I usually only recap shows I really enjoy watching (although I do occasionally make exceptions), so writing about Sons of Anarchy each week feels a little awkward to me. Should I fib and say that I'm as much of a fan as I have been in the past? Or should I go ahead and say that I think this season is turning out to be a bloated biker soap opera peppered with increasingly hackneyed musical montages, overused phrases (drinking game sure to send you directly to the emergency room: take a swig every time a SAMCRO member says "Jesus christ"), virtually no characters left to root for, and wildly unpleasant scenes of gratuitous violence seemingly lifted directly from the Saw franchise?
Well, I guess you know how I really feel. Let's get into the big moments from last night's episode -- titled "The Mad King" -- and the disgustingly over-the-top scene that nearly had me hurling my water glass at the TV.
Jax tries to make a deal with the Irish. By staking out some Irish haunts, then beating the information -- well, hand-stabbing the information -- out of a guy in order to locate Connor. (Trivia: did you notice the shamrock pen Jax gives the dude after issuing the zinger that he hopes he's not a lefty?) Jax finds Connor at a beverage warehouse (a location I'm convinced was created for the sole purpose of allowing Chibs this line: "Jesus, another fine Irishman brought down by the bottle"), gets the digits for the Irish leaders, and attempts to avoid war. The Kings say they'll think it over, but after the call ends the camera pans to reveal the fourth member of their table: Galen. Can I just take a moment to observe that despite the evilness of his character, Galen is one fine-looking older gentlemen? Okay. Anyway, Galen grins those pearly whites like a shark and says a deal with Clay would be completed by days' end, and Jax was about to get what he wanted: out of guns and ties severed. Galen just loves those mutilation double entendres, doesn't he?
The District Attorney has no neck. I'm sorry, I just have to say this because it's been bugging me since she showed up: the DA literally has no neck. Her head just ... sits on her shoulders. It's eerie. Also, I'm not sure what her ultimate purpose is, but she wants Eli to dig up dirt on Nero. Oh, and she says this about Tara: "She's bad until she does something good." So much for the whole innocent until proven guilty thing.
Wendy's wavering. Gemma pays Wendy a visit (sending her scrambling for her "bruise"-covering scarf) and gives her a bunch of crap about how Gemma's sick of Tara, she just wants the family to be okay again, and Wendy was once such a good fit for Jax. Don't fall for her hugs, Wendy! This is the same woman who gave you dope and told you to kill yourself! It's hard to tell what Gemma's game is, but it's sending Wendy into a tailspin. She runs to Tara and says she can't handle it any more. Tara begs her to stay strong, and reminds her that if she goes to jail she needs to know her son -- your son, Wendy -- will be safe. Wendy muses sadly: "My son?" I don't think anyone's ever said this to her before. She says she wants to spend time with Abel, and Tara agrees.
Gemma gets publicly assaulted. AGAIN. Gemma goes to see Clay in jail, ostensibly for a legal conjugal visit. He tells her that the Irish had reached out to him, and he wants her to ask Jax what he should do about Galen's offer to make Clay arms distributor by busting him out of jail and putting him underground in Belfast. It's interesting that he's telling her about this, but we don't have much time to ponder the implications because next thing you know the crooked prison guards are demanding that Gemma have sex with Clay in front of them or else. To make their point, they start beating Clay before Gemma intervenes and begins reluctantly unbuttoning his shirt. What? WHAT? Seriously? Both guards have a kink for seeing Gemma ravage Clay Morrow's aging genitalia in front of them? Apparently so, because they unzip their pants and get to it. Oh, gross. This weird quasi-rape scene is so incredibly unnecessary I can't even deal.
The club blows all to hell. Not metaphorically, but literally. After Chibs finally snaps to the point of getting physical with Jax and asking why he thought the Irish deal would EVER work out, considering the mighty offense of offering them a black partner, and points out the folly of continuing to run the club on his own ("Do you trust me, Jackie? Do you trust any of us? Because it's not just your club"), Jax calls the Kings again and gets the instruction to meet at Teller-Morrow at 8 p.m. for their decision. "Maybe their greed's trumping their racism,"Jax says hopefully. "It would be a first, Jackie boy," Chibs says.
At 7:58 in the clubhouse, Jax is herding everyone to the table when he suddenly spots a pen on the bar. A shamrock pen. Oh, shit. He screams for everyone to get out, and people run like crazy. There are a couple very uncomfortable moments when it really really REALLY looks Abel's going to die, but everyone makes it to the parking lot -- where they get to watch their clubhouse explode in flames.
Well, there's certainly a lot going against Jax at this point. Nero's not sure about his allegiance to the club, Barosky isn't exactly a solid business partner, Tara's scheming to get away, Jax's statement that "It might not be anyone's club for much longer" turned out to be flametastically prophetic, and things are heading towards all-out war with the Irish. All I can hope is for the rest of what's turning out to be a grim, desperate, and downright unpleasant season is that we can officially put a fork in the sexual assaults, because jesus christ (drink!), I am done.
What did you think about last night's Sons of Anarchy?
Image via FX