This review contains spoilers.
4.11 Call Of Duty
This week in Sons Of Anarchy, we were treated to a “90 minute” episode (billed as 90 minutes, but more like 60 when adverts are cut out). It feels like the writers are really trying to pack as much into this series as they can, and with the series being extended by one episode, there’s certainly a lot more to come.
This episode is called Call Of Duty, which makes the cynical part of me think it’s some desperate product placement for everyone’s favourite first-person shooter. However, if you were to judge the two on the most recent episodes of both, Sons Of Anarchy should stick to telling great stories and Call Of Duty should stick to over the top explosions and shooting things. The reference for the episode title comes from a scene where Juice comments on a heavy weapons shipment being “Call Of Duty shit”.
Despite the bad naming of the episode, it’s a good one, with plenty of action, story and finds time to kill off several minor characters. To be honest, when I found out that this week’s episode was an extended one, I knew two things would happen: one, someone would be killed off; and two, there would be a huge turning point in the series arc. In both cases this holds true. A couple of minor characters are killed off (one of which is very minor), and there is a huge turning point, in that we find out who “the son” is that Gemma spoke of at the end of last week’s episode – more on that later.
The episode begins with Tara and Jax reconciling after last week’s firey exchange. Everything looks like it is going to be okay between them, and they both make promises to try and get away from the life. Jax doesn’t really seem to be making much of an effort to get out, though, given that not long after this, he goes out for ‘revenge’ (he still doesn’t know Clay ordered the hit on Tara) against the Lobos Senoras. An over the top shoot-out ensues.
At one point, Jax and Chibs started firing Rocket Propelled Grenades at the Lobos, and it felt like Call Of Duty alright – huge explosions and a really dumb scene that marred an otherwise good episode. Sadly, in this scene we also said goodbye to Kozik, who stepped on a landmine and as a result stepped out of the show. I was disappointed to see him go, because I’ve always enjoyed the exchanges between Kozik and Tig, which have been somewhat missing this series.
The (very) minor character Georgie also returned to the fray briefly this week, before he too exited forever. Georgie has long been held responsible for Luanne’s death, but has always denied his involvement. After the Charming Heights deal has been finalised, and it has become clear that there is no stopping it, Georgie has no further use to the club. Bobby was able to get Georgie to admit that he sent some thugs to rough up Luanne, but it went too far, and not before time, Georgie is finally killed.
This probably comes too late for Luanne’s husband and Death Row inmate, Otto, as Bobby told Otto that he had killed Georgie weeks ago. Otto has already made a deal with Potter to give him everything he wants on Bobby, one of his conditions being that his execution date is moved forward. This wasn’t that surprising, given that he is about to betray a club that has been his entire life, and in many ways, the club has taken everything he had from him.
Elsewhere, Wendy finally returned to the show, after being away for at least a couple of series. Wendy is Abel’s biological mother and a former drug addict. She is also played by Drea De Matteo, who you might know as Adriana from the Sopranos. Wendy has cleaned up her act, and is now back demanding to see her son. She quickly upsets Tara, who ends up smashing her cast in a fit of rage, and is quickly read the riot act by Gemma, who tells her that she will see Abel, but it will be on Gemma’s terms. Characters who have been away for a while then suddenly reappear tend to frequently end up dead. If I were betting on it, all my chips would be on Wendy not making it to the end of the series.
I don’t think Juice will be in the series for much longer either, which is a shame because he has been a joy to watch for most of this series. There was a very touching scene between Juice and Chibs where Juice admits that the sheriff has been trying to blackmail him, and he even tells Chibs why. Chibs tells Juice that it doesn’t matter that having a black father is against the rules, as a lot of the members in the club don’t know who their father is, and his identification papers call him Hispanic. However, at the end of this, Juice calls the Feds, and checks in. Juice is too deep into this to every get out now, and I can’t envision a way that this series will end where he can remain in the club, whether he flees or dies.
The episode ends with Opie finally going to pick up his dad, only to find him dead. We finally get to see Unser as more than Gemma and Clay’s little errand boy, and more as his own man. He tells Opie that Clay killed his father, and he tells him why. He tells Opie that Clay put the hit on his first wife in an attempt to kill Opie, and he also tells him that Clay beat Gemma to a pulp after she threatened to expose him. And then when Unser tells Opie that’s why he has to kill Clay, and he calls him “son”, we know who Gemma meant when she said that Clay had to “die at the hand of the son”.
Ryan Hurst’s performance in this scene was captivating, and there was a moment when I genuinely feared for Unser’s life. His portrayal of a grieving son is both terrifying and moving.
The episode was a little on the long side, and would have a been a lot better if that embarrassing shoot-out scene had been cut or rewritten to be shorter and less over the top, it could probably have fit into the usual 45 minutes anyway. Nevertheless, it was another solid episode of Sons Of Anarchy and as always has left me waiting with bated breath for next week’s fix.
Read our review of episode ten, Hands, here.