Sons of Anarchy

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Sobell: B | 4 USERS: A+
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Guns, Gemma and Deals

Back at the hospital, Gemma is discovering a universal human truth: Daytime TV is a brain-killing wasteland. Fortunately, Unser comes to rescue her from her tedium. He asks how she's feeling, and Gemma rattles her cuff as she admits, "A little stupid." Unser grunts, "Join the club," and Gemma reaches with her free hand to squeeze his as she sincerely and softly says, "Thank you. For everything." Then they move on to more depressing topics. Gemma expresses her condolences for Hale, and Unser says regretfully, "Kid shouldn't have gone out that way. That's why I'm here, Gemma. Town's worried."

Clay comes in and greets Unser cheerfully, and Unser continues dolefully, "Folks in Charming are struggling with SAMCRO. I got a lot of people looking over my shoulder. I ain't going to be able to run much interference ... It means I gotta be a cop for a while. I'm sorry." He shuffles out. Gemma and Clay are all, "Well ... this would be worse news if we weren't already dealing with a kidnapped baby, revoked bail and Gemma's insane plea attempt." I mean, I get that this is supposed to be one more complication piled on top of the rest, but honestly, "Oooh, our friendly cop is going to be a cop!" hardly ranks as a complication right now. It's not like last season where, by Act II, we had Gemma losing her marbles, SAMCRO getting into territorial disputes over porn production, Tig and Clay trying to keep their involvement with Donna's murder from Opie, Luann embezzling from the club, Jax and Clay at each other's throats and -- oh, how could I forget, A PASSEL OF WELL-FUNDED, WELL-ORGANIZED WHITE SUPREMACISTS MOVING TO TOWN AND TARGETING THE CLUB. Compared to all that, this season's litany of Job-like travails seems fairly tame.

So Tig, Juice and Bobby Elvis pull up to Lumpy's boxing gym and notice that the rest of the businesses in the strip mall have all shut down. This is news to them; they've been too busy busting Oregonian hill people and rioting with Hong Kong businessmen to keep up with the Charming Chamber of Commerce blog. While Tig and Bobby Elvis make small talk with Lumpy, Juice heads to a back office to unload his steroids. We find out that an unnamed corporation has been making buyoff offers to all the tenants on the block. Tig looks alarmed at this prospect, perhaps fearing that a Wal-Mart will breach the pristine boundaries of small-town Charming. Lumpy exposits, "All I know is every other week, some guy in a suit comes by. Each week, he's got a little more money and a little less patience." (Okay, everyone start placing your bets on Hale the Lesser somehow being involved with this and it all coming out during this season and next. Nobody will want to look away as SAMCRO become advocates of New Urbanism!) Lumpy is resolute in that he won't sell.

Back at the hospital, Clay is holding up a hand mirror so Gemma can refresh her war paint. He's enduring this the same way a cat endures being put in a sweater for a holiday card photo. When Jax comes in, Gemma is a lot less pissy. Jax updates them on the situation: Luke's sticking to his story, and they've got a number for Ashby Provisions in East Belfast. Gemma's about to call when a cloud of sulphur roils through the door and Stahl materializes.

Stahl says she needs to speak to Gemma alone, and Gemma professes seeming nonchalance at this prospect. Clay warns her that "she's been demoted and she's desperate" and Stahl snaps, "Hey, I'm in the room, kids." And that is why he said it, Stahl. How this woman managed to stay in the ATF, much less deal with hardened criminals, is God's private mystery: She gets far too ruffled far too easily and far too visibly, and it's not an act designed to make other people drop their guard.

Anyway, Stahl's here for one purpose only: to try and bully Gemma. You might as well attempt to bully the tide, so the only thing Stahl can resort to is saying that since Gemma didn't turn herself in per the terms of the deal -- what on account of being laid up in a hospital with the heart palpitations and all -- she broke the deal and it's off the table. It's yet another example of Stahl abusing the very systems she's allegedly representing for her own personal gratification, and that is sort of why I have no patience for this character. If we're supposed to be all, "Why, how paradoxical that the drug-dealing and gun-running bikers conduct themselves with greater ethical scrupulousness than the government agent!" then ... message received. In season one, when we saw Kohn. And in season two. And here. I believe at this point, we can all get giant crow tattoos with the legend "WE GET IT." It really is too bad we no longer have Hale on the show; it was refreshing to have a character who saw protecting and enforcing societal institutions as a greater moral good, not the coward's way to cheap power for their own personal gratification.

Zip! We're in Belfast. Trinny's counting out the register, and she picks up the phone. Jax says, "Yeah, I was looking for Maureen?" "Not here," Trinny replies curtly. The conversation goes downhill from there, which ... well, what can you expect? Both Jax and Trinny have been raised by women well-versed in the fine art of getting belligerent the minute someone asks a question. Jax finally snaps, "Tell her someone from Charming needs to speak to her again, mother to mother. She'll know what that means. Now take down that number." Trinny's curiosity is sufficiently piqued, so she does.

And now, on to unloading the Adderall. The Chicken Man drives a decrepit blue van, and he requests that the solo Juice climb into the van to complete the transaction. Juice stupidly does -- and is promptly beaten into the middle of the next scene by the Mayans' puppet club. The Chicken Man explains that he's sorry, but he's run up a tab with "these Mexican fellows."

Jax and Clay are touching base at the hospital and recapping the last few scenes for one another when -- oh, look, Juice has landed from his beating. It's even worse than it looks: those jerkstores took his cut. Chibs is furious with Tig and Bobby Elvis: "You let that goddamn puppet club strip his patch?" Juice waves his hands in the universal gesture for "Can we please not talk about this now?" He also tries to make sure all the blame rests on him, but neither Piney nor Bobby Elvis are having it. Clay rumbles that they might be able to find the cut, as he's heard from T.O. and the Grim Bastards have intel on where the Mayans have set up their heroin shop. Perhaps the cut will be there. The non-bleeding SAMCRO guys all decide to check it out. Juice apologizes again to Clay -- who merely shakes his head like Ward chastising the Beav for knocking a baseball through the neighbors' picture window, and Piney gets all fatherly by sighing, "Come on, hero. Let's get you patched up, huh?" Clay smacks Juice on the bottom and asks, "That hurt?" as Juice winces his way down the hall. (Hee!)

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Sons of Anarchy

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