Sons of Anarchy, Season 6: Episode 4 – “Wolfsangel”
Written by Kurt Sutter and Kem Nunn
Directed by Billy Gierhart
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET on FX
If there was a feeling of dread and death hovering around the Sons of Anarchy characters in last week’s episode, the reckoning of that came to fulfillment in last night’s “Wolfsangel.” Sons of Anarchy has been very stubborn when it comes to important deaths, but even though all but one of the deaths that occur in “Wolfsangel” come to secondary or even tertiary characters, the end result is something that still feels like a weird, brave and provocative step for this series.
The important and unexpected thing that happens is, of course, the murder of Lee Toric. Toric has been a nuisance to our characters since he stepped into the scene and even though his character has mostly been over-the-top, Donal Logue’s been a treat to watch. The unexpectedness comes from the fact that Toric had been built up to fill the role of Big Bad for this season. Now, with his absence, anything and anyone is fair game. Opie’s death last season took place in the earlier episodes, but Opie was far removed from being an important plot device. Toric, in contrast, has been a huge part of the machinations since the end of last season, and Sons of Anarchy is all about the machinations. Even after this death, it seems like what he’s plotted will be of some importance. Specifically, Toric framing Nero is something that might not go away yet, although it’s hard to anticipate things with this series since it juggles about a dozen threads all at once. We see Lt. Roosevelt do some puzzle-solving to figure out that Nero probably isn’t the one who killed his own employee, but now that Toric is out of the picture, the evidence pointing to Nero has nowhere else to land. So, Toric’s death may still have an impact on the surviving characters or the writers may just decide to throw that away at Roosevelt’s behest.
The other two kind-of-important deaths in “Wolfsangel” are “Filthy” Phil’s and Otto’s. With the number of Sons members dwindling, it always felt like Phil either needed to die or be given some important narrative material (this also still applies to Happy, by the way; how is even important enough to be Sgt.-At-Arms?). It would have been nice to have seen the latter, but killing him off here serves a functional purpose of either opening up a spot for a new, important character to come in for the final two seasons or for the focus to narrow in on some of the other underdeveloped characters (finally, we’re not given superfluous Bobby scenes this season). With Otto, it’s kind of hard not to grin at the gruesome scene that goes down. Kurt Sutter has written himself some hilariously brutal material, and Otto has been diminished to just a piece of a whole person. He was beyond believability, but that was what made him so entertaining in this world that is often in the realm of fantasy. On the one hand, it’s kind of sad to see Otto go. On the other, he gets a great, cathartic scene with Clay in “Wolfsangel” and gets to take down Toric.
Other stuff happens in “Wolfsangel,” but it’s mostly unremarkable or else it’s strange (such as Tig getting a pass from Pope’s men). There is, however, a nice X-Files reunion as Mitch Pileggi returns in his role as Darby and Robert Patrick pops up from the San Bernadino chapter. Going forward, the biggest question is who or what is going to step in as the main source of conflict for the Sons? There’s trouble a-brewing with the Irish, but there’s also the whole school shooting situation that hasn’t entirely been resolved. Whatever goes down, don’t be surprised to see a couple more characters meet with Mr. Mayhem as Sons of Anarchy takes a couple more steps out of its comfort zone.
– Sean Colletti