Sons of Anarchy

Episode Report Card
Sobell: A | 2 USERS: A+
YOU GRADE IT
A Father and Child Reunion is Only an Ocean Away

The wake is packed, and Tara heads over to the SAMCRO-emblazoned coffin, takes in Half-Sack's freshly patched-in cut, then prays at the coffin for a moment. When she takes off, it's only Clay and Jax there. Clay says bitterly, "He made it through Iraqi minefields only to get taken out in a goddamn kitchen. How you holding up, son?" Jax asks after Gemma. Clay tells her, "She's good -- worried about her family. She doesn't know about Abel. She'd take it on, make it her burden, and that wouldn't be helping anybody." Jax concedes that it makes sense, and Clay replies, "It makes sense for you too. There are 40-50 patches watching us right now. We represent the past, present and future of this club. Sure, the Sons are a democratic organization, but everybody knows what happens in Charming sets the tone for every charter." Jax asks, "What's happening in Charming?" Clay: "You tell me. These men behind us, they love you. They respect you. And they understand your grief. But they're also wondering what you're going to do with it." Jax snots, "That's my business." No, Clay tells him, it's not: "A lot of these guys are old enough to remember what happened to your old man, how he fell apart and lost focus when Thomas died." Jax replies, "I'm not my old man." And let us all have fun figuring out which father figure of his he's alluding to...

Clay chooses to hear what he wants: "I know that. They don't. You've got to show them something. Make the hard choice, son." Jax asks, "And what choice would that be?" Clay looks murderous for a moment, then lays it out: "Either Abel is dead and you want revenge, or he's alive and you would kill to find him. If you can't make that decision, then you better get down on your hands and knees and pray for something to get you there. Fast." He leaves Jax alone.

Which gives me a perfect opportunity to segue into my "Perhaps I Am Reading Too Much Into This TV Show" Theory of the Episode (let's call it "TOTE" for short). Skip this paragraph if you just want to find out what happens next. If not ... so here's the thing: Have y'all seen The Royal Shakespeare Company Presents Hamlet ? Patrick Stewart plays Claudius in it, and one of the reasons his performance is so brilliant is because of how he chooses to depict the king: As someone who is eminently qualified to lead a nation to greatness. Stewart's Claudius is charismatic, calculating and competent, and he is not afraid of the ugly duties that underpin the authority he wields. In this Hamlet production, the audience is asked to observe the conflict between a good leader who's not a good person and a good person whose encroaching madness makes him a terrible leader. And I am seeing echoes of Stewart's Claudius in this scene: Clay's made some boneheaded decisions in the past, but here he shows that he's got a very canny understanding of what makes a leader, and he's asking Jax: Do you have what it takes? Because you need to step up, or be stepped on.

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Sons of Anarchy

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