One of the most difficult things a writer can do is create a story in a setting that is completely different from what they are accustomed to. This week in Sons Of Anarchy, we’re still in Ireland, and whilst I have no complaints about the story this week, Kurt Sutter’s portrayal of the Northern Irish/Irish people is a little embarrassing.
Last week’s cheesy remix of the theme tune is still there, and I suppose they’ll hold onto it for the rest of the season. There is more music from Irish-American punk bands played over footage over motorcycles driving past green fields. What jars most for me is the number of times the words “Irish” and “Ireland” are used, particularly when Fiona threatens to put a bullet through Jimmy’s “thick Irish skull”. People don’t talk like that.
After building up this particular aspect of the plot for eight episodes, I would like to think that the audience would know that the Sons are supposed to be now in Ireland, and I say “supposed to be” because it’s pretty clear that a lot of it was shot in America. Whilst I appreciate that shooting a TV show with a huge ensemble cast like this one can get expensive, the crew shouldn’t be going around before the season began saying it was “filmed on location”, because it feels like they may have only had a few days in Ireland and then shot the internal shots along with some of the external shots back in America.
Now that I have that off of my chest, I’ll get onto what actually happened in this week’s episode. The Sons go out on a protection run across the border with their Belfast brothers. If there was every any doubt that SAMBEL weren’t out to screw over SAMCRO, it would certainly have faded with this episode.
When crossing the border, SAMBEL are clearly hoping that their American brothers are arrested, and when that doesn’t happen, they have a little explosive surprise prepared for them. When the Sons arrive at the depot, one of the SAMBEL guys sets off an explosive in the truck. It’s incredibly obvious that it has been one of them, as the guy in question returns just after the explosion and says that he was “having a shite” when it happened. Obviously, it seems that the Sons aren’t buying it. A few of the Irish guys are killed in the explosion, mostly ones that were half-introduced last week.
The aftermath of the explosion was a highlight for me. When Jax is knocked over by the blast, he sees John Teller coming towards him before the image straightens out and we can see that it is Clay. This has been the first time that we have seen John Teller in a moving image. We have seen him in pictures and heard his voice, but this is the first time he has been seen moving on camera.
While the Sons are out in the Republic of Ireland, Jimmy arrives at the Ashby’s house. One of the first things he does is drag a man into the house and shoot him in the head. One of the problems of having a huge ensemble cast is that it can sometimes be difficult to remember who everyone is. So, on this occasion, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to recognise the man who had just expired. I didn’t.
While Gemma and Fiona are being held at gunpoint, Trinity comes upstairs firing a gun. Things quickly change around so that Gemma is pointing a gun at Jimmy’s head, and has the best opportunity of the whole season to take him out. She hesitates and Fiona then points a gun at Gemma’s head, saying that she is saving her life, as, if she kills Jimmy, the entire Teller family will be killed. It’s a very tense scene, and given that it takes place in a tiny kitchen, it really adds to the suspense.
Towards the end of the episode, there’s a moment where Jax and Trinity are sitting together and he puts his arm around her. Whilst I appreciate that they are completely unaware that they are half-siblings, I really don’t think that the show needs an incest subplot. Not now. Not ever. There were rumblings of it in last week’s episode with some flirting between the two and I really hoped that it wouldn’t carry on. Gemma knows that they are related, so I hope that she tells Jax, even if it ends the hero-worship of his father.
There was very little happening in Charming this week. After doing some “cop shit” (to quote Tig), Unser discovers Hale is corrupt and very probably behind last week’s unpleasantness with Lumpy. Salazar continues his beef with the Sons by blackmailing Salazar into getting the name of Tara’s workplace.
I said this last week, and I must emphasise it again: it really wasn’t a good idea to send almost the entire club out to Belfast and leave little in the way of resistance in Charming, in case anything happens.
This week’s episode ends with Salazar kidnapping Tara, and also her supervisor, Margaret. The reason he took Margaret as well really came out of nowhere. When Salazar lifts Margaret’s shirt, there is a faded club tattoo on her back. It is hard to make out which club it is, as the only words that can really be seen are “rock and roll” and “my love”. This came out of nowhere, as Margaret always seemed very straight-laced, although she did stick her neck out a little too far for Tara whenever there was trouble.
So, this week it was a pretty good episode. One thing that really seemed a little off was that there was barely any mention of Abel at all. It’s starting to feel that the ending of season two, where he was kidnapped, was only written in so Sutter could get all of the characters in Ireland and have stereotypical Irish gang subplots.
Still, with only four episodes left, the season is starting to have some direction, so that’s reassuring. Despite the fact that I know Sutter really wants us to be really excited about the Belfast storyline, I just can’t look past what’s going on in Charming at the moment. Next week’s instalment with Tara and Margaret should be a highlight.
Read our review of the episode 8, Lochan Mor, here.
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