TV Review: Sons Of Anarchy 4.13 - To Be (Act One)

To be, or not to be: that is the question.... Right Jax ?

rating: 4.0

So here we are, the first act of the finale for Sons of Anarchy's forth season and one which almost feels like not only a season finale, but what could easily be a definitive end to the entire show. With Clay (Ron Perlman) in critical condition, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Tara (Maggie Siff) trying to leave Charming and the SAMCRO we once new in complete tatters, it€™s incredibly hard to see how the club will survive for a further season. As the first of two parts, much of €˜To Be (Act One)€™ was spent nicely establishing next weeks conclusion, which is now driven by Jax€™s newfound desire to kill Clay - although he could have saved himself a lot of trouble by letting Opie (Ryan Hurst) finish the job at the start of the episode. Instead he put a bullet in Opie€™s hand, rushed to Clay€™s rescue, whipped up a story about Laroy (Tory Kittles) and the One-Niners and finally jumped in the shower for a gratuitous bum shot. It wasn€™t till late in the episode that Gemma (Katey Sagal) finally revealed to Jax all of the double-crossing and violence that€™s been going on behind his back during the season. At first I was a little shocked and surprised that Jax didn€™t act with the kind of rage that drove Opie last week, but then again I guess being told that your step-father murdered your dad and tried to have your fiancé killed is a hell of a lot to take in. But while Gemma finally spilt the beans, it€™s clear that she€™s still got her own motive for manipulating Jax like she is everyone else. Before even allowing him to begin to take in the horrific news that she€™s giving to him at once, she was telling him that it€™s time for him to step up and take control of the club. Jax€™s face during all of this was pretty priceless - a mix of bemused, angry and 'pissed as a fart' drunk - often all at once. If being manipulated by your own mother wasn€™t enough, we unexpectedly saw Tara chipping in her part in Clay€™s foreseeable demise, by handing Jax over a lethal injection to administer to Clay. While it€™s obvious that she€™s had enough of SAMCRO and the €œpoisonous town€ of Charming, it€™s still a shock to see Tara stepping up and contributing to killing Clay. She€™s not quite reaching a Gemma level of club meddling yet, but for someone who wants to run away from SAMCRO, Tara is seemingly becoming more and more dangerous. Even weirder was her repeated questioning throughout the episode over whether or not Jax and Gemma loved her. I wouldn€™t say that she€™s cracked, or that she€™s truly asking for love in a literal sense, to me it was more her way of making sure that she was able to finally take control of the situation and assure herself that even after all the trauma, it€™s still worth her time trying to escape with Jax - even if it means handing over a lethal injection of blood thinner to kill Clay. In fact, love was a pretty integral theme of the episode, with even Tig (Kim Coates) expressing his brotherly love for Clay, after turning his back on the club president and taking on the responsibility for the attack - still unaware of Clay's bastardy deeds. It was so much fun to see Tig turning against Clay after years of doing his dirty work, but sadly love will prevail and Tig took matters into his own hands, or to be more precise, the entire club against their own will. With Jax and Clay€™s quickly thrown together alibi of the shooting being the handiwork of Laroy and the One-Niners, Tig immediately decided on committing his own personal spin on the drive-by shooting, with the drive-by smashing-everything-in-your-path approach. Unfortunately (or maybe for the best) he missed Laroy but sent his girlfriend flying through a pane glass window to a messy death. Not exactly a smart move, as whatever happens in the concluding part of the episode, SAMCRO now have some very fresh - and warranted - beef with the One-Niners. While it was a dumb and unnecessary move, it resulted in one of the finest action sequences in the entire run of the show. As Tig was being pursued on the highway by Laroy and his men, he gained backup from the rest of the sons, leading to a thrillingly staged chase sequence. Sometimes the gratuitous action scenes can be a disservice to the drama, other times they€™re able to build on it - this exciting sequence definitely falls into the latter. Even after 13 exciting and often unbearably tense episodes it€™s still a shame that next week marks the end of another season of Sons of Anarchy. For all its occasional lapses into overblown action, Kurt Sutter€™s powerful drama continues to be one of the best shows on TV - even after four incredibly turbulent seasons. With €˜To Be (Act One)€˜ the show has also finally alluded to its long running Shakespearean undertones - but in the hands of so many manipulators, will Jax stay or will he go ? ________________ Best Bit: Gemma finally tells Jax what we've all wanted to shout to him through the TV for almost an entire season.Worst Bit: No Juice, no Bobby and an all too quick resolution on the Opie situation..... Still, it's only Act One. Quote Of The Week: "He's got to die, like a lot." - Happy on a falsely accused Leroy.Sons Of Anarchy concludes 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.