There’s something Sons of Anarchy has flirted with all season that “Darthy” unquestionably confirms. Jax Teller, for all of his idealism, has slowly become as corrupted an individual as Clay Morrow has. Between last week’s “To Thine Own Self” and “Darthy,” nearly everything Jax wanted has been given to him. The club has traded in the gun and drug-running for legitimate business ventures. The RICO case has been destroyed. Pressure has been alleviated and order is close to being restored. And, in the biggest revelation of the episode, Clay Morrow has lost his membership. This is Jax’s big moment – it’s everything he wanted for his club on a silver platter. And yet, the Jax Teller of “Darthy” is the most callous, hate-filled, and restless we’ve ever seen him.
As much as Jax wants to argue that the gavel corrupts, it’s his need for vengeance that threatens to destroy everything he’s worked for. He doesn’t want Clay out of the club, he wants him dead. He’s aware that Clay’s death would likely undo all of the progress he’s made with restoring order, yet he still actively pursues it. It’s consuming. Poisonous. Corrosive. And in a season that regularly featured SAMCRO as its primary villain, it’s interesting that, ultimately, Jax’s greatest enemy might actually be himself. In “Darthy,” it is the individual – not the institution – that is responsible for all of the damage and destruction that is occurring.
This leads to the other standout moment in “Darthy,” and one of the most tragic moments the show has ever had. After threatening to take back custody of Abel, Wendy is violently and unwillingly injected with a dose of heroin by Jax’s hand. It’s a brutal, unnervingly cold act, and, given Wendy’s history, a fate worse than death. In one move, Jax strips away his ex’s sobriety, career, and access to her child, and he does so without an inkling of hesitation. This is far removed from the Jax we knew mere episodes ago, and it’s the episode’s strongest suggestion that Jax has transitioned from a morally flawed, but ultimately good individual to an irredeemable one. There’s a strong sense here that Jax is at the point of no return – a man that has violently destroyed the glimmer of hope he was responsible for creating.
There isn’t a whole lot of hope running through “Darthy.” Despite the moments of triumph and the promise of the future that defined much of the plot development in last week’s episode and the beginning of this one, by the end of “Darthy,” the idea that the world of Sons of Anarchy could be salvaged is even more fleeting than it ever has been before. There’s a sense of inevitability, of an inability to escape the anger, torment, and hatred that’s buried deep within the souls of each of these individuals, no matter how hard they try to dispose of it. Jax had the best intentions for his club. But his nature has proven impossible to rally against.
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