It is indeed a small world in the Sons of Anarchy universe. Everything that goes around comes around eventually. “Small World” picks up with Gemma learning of Rita’s home being invaded, resulting in her accidentally shooting herself and landing in intensive care. Gemma wants to know, “Who the hell is doing this to us?” And deservedly so. Over the first half of this season a slew of home invasions have plagued the Sons, but quite honestly it never held much interest to me. It felt like it was an unjustified tension thrown on top of a cleanly presented season.
One of the highlights of the season has been the exhilarating interaction between Damon Pope and Jax. Since the bone-chilling ultimatum that caused the death of Opie, tension has been high. Now Pope offers Jax a deal that will solve a lot of problems but cause a few more. These are two intelligent businessmen playing world-champion chess. We may not understand the moves they make, but they’re both planning several moves ahead, and sometimes they don’t even know it. Harold Perrineau’s Pope was a smart addition for this fifth season and depending how everything plays out, could shape the Sons’ world for years to come.
He helps facilitate Jax’s revenge on the guard he promised to kill after watching Opie die. For as much as we’re supposed to be on these outlaws’ side, sometimes it’s difficult to swallow their actions. I guess it’s sort of “an eye for an eye” situation, but watching the four Sons gag and bind the guard and his wife is difficult. It turns worse when Tig shoots the wife point blank and Jax coldheartedly says, “She’s collateral damage” for Opie’s murder. This might be the turning point for Tig, who is clearly on a path to self-destruction. Jax beating the guard with a snow globe playing the “Small World” theme song was the first time I had to turn away from a scene. Anarchy is praised for not holding back, but sometimes restraint is needed.
Before it’s revealed who is behind the home invasions, we get a sick and twisted subplot involving Nero and Gemma being held hostage by crazy Carla. She forces them to have sex in front of her at gunpoint. Nero refuses and tells her to put a bullet through him, but she turns the gun on herself. It wasn’t nearly as upsetting as Opie’s death, but it was, nevertheless, shocking. The Nero storyline has been evolving slowly, but it pays off little by little. Nero calls the situation “messy” which is how this plot felt in this particular episode.
Another guest star briefly pops up in this episode. This time it’s the always charming Joel McHale as a cunning con artist named Warren. As much as I love McHale, he still seems a little too funny to be in this show. We’ll see how his two-episode arc turns out. Odds are he won’t survive.
The truth does eventually come out about the invasions. It turns out it was former SAMCRO president Clay behind it all. He’s upset Rita was killed, and the episode ends. All of the buildup this season surrounding this revelation turned into a shrugworthy moment. I’m glad they’re wrapping up the subplot, but I know it will cause another catastrophic event to occur.
“Small World” was a little all over the place and was clearly not as powerful as previous episodes this season. It definitely closes the first act of the season and sets a lot of intriguing scenarios up for the remainder of this already stunning fifth season.