This review contains spoilers.
6.2 One One Six
After last week’s literally ‘explosive’ season premiere, Kurt Sutter continues to show us that the end game for Jax is indeed underway. Like in any great tragedy, Jax’s hubris continues to rear its ugly head, illustrated by the brilliant advice he gives to Tara about how no jury would convict her because they would understand her becoming involved in a criminal conspiracy to commit murder to protect a gang of bikers because their husband is their most important member. Really Jax? Moreover, the lives of everyone around Jax continue to be tainted and destroyed. There is a great irony in this show in that Jax is always talking about protecting his family and at the same time he is personally responsible for destroying the lives of almost any family that crosses his path. We know that he is capable of committing despicable acts of violence, especially against women, but to make Juice do his dirty work in this episode shows us a new level of manipulative cruelty.
On top of that, Clay has now teamed up with Lee Toric. Clay Morrow is anything but “taken care of.” Clay is the ultimate survivor and perhaps he has a few more things to teach his stepson before it is all said and done. So we have the man that Jax hates and arguably fears the most in this world teaming up with the man that Jax should be investing all of his energy into stopping. Lee Toric continues to prove to us that he is ruthless, unstable and probably the most volatile threat that the club has ever faced. Donal Logue really is becoming one of the most interesting character actors in Hollywood. Shakespearian themes are always underlying in Sons of Anarchy, but this week they made an overt appearance in Lee Toric’s quote from a Shakespearian sonnet about love: “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.” These lines serve to show us just how intelligent and unique Lee Toric really is.
As far as the endgame goe, it was always about the decision made by The Sons of Anarchy to get into the illegal gun business that was going to be their downfall. Remember that JT (John Teller) predicted that getting into the gun business would end up destroying the club. We all know that this was part of the reason that JT was murdered and in his letters he tried to warn his son about the gun business and about how the club had lost its way. The tragedy seems to be that Jax is going to suffer the exact same fate as JT precisely because of the issues that affect him and the club from the gun business. While we’re on the subject of the club, all of the major members that we have come to know and care about seem completely lost and broken by the events that have transpired over the last couple of seasons. They seem to act more out of confusion than they do out of loyalty to the club. Once again let me say that Bobby who is trying to go Nomad was always the heart and soul of the group. Without his guidance Jax is like a rabid dog without a leash who listens to no one.
This episode was not as exciting as last week’s season premiere, and instead chose to focus more on developing the mindset of several of the show’s major characters while also setting up all of the pieces from last week that will play out in the show’s narrative. You have to respect the writing on Sons of Anarchy for many reasons but the fact that past decisions and actions come back to affect the present is not only excellent writing, it also shows you how much respect the writers on this show have for their fans. Were the Irish just going to let Jax stop selling their guns? Is Jax just going to be able to apologize to Lee Toric for his sister’s murder? Is Tara really going to just pretend that her time in prison was an enlightening experience and that her husband is a loving human being? All of the cogs are being put into motion.
As far as Tara goes, besides the fact that Maggie Siff is a brilliant actress, thanks to her time in prison she is becoming more like her husband in figuring out a way to manipulate him to save her children by removing them from his life. Tara is beginning to see Jax in a much clearer light and she, unlike some other characters on the show, is not only beginning to see Jax for what he truly is, but accepting the fact that her fate is sealed and she must act selflessly to save her children. Tara, who never really accepted the responsibility that this lifestyle has brought her, is now fully aware of the fact that the only way to leave the club is to literally meet the reaper.
Lastly, there were an abundant amount of references to The Godfather franchise in this episode that may give us a clue into how this show will end. We had Jax and Nero Padilla have a Michael and Kay moment when Michael lets Kay ask him about his business only to lie about it. Jax looks right in Nero’s face and lies to him about how a certain drug addict mom that they were watching just happened to meet her end in life a little prematurely and how it was an act of God and not Jax’s doing. To see Nero embrace Jax but then roll his eyes, making us aware that Jax may not be as good as a liar as Michael Corleone, although he is certainly trying to be. We also had Jax kiss Juice after he committed the murder for him, a reference to The Godfather II when Michael kisses Fredo and tells him that he knows that he is a traitor. So what does that foreshadow about Juice? We also have the really awkward homecoming moment between Jax and Tara when Jax is completely oblivious to Tara’s plans to divorce him, recalling the scene in The Godfather II when Michael tries to comfort Kay after Michael thinks that she just lost her baby.
One One Six may not have been the most exciting episode, but like every season of Sons of Anarchy, everything is being set into motion. An early emerging theme in this season seems to be the role of the personal responsibility that we as individuals have to our community in regards to our personal choices. Next week will only bring more intrigue, and more layers to that, I’m sure.
Read Matthew’s review of the previous episode, Straw, here.
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