S4E4: This week on Sons of Anarchy boys have voted to run drugs for the Gallindo cartel, Clay and Jax want out, and they each want to put in their own choice as a successor. Gemma’s pissed that the club’s running drugs. Tara is still debating on whether or not to show Jax the letters that Maureen gave to him. There’s a lot of road to cover as the Sons get read ready for their first drug run, so as the song says “get your motor running…”
"How's the grip?"- SAMTAZ Member to Clay
A Spanish cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are–A Changin’” plays over the opening montage, which is a reminder of the show’s fantastic use of music as a mood setter (check out the Stigers’ cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” from the season two finale or the Irish–themed version of the show’s theme song from last season for some great musical cues). As the crew makes its first drug run, Clay needs a pit stop to have Jax help him with cortisone shot to help with the growing arthritis in his hands. Can’t ride, can’t run the club. Most shows might make this a big huge story arc, but on Sons, there’s way too much going on to waste time on a story about shaky hands, so instead it’s a character point and an ever looming one at that; it came to the forefront several times this episode.
The club meets up with their Arizona charter, who is revealed to be dealing their own crank. Knowing this won’t sit well at all with Romero Parada, Clay demands that the Tucson Sons shut down their operation. Unfortunately for SAMCRO, their Arizona brothers are a tad overzealous. “You mule, we sell,” said SAMTAZ president, Armando. Jax learns that SAMTAZ have been dealing for four months, which is right around the time one of their own is killed and another leaves the club. Side note: If there’s anyone out there who knows the real laws of outlaw biker gangs, please explain this to me: if Clay is the president for the entire club, why isn’t his word law? I guess it makes the show a little more dramatic if each charter does what it wants, but after last season’s betrayal by SAMBEL, I hope we’re not going to have another charter turn their backs on SAMCRO.
The club meet former SAMTAZ member Reggie, who was allowed to leave SAMTAZ in good standing, as evidenced by his ink being merely blacked out instead of burned or scraped off. After some coercion, Reggie explains why he was allowed to leave: he was sleeping with another member’s old lady. Of course, SAMTAZ V.P. Huff had used for leverage when he found out. That leverage was leaving the club scot-free with no retaliation, so long as Reggie didn’t tell the rest of SAMTAZ that he knew Huff had set up a cook house, in order to get SAMTAZ started in the drug selling racket.
"I want to know why best friend was afraid when he died."- Piney
Piney meets with Tara to discuss John Teller. He believes the club is heading down the wrong path with drugs and wants to read the letters that Maureen sent. His oxygen levels drop and Piney drops to the floor. Now kept under observation, Tara asks the elder biker about his departed friend and co–founder of the Sons, John Teller. Piney wants to know why his best friend was afraid when he died. Tara broke the news to Piney that John wanted the club out of the gun business and was supposed to meet with the club’s IRA allies, but was killed before that meeting ever took place. Gemma tries to subtlety threaten Piney that digging deeper will kill him, but the old, and possibly ready to die, Piney says “that’s half the reason I’m doing this.”
One great thing about having a fantastic ensemble cast is that there are so many characters to get to know and love, and there might be a core group of players on the show that probably won’t be dying anytime soon, it’s guys like Piney who seem to be “redshirts with a cause,” they might not be long for this world, but they’re going to take something or someone out with them on the way to meet their maker.
"I'll be up later this week to see how things are going." -Romero Parada
The big moment is here and the Sons are given their marching orders and supplies from Parada–over 700,000 dollars for their troubles and 30 kilos of uncut Colombian cocaine. The menacing cartel captain bids the club “Bueno Suerte.”
This season seems to be about the club’s moral struggle. While he does go along for the run, Bobby is one of club members who voted “no” on running drugs, and he does not sit idly by as the events of the episode ramp up. First, he reiterates his opinions when Armando tries to convince Clay that running and selling drugs are the same thing, then he tries it again but Clay angrily demands that he shut up. Our parting shot for the week is the MC’s resident Elvis-impersonator staring down his president and vice president as they load up the coke.
Considering the club teams up with their Arizona SAMTAZ brothers this week and are treated to a stark reminder of what happens to a club when it starts dealing drugs, it will be interesting to see how the resolve of SAMCRO will change in the coming weeks. Will Jax’s strong sense of morality creep back up to the surface or will he let his ego and desire to leave peacefully continue to guide his choices?
Sons, like so many great dramas, is well aware of how to ramp up crisis. As the season progresses, viewers might feel like they’re prepping for a test, because the dribs and drabs of details that were dropped these past few weeks will continue to fester. Consider, for example, Agent Potter casually introducing himself to Gemma under the guise of being a mere city worker as part of a larger attempt to wriggle his way closer to the club and their dealings.
The drugs are in SAMCRO’s possession and with that this season has jumped into second gear as the fracture within the ranks of the club continues. This is turning into a dark, introspective season. Will our anti–heroes be able to survive it?