8.5

Sons of Anarchy Review: “Suits of Woe”

(Episode 7.11)

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<i>Sons of Anarchy</i> Review: &#8220;Suits of Woe&#8221;

This episode was overall pretty quiet. Aside from that Jax vs. cops car chase sponsored by Dodge, the episode lacked gunfights, explosions, and severed body parts. This one was all about “family business,” and that’s why it was the strongest of the season.

I knew we were in for some family drama with an episode title like “Suits of Woe,” but I had no idea how truly tragic it would be. First of all, everyone is crying—Jax, Juice, Nero, Gemma… people are just losing their damn minds in this episode. And everyone starts speaking the truth. After Wendy, Juice, and Jax’s stories are out, we’re left with a lot of gaping mouths and broken hearts.

Wendy led the truth parade by coming clean to Jax before he had his morning coffee. Remember, Abel just told Jax that Gemma killed Tara, and Jax has been up all night mulling it over. He’s happy that Wendy told him the truth, and now he has more information to help solve the the age old “did my mother kill my wife?” problem.

Next, Juice took the truth baton from Wendy, and spilled all the beans to Jax. The two sat across from each other in a camera-less room at Stockton, and Juice confirmed that Gemma killed Tara. Yes. He tells Jax every last detail about the night of Tara’s death, and finally Jax knows the truth.

We’ve been waiting all season for this to happen—for Jax to realize he’s been blaming the wrong guys for Tara’s murder. We’ve spent 10 long episodes watching Jax kill innocent people—I even kicked him off Team Antihero weeks ago. I couldn’t wait for him to find out the bitter truth about Gemma. But now that we’ve arrived, and we’ve watched Jax cry for bajillionth time, well shucks. I just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.

I know that’s exactly what Sutter wants us to do too. We’re supposed to think Jax is a good guy (in case we forget, Sutter makes sure a character tells us in every episode), but frankly I’ve been really frustrated with Jax this season. It’s difficult to cheer for someone when they frantically kill innocent people. But that scene between Charlie Hunnam and Theo Rossi is so beautifully raw, and Jax is so vulnerable… well, it’s hard to watch Jax’s world crumble and not feel sorry for him.

After Jax has thoroughly researched Tara’s murder, he sits down with the club, and admits he was wrong: “That mistake is mine and mine alone. Everything that happens as result of that mistake, every body that dropped, every relationship that was torched, everything that jeopardized this club was my fault.” We’ve heard this song-and-dance from Jax before, but this time I believe him. Now he knows that Diosa, Collette, West, Bobby, Jury, Marks, the Chinese… it really was all his fault. He acted out of passion and instinct, instead of patience and restraint, and he created a lot of bodies and a gang war in the process.

It wasn’t all bad for just Jax this episode—Gemma had it pretty rough too. After Juice gave her the heads up about Jax, the episode turned into Gemma’s farewell tour, and we watched her say goodbye to Wendy, Thomas, Nero, Abel, and even slip a kind word to Courtney Love before slithering up to Northern California. It was fun watching Gemma squirm, and that scene between her and Nero where he learns the truth about Gemma over the phone with Jax… Jimmy Smits should win an Emmy for that. My favorite part was that little hippity-hop Nero bounced out in lieu of the words stuck in his throat. Oh, I’m truly sorry our favorite cardigan-wearing OG is mixed up in all this.

In other news, we learned the identity of the rat, and I was right—it was Barosky I wasn’t entirely sure if it was him because we hadn’t seen him in a few episodes. But in the end, a dirty cop is a dirty cop, and Barosky was only loyal to the highest bidder—the Chinese. We didn’t see Barosky this episode, so I’m sure we’ll see him next time.

Overall, this was a really strong episode. For the first time this season, I was almost riveted for the entire 90 minutes. Still, this should have been the third or fourth episode of the season. I would have liked to see Jax realize the truth early on, because it’s been fairly tedious watching him flail around every week. The show is much more interesting when it’s focused on the main characters, and it’s unfortunate that there only two episodes left to deal with the Gemma/Jax fallout.

At this point, that feels like the only storyline worth waiting for. Lin is dead, Juice is pretty much dead, Marks is getting out on parole, but all his men are dead, and I don’t care who gets the Irish gun trade. It seems like we’re dealing with the Indian Hills fallout next week, and that’s interesting because they’ll be voting on Jax meeting Mr. Mayhem. Otherwise, all there’s really left to wait for is Jax’s showdown with Gemma, and the rest just feels like filler.

Favorite Moment:
Watching Lyla oversee the Diosa contract between Nero and Alvarez. Who knew she was a porn director, and notary public?

Favorite Quotes:
“Don’t be an asshole.”  “All I am in here is someone’s asshole.”—Juice, to Jarry to Stockton.
“If you gave a shit about Tara, maybe you’d spend a little less time being a thug and a little more time being a dad.”—Unser to Jax, and I’d like to give Unser the “Thank You for Saying What the Audience is Thinking” award.

Sons is taking a Thanksgiving break. They’ll be back with episode 12, Red Rose, on December 2, and the series finale will be December 9.

Emily Worden is a Boston-based 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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