This review contains spoilers.
5.5 Orca Shrugged
After a couple of very heavy instalments, this week’s Sons of Anarchy is more fun that it has been in a while. It has everything a good episode needs: Explosions! Fist fights! Drugs! Bad Irish accents! And of course, cameos from the cast of Kurt Sutter’s previous show, The Shield.
Rather unusually, the episode starts with a voiceover from Jax. Sons of Anarchy isn’t a show that uses voiceover very often, and what you see on screen is generally all that you get. It doesn’t really work, but it’s interesting to see the show experimenting with different techniques nonetheless.
The main arc in this week’s episode is a blackmail plot somewhat reminiscent of a Coen Brothers film. Mayor Nathan Hale makes a return, as does the directionless Charming Heights arc from last series. After it looked like it was over for Charming Heights at the end of series four, it turns out that there is still an outside chance that it could go ahead, but Hale is one vote short. The vote is that of an obese man named Alan. Chucky manages to knock Alan out with some drugged fudge, before the Sons take compromising photographs of him in a state of undress with a transgender prostitute by the name of Venus Van Damme. Fans of The Shield will recognise that Venus is played by Walton Goggins, the man behind Shane. Goggins will be at least the third main member of The Shield cast to appear in Sons of Anarchy, with Kenny Johnson and Benito Martinez making regular appearances in both shows. The whole scene is played in quite a comedic way, and after Alan’s step-son also ends up also being blackmailed because of his own stupidity, it starts to feel similar to a film like Burn After Reading where the characters get themselves into a terrible mess through some very dumb mistakes.
After seeming like a bit of an afterthought for the majority of the series, the home invasion plot actually seems to have some direction in this episode. We have a brief scene between Roosevelt and his wife (probably to remind the audience who she is) before putting her in a scene where her house is broken into. What the would-be burglars don’t know is that she has a gun. Sutter clearly doesn’t want to show his hand too soon with this plotline, so Roosevelt’s wife doesn’t quite manage to hit any of the burglars but she actually ends up being shot. However, she claws one of the attackers in the neck and it’s implied that she will have their skin under her fingernails. Given that the majority of the Sons have been arrested at one point or another, it shouldn’t be hard to trace this evidence. Whilst it hasn’t been said explicitly, it is implied pretty heavily that the home invasions are the work of Clay who is using the new members. It will be interesting to see how Roosevelt’s wife being shot will change his dynamic with the club, as it is mentioned that the majority of Charming feel that the Sons are responsible for the break-ins.
After looking like he was on his way out at the start of this series, Clay has made a pretty speedy recovery, and this week we really get to see why he is still important to the club when the Sons meet up with the Galindo Cartel and the Irish. Obviously this means that we have to put up with awful attempts at Irish accents, but I’ve said my piece on this in the reviews of series three and four.
Clay is important because, as it transpires, Galen hates Jax, and won’t deal with him. The two of them have a brief bare knuckle boxing match before getting onto business with Romeo, which was very entertaining. Galen then goes to blow up some of the Sons’ bikes whilst demonstrating a high powered machine gun. There is definitely no love lost between Jax and Galen, and it’s hard to see how their business relationship would continue if Clay were to leave.
Sons of Anarchy has quite a few plotlines on the boil at the moment, but unlike in series three when this happened and it felt like it was all over the place, the show still feels cohesive. The trailer for episode six is online to view now, and it looks like it is going to be a real treat.
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