Sons of Anarchy, Season 6: Episode 6 – “Sweet and Vaded”
Written by Kurt Sutter and Adria Lang
Directed by Paris Barclay
Airs Tuesday nights at 10 on FX
Hey, a Sons of Anarchy episode that’s less than an hour! What a weird concept!
The emotional core of “Sweet and Vaded” comes from a rather unpredictable place. After seeing Walton Goggins return to the role of Venus in last week’s episode, there didn’t seem like there was going to be much a of a follow-up to his appearance. And while “Sweet and Faded” doesn’t exactly revolve around Venus’ story, it is certainly the heart of the episode.
But before getting into that, it’s worth touching on some of the other things still going on in Sons of Anarchy. First, there’s Tara’s story. This has easily been one of the most frustrating and dragging parts of season six, mainly because it has been veiled in mystique and because of how marginalized Tara has become as a character. Finally, we’re given a little more insight into what is going on and finally Maggie Siff gets to do something at least mildly interesting on-screen. This doesn’t quite make her escape narrative truly engaging, but it at least means there’s less dead space in the episode. The other noteworthy event in “Sweet and Vaded” is the patching-in of Ratboy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time we’ve seen a prospect get patched-in at the table. Now, it’s at a makeshift clubhouse and it’s for a character about which we know next to nothing, but even with thin material, Sons usually manages to hit the emotional notes of brotherhood that permeate the series.
Getting back to Venus, though, we get several interesting scenes. The one that is probably most important to see is Jax killing Alice just because he’s our main character and it’s important to see that he’s still capable of doing things like this (especially given he had no interest in going out of his way to help Venus in the first place). However, it’s Goggins as Venus that sucks in the viewer most of all, bringing an insane amount of humanity to what turns out to be a complicated character masked as a caricature. There’s still plenty of comedy to surround Venus, especially Tig, who is pretty much in love with her, but for the most part, “Sweet and Vaded” is a very serious episode that centers around a one-off story that’s far more emotionally demanding even than the school shooting that opened up the season. It’s almost entirely due to execution, which is itself mostly Goggins being a fantastic actor here, but it’s still surprising in a good way to see Sons use its guest roles this effectively.
And as the season passes its halfway mark, we’re now seeing Tyne Patterson as the major villain instead of the Irish, which was the other viable option. There’s hardly any useful tension going on there given that her most damning threats have been delivered to Tara, but as long as interesting B-plots are going on around the weaker A-plot, this is still a pulp series worth checking in on.
– Sean Colletti