plot are tying together and, as a whole, the story is gaining more momentum. The stand-out point in this episode is that SAMCRO, and more importantly, Clay, is reunited with Gemma. After some false intel from Jimmy, the Sons still believe that Abel is in Vancouver. The intentions are to jump bail and get back Abel. However, the Sons make a pit stop to pick up Gemma and Tara in Oregon, with the idea of the Sons and Gemma travelling on to Canada and Tara to go back to Charming.
The reunion between Clay and Gemma is incredibly sweet, the one between Jax and Tara is less so. There’s still a lot of tension between Jax and Tara, and it boiled over this week when Tara told Jax about how she and Gemma disposed of Amelia. She happens to say it loud of enough for the whole house to hear. So much for keeping that one quiet.
The Sons have to go. Piney, Happy, and Bobby’s trip to pick up some prescription drugs turns bad when it’s interrupted by some hillbillies with shotguns. Fortunately, the entire chapter turns up just in time for some ass kicking. This is about the only moment in the whole episode that actually packs some action, and it seems to come to a close pretty quickly.
Elsewhere, there’s a very sad moment when Gemma’s father, Nate, is taken to a nursing home. Hal Holbrook, once again, brings out the big guns with a performance that could move even the blackest of hearts. The part where he keeps asking Gemma to take him home is, frankly, heartbreaking. Given the positive reception to the character, I think it would be foolish for the writers not to give Nate some screen time later in the season.
Which leaves us with the last piece of business for this week, the long, laborious Belfast arc.
This is easily my least favourite of the arcs in the current season. It’s heavy, slow moving, and not that interesting. The characters are, so far, only really half introduced, and I am constantly confused that, despite being repeatedly told that it is Belfast, a lot of the cast seem to be talking in Dublin accents. In short, the Real IRA are holding onto Abel as some sort of bargaining chip with the Sons.
It’s vaguely mentioned that the IRA want to get out of working with gangs and into political action. I guess getting Abel back will, in effect, end all ties between the Sons and the Real IRA.
Maureen contacts Gemma to let her know that Abel is in Belfast, and the episode ends with Gemma collapsing as the Sons arrive back at home.
In all, this week’s episode felt like a bit of a misfire, almost as if the writers were fleshing out the plot in order to make the story last a full season. It’s a real shame, particularly when last week’s episode was so good and, as a result, this episode causes the season to lose a little bit of momentum.
The good news is that, even if this episode wasn’t particularly exciting, we know that the Sons are now aware that Abel is definitely in Belfast, and that road trip that has been promised to us is now imminent. Just please don’t make us wait any longer.
Read our review of the episode 3, Caregiver, here.