How have you shocked us, oh Sons of Anarchy? Let me count the ways.
Tuesday’s episode of Kurt Sutter’s brutal FX drama, Sons of Anarchy, sent us flying on more than one occasion in its 43-minute runtime. Clearly, the series hasn’t emotionally battered us enough throughout the rest of the season (some of us are still reeling from Opie’s death, Mr. Sutter) and this week continued the assault — but, to be fair, that’s part of why we show up week in and week out. The deceptively named “Small World” punched us in the stomach over and over again. And while we’re still reeling, it’s time to assess the damage:
1. Tara and Otto
Tara volunteers in the hospital prison in order to deliver a message from the Sons to Otto. She says the club didn’t betray him as he previously thought, and tries to convince him to reverse his testimony to help the club. In exchange, they’ll do “anything” for him. We, of course, assume Otto will want the good doc to help him shorten his waiting period on death row. Not so. Otto grumbles a command to Tara: “Get on your knees.” She turns him down, meaning the deal is off, but damnit if that momentary hitch in the pacing didn’t send my stomach into somersaults. Tara is making her way into Jax’s world, but with this scene, we see that she’s starting to understand how brutal that world is for women.
2. Holy Hell, Carla
Anyone who saw Carla’s final scene coming has to be a medium, because this scene was nothing short of outrageous. Carla bursts into Gemma’s kitchen, holds her at gunpoint, and when Nero arrives, forces Gemma to perform oral sex on her pimp lover. Naturally, the whole voyeur aspect and the fact that Carla has a gun on her makes the process a little impossible and Gemma breaks down crying while Nero jumps up and challenges Carla to shoot him because he can’t do it anymore. It comes as no surprise that Carla couldn’t shoot Nero, who she’s so obviously in love with, but when she quickly brings the gun to her head and pulls the trigger — and as we watch the violent, bloody result hit the carpet — it was like the air was sucked out of the room. Carla wasn’t exactly a favorite, but the elements of this scene are simply too much in combination with one another. Once again, Sons gets us good.
3. Jax’s Revenge
When Opie met his death, courtesy of four bulky inmates and a lead pipe, he vowed to take down the warden who viciously carried out the execution of Pope’s medieval command. We knew he would make good on that claim, but there was no way we could have expected the level of ruthlessness in Jax’s blows as they rained down upon the lawless man. It’s clear that Opie’s death did exactly what Sutter said he meant it do: It’s made Jax the man he needs to be for the club. It’s given him the darkness he couldn’t quite harness before. After Jax allows Tig to shoot the warden’s wife in the head (our second bloody, brain-busting visual of the night), Jax goes to work on the man of the hour. But, when Tig can’t find a pipe to help Jax execute exact revenge, Jax takes up a weapon that is almost more brutal than the pipe: a snow globe. Before Jax bashes that corrupt head in (an action we witness with shots of Jax’s snarl and the sound of brains squishing against the linoleum), he stops to turn on the twinkly little tune of the snow globe; he taints something that signals innocence with the blood of his enemy. Somehow, after having to watch Opie’s death, this scene was almost more cathartic than it was disturbing. Of course, the sounds of the violence are still enough to turn anyone’s stomach.
4. Go Ahead, You Can Hate Clay Now
We’ve witnessed anonymous attacks for weeks, hitting friends and family of the Sons and putting the club under the microscope. The police assume the Sons are committing the acts; the Sons assume Pope is behind it all; but in the final moments of the episode, it’s revealed that Clay is the one orchestrating the attacks. Juice drops him off and when he enters the house, we see the two thugs who shot Rita; Clay punches one of them, chastising him for killing Roosevelt’s wife. We’ve been looking for a real reason to hate Clay for some time now, and with this brutal gut punch, we’ve got all the ammunition in the world.
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[Photo Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX]