Sons Of Anarchy season 6 episode 11: Aon Rud Pearsanta

Sons Of Anarchy's current season is reaching its conclusion, and delivers a brilliant episode as it does. Major spoilers ahead...

This review contains spoilers.

6.11 Aon Rud Pearsanta

“The king is dead, the light goes on. You’ll lose your head when the deal goes down,” prophetic words indeed from the theme song to Sons of Anarchy as after almost six full seasons, Clay Morrow finally met Mr. Mayhem. This is why making predictions about Sons of Anarchy is a useless endeavour. I was pretty bold in my statement last week in which I all but assured everybody that Clay was going to make it to the next season or at least the end of this one. Naturally, I was completely wrong and in a fitting end to the Clay Morrow saga he finally went down. I suppose Clay was living on borrowed time for at least a couple of seasons now. I suppose that he meet the end that he deserved but to quote Nero in regards to the somewhat shockingly grieving Gemma over Clays death “Good or bad, Clay was a huge piece of your life.” After investing so much time and energy into the show and understanding how crucial Clay’s role in this tragedy is I am actually devastated to see him go and yet interestingly enough his death may be the very thing that saves the group and gives them a future. So in a way, Clay became the ultimate martyr for the group and perhaps now the Christian symbolism and imagery that surrounded him this season was meant to make us aware of where Clay’s ultimate end would be. Out with the old and in with the new, as another original member is gone. Jax is certainly moving the club into a new direction but at the same time, when he asked Clay how he would handle the situation that Clay, without any prior knowledge of this setup, comes up with the exact same scenario that Jax did proves that Jax’s transformation into his hated stepfather is now complete. Narratively speaking, Clay’s story arc is finished and the tragedy is almost complete as Jax is now the “new” Clay.

You also have to hand it to the writing staff for continually making Jax the most consistently deviously clever character on television. It does not hurt that the brilliant Charlie Hunnam always manages to keep us slightly off-guard in regards to being able to see the full extent of Jax’s motivations. Additionally, Gemma may be a human being after all as we see her break down and accept sympathy from Tara, try to help Wendy back on her feet, acknowledge the fact that Wayne has always been good to her, and read to her grandson, the latter proving that she can be a nurturing mother when she wants to be. It cannot be taken for granted just how fantastic a job Katey Sagal does each week with the character of Gemma Teller and in my mind to make the world see her as Gemma over Peg Bundy, another amazing character, is a feat that few actors or actresses could even dare hope to accomplish. After the last few weeks I have found myself really despising Gemma on a much deeper level then I previously had before and then we get hit with this episode that once again shows off so many more detailed layers to this beautifully complicated and deeply flawed character that it is hard not to have some sort of emotional connection with her plight.

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It is also my belief that Eli Roosevelt, besides Tara, is the only other major player on the show who senses the truth in the world around him and he has spent enough time with Jax to understand that no deal with him ever completely works out in anyone else’s favour. He has a great line in this week’s episode right before the prison escape scene when he is asked by his colleague about how this operation is going to go down. He answers in a dejected manner and says “Only way it can go down?” His facial expressions and our history with him let us know that this is going to be anything but a “smooth” execution of justice. In another great job by Kurt Sutter and his crew, the prison break goes remarkably smoothly for much longer then we anticipate. In fact I found myself almost shocked that the gang was not going to run into any potential problems and then Bobby gets shot and one of the prison transport guards gets run over. It is around this time that Tyne Patterson realizes that she has at least for the moment been played for a fool. Jax used the warehouse as a decoy in which to lure most of the local police far enough away from being able to interfere with the prison transport escape on the highway. This ruse was foreshadowed earlier in the episode when Jax very subtly asked Tyne if she is using local or federal police for this operation. She does not respond but Jax’s reason for asking becomes clearer to us after the days events are complete.

We than get a wonderful facial expression from Clay when he sees that Jax is the one who rescued him and we understand that Clay knows he is doomed. Now why the Irish or perhaps it was just Galen, insisted that the Sons be involved in Clay’s breakout from prison is a detail that I think deserves to be scrutinized a little further because poor planning is one thing that is not a trademark of the Irsh Kings. The second part of Jax’s plan is then put into motion as he kills Galen and his men before they have any time to react to what is happening. Clay is then murdered by Jax in front of the club and it was a rather brilliant bit of directorial work by Peter Weller, Charlie Barosky, to have Gemma witness Clay’s murder from behind a glass window. This added great tension to the scene because we immediately become invested in Gemma’s reaction. For me it was one of the most tense moments on the show, but then again I am a massive fan of what Clay’s character brought to the dynamics of the show. It also allowed us to see Clay have one last moment of humanity as he looks through the window at Gemma.

Jax and the rest of SAMCRO then arrange the murder scene to look like Clay and Galen got into a shoot out, over a supposed side deal that they had made, that ended up with them all getting killed. This was how Jax was going to convince the IRA that they had nothing to do with Galen’s death and he convinces Connor to go along with this farce, as doing otherwise would probably result in Connor’s untimely exit form this world at the hands of the masters that he failed. Jax then utters a truly important line of dialogue to Connor when he is unsure if the Irish Kings will believe their story. Jax looks Connor dead in the eye and says “then we’ll swear on Catholic Bibles.” That line itself should merit its own feature article but for now acknowledging its importance will suffice. The third part of Jax’s plan involves Roosevelt and Patterson finding the crime scene and getting the men “responsible” for the school shootings as the K-G9 guns were also found on the scene.

Furthermore, we once again have Jax refusing to accept responsibility for his role in allowing the school shooting to happen as he passes the blame onto Clay and Galen, who were no doubt also responsible for this catastrophe but why does Jax never accept any sort of personal responsibility?

In more direct parallels to The Godfather Saga, Jax has just murdered his enemies, put his alliances in order and claims that this bit of bad business is going to set the club down the path to being “legitimate.” This is the lie that has always and will always haunt Jax because like Michael Corleone he believes it. Nero even references The Godfather directly this week in calling his relationship with the club “The Godfather Paradox.” He is referring to the fact that Michael Corleone was very much aware that every time he tried to get further away from the life of crime he wound up becoming even more involved in it.

Now everything seems to be wrapped up nicely for Jax and the boys with life for the club about to return to normal. Well good old Wayne Unser reminds us this week that happiness is always fleeting on Sons of Anarchy and that one problem just leads to another. Wayne says to Gemma that , “this life ain’t romantic or free. There’s no path to anything that makes any sense. it’s just dirty and sad and we both know it’s only gonna get worse.” You couldn’t hope for a more accurate description of a criminal lifestyle. As such Tara is a problem that will not go away. “My freedom or my boys.” Tara is convinced that in order to save her boys that she must sacrifice herself and as such continues to fall deeper into a sort of madness which for once Jax admitted to partially being a cause of. As such Tara has no faith in Jax’s ability to forgive her and protect her so she runs right back into the arms of Tyne Patterson. The DA is absolutely disgusted by the level that Jax was willing to stoop to and she seems more determined then ever to bring him and the club down. So now Jax’s inability to read these two women is most likely going to lead to the downfall of SAMCRO as well as himself. How fitting is it that this man burning with such a hatred or at the very least some deeply troubling ideas about how women should be appeased is about to be brought down by two women he has greatly underestimated? How, you ask? Well it seems that Tara is going to help the DA pursue a RICO case against the club which is the very thing that would kill SAMCRO. The endgame is almost at an end and the stakes for the final act have been raised even higher.

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One last note about this week’s brilliant episode is about the narrative of violence and who gets to construct it. When Jax is staging the murder scene at the hangar, we as viewers are forced to confront the fact that unless we are physically present at the scene of any violent act we can never be completely sure of how and why such a thing could occur. This entire season of Sons of Anarchy has been about constructing a narrative around a school shooting and every person involved has been trying to put their own “spin” on it. When this happens the truth becomes distorted, blurred, and confused. Unfortunately, for Jax and SAMCRO it seems like the DA has come to this realization and now wants only one thing, justice.

Read Matthew’s review of the previous episode, Huang Wu, here.

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