TV Review: Sons Of Anarchy 4.12 - Burnt and Purged Away

The tension continues to mount in another shocking episode of Sons of Anarchy's fourth season.

rating: 4.5

Major Spoilers From The Start ! And I thought last weeks episode ended on a frustrating cliff-hanger.... The closing moments of €˜Burnt and Purged Away€™ gave us one of the most shocking endings to an episode of the season - and even the entire run of the show. Opie (Ryan Hurst) finally confronted Clay (Ron Perlman), and after a short but tense Mexican standoff, he put two well deserved bullets into the chest of the corrupt club president. It was incredibly satisfying to see Clay finally being punished for his unforgivable actions this season, especially by Opie who has suffered many losses at the hands of the club. When the episode faded to black from the image of Jax€™s (Charlie Hunnam) shocked face, mine was pretty much the same€.. We have to wait another week ?!? Still, there€™s a couple of things about the final scene that will bug me in the run up to next weeks episode. Firstly the uncertainty surrounding whether or not Clay is actually dead. If Opie really wanted to do the job without a shadow of doubt why didn€™t he aim for the head. Likewise, if Clay is dead, surely his demise from the show would have warranted more than such a quick fade to black. My money is on Clay sticking around for a little bit longer, but it€™s hard to see how he€™ll last beyond the season finale. If things are bad for Clay, they€™re arguably even worse for Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) - having been arrested and incarcerated alongside Juice, after the deal was signed between Otto (Kurt Sutter) and Lincoln Potter (Roy McKinnon). The scene between Otto and Bobby was suitably tragic with Bobby screaming abuse while being led away. You can€™t help but feel sorry for both of the guys, having been equally played by the deceptive Potter - who now has three members of SAMCRO under his control. I especially loved Kurt Sutter€™s sardonic delivery of the line €œYeah, I€™m completely at peace€ after Potter's suggestion that he'll get some closure. One of my favourite moments of the episode was the incredibly tense hospital scene, when Clay visited Tara (Maggie Siff) at her bedside. At this point in the season, it was entirely plausible that Clay could have taken the act of killing her himself by smothering her with a pillow or something equally dastardly. While he didn€™t go ahead with such an act, the scene was unbearably tense and was Clay's way of offering a final ultimatum to Tara in order for her to save her life. Also, Clay€™s wide smile as he told her that she€™d not make it out of Charming if she didn€™t play ball was both incredibly unnerving as well as amusingly goofy. Last week I talked about the feeling of relief that Gemma (Katey Sagal) was finally turning against Clay and wanted to see him dead, but this week she once again made a complete u-turn. No matter what happens between the pair, she can€™t bring herself to allow the club as it stands to be destroyed - in many ways, you sense that she feels that she's the true ringleader of SAMCRO and in many ways, she kind of is. Her remark to Unser (Dayton Callie) that €œI am protecting what it took me 20 goddamn years to build€ pretty much made her feelings abundantly clear. The ongoing deals with the Irish also lead to a memorable sequence involving an illegal black-market baby ring. It wasn't the best discovery that Jax could have made, as the rooms full of newly born babies ended up opening raw wounds thanks to the baby kidnapping plot of the prior season. There was something funny about watching SAMCRO refusing to use guns due to the presence of children, but having no problems slamming each other around and beating the crap out of several guards in front of the cots. I€™m also still curious about the motivations for the show to have Wendy (ex-wife of Jax and mother of Abel) returning to Charming. Her appearance surely isn€™t simply to cause trouble over having the right to see her son, and i'm guessing she'll play a larger part next season. I€™m not going to rule out the fact that she€™s back in the show due to the upcoming demise of another major character, but to be honest, I€™m really hoping that€™s not the case - Tara has been through enough this season. While I€™ve already dealt with the big ending of this episode, the most powerful scene came just before it - with Jax joining Unser and Opie for a low-key cremation for Piney. Opie€™s few words up until his explosive breakdown outside the crematorium was extremely well played by Ryan Hurst who has been one of the most consistently excellent actors of the show this season. His rage fuelled attack on Clay (complete with a nice reversal of Clay€™s busting down the door trick) made for brilliant TV. €˜Burnt and Purged Away€™ was a more sombre and calm episode (Clay€˜s shooting withstanding) than the last few, but as a prelude to next week€™s two-part season finale it€™s easy to see why. As shocking as the ending to this weeks episode was, I€™d easily wager that Kurt Sutter and his writing team have a hell of a lot more to unleash on us in the final acts of the season - after all, the cartel and Potter are hardly going to let SAMCRO or Jax and Tara just walk away€. Are they ? Best Bit: Clay getting served by Opie (although enough with the cheap looking CG blood) Worst Bit: The wait till next Tuesday. Quote Of The Week: - "Jesus christ... That's history man!" - Probably not the best way for Clay to refer to Donna's murder. Sons Of Anarchy continues on Tuesday at 10pm on FX (U.S)

Cult horror enthusiast and obsessive videogame fanatic. Stephen considers Jaws to be the single greatest film of all-time and is still pining over the demise of Sega's Dreamcast. As well regularly writing articles for WhatCulture, Stephen also contributes reviews and features to Ginx TV.