Tara - “Is it always like this?”
Gemma - “No. You came back to it at a bad time. It settles down. Gets downright boring.” (Author note: This episode was absolutely PACKED. I feel like I could write for pages and pages and barely touch on some of the finer points of “Falx Cerebri.” In the interest of time and sleep, well here goes.)
The League (as the Aryans are referenced) set off a car bomb in the Sons’ garage. As far as Clay is concerned, the explosion blew away Jax’s whole “wait to retaliate” agenda. He needs quick and ruthless revenge. Even with Clay’s shoot-first-aim-second lead, it is obvious some of the other club members are still uncomfortable with striking back right away. Who can blame them? The Aryans are conniving SOBs. I get the sense this is the first time in a long while this branch of The Sons has felt significantly threatened. The League has a long reach and is willing to go to any end to promote the Aryan agenda. The SAMCRO guys look legitimately shell shocked and off kilter with the whole mess.
Nevertheless, the race is on to find Zobelle. Jax feels if he gets to the League’s leader first, with the aid of Deputy Hale, some violence can be averted. This conflict starkly illustrates the divide between Clay and Jax. It even pits Opie against Jax in a building conflict between the two childhood friends. Opie accuses Jax of maneuvering for power too quickly in the club. It is interesting to consider Opie’s loyalty to Clay since Clay is responsible for the Donna’s death. I feel for Jax when it comes to Opie as he is forced to subvert his friendship in the name of keeping the truth from his best friend.
Tara has a permanent scowl. She is getting another glimpse into the life of dating a violent gang member, and puts it together that the same people who attacked Gemma planted the bomb. The bond between these two continues to grow almost in spite of their better inclinations. They were originally connected by circumstance, but from that has formed a quasi-reliance on each other. They need what only the other can give. They basically both need guidance. Gemma on how to “get right with herself,” and Tara on how to be someone’s “old lady.”
Ultimately, all intel points to Zobelle being at a large Aryan rally. Against better judgment, Clay decides to lead the outnumbered Sons in with guns blazing to take out Ethan and AJ Weston. Jax makes one last plea for sanity, even telling the others that the cops are on the way. Clay ignores logic and they plan to bust into the meeting hall. They expected a sea of skinheads. They got a peaceful gathering of families. Clay, because he may have actually gone insane, still tries to shoot Zobelle. Jax stops him and the Sons scramble to get out. As they are leaving, they are arrested by the local police.
“Oh, Freedom,” sung by a children’s choir, plays over the ending as we see the club members marched into the police van. Jax faces Clay down in a silent and angry, “I told you so,” moment.
And I take a writing breath. It was an episode with a Sh@#% load of movement, scheming, back-stabbing, lying, and plotting. Detailing all of it is folly and the ending provided a pretty huge, “Oh crap,” moment knowing that SAMCRO basically did just what The League wanted. They f-ed up real, real bad. But interspersed in “Falx Cerebri,” were some real hard looks into the struggles of two characters: Gemma and Hale.
Gemma, for the first time came clean about her ordeal and the effect it has had on the club. When she confronts Unser at the end (about his telling Hale about the rape) her emotion is genuine. Generally people who have been through a major ordeal begin a little bit of the, “was it all my fault?” self questioning. Gemma does this, but in a way where she begins to think that NOT telling anyone has actually caused SAMCRO its problems. She is torn and her tough-girl façade, which has been chipped at each episode, took a healthy blow tonight.
We also see Hale for who he really is: a real tough guy whose loyalty seems to go 1. Friends 2. Charming 3. The law. This was a marked shift for a character who spent season one as the world’s most straight laced cop. The conflict between The League and the Sons of Anarchy has forced him to choose who he feels is the lesser of two evils. But it has also begun, what could be, his ultimate demise. Favors to people like Clay or Jax or even Gemma aren’t one-and-done type deals. It is an impossible situation, but tonight he seemed to actually embrace the role of “bad cop.” I liked it.
If you made it this far, you really like Sons of Anarchy. It’s a good place to be considering you are watching some of the best television has to offer. Before tonight’s episode I looked up what the “Falx Cerebri” actually is. I have some thoughts on why it was chosen for tonight’s title, but I would like to hear from some others first. What did you think of tonight’s episode?