Sons Of Anarchy season 6 episode 9 review: John 8:32
Revelations haunt this week's Sons of Anarchy. Here's Matthew's review of John 8:32...
This review contains spoilers.
6.9 John 8:32
Nero, Gemma, Jax and Tara are immediately brought to the forefront in this week’s episode to remind us that as the season is on its way to concluding, that ultimately these are the major players that deserve our undivided attention. Visually, Gemma and Nero were dressed in black to match not only each other but also to visually connect to the love birds in the cage as well. These two characters who clearly love each other are doomed. Either Gemma is going to go to jail for her “attack” on Tara or Nero is going to sell out the club, or some other unforeseen consequence is going to catch up with them, but the prominently displayed colour of black proves that death is lurking right behind these two characters. In contrast, Jax is presented in white and is attempting to find a way to reconnect with his wife. Although he is sincere in his efforts, he remains oblivious to Tara’s plan and as such, the lives of our main characters are going to once again become further entwined.
Tara, who remains the only character who clearly sees that association with the club leads to death, reminds Nero and us that Gemma has in some ways always been a harbinger of death. Arguably, this downward spiral started when she and Clay decided to kill JT. Tara even tells Nero “I suggest you get out now before you end up dead too.” The references to the circumstances surrounding JT’s death were coming fast and furious this week. One has to begin to strongly suspect that a major plot point is going to be revealed around JT’s death, which, in some ways has always remained a mystery despite the fact that we believe that we know that Gemma and Clay killed him.
Jax has always been haunted by ghosts. In particular the ghost of his dead dad JT still follows him wherever he goes. He even claims to want to make the club legitimate to honour his father’s legacy. So is it really Jax’s dream to bring the club into the “legitimate” world or is he a slave to a ghost in much the same way that Hamlet was? Additionally, will this path ultimately lead to his demise? His obsession with this idea of going legit is blinding him to the fact that his wife Tara has been plotting against him for quite some time now. Furthermore, while we are on the subject of having visions of spirits and ghosts there was a scene in season five when Jax sees a homeless women outside of a warehouse and he gives her a stare as if to admit in an almost uncanny way that he somehow knows this women. We get a similar scene in this week’s episode when this time he does the exact same thing when he is entering the club’s new headquarters and this time the young harbinger proceeds to break the storefront window of SAMCRO’s new clubhouse. This leads Jax to discovering that this girl ‘s mother was “killed” in an accident caused when JT’s bike went of control and led to him being killed. When the club tracks down the girl’s father and Jax enters the house he stares at the girl’s mother in a picture and cannot help but once again feel some sort of connection to this women whom we now suspect must be connected to JT in some other way.
This episode brought back Elliot Oswald to the mix, a character who played a crucial role in the development of the series. He has a great line in the episode that illuminates an underlying ideology in American culture in that the wealthy have no responsibility to help out their subordinates. When Jax makes it clear that he wants Oswald to help out Mr. Putnam and his daughter, Oswald says, “I’m his employer not his fairy godmother.” So is it a fantasy to think that employers might owe something to loyal and hardworking people? We also get an important revelation from Unser about his relationship with Gemma dating back to when they were kids and that they used to “dine and dash” together. This is important because Unser’s fascination with Gemma goes back to his formative years and this helps to further explain his deep connection to her.
Moreover, we had the glorious return of Clay who brought Gospel preaching to a whole new level this week. I do not think any conservative religious folks will be happy with Clay’s mockery of Christianity and his interpretation of delivering a meaningful sermon. The Priest makes some very valid philosophical points about how we cannot see beyond our own selfish desires and he reads a passage from the bible that comes from the episode’s titular John 8:32. Clay manages to put his own spin on the origins of Christianity by saying that “some Jew got nailed to a cross a thousand some years ago and he’s gonna be the magic pill that pulls all us scumbags to freedom?” Of course, this scene also served the narrative function of expediting Clay’s role in being able to become the point man for the gun business in California to continue for the Irish. After Clay makes his dramatic remarks as only the superbly great Ron Perlman can, he then does his best Hannibal Lecter impression by biting a guard’s nose off and then in another visual nod to The Silence of the Lambs Clay is forced to wear a mask around his face in the hospital room where he is awaiting treatment for his injuries. Never count Clay out, seems to be another lesson that we should all never forget.
The onscreen scene between Tyne Patterson and Jax was handled nicely as Jax does what he does best and attempts to make a deal to save the club. Once again, credit to Jax as he has just the type of offer that Mrs. Patterson would be keen to accept by offering up Galen a prominent member of the IRA for her to hold responsible for the school shooting. Now, exactly how Jax is going to go about making this happen and getting the Irish “Kings” to go along with this is an issue for another time. This deal to sell out an Irish man is eerily reminiscent of how he was able to manipulate Agent Stahl in season three of the show. Perhaps Mrs. Patterson better watch her back more closely. Of course, we once again see Jax trying to alleviate himself of any personal responsibility for the school shooting by making this deal. Jax even tries to come to terms with any guilt he may feel over the deaths of innocent youths by forcing Oswald to help out the family of the young girl who broke the new clubhouse window because she comes from a broken home.
As this episode was titled John 8:32, naturally the “truth”was going to come out. The conjugal visit that Gemma was forced to endure with Clay. Tara’s grand plan with her fake pregnancy and the “miscarriage.” Tara’s desire to file for divorce and take Jax’s children away from him. Gemma attempting to win her son back to her side by saying to him in regards to Tara that “I’m sorry I love her too but this is the truth and if she’s not gonna tell you you need to find someone who will.” Then we get the important revelation from Gemma who fills us in about JT’s death. “I didn’t kill him but I knew it had to be done. I gave my blessing for Clay to kill John Teller. I never told that to anyone including my son.” The powerful revelation from Gemma is a fact we were pretty sure was true but it was a very important moment in the story arc of the show because Gemma finally admits this truth for Nero and us to hear.
We end this episode with Jax sitting alone as I suppose he was always destined to be. Tara has a gun ready to deal with Jax upon his return home. This is why Sons of Anarchy is the most rewarding and brilliant show on television for those who watch carefully and pay attention. That same woman, who looked familiar in the picture to Jax was the homeless woman with whom he had the aforementioned encounter in season five. It seems pretty clear that she didn’t die in that accident, which is a very nice twist to end the episode on. Where this revelation is going has me both bewildered and delighted. I realisee that making predictions about Sons of Anarchy is a losing proposition because Kurt Sutter and his crew are always five steps ahead of us.
Read Matthew’s review of the previous episode, Los Fantasmas, here.
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