TV Review: Sons Of Anarchy 4.14 - To Be (Act Two)

The conclusion to Sons Of Anarchy's fourth season was both satisfying and frustrating in equal measure.

rating: 3.5

It's a shame that after such an exciting run of episodes, Sons of Anarchy's otherwise excellent fourth season came to a close with a whimper rather than a bang - with an underwhelming finale which failed to tie-up many of the plotlines and character arcs satisfyingly. Maybe it was inevitable that the finale couldn't possibly have satisfied everyone - especially with so many crucial storylines - but the episode felt oddly anti-climatic, even failing to match the drama and suspense of the penultimate episode. The season has been building numerous threats to SAMCRO, only for the final episode to crumble under pressure and shy away, seemingly through fear of damaging the likelihood of future seasons. Nonetheless, even as a lackluster season finale, To Be (Act Two) was a decent episode with several stand-out moments which prevented the final show from being an outright disappointment. Best of all was Jax€™s (Charlie Hunnam) Hospital confrontation with Clay (Ron Perlman), which was not only the best moment of the episode, but one of the most satisfying of the entire season - even if it denied us the seemingly inevitable demise of Clay. In many ways, Clay's punishment was perhaps far worse than death - being stripped of his presidency at Knife point, and even spat on by Jax as a final reckoning and mark of disgust. While it was a satisfying scene (and impeccably staged) I can€™t help but feel that it seems ridiculous that Jax and Opie (Ryan Hurst) could bare the sight, let alone share the club, with a man who has murdered members of their families. You wouldn't go for lunch with someone who murdered your dad, and it's just as hard to believe the idea of these guys sharing the clubhouse - even if the Irish will only deal with Clay. To be fair, it€™s a tricky situation for the writers, as the show definitely wouldn€™t be the same without Clay, but it€™s going to be hard for the next season to justify - and even make sense - having him lingering around. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the episode was the reveal that Romeo (Danny Trejo) and Luis (Benito Martinez) were in fact, working with the CIA for the entire season. It€™s not so much the twist itself that€™s disappointing (unpredictability is hardly a bad thing for a drama like SOA) but more the sloppy execution. After an entire season of these guys having such a strong presence, such a cheap last minute reveal and speedy resolution felt like a let down and an easy way for the show to make sure that Clay couldn't die. Had the reveal came in last weeks first act, it perhaps wouldn€™t have been such a difficult pill to swallow. Even then, with all the violence and mayhem committed by Romeo and Luis, the twist is still highly suspect. Likewise, other season storylines were quickly concluded as if being ticked off a list - including Juice€™s racial predicament, Opie€™s thirst for revenge and Jax and Tara€™s (Maggie Siff) desire to leave Charming. The fact that Lincoln Potter€™s (Ray McKinnon) operation was shut down after the reveal of the CIA twist was actually a surprisingly sad thing to witness. While he€™s been a fly in the ointment to SAMCRO, Ray McKinnon€™s oddball portrayal and his masterful behind-the-scenes meddling of SAMCRO has made him a likeable threat, who deserved a better resolution. Still we did get to see Potter marching into the Charming Heights committee with a box full of sex-toys and a paedophilic love doll tastefully named 'sum-young-guy'. Out of nowhere, it was revealed that one of Mayor Hale's (Jeff Kober) backers is quite the purveyor of filth (another handy device to quickly tie-up a season arc) allowing for the Charming Heights development to be killed but more importantly for Potter to get a more celebratory conclusion - and rightly so after McKinnon€™s excellent work on the show. The most satisfying scene of the finale - although not without its faults - was Jax embracing his so called destiny and taking the throne at the head of the church table. It was fantastic to see the moment which many fans have been eagerly waiting for, while Charlie Hunnam rightly portrayed Jax as a man conflicted about what would once have been a momentous occasion. While it was a fantastic and dramatic scene - and a fitting end to the season - I didn€™t need to see a horrendously cheesy fade from the sight of Jax and Tara into an identical image of Gemma (Katey Sagal) and JT. We€™ve seen the photo already, and it was obvious what the show was getting at - especially with Gemma€™s conflicted glare at the couple - fading into the photo was a step too far. Equally tacky was a cover of €˜House of the Rising Son€™ with the lyric €œThere is a house in New Orleans€ altered to a house in €œCharming Town€œ€. Really ? Thankfully, when taken as a whole, Kurt Sutter deserves recognition for a season finale which - despite splitting the opinion of fans - has laid the groundwork for what€™s likely to be a very unique and enjoyable fifth season. It€™ll be interesting to see not only how Jax manages following in John Teller€™s footsteps (and Tara in Gemma€™s) but also how the dynamic between the club members will change in the wake of Clay€™s heinous actions. Its been a strong season of Sons of Anarchy, with the latter half giving us some of the best episodes in the entire run of the show. Despite a somewhat disappointing finale and some minor stumbles along the way, Sons of Anarchy swaggers like Jax towards its fifth season, and I can€™t wait to see what€™s in store for SAMCRO in September. Until then, let€™s take bets on which €˜The Shield€™ alumni will appear next season ! Michael Chiklis - 16/1 Walton Goggins - 6/1 Sticky Fingaz - 2/1 Best Bit: Jax gives Clay a reckoning which is worse than death. Worst Bit: The John Teller picture fade Quote of the Week: €œBecause I don't like you€and the good guys need a win€ - Lincoln Potter responds to David Hale's questioning over his sex doll tomfoolery.Sons Of Anarchy returns to F.X in the new year. ____________ What did you think of the finale and of season four as a whole ?

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.