This review contains spoilers.
7.10 Faith And Despondency
We have movement.
It’s taken a long time, it’s taken a painful amount of filler and contrived complications, but the final season of Sons Of Anarchy has reached the place it needs to be, and, despite everything, my fingers are crossed for a killer final few episodes. This was a strong, effective instalment that covered a lot of ground and left us with a tantalising set up for next week.
In any other season, it is very possible that the various club politics subplots would not have seemed nearly as irritating. Nothing about any of what has happened the last few weeks has been especially out of character for the show, but it felt extremely frustrating when the audience has been fully aware that there were bigger and more important things to deal with. It didn’t help that the many subplots have just been extremely transparent attempts to kill time, none of which were really showing us anything we haven’t already seen. And yeah, some of them still lingered this week (the ongoing amorous adventures of Rat Boy), but honestly, I didn’t mind so much. The scenes between Tig and Venus were actually really nice, and if, as I suspect, Tig is the rat, then they will become even more powerful in retrospect.
This close to the end, there is nothing wrong with taking moments to just spend some time with the characters, to let them have some happiness. It’s only when it’s barely sketched people like Rat Boy who are given valuable episode time that I get annoyed. But the various couplings this episode mostly worked (with the glaring exception of the creepy Juice and Marilyn Manson scenes), and the final moment between Jax and Wendy was exceptional. Over the last few years Wendy has managed to grow into one of the most likable characters left in this show, and to see all her hard work to become better finally vindicated by her son learning the truth was surprisingly moving. It even gave Jax some much-needed likability, and a nice reminder that he does actually remember the existence of his children.
The resolution of the Moses arc was a mixed success. In theory, the ambush was quite clever and a satisfying if gruesome pay off, however it was hard to shake the sense that none of what happened with him seemed to really be leading anywhere. I mean, sure, we lost Bobby along the way, but he was fairly expendable this late in the game. Depending on what happens with Marks in the remaining weeks, it does seem like just more filler. On top of that, while it was fairly engaging to watch, it was undercut by some weak plotting. Why, for example, did Moses leave Tyler behind (allowing him to free Rat Boy and the other guy) when he has insisted on keeping him present during the entire search so far? It was convenient and careless and detracted quite a bit from the rest of the scene.
But all of that receded in the wake of the conclusion. I’ve been wondering in the last few weeks how Gemma’s lies would begin to topple, and it seems we have our answer. Whether or not Jax entirely believes Abel, the idea has been planted in his head, and the moment he learns that Gemma’s scapegoat was innocent, the truth cannot be denied any more. This is how to do an effective cliffhanger; a moment that the series cannot come back from, but one that is more impactful in what it promises than what actually happens. And yeah, the ball could be dropped next week, and maybe we’ll be back to more dull water treading, but the calm-before-the storm we got this week in the guise of the characters sharing time with their loved ones seems to indicate otherwise. With Gemma and Nero taking shelter at the farm, the other Sons Of Anarchy charters meeting to discuss Jury’s murder and Jax being out for blood, the road has been paved for a great send off. Let’s hope they stick the landing.
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