It’s hard to top the impact of last week’s premiere, but things are still moving along quite nicely for the new season of Sons of Anarchy. Not much Pope this week, but I’m more than happy to let him be a slow burn. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of it is good. The inclusion of Jimmy Smits continues to bring me joy, not to mention the “fall of Clay”, Tig trying to warn the rest of his family about the danger they’re in, and an unexpected ceremony in the unlikeliest of places.
With the heat on Jax, Chibs, and Tig, for their highway shootout with the Niners, the boys take shelter in Nero’s brothel, and Jax especially, gets to know his mother’s new playmate first hand. We get some of Nero’s backstory, and we also see that there is a soft side to him, as he visits his young son, who suffers from spina bifida. It’s a great moment for him and Jax, who knows exactly how something like that must feel, given his first son, Abel’s struggle to survive after birth. This is countered by a great moment where Nero spots a tail as him and Jax are driving around town, and lures their pursuers into pick-up truck vs. SUV game of chicken, which Nero wins with ease.
Meanwhile, Unser is nursing his wounds after a home invasion at Gemma’s left him bruised and bloody, and we get more of Piney-Clay, which is becoming even more of a treat. I thought I’d feel more pity for Clay, and I do, but there’s so much more joy in seeing him get what he’s deserved since season one. Clay has always been an irredeemable asshole, and it’s great to see him have to suffer for it. The eventual confrontation between him and Opie was another treat from this episode.
Speaking of Opie, I was happy to see him and Lila talking again, and while you would hope to see some indication that they might get back together, I think their experiment to make honest people out of each other is long over. Opie loves outlawing, and Lila loves having sex on camera. But there is the great Opie moment where he finally decides which side to stand on, when Sheriff Roosevelt comes to round up Jax and the others, and Opie, wearin’ his Sons vest and everything, straight up coldcocks him, and gets himself a ticket to county to watch Jax’s back. It’s a nice moment, and more than anything, I wanna see Ryan Hurst play Lobo, if DC/Warner ever decides to make a Lobo movie!
But the big moments in the episode start with Tig desperately trying to locate his remaining daughter, Fawn (Dawn and Fawn? Really, my ninja?!), before Damon Pope and his boys get to her, and ultimately walks in on her getting nailed from behind by her black boyfriend, who he (reasonably) mistakes for a Niner, and pistol whips him for good measure. It’s just a great, hilarious, almost Three’s Company kind of moment, that really helped to balance out last week’s gut-wrenching execution by burning.
The other big moment comes when Jax just turns to Tara and says, “Let’s get married!” It’s such a left field moment in the episode, as you’d think with all the history between these characters, Jax even casually bringing up that one time he actually killed a federal agent for her (because nothing says love like capital murder! Jax’s words, not mine!), there’d have been a not more build up, and it’d be the cornerstone of a special 90-min episode, or some shit! But no, Jax and Tara get hitched in Nero’s brothel, with a john/judge officiating, and Chibs mumbling out some kind words. Even more surprising was Gemma ACTUALLY being supportive. She even gave Tara her and Jax’s father’s wedding rings, which I thought made for a nice touching moment. Yeah, these broads are always gonna be scrappin’ about something, but Gemma knows this is the one for her son.
The only question now, when the hell is Joel McHale gonna show up?!?