Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 4: “Stolen Huffy“
Written by Kurt Sutter
Directed by Paris Barclay
Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 5: “Orca Shrugged“
Written by Kurt Sutter
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm (ET) on FX
Episode four sees itself greatly challenged with the emotional aftermath of what might have been one of the most core-shattering deaths on SOA so far. Putting it mildly, there is very little to be seen of it. It’s not as if anyone expected a huge cry-fest, but Opie’s death should have caused a little more of a stir than Jax explaining why the character had to go. Admittedly, it’s difficult to follow up episode three’s closing moments with the same level of intensity, but such little grief is a bit much, even for the silent suffering types that are the members of SAMCRO.
While some might appreciate this understatement and subtle brooding over Opie’s death, what’s truly unnerving is that it seems as if there won’t be any real aftermath: Opie got offed and with him any of his surrounding aspects, including his kids, who get a quick, concerned mention from Lyla, wondering whether or not she’ll be able to raise three kids, but little else. Yes, the final sight of Opie lying in his casket is moving, but the episode simply falls short on real closure and seems to cave into little more than a quick write off of this character‘s storyline. Then again, maybe these are overly fast assumptions and this death will come haunting the story later on.
Other than not really dealing with Opie‘s death on a deeper level, episode four is mainly concerned with moving the story forward, with Jax trying to get the club into a more secure economic position by cutting a deal with Nero. So the Sons are officially getting back in the business of pussy, with Nero taking over Cara Cara as an escort service. Whether it was necessary for Jax to take his mother off the market for Nero as part of the deal is doubtful and brings a bit too much of a frustrated Gemma out. It’s good that episode five shows a few more shades of her character again.
The whole episode balances its silly, action-packed, light, and heavy moments in a very well-composed way, while also including a little more of our beloved, “Charming” town. Especially compared to episode four, episode five kicks it back up a notch and brings some refreshing Irish action accompanied by the average daily life of this biker gang. Starting with Jax putting his deal with Nero to a vote, which everyone obviously “yays” (did anyone seriously expect anything but that?), continuing with a strategic ploy to get Mayor Hale in their pocket, allowing a great few minutes in heaven with Walton Goggins as Venus van Damme, followed by a ridiculous power struggle between Jax and Galen, who have a lovely Irish discussion, aka a good ol’ fist fighting, ultimately culminating with Galen showing off his giant gun by shooting the boys‘ motorcycles like they are empty soda cans.
And while the boys get to “play”, the ladies take on the slightly harder burden. This season more than any before the club’s business is visually starting to affect Tara, who’s toughening up yet at the same time showing some serious signs of depression. Gemma, coping with losing her position as THE old lady of the club and, even worse, dealing with a son who’s segregating himself more and more, isn’t much better off either. But at least the two of them get to dodge the bullets this time. Sheriff Roosevelt’s wife Rita does not get quite as lucky, landing in hospital after getting shot in the stomach during the last home invasion. This in itself would already be bad, but the fact that she’s pregnant pushes it to the extreme.
Episode five does not have the same intensity that the season‘s opening episodes did, but it brings some humour and fun, which is a nice, refreshing breather after so many gruesome events. It’s maybe not the most memorable episode (besides Goggins’ remarkable performance), but it plays out well, balancing humour and drama while staying true to SAMCRO style. Favoured new villain Pope, however, seems to sadly have taken a back seat for now, even though it can‘t be long until his return. Did anyone else miss him? It shouldn’t be much longer until Jax starts planning out his revenge for Opie’s death and who’s willing to bet on how much longer it will take Clay to slowly get back on top? Surely the home-invasion subplot has something to do with that.