Sons of Anarchy Season 7, Episode 5, “Some Strange Eruption”
Directed by Peter Weller
Written by Kurt Sutter & Robert0 Patino
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm on FX
“Nothing defends what happened here.”
Jax’s early declaration to Nero about his shock that Lin would go so far as an act of revenge is the first time in a while he has shown any true concern for the people around him. It also comes off as incredibly naive in that even if the murder of sixteen innocent people is indefensible, the reason it even came to retaliation in the first place stems from his actions first and foremost. His inability to understand how his actions affect an ever-widening pool of people is quickly becoming a theme here, but without any real consequences for the club or his life.
Most of this episode consists of yet another round of table setting before anything of significance even occurs, once again failing to justify the extra air time given. It’s a lot of one person talking to another person while on lockdown, then that exact conversation being reinforced to a third party. A giant game of telephone about the club’s master plan while everyone stands around making sure everyone stays whole isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing, but it gives Gemma, Wendy, Nero, and others the chance to evaluate where they stand and what their next steps will be while they have a few minutes to breathe. It also puts Gemma in the unenviable position of trying to get out from under the club’s thumb in order to covertly take care of the Juice problem before it’s too late. Katey Sagal is always better when backed into a corner and watching her gears work as she plots her best next step and manipulates her way to freedom is a highlight of the first half of the episode.
With Nero and Jax are both seemingly cornered by Lin, and in a lesser manner by August, it would have been appreciated if some actual consequences had come of the predicament. Naturally, everyone gets out unscathed and Jax more or less learns nothing about accounting for violent actions. The way Jax solves the puzzle to clear the club of danger for the time being is one of the more entertaining ways they’ve avoided death or prison in recent times, so at least there’s that. SAMCRO getting tipped that the real police were coming to break up their fake apprehension of Lin’s crew results in a few great reactions before they high tail it out of there to deal with the rest of his associates. If Jax was paying any attention at all he may have come out of the confrontation with some useful knowledge, but his blind trust of the club and his family leaves Lin’s assertions that he had nothing to do with Tara’s death falling on deaf ears.
With everyone in the club safe and sound for the time being and Nero successfully navigating the showdown with Lin, the next major problem for the show to direct its attention toward is Gemma and Juice alone in the desert south of Charming with nothing but anger and guns as company. How she thought Juice would overlook the multiple details that point to her betrayal of him is unclear. It may be that Sons hopes having Gemma off her rocker this season absolves the show of any plot holes or character miscues in her parts of the story. In this case, the end justifies the means, as the concluding crash and showdown gives the show an opportunity to explore new frontiers in the back half of the season. Before this week, Juice meant close to nothing in the grand scheme of things, but his plans in the background were always leading up to something larger. This is a great use of that rising tension between Juice and everyone who knew he is alive and still in the area.
Even with most of the time here spent on irrelevant plot threads and a fight between gangs that continues to go nowhere, there are enough positive signs to continue to have confidence in the show’s long game. The blooming romance, if it can even be called that, between Chibbs and Althea deserves its own spin-off web series if only for Chibs’ barely veiled happiness that he has someone to connect with. The Juice and Gemma situation could go interesting places with the right direction and acting from both parties, and if the show can set up a big bad in time for consequences to rain on the club without reprieve, there is a lot of potential. Of course, cutting the show any slack in the story department is starting to get old and if it doesn’t embrace any of the many possibilities at play soon this season could prove to be a legitimate dud.