The debate has been raging on with fans of "Sons" about the racial policies of the club and also the apparently escalating misogyny. In his lambasting of bloggers and everyone in general on Twitter, Kurt Sutter (creator and showrunner) has said "people are disappointed when they find out bad things about the guys they love to hate." But that's the opposite reaction that I, and most of my fellow fans, feel. We hate to love SAMCRO, but love we do. Yet these are seriously bad guys. None of them are 100% evil: we've seen darker depths on the show with the White Supremacists and now the cartel, and compared to that SAMCRO doesn't look particularly devilish. Is it that we're just of course in favor of supporting a gang of guys who have some kind of humanity rather than none? That's a rather low bar. In this game of cops and robbers, why are we so drawn to the robbers? Is it a set up? They are trafficking in guns and now drugs. How many of us are really ok with the outcome of those endeavors? And the bodies that pile up because of it? Maybe it's because, for the most part, those caught up in the bloodshed are themselves criminals - like Chicago in the 30s, gangsters and killing gangsters and leaving innocents out of it. So perhaps our skewed hero worship comes from this: they're the best of the bad? I'm interested to know, readers — who are your favorite characters, and why? And do you see them as anti-heroes or just entertaining thugs?
That's enough musing on our collective neuroses for now — onto "Family Recipe." Yes, Shakespeare's influence is still felt in all corners of our media, including an episode of "Sons of Anarchy"! The nod to "Titus Andronicus" was a nasty one, but in tune with "Sons" particular brand of black humor. It also illustrated just how dark this season has become. The introduction of the Lobos cartel has taken the violence to a new level - "they target families," Juice whispers. We see three heads in a duffel bag (and then one extra - Armando's - which escaped), and then the corpses they belong to later on. The Gallindo cartel members ask Happy if he had cut out the rat's tongue yet. "No, but I'm running out of ideas," he replies, genuinely bewildered. The violence has become so casual that not cutting someone's tongue out is see as a surprise (another nod to "Titus" there, intentional or not).
I opened this post talking about how we may forgive SAMCRO some of their sins when compared against the worst of the bad guys, but then there's Clay. Is there anyone worse than Clay on the show? He stole his best friend's wife and then killed him in a cover-up so he could go deeper into illegal operations. Now he's put a hit out onto his de facto son's wife, mother of his quasi-grandkids. I put the qualifiers in there to keep it true to fact, but what Clay is doing, and has always done, is show that he has no loyalty but to himself. It was a nice trick of timing during the vote to see Clay retain power only because of a moment of club crisis. And then, quick as that, he double-crossed Piney and killed him in cold blood to keep his station.
Didn't Piney say that there was something in place so if he was killed the letters would still get to the club? I suppose Clay feels like he has a reasonable chance of intercepting them. After all, I've never seen anyone in SAMCRO check their email, so it's not like it's getting blind copied out. It would likely get hand-delivered, and with Clay on the watch, there's a fair chance it won't reach its target. Still, before Clay paid his fateful visit, we got some nice scenes between Piney and Jax and even Clay and Piney. Opie and Piney made peace, and elsewhere, Jax and Tara talked realities. Chibs now knows Juices secret, and I'm fascinated to see where that will lead. In addition to exploring the clubs racial policies (which Sutter has sworn we won't get, but I'm still hopeful), I'd like to know more about the club's relationship to Charming. Clay has always been adamant about keeping Charming as-is. Why? Because of turf? Clay has no ties to Charming outside of Gemma, as he mentioned in his speech last night (I loved the touch that Clay really is not a great speaker - it made the moment all the more realistic), yet he - and the club - work tirelessly to protect it. It's an odd relationship I'm not sure I completely understand, but to me it's a minor point that keeps things moving.
Straw poll as we round the turn towards the back half of the season: will Clay be held accountable for his actions? Will Tara survive? Will SAMCRO?
Musings and Miscellanea
— R.I.P. Armando, we hardly knew ye.
— Were Tig and Chibs wearing glasses for night blindness when they went to find Juice? I love it.
— Speaking of Tig being awesome, him casually swinging Gemma's purse over his shoulder and following her out was precious. Am I the lone Tig stan? Give my Tig some love!
— "Armenians … very unstable people" - The World According to Gemma.
— So this episode introduced us to the fact that SAMCRO is now having to get involved with para military ops. Intense!
— Jax's speech was interesting - he claims that he doesn't care about the past, and maybe he's right to dismiss it. There's plenty of junk happening now. But he's wrong about one man not being able to change the club - Clay did it, and Bobby and Piney have both tried to take it from him. But in typical hero style, only Jax is the Chosen One who can destroy Clay!
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