Sons of Anarchy Review: “Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em”

(Episode 7.06)

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<i>Sons of Anarchy</i> Review: &#8220;Smoke &#8216;Em if You Got &#8216;Em&#8221;

This episode of SoA felt like a soufflé. It looked all fluffy and full at first (woot! an hour and a half!), but once I cut into it, I just got a puff of air in my face. A big, supersized episode full of air.

I should have known it was an empty episode when it opened with Gemma doing the worst walk of shame ever: 12 miles on the side of a road in spiked heels. The last time we saw Gemma, Juice was holding a gun to her head. So … are we just skipping right over their epic showdown? Okay then.

Wendy and Bobby shared a rooftop cigarette, and Wendy admitted to still loving Jax, despite the fact he shot an 8-ball in her arm just a few months ago. (I’m just reminding you guys because apparently Wendy forgot.) I knew we were in for it when Wendy asked Bobby, “Does Jax know [what will happen next]?” And he replied, “Doesn’t matter, we’re with him.” Oh, for goodness sake. What a load of crap. Where’s the Bobby who questioned Jax for the last two seasons? I miss that guy.

In fact, Jax’s only voice of reason comes from the Niner’s President, Tyler. After reviewing some news from the street, Tyler says to Jax, “I hope you got a plan.” Jax leans back and smugly replies, “I got guns and manpower.” Tyler quips, “You call that a plan?!” I can’t believe that Tyler is the sole voice of reason on SoA. Jesus, take the wheel.

No really, it does seem like Jax has some sort of plan. We spent the whole episode watching Jax negotiate the Niners, Bastards, and Mayans teaming up to take down August Marks. They all plan to divvy up Marks’ guns and drugs market and walk into the sunset holding hands.

Uh huh. I don’t believe it. Honestly, all season long we’ve watched Jax double-cross one gang after another, and they all still seem doe-eyed devoted to him. Even if Jax is telling the truth, what assurances do any of these gangs have that he won’t double-cross them in the future? Please. You can’t tell me I have more skepticism than a crime kingpin.

In other news, Lea Michele made her debut as Gertie, the cheery truck stop waitress who oddly befriends the creepy, dirty, rude, and mumbling Gemma. Lea did a fine job playing Gemma’s confidant, though I have a hard time imagining a real truck stop waitress being that perky and trusting (especially to someone as surly as Gemma). During a cigarette break, Gemma admitted to Gertie that she’s responsible for Tara’s death. Without providing details, Gemma said, “It was my fault. It’s done now. Can’t stop it. It’s just life, right?” Somehow I don’t think it will be that simple when Jax finds out his mom’s a liar, liar, leather pants on fire.  

In other celebrities-on-Anarchy news, Marilyn Manson made another appearance as Ron Tully, the incarcerated head of the Aryan Brotherhood. Jax negotiated a deal with Tully involving heroin and jail distribution, and I just have to share my favorite line from the episode. When the neo-Nazi Tully scoffs at working with the Mayans, Jax replies, “Please, the only color you give a shit about is green.” Tully slowly and coolly replies, “It’s my job to maintain the brand.” Hah! Classic. Well, at least Tully’s priorities are in check, even if they are from 1956.

The best part of the episode occurs towards the end.Juice turned himself into the Mayans, hoping to be a rat in exchange for safe passage to Puerto Vallarta. Alvarez turned Juice over to Jax, but not before Juice and Nero were locked up in the same Mayan locker. (Nero was locked up for helping Jax trap Lin.) Juice asks Nero if Gemma knows he’s locked up. Nero wonders what Gemma has to do with any of this, until he sees that Juice arrived in Gemma’s ride. Since we know Gemma doesn’t do anything altruistic unless it benefits her, Nero is naturally suspicious. The episode ends with us guessing how much Juice told both Nero and Jax, and Gemma invited to go “camping” with the club.

So why is this my favorite part? Because Gemma looks straight up SCARED. I see her thin legs knocking over those fabulous suede boots. Finally, payback might be coming Gemma’s way, and it might be in the form of Jax. (Actually, Jax and Gemma had an exchange that about sums it up. Jax said to Gemma, “You ok? You look like hell” and Gemma replied, “That’s where I’m living, Jackson.” Um, put a pin in that Gemma, because I think it’s about to get a whole lot worse.)

Seriously, how else can this show end? Since Kurt Sutter started the season giving us information that Jax does not have, we’ve been anxiously waiting for Jax to catch up. This whole messy, sloppy, body count-filled season is Gemma’s fault, and for once we’re seeing an ounce of fright in her smoky eyes. Ooh Gemma, pack your sleeping bag because you’re going camping next week!

?So, did Juice spill everything to Nero and Jax? Will Gemma finally pay for her lies? The teasers next week show Juice working for the club and maaaybe getting his colors back, but somehow I feel it will be more complicated than that. What do you think?

PS: I predict the season will end with Nero and Wendy teaming up to take care of Thomas and Abel. (That is, of course, assuming both boys survive the season.) I don’t know why, I just feel it. I’m going on record now in case those feelings are marvelously correct. How about you? Are you in?

Emily Worden is a Boston­based freelance writer and author of Make. Sell. Repeat. The Ultimate Business Guide for Artists, Crafters, and Makers. You can follow her on Twitter.

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