S4E14: Each season finale of Sons of Anarchy has served as kind of a pseudo pilot, showcasing where at least one storyline will go into the next season, while closing the book on several others. There were a few storylines I’d hoped the season finale would tackle:
• Incarcerated Otto has turned on the club, giving testimony to DA Potter in exchange for more lenient treatment of fellow lifer, Lenny Janowitz; as well as getting his own execution date moved up. Thanks to his testimony, Bobby “Elvis” Munson is locked up.
• Juice was forced to turn on his club, thanks in part to Potter and Charming Sheriff Roosevelt and has given information on the big meeting that is to take place between the Sons, the Gallindo cartel and the IRA Irish King. In return, Potter has promised that he will only nab the club members present at the meeting.
• Letters from John Teller to his mistress in Ireland, Maureen Asbhy, have been the MacGuffin for the season. The letters, detailing how John predicted Clay would kill him (and he eventually did) have driven Clay off the deep end. First he killed Piney, who had threatened to tell the club about the letters. Secondly, he beat the holy hell out of his own wife Gemma, who tried to stop Clay from going after Tara, who was still in possession of the letters until last week; when she gave them to Gemma, who gave them to Jax.
• Opie eventually learns what happened to his father and guns Clay down, putting him in the hospital. Jax is the only club member who knows what really happened. They cover for Opie by blaming the shooting on “black,” which Tig takes to mean the One-Niner street gang and their leader LeRoy, who Tig went after.
• Jax and Tara still plan to leave Charming in their rear view, however Jax intends to kill Clay first and Tara has given him blood thinner to shoot into Clay’s IV to kill him and make it look like an accident. Clay is not their only obstacle. Gemma sure as hell doesn’t want her son and grandchildren to leave. Jax’s first wife and Abel’s biological mother, Wendy probably doesn’t want that to happen either.
So, we find a meeting set to go awry, a murder that needs to happen, treachery of guilt-ridden and traitorous intent, a brewing street war with the One-Niners, and a possible custody battle and escape from Charming. There’s a lot of ground to cover and a whole lot of bad road left to traverse in the season finale of the best Sons’ season yet. Poor Jax has a lot on his plate; heavy is the head that wears the crown I suppose.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are cleared to execute all warrants.” – Potter
The jam-packed hour begins with an impassioned speech from Lincoln Potter to his team, which includes a disgruntled Sheriff Roosevelt. While they are surveying the club; Romero Parada and Luis Torres arrive on the scene to reveal a big monkey wrench in Potter’s plan: the Gallindo cartel is working with the CIA to overthrow the Lobo cartel. Parada informs Potter that the deal between the Sons and the Irish needs to go down. Less than five minutes in and there’s already a huge wrinkle in our finale. While Roosevelt can understand letting the club go for the greater good, it’s the smaller good Eli’s worried about. Potter, flummoxed that the bad guys won today gives Roosevelt Juice’s file and lets him know that his past has been stricken from the record and he can be released. Sheriff Eli says to Potter what many a Sons fan has thought all season, he is “one odd dude.” Roosevelt, wanting to get back to being a good guy instead of operating in shades of gray gives Juice the file.
As for Potter, he still needs a win for the good guys and storms into the Charming Heights board meeting with an Asian boy sex-toy and many other erotica toys. As it turns out, the Tokyo Fund, the main party responsible for funding Jacob Hale’s grand project, makes its money from all kinds of twisted erotic exploits. The people of Charming sure don’t want the picturesque Charming Heights built on sleazy porn money.
“You better make sure Clay gets well; otherwise we out RICO back on the table.” – Romero
The Irish kings arrive at the warehouse and Jax tells them the bad news about Clay’s shooting and then gets down to business; introducing Galen and the Irish to Romero and the cartel. Unfortunately, Galen, the head of the Irish Kings specifically demanded Clay be at the meet. A distraught Jax definitely gets downright nauseous when Romero and Luis reveal their CIA status to Jax and inform him that the deal with the Irish needs to go down. Jax tries to explain that whoever takes over for Clay might want to vote the deal with the Cartel down, but Romero tells the V.P. that he’ll ascend to the presidency to keep the deal going. Romero and Luis also explain to Jax that no harm would have come to Tara if they actually got her and that she would have been debriefed and kept in custody. Jax is screwed into leaving the man responsible for killing his father alive at least long enough to make the deal.
“You may as well kill me.” – Clay
Jax does some soul searching by sitting at his father’s graveside. How convenient, the rings he placed atop his father’s headstone last season were still there. He takes them off and apologizes to his dad. He then heads to the hospital to have his non–Inigo Montoya moment. Jax begins to close the door and the blinds to get the blood thinner ready, but Clay wakes up. Jax decides to take out his knife instead. Calmly and collectively, Jax informs Clay that he read the letters and he knows everything. “The only reason I’m not slicing you open right now, is because I need this deal to happen.” Jax lays down the law on all fronts; Clay is to step down as president, he’ll still get a vote and he’ll stick around to make the Irish happy, but if he gets in Jax’s way or goes near Tara, Gemma, or his sons, Jax will show the letters to the club and let Opie tell everyone that Clay killed Piney. Unfortunately, the bastard gets to live, but seeing Jax kind of revel in the fact that Clay will live as a broken man instead of dying was fun to see, especially as Jax cut the president rocker off Clay’s vest.
Jax and Opie meet up and Jax briefly explains that he’s staying and taking the gavel, Clay is stepping down, and Jax wants Opie to be his V.P. A confused Opie wants to know what changed in the span of a day. Jax just invites him the club meeting.
“Walking away from my club is one thing, but letting it die…I can’t” – Jax
Jax goes home to Tara and clues her in on the CIA-Cartel partnership because he doesn’t want to keep any more secrets. Without having to say another word, an ever-knowing Tara knows that Jax has to stay behind. A tearful and weary Jax apologizes for letting her down and he asks her to take the boys and get out of Charming.
“There is a house in Charmingtown…”
An excellent re-imaging of the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” by Battleme and the Forest Rangers accompanied by Katey Sagal plays as Bobby twangs on his guitar in lock-up, Juice rips up his file, and Gemma burns up papers that implicate her and Unser in John’s death. Jax walks into the clubhouse and gazes out at his club and the seat that is rightfully his to sit in.
Tig walks into the chapel to sit in his Sergeant-in-Arms spot, but Jax stops him and asks that Chibs take that role, which he accepts and Tig is okay with. One by one, the Sons board members enter; Happy and Juice join, with Bobby in jail and Clay in a hospital bed. Unfortunately with the meeting set to start at 8:00 p.m., it gets to be 8:03 and Opie is still a no-show. Jax bangs the gavel to start the meeting, Tara comes in to let Jax know that she’s staying and the new president has his Godfather moment, only with his mom, not his old lady, on the outside looking in.
Whew, what a season. With all signs pointing to someone, anyone killing Clay off all series long, we’re left still waiting for that day, but watching a broken man operate will only aid the drama for next season. It was certainly a subdued season finale, with no deaths or violence, but a whole lot of shaping things to come. The new season gets clearer: Jax is at the gavel, Clay will be looking for ways to maintain or regain his power, and deal between the cartel and the Irish still needs to happen. While not that exciting, the season finale was certainly eventful and a decent capper to what has been the best season of Sons to date, here’s hoping we keep seeing great TV come out of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original.