Sons of Anarchy Review: "Toad's Wild Ride" (Episode 5.07)
It’s about to hit the fan for Clay and his rebel SAMCRO faction. The former president was revealed to be behind the home invasions in the final minutes of last week’s episodes, and now we know why: It was all part of a plan to take pressure off Jax and send Clay back to being in charge. Unser has a feeling he knows what is going on, and that sets a chain of events off in the latest offering from Sons of Anarchy.
The show consistently outdoes itself, and in “Toad’s Wild Ride” the writers have no problem building tension from the get-go. Aside from the internal investigation regarding the home invasions, Gemma is on the verge of a total collapse and in the midst of a bender. She has slept with Joel McHale’s Warren, who steals her wallet and Cadillac SUV, forcing her to confess to Nero and her son what she’s been up to.
SAMCRO finds Warren at a chop shop, and yet another tire-screeching vehicle chase is on in a town where no police are roaming the streets whatsoever. It ends in a fist fight where McHale gets to show how much of a badass his character really is; however, the comedic actor comes off as a whiny kid who has no clue what he’s doing stealing cars. For as much as I love the actor, he was miscast here. He’s done a good job in dramedies before, but doesn’t have the weight to hold his own with the boys of Sons of Anarchy.
In the middle of the Gemma/Warren events, Tara is still looking for a way to make a peace offering for Otto, who she visited in jail in the last episode. She seeks out Gemma to find out about Otto’s wife and the scene turns into a briefly sincere moment from the character. It surely has been a wild ride for Gemma this season (let’s be real: throughout the entire series), but she seems to finally be breaking down. Katey Sagal may be known for her comedy acting, but she continues to be one of the best actors on this show. The heartfelt moment between the matriarch and her daughter-in-law eventually leads to Tara trusting Gemma to watch her sons for the weekend. All is well.
The episode shifts focus back to the home invasions where it looks like Clay is going to let his cronies kill his best friend. I wouldn’t put it past Clay, but the old man turns the tables and sets the nomads up to let Unser kill them as they attack him yet again. While this seemingly ties up all of the loose ends, you know it really can’t do so. After all, there is still one more out there and the Sons are damned sure going to figure the truth out. Clay asserts it is Pope behind the attacks, but Jax wants to find the remaining Nomad to let SAMCRO decide who lives and who dies. All is seemingly well.
But all isn’t well. Not for Jax, and certainly not for Gemma. Jax and Chibs get ambushed by an unidentified crew who might be linked to Pope after all, but shouldn’t have anything to do with the invasions—just another twist in who is backstabbing who. As for Gemma? She’s too tired to be driving and sends her car, containing Jax and Tara’s boys, into a tree. The episode ends with one of the boys crying and the other sitting silently, dripping blood.
Some say Sons of Anarchy has become too much of a soap opera, but we keep coming back for more every week, and the show still doesn’t disappoint, so maybe a soap opera about a crime-ridden motorcycle club is exactly what television needs right now.