Kurt Sutter’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ aired a 90-minute lead-in to its season five finale last night on FX and, while not as violent as you’d expect, it still did a decent job putting together the pieces for another one of those epic finales they always seem to deliver.
The episode begins with Jax narrating his journal entry:
“There will be days where you’re forced to make decisions that affect the lies of everyone you love. Choices that will change you forever. You reach an age where you realize being a man isn’t about respect or strength, it’s about being aware of all the things you touch. Children face inward, wallow in their own selfish needs. Men face out, take action on the needs of others. I’m at that place, boys. I’m staring one of those decisions in the face and it look back at me with historical eyes and it calls me a coward, a killer, a fraud. It wants me to crack and run from the service of my fey like a broken boy. Today, I will not do that. Today, I will be the man my father tried to be. I will make you proud.”
Following Jax’s monologue, the club brings Clay to the table and he admits his involvement with the nomads and confesses that he was behind all the Charming home invasions. In addition to his pride and greed, he cites initially doubting Jax’s leadership abilities for his reasons for trying to get the gavel back before stating that, in the end, Jax became a better leader than he ever was.
The club votes on taking Clay’s patch. It’s unanimous and he’s cast out. They then vote on whether he “meets Mr. Mayhem” (losing a lot more than just his patch). It looks like the vote is going to be unanimous but the last vote at the table, Bobby, votes against Clay’s death, saving his life.
If you remember, the final scene of last week’s episode saw Bobby visit Clay and tell him he’s there to save his life. It’s obvious now Clay was convinced to confess his guilt in exchange for Bobby sparing his life at the hands of the club.
In a silent fury, Jax rises from the table, exits the clubhouse and attacks Clay, throwing him on a table and unleashing a barrage of punches upon his stepfather’s ugly mug before finally being pulled off by Chibbs. Clay rolls over and reveals a bloodied face before the intro seqeuence rolls in, closing out one of the most badass, tension-filled openings the series has ever seen.
Jax confronts Bobby about making a deal with Clay behind his back and Bobby explains that Jax never would have gotten proof that Clay was behind the break-ins and there was no way they could let him sit at the table any longer; if he didn’t make the deal Jax would have killed Clay behind the club’s back as soon as they were done with Galin. He states:
“Do that once, the next time just becomes a little easier. Before you know it, this thing that we have is pointless. I stopped you from becoming the guy that you wanted to kill.”
Jax still expresses his desire (intent?) to kill Clay, saying he has a hard time feeling any love for brotherhood since Opie died. He tells Bobby “Opie was right – the gavel corrupts. You can’t sit in this chair without being a savage.”
Clay gets the cuts on his face treated by Gemma, who tells him he needs to go to the hospital and get stitches. Clay asks for a minute alone and then, in a rare moment of weakness and, maybe, just maybe, sincerity, he immediately breaks down and cries hysterically with his head in his hands.
At the hospital, Tara visits with her lawyer, who asks her if she has anything in place for Abel and Thomas if anything were to ever happen to her and Jax. That’s probably never a good sign, huh?
Tara says she doesn’t know who would get custody of the kids if anything were to happen but she wants to make sure it isn’t Gemma. That’s, you know, pretty understandable considering she almost got Abel impaled by a tree while driving stoned earlier in the season.
Tara and the lawyer enter questioning with an investigator regarding Otto’s murder of the nurse. Tara denies meeting with Otto on behalf of the club and insists she had no clue what he was capable of.
Jax meets with Pope at Charming Heights and asks him to push more coke to offset the cost of the guns from the Chinese, which Pope agrees to. In another sign that their relationship could be growing, Jax asks Pope’s advice on what he should do regarding Clay – go against the club’s vote and kill him, or put aside his personal hate and honor the vote. Pope responds:
“Democracy is overrated. Revenge is never about the greater good, it’s a visceral need that has to be satisfied or the strong lose focus.”
Jax asks how he’s supposed to kill Clay without tearing the MC apart and Pope basically tells him he just has to find someone else to kill Clay because “it’s not about the process, it’s about the result.” Something tells me Roosevelt would have no problem taking care of that for Jax.
As the meeting concludes, Pope reminds Jax that if he doesn’t honor their agreement to hand over Tig then everything else – the cartel-Lin deal, Charming Heights, and the promise not to crush the MC – goes away. Jax agrees to hand over Trager the following day, saying he’ll never see him as anything more than Clay’s right-hand man. We’ll have to see if that changes at some point.
SAMCRO, the Chinese, and the Cartel all meet to discuss and finalize the arms deal and the Chinese reveal they can’t get a route locked for another 2-3 months. The cartel boys agree to the deal but tell Jax they need one more swap with the IRA to hold them over until the Chinese get a route in place.
Tara meets with Wendy (dat ex-junkie hoe) and tells her about Gemma’s accident that nearly killed Abel and how she’s not allowed to see the boys again. Tara finally grants Wendy visiting privileges with Abel.
The club meets with the Irish to discuss one final gun deal and Jax apologizes to Galin for what went down in Belfast and unite on their hatred for the Mexicans. As soon as it looks like Galin and Jax are about to reach an alliance, the cartel crew busts in “to make sure the deal is moving forward” after hearing (from Damon Pope) that Clay is no longer a part of the club.
The Mexicans attempt to take the guns by force and the Irish open fire on them, starting an all-out gunfight in the barn. Jax saves Bobby’s life by killing a Mexican about to fire on him. The Mexicans outnumber and eventually force the Irish and SAMCRO to surrender, taking the guns and SAMCRO’s cash. An infuriated Galin tells Jax:
“This is on you, boy. Sons is going to feel this on both continents.”
Yup, chalk up a second straight week that the cartel boys have absolutely screwed Jax over. Something tells me their recent pushiness isn’t going to go unanswered.
Last we left Nero, he was sinking back into the violent ways of his past and telling his former crew he was “back.” Well, it looks like that wasn’t no bluff…he meets up with a couple members of his crew, including his cousin (played by…Dave Navarro?! Da hell?!), who reveal to him that a gang by the name of Triple 2’s, headed by a guy named Dante, starting running dog fights and taking over Nero’s old stomping grounds and that they need to move fast if they want to have anything left. Nero tells them to talk to the MC and come up with a plan.
Gemma tells Nero about Clay being axed from the club (and beat down by Jax) and asks if Nero’s doctor-client can help stitch him up. Nero agrees and asks Gemma if she meant it when she said she loved him (last episode) and she says yes.
Juice helps Clay pack up all his reaper stuff and Clay gives him that SAMCRO emblazoned handgun (the same one that I warned would come into play a few episodes back) as a token of his appreciation. Clay reveals that the gun was a five-year anniversary gift from Piney and that Clay always planned on eventually giving it to Opie.
The club goes into lockdown and brings everyon, including Clay, back to the clubhouse to avoid the wrath of Galin. Jax and Chibbs hit up the hospital to get Tara and not far behind is one of Galin’s pasty Irishmen tailing them. While at the hospital, Jax runs into Wendy hanging out with Abel and isn’t too happy about it. Jax tells her to meet him outside, where the Irishman kidnaps her before Jax can get to her.
Meanwhile at the hospital, Tara has a surprise visitor in her office…the mysterious bearded guy who beat the **** out of Otto last week. As expected, he reveals himself to be Lee Toric, the brother of the nurse Otto murdered. He innocently questions Tara about the events surrounding the murder before slowly indicating that he might not be so innocent. He eventually reveals himself to be a former U.S. Marshall looking for a new job, indicating that he’s probably planning to stick around Charming for a little while. He promised Otto he would make his life miserable and now it looks like he’s planning to do the same with Tara.
Galin reaches out to Clay (of course) and tells him they want the guns or the money back from SAMCRO in exchange for Wendy. With the club strapped for cash, Nero reveals he has a whole lot of money saved up, money that was never going to be “exit money” like he originally led on. He tells Jax that he sees him as a younger version of himself and pushed him to “speed up the end game” when he saw Jax making the same mistakes he did, telling him:
“You can’t stay in uniform and not play the game, man.”
He offers to give the club some cash in exchange for goods and services (guns and protection) for his new crew. Jax agrees, and these two have another partnership in the books.
The club gives the cash to Galin and the Irish release Wendy. Clay meets with Galin and tells him the club is planning to get out of the gun business, handing it all over to the Chinese. Clay tells Galin he’s planning on putting together an independent crew to pick up the lion’s share of gun business SAMCRO drops, and he wants to do it out of Belfast…obviously to stay away from the heat surrounding him in Charming. Galin tells Clay he’s the only American he trusts and offers him a charter to Belfast the following day.
Tig asks Clay what he talked to Galin about and, I’m still getting used to this part, Clay tells him the truth. And, for the second straight week, Clay extends an offer to Tig to join his crew, telling him:
“No politics, no beef, just money.”
Like I said last week, this offer could be taken seriously by Tig once he realizes that Jax may or may not be planning to give him up to Pope.
While kidnapped, the Irish revealed to Wendy that Abel was kidnapped by the Irish and held hostage in Belfast (in case you missed the entirety of season three) and she freaks out to Jax and Tara, telling them she’s going to report the kidnapping and go after Abel. Jax reassures Tara that everything is going to be okay and that he’s going to give her “a beautiful life.”
Clay gives Gemma the documents he stole from her in the home invasion, revealing to her that he was behind the home invasions and why he lost his patch. He asks her to go with him to Belfast and she says she’ll think about it, further escalating the “who will she choose?” affair between Clay and Nero. She’s still pretty affectionate towards Clay and I can’t figure out whether she’s continuing to work an angle for Jax or is genuinely starting to care about him again.
The final ten minutes pack in quite a bit of interesting tidbits:
Clay has his SAMCRO ink ceremoniously blacked out at the hands of Happy in the club’s garage.
Gemma visits Nero. WHO THE HELL IS SHE GOING TO CHOOSE?
We see Toric reading a book in a hotel room next to a bag full of drugs and a bed full of high powered guns. This dude has some serious **** in the works.
Tara prays. You know, because the cross has done her so much good lately.
And finally, after Tig trails her, Jax shows up to Wendy’s apartment. Tig hands Jax something and says “it’s ready to shoot” before asking him why he’s doing this, to which Jax responds:
“I’m keeping life beautiful.”
At this point, we’re all pretty much thinking she’s about to get pumped full of lead…but alas, we’re all wrong. Jax pins Wendy up against the wall and pumps her full of her old friend smack instead, telling her he’s going to report her to rehab for showing up to Abel’s daycare high and babbling about him being kidnapped and her held hostage by the IRA before demanding a drug test. He warns her not to ever threaten his family again as the episode concludes. As this season progresses, Jax is becoming more and more of a villain but one we still love.
As always with this show, there’s a lot to be answered in next week’s 90-minute season finale. We’ll be doing a post later this week with predictions for what we think will go down. In the meantime, if you have any theories make sure to tweet them at us (@thenosebleeds) and we’ll include them in our post.
Below is a preview for next week’s finale, entitled “J’ai Obtenu Cette” (which, after a quick Google search, translates to ‘I Got This’)