“THE GAVEL CORRUPTS.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Throughout the course of the series, Jax has struggled with his direction in life and the kind of man he wants to be. We’ve watched as he drifted back and forth between trying to walk a better path for the sake of his children, and crossing over to a darker side on many different occasions. While last season made it look like there was hope for Jax and the club as they pursued a way to leave the “outlaw lifestyle” behind, there can be no doubt about where he’s headed now. The intensely dark plan Jax laid out here, where he plans to kill everybody that Lin cares about, lets us know exactly where his head is. As he said himself, he’s only looking straight ahead, laser focused on revenge. During his lengthy time in charge of the club, Clay committed a lot of terrible deeds. The Jax we see now is reminiscent of Clay at his worst. The key difference here is Clay was motivated primarily by self-service, while Jax is powered by pure revenge against the wrong person.
These actions will more than likely lead to the utter destruction of the club. At this stage, I can’t really see a way out for any of the central characters. Perhaps Jax has some master plan we aren’t privy to yet, but he has already made one serious mistake here that will surely have serious repercussions. After slaughtering a load of Lin’s men and robbing them of their drugs and money, Jax had the two men who acted as hired help killed and pinned the whole ordeal on them. This would be questionable enough behavior on its own, but after seeing Jury’s reaction to his discovery of the two men’s bodies, I don’t think there can be any doubt that one of them was Jury’s own son. The way the shots of Jury cradling the man’s body was intercut with Jax holding his own son was quite haunting and definitely suggests that Jax has royally screwed up here. With one of SAMCRO’s shotguns being left at the staged crime scene, Jury knows that it was carried out by club members. Considering he knows Jax’s plan to take down Lin, he’ll be able to put two and two together and figure out exactly what happened.
Killing a club member’s family member is a serious no-no, so it’s going to be interesting to see exactly what comes of it. It’s the kind of thing that could fracture the entire club, with the other characters possibly pulling away from it, leaving our main group of Sons very much alone. Jury could also come at Jax head on, which would be a very unwelcome problem with a potential war brewing on their doorsteps. Jax’s moves are devious and cunning, but if it all comes crashing down, SAMCRO will find themselves with enemies on all sides and no allies to protect them. At the moment, Jax is playing Marks, Lin, Nero, and everyone else against each other, and it’s all because of a lie his mother told that he is too blinded by rage to see through.
We got a hint of actual guilt from Gemma this week as she chatted with her grandson about Tara. Later she broke down a little again after she got a look at photos of the crime scene. Gemma has committed a horrid crime, and it’s good that the show isn’t letting her forget that any time soon. She’s a survivor, and she seems to genuinely believe that everything she does is for the good of her family, so I’m not sure if we’ll see her crack under this pressure any time soon. The one thing to consider, though, is her actions are now leading Jax down his darkest path yet, one that will probably end in war, so Gemma is going to have to decide whether she can see her son go through that. Perhaps her ultimate punishment will be to have everything she loves taken away from her, leaving her completely and utterly alone.
Wendy and Nero had some touching moments together as they bonded over their junkie pasts. It’s quite amusing that when compared to the other characters on the show, Wendy and Nero are almost saintly. I’ve seen a bit of speculation that they might hook up by the end of the season, but I seriously hope that doesn’t happen. They both just want to be as good as they can, as people and parents, so I hope things remain strictly platonic between them. Sticking with people on the good side of the moral scale, Unser found himself tied up and gagged in a bath tub with Juice contemplating his next move on the other side of the door. I never believed Juice would actually kill Unser, and likewise, I wasn’t surprised to see Juice deciding to stick around instead of fleeing Charming. Juice is a tragic character who has been living on borrowed time for a couple of seasons now, so I’m definitely not expecting it to end well for him. Unser ended up taking up the DA’s offer to become a consultant for the new sheriff, and the most interesting outcome is he’s now looking into the case files from Tara’s murder. Perhaps he will use his super detective skills to figure out it was Gemma all along.
I’m quite pleased with how these first two episodes have gone. They’ve done a great job of establishing where the early part of this season is heading, and we now know exactly what Jax has planned. Jax is developing into a whole different beast who may end up being worse than Clay, and Gemma is showing signs of being overwhelmed by her guilt. Enemies are lined up on all sides, and previous alliances are on the verge of being shattered. There are a lot of moving parts to this story, so there’s still a long way to go before it all comes together.
Is the theory about Jury’s son correct? If so, how will he react?
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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