Sons of Anarchy: Toil and Till Review

The constant escalation of tension should lead to a hotly anticipated series finale. Here's another step in the right direction.

The season 7 premiere of Sons of Anarchy was hotly anticipated. So, so hot. We were greeted by a soulless, dead-eyed Jax, who was intent on two things: revenge for the murder of his wife, and securing a new future for his club. Get out of guns and get on the straight and narrow? Fuck that noise. Jax wants blood and he doesn’t seem to care whose.

Turns out Gemma told him that she saw one of Lin’s men leaving Tara’s house the night she died. It makes sense – Jax was responsible for the death of Lin’s uncle. Family retribution, right? Sure looks good on paper. But Jax should have learned by now not to trust what Gemma says. If there was one thing Tara tried to instill on her husband, it was the understanding that Gemma was worse than the club. Why? Because nearly all of Gemma’s bullshit is tied to retribution. 

Let’s stop for a moment and look at all the great things that the Sons have gotten out of retribution. Shall we start with Tig accidently killing Opie’s wife, or Pope’s daughter? Pope killing Tig’s daughter and clubbing Opie to death in retribution. Now we have Jax on his own killing spree. Mercilessly gunning down everyone in order to get revenge for Tara’s death. This constant escalation is going to end badly. For everyone.

Take Gemma, who is starting to unravel bit by bit. Last episode she’s talking to an imaginary Tara while standing at the same sink she stabbed her daughter in law to death at. This episode she’s telling Abel that his mommy was an angel and all angels go to heaven. Interestingly she leaves the kids at home instead of taking them to the club. Tara would be delighted to learn that it took her violent and bloody death for Gemma to change her tune about raising the kids in gangland.

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And if you think Gemma is looking a little frayed, Juice has started to just unravel. Last episode he was holding Unser hostage, this episode he can’t seem to leave Charming. Sure, he let Unser go, and yes Gemma gave him money and a new place to stay. He got in the car and drove around, but in the end he came right back to Wendy’s apartment. Poor Juice. He is a good egg. An egg that misses Chibs and the other guys. Sentimentality be damned; he needs to get the fuck out of dodge. Nothing good can come of him hanging around; and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gemma ended up killing him herself. 

The only person who seems to have his shit together in this mess is Jax. Now there is a man with a mission. Sure, he might tell August and Nero that he won’t let his need for retribution leak out all over business, keeping the emotions in check until the time is right, but if there is one thing Jax is good at, perhaps more so than anyone (save Gemma), it’s keeping a poker face. Behind that poker face is a plan, a very simple plan. Jax is going to completely unravel Lin’s business, and systematically break down his relationships. Once he’s all sad and alone, Jax will reveal that he was behind everything, and then he wants to find out who Lin wants spared. Whoever Lin points to will be the first person Jax kills. Emphasis on first.

Again, sounds good on paper. Heck, it even sounds good to Gemma. Like she gives a shit how many bodies pile up in service to her lie. But this is a about retribution, and like I said at the beginning of this piece is that revenge has never worked out too well for the Sons. Case in point, when Jax sets two (apparently) unaffiliated white guys to take the fall for a the hijacking of one of Lin’s gun shipments, what he didn’t realize is that one of the (apparently) unaffiliated young guys he kills is the son of another SoA charter’s president. See how quickly shit gets twisted?

But that is where Kurt Sutter excels as a writer. The realization that violence only begets violence and that the constant escalation of tension can lead to a helluva hotly anticipated series finale. I said it before and I’ll say it again: Jax vs. Gemma.

My money is on Gemma for the win.

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5 out of 5