Every television season by definition must have a “worst episode,” and “John 8:32” will probably take the crown for Sons of Anarchy’s sixth season. (Hopefully.) It wasn’t so terrible an episode, but it bore the brunt of connecting a lot of story dots with constant exposition, and awkwardly inserted an all new mini-plotline for everyone to mull over involving a bi-polar late mourner. There were also a handful of lame duck performances and patchy writing. If you’d have told me last week that tonight’s episode would feature a whole lot of people putting Tara in their crosshairs, all while Clay maniacally bites off a prison guard’s nose, I’d have assumed the episode was an instant classic. Instead, we get a lot of grievances being aired out like a filthy trunk that hasn’t had any dead bodies hidden inside it for a while. Wait, bikers don’t have trunks…
But instead of airing out my gripes, I’ll just stick to what I enjoyed. And Clay’s “Pussy the Redeemer” speech in the prison chapel ranks up there with the most enjoyably perverse bits this series is responsible for. (Otto biting off his own tongue last season was another example in a similar vein.) Hell, it was Ron Perlman’s most gloriously manic performance in the years. I like the simple ambiguity of not knowing whether Clay said that Jesus lived “a thousand who-gives-a-shit years ago” was all an act to show disrespect to the preacher, or if he just doesn’t have any idea of Christian canon. I would rather have heard Clay’s conversation with the Irish rather than see him get his face fist-stomped by guards, including the one whose nose he bit. It’s hard to imagine that guy staying at work after that instead of going to the hospital and then home to pass out on painkillers, saving revenge for another day.
Speaking of painkillers, I hope Tara is going to need some when all is said and done with this custody business, now that Jax is in on all the info, once again in the clear with Gemma and Nero. Not too sure he likes Lowery a whole lot however. Jax promised Unser that no one would get hurt, but there is almost always a tsunami of pain following Jax’s “give peace a chance” declarations. If nothing else, I bet he brings up his sweaty tryst with MILF Madam Collette. I don’t need to see marital violence on TV, but I will very much need someone outside that marriage to punch Tara in the face a few times.
I don’t think there’s any way Thomas and Abel stay in either Tara or Jax’s custody by the time this season is finished. With four episodes left, including next week’s showdown, there is more than enough time for rifts to deepen. If Margaret actually cared about those children, she would just report them to child services instead of helping an obvious crazy person fake a pregnancy to frame her mother-in-law. I want those boys to have a good life too, and I think my opinion is better for them than anyone on this show. I bet Jax was using rancid milk in the baby bottle.
One good move that Jax makes is trying to give up Gaalen to D.A. Patterson as the source of the KG9s, in exchange for club immunity. It wasn’t a very powerful scene, but he also told her “no more violence,” adding to the amount of bloodshed waiting on the horizon. It’s interesting that part of his deal involved making sure the case against Tara got dropped. Now that Jax knows Tara faked her own miscarriage, is he dastardly enough to ensure she does go to jail? Jax should have gone into solitary for a couple of hours after getting all wimpy when he called Tara out for not telling him that she loved him anymore. Save that shit for the bedroom, guys. Some of us don’t feel like coughing our dinners back up.
Likewise, no one really wanted to hear about Gemma and Clay boning for masturbating guards again, but both Jax and Nero needed to find out each other’s secrets in order to make peace. To make up for all that retelling of information, we got a fist fight between Handsome Jack and Nero. I absolutely loved Jimmy Smits in this scene, with his bottled up anger coming out in spurts, though he still seemed to be holding back. But seriously…wipe your nose, Nero. Just do it. And continue knocking Jax on his ass while you do so.
I wish I’d have enjoyed watching Gemma finally come out and tell someone that she killed J.T., but it came after an avalanche of other confessions, and it didn’t carry much impact all in all. I mean, Nero probably has a problem with it, but we’ve gotten used to Gemma doing whatever it takes.
My biggest problem with the episode was the bi-polar girl who was overtaken by memories that her mother was killed by John Teller way back in the day. This all comes in out of the blue, and seems to involve the homeless woman that hangs out in the alley around the club’s new headquarters. Is she the woman from the photo? Is she the girl’s supposedly dead mother? Is everyone in on it?
Judging from the gun and child resting on Tara’s knees, next week is going to see some major sparks flying, burning down some bridges as they fall. And if all that bridge wood and stone and steel falls down on Tara, pulverizing her, so be it. Patches to patches, dust to dust.
Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike
It’s strange how anytime there’s a little bit of gunplay in public, there are barely any onlookers, yet when the pipe-throwing Putner girl cries rape, people are literally sidestepping their way outside of stores to see what all the commotion is that just started mere milliseconds before. All worth it to hear that one guy in the background say, “You need to take your guns and your loud bikes and just go.”
“The Breakfast of Terminally-Ill Champions”
Am I the only one under the impression that Gary Putner was breathing in nothing but paint thinner before Jax showed up on his doorstep? Or was that all just the performance?
“I ‘nose’ the truth!”
This show needs to have two spinoffs once its series has run its course. One would involve a city filled with different variations of Chucky, with all manner of quirks and special talents, keeping the kazoo out on a regular basis. The second spinoff would follow the prison doctor who allows anything to happen so long as the pay is right.
Why did Chucky’s hard work cleaning that front window pane have to all be for naught? “We found him on a basket on our doorstep.”
“I could squeeze the swallow out of that pale white throat.”
Oswald for mayor!
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.