Show creator Kurt Sutter said, after calling all bloggers the c-word, that last night's episode would be "a game changer for SOA." There has been a lot of violence on the show this season, more, I will wager to say, than usual (Sutter has often linked "Sons" to "Hamlet," which sometimes fits and sometimes doesn't, although the level of violence may more accurately be tied to "Titus Andronicus," frankly). As SAMCRO went to see LeRoy, I paused to consider the value of life in the MC world, or the lack thereof. Alvarez lost "his best soldier" to one of LeRoy's gunmen, and took another's life in return. The deaths are casual in the way of an action film - nameless, faceless "filler" victims are gunned down or thrown off cliffs or trapped in burning cars … but it's not a big deal, because they are either unconnected to or in the way of our hero. But what if one of the Niners had gun downed Tig or Opie in that bar? Would Clay have calmly killed one of the Niners and moved on? Could it have been justified as the cost of being in the MC, and the cost of doing business?
I bring this up because the value of life (whose life means more than others) was a very central theme to "Hands." And as for the violence, not only did we get some of the casual variety (as in LeRoy's bar) but we also got some that struck, literally, very close to home. I can only imagine the buzzing of the blogsphere about the violence again Gemma, but I will argue that it was necessary for Gemma to make that break with Clay. The violence against Tara that also put Jax, Thomas and Abel in danger set Gemma off, but had it not been for Clay's sloppy handling of the money and the setup (could he have been more obvious?) Gemma might still have been convinced that Lobos was to blame for the incident. Despite everything else, she had not been convinced, up to that point, that Clay was unable to be redeemed. It was an extreme measure, but it made clear the path that must be taken. "He will die at the hands of his son," she said coolly and calmly to Unser.
And what of poor Tara, who always seems to get caught up in the worst of it? Though Tara didn't literally lose her life (thankfully), she did lose a big part of it. With the severity of the damage to her hand, she'll never be a surgeon again. The escape from Charming, from SAMCRO, has melted away. Tara did in many ways give up some of the dreams for her career to be with Jax. This is, harsh as it undoubtedly reads, a life she chose. She's an old lady, and as such is always going to be in the potential line of fire. But it doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. Tara has had very little to do this season besides smile and Jax and look uneasily at Gemma, but her role here has never been more pivotal.
I can't help but think of Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter when it comes to Opie and Jax. Stay with me here. In the Harry Potter series, there is a prophecy that says, essentially, that a boy born on a certain day whose parents fight evil but who will die, making him an orphan, will be the Chosen One to fight the Dark Lord. For a little while, those who know of the prophecy are unsure if it pertains to Neville or Harry - both of them had exceptional wizarding parents who fought evil, and both of them lost their parents (Harry's were murdered outright, Neville's were made to lose their minds). Both suffered greatly at the hands of Voldemort, but only Harry had the connection with him to be the one who had to destroy him. Many viewers have said Opie is the one who deserves to kill Clay - Clay killed his wife and his father. But Opie is still tied to the club - his conversation with Jax in the hospital was, again, heartbreaking. Jax essentially says "oops you were right!" regarding Opie wanting to leave the club. But it's too late now. As Neville bravely stays on at Hogwarts while Harry Potter goes wandering to figure out his future, it is still Harry who ultimately returns to save the day. So too will Jax have to come around to rid the club of Clay. I just don't see any other way for this season to end. As the prophecy for Harry Potter and Voldemort says, "one cannot live while the other survives." Few things are more true in regards to Jax and Clay. Yet where will that leave the future of SAMCRO?
Next Week: A surprise visit from Wendy! What on Earth …? Also: Opie discovers Piney, and Unser gets caught in Clay's sites.
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I really liked Eli apologizing to Juice. Eli is getting to be more and more like David - he may not like how SAMCRO does business, but he dislikes being played by a government agency even more.
— "Sons" always brings in a little bit of race - Jax: "Do we LOOK like a cartel?!" LeRoy: "Well your Mexican over there does."
— Clay is completely powerless when it comes to Gallindo, but he doesn't seem to realize it. He has almost no leverage, and certainly no control.
— I loved Jax having a normal interaction with a policeman at the gas station, and he seemed to enjoy it, too. Life on the grid ain't all bad, Jackson!
— After Clay assaults Gemma I just have written in all-caps, underlined: HOLY CRAP!!!
— Tara to Jax: "I lost my way out … so now we can be together!" YIKES. Just what everyone wants to hear from a loved one.
— Good news: this season has been extended by an extra episode which Sutter had been hoping for. There's so much story to tell!
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