Sons of Anarchy Watch: Season 5, Episode 5 - Orca Shrugged

“Every day is a new box, boys…You decide if it’s a gift or a coffin.”

Better make sure there’s no dick in that box, boys, as “Orca Shrugged” replaces the previous weeks’ heavy emotional baggage with absurd sexual humor. Sure, some plot-furthering scenes still retain tension and good character work, but if you’re like me, you kept waiting for the cleavage-heaving Walton Goggins to “come” back on screen. Highbrow, it ain’t, but this is the most laugh-filled episode of Sons yet.

Nathan Hale and, More Importantly, Venus Van Dam

Jax, master of subtle narration, is more determined than ever to pull SAMCRO from the hole Clay dug around it. The club votes in favor of joining financial forces with Nero to re-open Diosa, and to consider opting out on the coke distribution. To everyone’s surprise, even Clay is for it, though I’m sure he’s staying close in case he needs to sabotage something. To secure Diosa’s future location, Jax must convince Mayor Jacob Hale to lease the property over to him. As you can imagine, it won’t be a guilt-free process, as Jax’s leverage is attaining the deciding vote allowing Hale to continue with his Charming Heights land development.

Timeout! Jax is already connected with the IRA, Damon Pope, Romeo as coke supplier and CIA operative, and is now partnering with Nero’s crew. (I’m probably forgetting a dozen others.) And now he’s getting into a murky legal waterbed with the morally atrocious Hale. Hasn’t Jax seen every sitcom episode where the wannabe lothario makes dates with several different women just to have everyone find out and blow it up in his face? Maybe not, since Jax doesn’t seem like a sitcom guy. In any case, I hope no Chicago mob families move to Charming, for Jax’s sake.

What is the best way you can think of to convince somebody to vote for something they may or may not be in favor of? Fact-based debate? Powerpoint presentation? Or maybe Plan C, which is drugging the guy, in this case Allen Biancone (Brad Grunberg), until he passes out so that you can take pictures of him lying submissively beneath a domineering cross-dressing prostitute for the sake of future blackmailing. That’s not too subtle to be the SAMCRO way. In one of the least self-effacing cameos ever, Walton Goggins saunters around as the aforementioned prostitute, with quips as sassy as his/her attitude. “Is he dead? I don’t do dead.”

Interrupting the photo session, Biancone’s step-son Devon arrives, and instead of causing trouble, he shares his distaste for Biancone, siding with the blackmailing scam. They draw him in with faux friendship (“Come by the clubhouse on Saturday. You can clean the cum and puke off the bathroom floor.”) and lies about experience with cross dressers. Fooled, an ecstatic Devon follows Venus for some more explicit secret photographs. Goggins’ line, “Have you ever had your dick sucked by a Southern girl with a huge cock?” just about knocked me out of my seat. There is absolutely nothing proper or tasteful about this entire story thread, and I couldn’t love it more. That Tig is so obviously interested in Venus adds much to the weirdness. Take heed, Emmy nomination committee. To top all of this off, the scene ends with a horrified Biancone waking up and biting a chunk out of Tig’s ass. Through his pants!

The initially hesitant Hale eventually decides Jax’s positives outweigh the negatives, and begrudgingly takes the envelope of steamy pictures, agreeing to let Jax lease the property. (Juice picked the ten best shots, using software that can “make this guy shit unicorns.” Good line.) I was alarmed that Jax was so up front about it being a brothel, but as he says, “I ain’t Clay.” It’s about being in business with the right people, and under the right conditions. Lying is never a good foundation for business. Jax also promises to hook Hale up with another investor, so I expect this storyline to open up in the future. Probably with bloody results. For years, I’ve been wishing Hale would join his brother in death. We miss you, David.

Ye Olde Home Invasione

I certainly hope a solid endgame awaits this storyline, which pops up randomly and with little explanation. When Jax mentions meeting up with Pope, the new patches, those responsible for Gemma’s home robbery, express hesitation toward working with blacks. Roosevelt contacts Gemma and Clay to let them know they’ve caught a few black guys with a van, and later an apartment, full of stolen goods, though none of Clay or Gemma’s possessions are identified. Clay makes a point of saying he doesn’t see his safe, which we know has long since gone into a landfill somewhere. The accused thieves are part of the East Dub Crew, which is under Pope’s jurisdiction. (I found it funny that a law enforcement officer would refer to a gangster’s territory as his jurisdiction.)

So what does this mean? Are the home invasions, minus the ones involving the club, really the work of Pope’s guys? Because they’re currently in country jail, we know those particular guys aren’t responsible for the lone moments of tragedy in the episode.

Sheriff Roosevelt spends time with his wife Rita, taking the time to kiss her pregnant stomach. Guess what happens? Rita is home alone later in the episode and her home is broken into. Though she has a gun, the three thieves overpower her, and one gets scratched across the neck. In the scuffle, the gun accidentally goes off, and Rita falls to the floor, blood pouring from her stomach. One “Frankie” name check later, and the hooded men nervously hurry from the scene. We last see her as she’s rolled into the O.R., with the Sheriff exclaiming he needs the skin from under her fingernails.

What were they doing in Roosevelt’s house? Does he have something they want? I still believe Clay is behind all this, but I can’t think of what he would want with Roosevelt at the moment. I’m sure it will come to me later, as I carbon monoxide myself to sleep.

I Spy on Jax’s Little Eye Something Red

Finally, we get to the meeting between Galen O’Shay and Romeo, and nothing goes as I expected. It starts off with the episode’s biggest testosterone burst: a fistfight between Jax and Galen, due to Galen’s distrust of Jax for being “arrogant, selfish, and explosive.” Of course, Jax counters these words by arrogantly, selfishly and explosively picking a fight, mocking Galen over the death of Father Ashby. Then fist, fist, fist.

Consider this exchange. “Maybe you do have some Irish blood left in you, boy,” says Galen. “Yeah, by the time I’m done, yours is going to be a puddle at your feet.” Jax wins the word fight, but no one really wins the real one. Romeo arrives and the scene changes, settling down when we revisit. In his last bit of vengeful revelry, Galen demonstrates the power of the massive Gatling gun he’s supplying by shooting the dogshit out of the motorcycles the boys used to get to the meeting. “Way to close the deal, brother.” Indeed. The make-up department on the show must love an episode like this with an ever-present temple wound and an ass bite wound.


Somehow, the two most off-the-cuff characters this season are Gemma and Tara, both of whom have hit points in their lives that imitate rock bottom despite never reaching it. Tara’s hand, which should be nearly demolished after last week’s cast-whooping, is actually on the mend, and could optimistically could be healed enough to perform surgery again one day. Does this news knock her out of her mental slump? Not exactly, though she does let Gemma feed the baby while she gets stoned in the living room. So at least in one particular area, she seems to have loosened up. She does get upset with herself after not being able to properly sew up Tig’s ass wound, but she should “cast” those worries aside. Ahem.

Gemma, meanwhile, gets a Dear John letter by finding out Nero is now in business with SAMCRO, and that Jax forbade their relationship from continuing. Considering the state of his business and Carla’s face, Nero should be avoiding trouble on his own without having said trouble’s son pointing them out. By saying the trust between him and Carla is gone, Nero shows intelligence, but I can’t see him avoiding Gemma forever. That lusty moment when he has her against the wall was proof enough. But how funny was it to watch Gemma realize she was being dumped? That was buoyed by Jax’s admission that he’s having trouble separating his hate after finding out her involvement in John’s death. It’s a very human line and a sad moment for a mother…who was involved with the death of her son’s father. The sympathy has to stop somewhere, right?

And just as her life is tailspinning, Gemma still finds time to offer Tara advice about coping with the tumultuous life of an Old Lady. Her phrase, “extremes become average,” is exactly fitting, and describes the show as a whole. And when Venus Van Dam saying “My lips are sealed, although I might open them up a little bit for you,” becomes average, then I’m quitting my day job and watching this show full time. Great episode to gnaw on until next week. Be well, kind readers.

Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike

Is the title referring to Atlas Shrugged, with the Orca referring to the fat guy they’re blackmailing? If so, I really don’t understand it. I mean I realize this guy is sort of the key to their entire deal with Nero, but their world doesn’t fall down without him. Maybe I’m just really misinformed.

I know I can’t be the only straight guy who thought the wrong dude took his shirt off in tonight’s fight. Timothy Murphy, you’re a top notch looking gent, but it’s almost blasphemy to leave Charlie Hunnam clothed for an entire episode.

I love that Chucky, the “Iraq War veteran,” probably had to spend money on fudge and props in order for the scam to work. And what if the guy had been a strict diabetic? Those exist, right?

“Pink, wet, and tastes like sunshine.” Because of Tig, I now I associate vagina will Italian Ice. Yeah, it was because of Tig, and only that. I swear.

Another great line from Venus is when he’s on top of Biancone, and he asks “How about like an air traffic controller?” Without the lit-up directional sticks, I would think it would look like a blind person’s version of “Y.M.C.A.”

No, Tig, there’s nothing wrong with you being totally hard while getting your ass worked on by Tara and Chibs. Am I the only one who pictures an elephant tusk in Tig’s pants? Did I mention already that I am indeed heterosexual?

Two moments tonight hit me in just that perfect melding of humor and disbelief. One was after Tig gets bitten on the ass and he turns around and says in a half-whine, “Why does this always happen to me?” The second came at the end of the episode, when Jax looks into the oft-mentioned package, and sees that it’s the “titty and a thumb” from Skeeter that Nero’s thugs need as proof of the hooker’s death. Jax looks almost directly at the camera and lets out a world-weary lip-flopping sigh. Both of these bits are so insanely comical in a Laurel and Hardy manner. Absolutely perfect. Leave ‘em laughing, Sutter.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

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.