Sons Of Anarchy season 6 episode 3 review: Poenitentia

This review contains multiple references to Hamlet. But at this point in Sons of Anarchy, that's only to be expected...

This review contains spoilers.

6.3 Poenitentia

“A weapon so deadly put in the hands of a child.” These words were uttered in the opening moments by the district attorney Tyne Patterson and it was no accident that as she is uttering these words we end up with the camera cutting to Jax. It is moments like this that further cement the idea that the downfall of Jax is indeed underway. Additionally further parallels are being made between Jax and the boy who committed the mass shooting in the first episode of this season. They share a similar life path in that they are both deeply conflicted human beings who lash out at the world in violent ways.

It seems more then coincidental that the journal that the young shooter kept continues to be mentioned and that in this episode we see Jax writing in his journal for the first time in quite some time. Jax has always managed to pull the club out of any perilous situation that they have found themselves in but the one line that Jax has never crossed was in betraying his brothers. Jax has now fallen into the same category as Michael Corleone and by trying to protect his family he is going to destroy it. Handing over Tig to August is the right business move for Jax but it is also the move that will destroy his very soul.

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Again give major kudos to the writing staff for making the past come back to affect the present in a very meaningful and impactful way. On most shows, the issue with Tig not having to answer for murdering Damon Pope’s daughter would have been over and done with but not on Sons of Anarchy. In this show everything comes back. I also think that the writers have down a great job of showing the violent and psychopathic tendencies of Lee Toric by having him continually invent new ways to torture and kill people. Personally I will not be able to open a beer bottle for quite some time without having images of Mr. Toric’s unique opening method coming to mind for quite some time.

Furthermore, the metaphor of Lee Toric being a loose cannon was taken to the most literal level possible this week as he accidentally shoots his gun off and it hits the prostitute that he has just slept with. After shooting this woman Toric’s initial reaction is to clean up his mistake by apologetically murdering her. His actions are almost on par with the actions of a certain Breaking Bad character named Todd whom has given a new meaning to the word psychopath. The twist with Lee is that he is going to use his mistake to his advantage which his something that Damon Pope urged Jax to do. Interesting how the voice of a dead king continues to echo out in this series. (Yes, I know that I have now used up my one Hamlet reference for this review.)

What also really helps to set Sons of Anarchy apart as a show is that things that appear to be good and almost pure always end up getting torn apart. So of course Toric would pin the dead prostitutes murder on Nero after we have seen him attend confession at his local church and once again we realize that within the context of this show Nero really is a “good” guy for whatever that is worth. The last two episodes have shown us that Nero has a conscience and he does have a moral center.

I also thought seeing Gemma in the church was a nice moment for a character who has very often been an almost satanic figure during the course of the show. The tragedy for these two lovebirds is that there seems to be a real bond between them. So naturally Gemma and Nero are going to be torn apart and once again Gemma is going to lose the man in her life. At the end will she have anyone left? I also think that it should be said that for Katey Sagal to make you think that she was born to play Gemma Teller as opposed to Peg Bundy is a true testament to how talented of an actress she really is. If you listened carefully you may have even heard her singing voice during this episode. Gemma also has a great line in this episode in which she says “everyone pretends the bad shit never happened.” To me that really makes it clear that in the world of Sons of Anarchy, the past always comes back to affect the present. (That theme will also mark this review’s second direct reference to Hamlet; sorry, I do try to keep them to a minimum.)

Additionally, we had a few plot related incidents confirmed in this episode such as the fact that Tara is pregnant. We have Jax confronting his new arch nemesis Lee Toric for the first time and we know that Clay is not going to cooperate with Toric at this point in time. You almost have to respect how Clay is ever the survivor and also the master of betrayal but what exactly did August’s men want with Clay? Apparently Jax has convinced August that keeping Clay alive will help him get out of the gun business with the Irish. Thank you writers once again for not allowing August to simply just go along with it. In order to allow this to happen Jax has to pay up and his payment at this point is to serve up Tig to August.

Once again in a direct Godfather reference he kisses Tig like Michael kissed his brother Fredo, but to make this scene somehow worse Jax tells Tig that he loves him. At that moment Tig was doomed. He has betrayed Jax one to many times but it was still a line that Jax crossed that will forever change him as a person. I am holding out hope that since we did not see Tig die that somehow he can find his way out of his current situation but that is rather unlikely. There was another Godfather reference in the show that echoed the great scene in the first Godfather film when Don Corleone leaves his chair and by the end of the scene Michael is in it. In tonight’s episode when Jax goes to visit Clay they sit side by side and neither one of them is at the head of the table. In fact Lee Toric is positioned off camera at the head of the table and he is standing up and then the camera cuts to Jax at the head of the table back at the clubhouse. The game of chess is indeed underway.

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While we are on the subject of Jax as he continues so desperately to try and get affection from some type of mother figure he arguably gets to see who metaphorically speaking is his daddy engaged in intercourse with his newfound love interest and mother figure. Charlie played brilliantly by Peter Weller surprised Jax twice in this episode and who knew that he was so good with a knife? That smirk he gave Jax when he walked in on him having sex with his love interest to me metaphorically said “Who’s your daddy kid?” Jax better watch Charlie very closely.

This was a very solid episode that added new intrigue to a season already filled with it and showed Jax’s further decline away from brotherhood and his own humanity. I am very excited for next weeks episode and I was thrilled to see that Robert Patrick is in next week’s episode along with Mitch Pileggi aka Ernest Darby who used to be a mainstay on the show. The past is always sneaking up on us!

Read Matthew’s review of the previous episode, One One Six, here.

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