And we're back! This week's episode features the worst and stupidest fetch quest ever and we're in a stretch in the middle where we're clearly just going to be treading water for a couple episodes. So there's that to look forward to.
The episode opens with Jax handing Juice's kutte back to him, because I guess this is just the season where cliffhangers are resolved before the next episode begins. That's ... definitely a choice. Juice is apparently working with the Sons once again, to get arrested and kill Lin inside. There's also a bunch of business with the dead preacher's junkie wife and her son, who we met in a dumb fetch quest earlier this season. This turns into an even more insipid fetch quest, but we'll get to that later. At any rate, the episode ends with Bobby getting captured by August Marks' men and possibly dead, but at the very least mutilated. It will be GANG WARFARE soon. Maybe not next week, but soon.
Now on to the gripes and praise.
Ridiculousness for the sake of ridiculousness:
- The episode opens up with Juice shooting at CHP officers (in broad daylight, of course) and leading them on a chase so he can get arrested. It's ridiculous, but becomes even more ridiculous when you realize THERE IS ALREADY A WARRANT OUT ON JUICE. He could have just walked up to any cop and said, "Yo, I'm Juice," and it would have had the exact same effect.
- After the opening credits, Unser goes to whatever they're calling the porn studio now to talk to Jax. They're filming a porn, of course. I was originally going to put this under "best," because the porn they're shooting is apparently a Jewish classroom porn.
I thought they would keep it to this one, perfectly understated shot, which would have been absolutely perfect. But of course, since this is "Sons of Anarchy," they had to go and ruin it by having it keep going in the background, continuing to cut back to it (as the ladies disrobe to reveal Star of David pasties). And then Jax completely ruins it by saying it's called "Cox & Bagels." Really, Kurt Sutter? You had at least a full day to come up with a name for a Jewish porn and you went with "Cox & Bagels?" Blurf.
- We meet A SERIOUS NEW PLAYER which we need for some stupid reason because he has the dead preacher's phone number or something. At any rate, we are introduced to a Jewish pimp named "Greensleeves" in the absolute most extraneous side-errand. Every single thing about Greensleeves and his brief (but still far too long) storyline is the complete worst. The very first time the camera is on him directly, he's assaulting a lady to show that he's a real bad guy. Then he happens to be cutting up a watermelon when the Sons bust into his apartment and he holds a knife to a blissed-out junkie woman's throat. I can't really put into words how needlessly stupid all of this is, but at least it doesn't last long.
- Greensleeves' prostitute is quickly flipped with an offer of a job at Diosa. To hammer home that the show has an exceedingly low opinion of sex workers, she says, "Not to be anti-semantic, but I don't think [Greensleeves] is really Jewish. He has a foreskin that hangs down almost past his knees." First of all, gross. Second of all, "anti-semantic" is much more clever than "Cox & Bagels," but I give you no pass because it's done in the service of making a victimized woman look dumb for no reason.
- When Greensleeves grabs the junkie and holds a knife to her neck, Jax walks toward him undeterred and says, "You think I care what happens to some strung-out whore?" The hero of the show, everyone!
- Jax kills Greensleeves by throwing him INTO a window, which breaks and spears him all the way through his abdomen and out his back. When Jax and Chibs leave, they say "shalom."
- Happy and Not The Fat Prospect (whose name is apparently "Ratboy," but damned if I'm going to dignify that) are sent to fetch Gemma and send her to the cabin to tend to the junkie mother during her isolated detox. Gemma is freaked out, because she knows that Juice has been in contact with Jax, and Juice is the only one who knows she killed Tara. (I'm pretty sure that's still the case, anyway). Jax doesn't say that, though. He also doesn't tell Happy and Not The Fat Prospect to tell her why she's going, only saying, "Tell her it's a mother and son thing." So of course the episode mostly deals with Gemma freaking out and thinking she's on her way to be killed, when like six words from any number of characters at any point could have just set the entire dumb thing straight. But generating false suspense is also a choice, I guess.
- Gemma basically admits she killed Tara to Jax and Tara's kid. But during her rambling, she says, "I was trying to be a good grandma. Sometimes accidents just happen." I mean, that's solid rationale from a delusional person, but ...
- The end montage song this episode? Katey Sagal warbling "Greensleeves." There's "on the nose" and then there's whatever this is.
- The episode ends with Jax being delivered an eyeball in a box. Bobby's eyeball. And an iPad with a video on it of Marks' men torturing Bobby and pulling out his eyeball. But his patches were in the box with the eyeball. And he was the only SAMCRO member not at the meet where Marks' men brought the box. I guess the video was to be even more brutal? Who knows.
The other problem with this is that the video appears to show Marks' people pulling Bobby's eyeball out with a pair of pliers. Number one, that wouldn't work. That wouldn't work in any way. Number two, when Jax opens up the Tupperware, there's a perfectly pristine eyeball in there. Even if they did pull his eye out with a pair of pliers, it would likely be mangled beyond recognition. I now regret making that Any Given Sunday analogy last week. Ugh, can you imagine Kurt Sutter and Oliver Stone teaming up on something? Let's start a Kickstarter to make sure that never happens.
Things that don't make any sense:
- The opening scene with Juice takes place near a rock with "JT 11-13-13" written on it, which all the SAMCRO members touch reverently. It took me some Googling to realize this is a tribute to Jax's dad, because they haven't referenced JT in so long that I forgot. The baffling thing to me is the date. With more Googling, I discovered JT died on 11-13-93, so I guess the graffiti was for the anniversary of his death a couple years ago? Seems like kind of an odd choice. Maybe the rock graffiti is a callback to an earlier episode? No idea.
- Remember the cop that woke up from her coma last week? The one who saw SAMCRO meeting with Nazis right before her and her partner were shot at? She's not going to say anything to anyone! Because she went to high school with Jax! Whew, that's one way to wrap up a loose end. By making it a red herring.
- It's almost impossible to puzzle out what the preacher's family has to do with anything, but admittedly that is mostly because I don't care.
- For the first time -- ever? It's at least the first time in a while ... I noticed that Unser's pickup truck says "Unser Trucking" on the side. I know a lot of people on this show -- hell, everyone on this show -- have shell companies that they don't actually have to do any work for. And I vaguely remember Unser saying something about starting a trucking company when he left the police force. But even if he owned a trucking company -- and especially if it's just a sham company -- you would think he wouldn't have to live in a trailer in the Teller-Morrow parking lot.
I made this observation, and then later in the episode, Unser showed up with a truck to tow away Jax's damaged motorcycle. So I was like, "Oh, there goes my talking point," but then Jax asked Unser whether Gemma has him doing pickup duty now. Which is a thing he wouldn't ask if this was a truck that was part of Unser's trucking company. One would assume.
Actually good things:
- Chucky drives a Vespa. I don't know if this was previously established, but it's a nice little bit of work to hammer home that Chucky really aspires to be like the rest of these guys. Chucky has another really nice character moment with Gemma when he says, "I'm aware I'm some kinda mascot" and says he can be a good listener. Is Chucky the most legitimately good person on this show? Probably.
- Nero wants to buy a farm and take Gemma and his son away from all this. Gemma, of course, demurs, but Jimmy Smits keeps acting his ass off in this show. He really loves Gemma and wants to be the white knight who rescues her, refusing to see that she has absolutely no interest in being rescued, or in leaving. It's a very believable dynamic.
- Although Gemma told Unser to get his trailer off her property last week, this week she stops him after telling Nero she'll think about his offer. She gives Unser a hug and tells him, "I don't want anyone else leaving me." It's the little moments, people!
- Although it was ridiculousness, I need to give MASSIVE props to the junkie in Greensleeves' apartment, who had the absolute best line readings of the season so far, with a massively-stoned "Why is he so mad?" in reaction to Jax yelling at Greensleeves and a blissful "That sucks" when Greensleeves gets shot and falls through the coffee table.