Clay’s (Ron Perlman) determination to give himself a profitable retirement continued to grow uglier this week, with the club president managing to hurt Bobby(Mark Boone Junior), Piney (William Lucking) and even his own wife Gemma (Katey Sagal). The effect of Clay’s actions are forcing the club to quickly unravel from within, especially following split opinions on SAMCRO’s drug deal with the Mexican cartel.
Dishonesty and lies are beginning to spread like wildfire – as we saw Clay going against his word to Jax (Charlie Hummam) to make Opie (Ryan Hurst) president and instead promising the position to Bobby. Even the usually morally strong Jax is pursuing his own motive, supporting Clay’s dubious decisions and misleading Opie over the future of the club. Seeing as it‘s still early days for the season, the problems for SAMCRO are going to get a hell of a lot worse.
Things also continued to become more terse between Gemma and Tara (Maggie Siff), with Gemma continuing to snoop though Tara’s office to read through the letters from John Teller. This gave way to one of the funniest scenes of the episode, with Gemma ill advisedly taking on Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) as a lookout while she searched through Tara’s belongings. It wasn’t long before she was walked in on by the hospital administrator – immediately seeing through Gemma’s ruse of reading through a book on Sonoanatomy and Feasibility of Ultrasonographic. Guidance in Term and Preterm Neonates – apparently part of an exciting trilogy.
After being caught, Gemma decided to come clean with Tara - laying bare the truth about John Teller’s relationship with Maureen and Gemma’s resulting attachment to Clay. While it’s true that Gemma could simply want to stop Jax from finding this stuff out, I’m still positive that there’s more to the letters than meets the eye – especially with the emphasis on the police report surrounding Teller’s death from the previous episode.
Alongside all these continuing tensions, there was a significant storyline this week revolving around newer club member Kozik (Kenny Johnson). While loading a shipment of cartel guns into a van, Kozik is challenged to a one-on-one basketball game by a group of kids. It’s an obvious ploy which results in Kozik being knocked over the head and having the van stolen with the guns in tow. This took SAMCRO on a hunt to retrieve the guns, leading them to an illegal trader named Viviva (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) – who refused any participation, but was blisfully unaware of her two sons being involved with the guns.
Best part of this whole shenanigan ? Vivaca’s two sons were named Luther & Vandross, giving the episode a wholly unexpected moment of hilarity. It was also great to see a sly nod to Kenny Johnson’s role as Curtis Lemanski on The Shield, with one of the young hoodlums referring to him as Lemonhead – a nickname frequently used for his character on the earlier show.
We also saw Juice (Theo Rossi) being picked up and interrogated by Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar), following a relaxing session of colonic irrigation (“I recommend the green tea”) on the suggestion of Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon). After SAMCRO’s cold blooded murder of Potter’s planted agent – Plan B involved Roosevelt intimidating Juice to provoke a reaction against the club.
His tactic however was something a controversial one – threatening to inform the club of Juice’s family background, following the reveal of Juices estranged relationship to his black father. Roosevelt tells Juice that he can arrange for him to see his father if he co-operates, otherwise he’ll tell the club about Juice’s true ethnicity. It’s hard to see SAMCRO being particularly bothered by this fact, but the reaction from Juice indicated a genuine fear. It’s also worth noting that members of the club haven’t exactly been against the occasional racist remark in previous seasons.
It’ll be interesting to see just how far series creator Kurt Sutter and his writing team will potentially take this idea, as making SAMCRO turn against another member simply for being half-black will be uncomfortable viewing to say the least. But then again, Sutter has never shied away from such controversial storylines on either Sons Of Anarchy or The Shield.
Equally shocking was the sight of a man buried up to his head and being arduously eaten alive by flesh-eating ants – during Clay and Bobby’s visit to the chief of the Wahewa Indians. It was pretty disturbing stuff and part of me is already suspecting the possibility of a member of SAMCRO receiving the same grisly treatment, especially with Clay lying to the chief over the deal with the Mexican cartel.
Seeing as this was an episode led by themes of lies and deceit, it ended in a complete reversal to the previous weeks celebration over Jax and Tara’s engagement. A 6/5 majority vote over the continuing drug trade ended in stony silence, with Bobby defiantly walking away from the clubhouse in discontent.
In an attempt to stop Clay from passing the vote, Piney also told Gemma about the drug deals, leading to her confronting Clay. This didn’t go down well, with Clay aggressively pushing Gemma away and threatening to slit Piney’s throat if he acted in a similar way again.
In this single episode, we’ve seen SAMCRO become intrinsically damaged, with several members growing increasingly alienated by the actions of others. While it’s not the first time we’ve seen conflict building within the club, it’s clearly heading towards having a larger impact this season – especially with Clay’s single-minded efforts to give himself a good retirement at the cost of the clubs future.
Best Bit: The brothers Luther & Vandross
Worst Bit: Death by flesh-eating ants…. Nasty stuff
Quote Of The Week: “I just saw some stuff in there I ate when I was 7 years old. I weigh 100 pounds lighter, I’m a brand new man !” – Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) waxes lyrical over colonic irrigation.
Sons of Anarchy continues Tuesday nights at 10pm on FX (US)