NEVER ACCEPT CAKE FROM GEMMA TELLER
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
If you needed any reminder of how complicated Sons of Anarchy can get, then “Playing with Monsters” will have served as the perfect refresher course. People were getting betrayed left, right and center, mainly by Jax who wore a sly grin on his face for most of the episode. Jax’s descent into pure villainy continues at a rather frightening pace, and each step he takes brings him further into Clay territory and perhaps beyond. For those of you hoping for some sort of redemption for Mr. Teller, I think you’re going to be left disappointed.
I can’t see any way that this can end well for Jax. His quest for vengeance has blinded him and he’s manipulating everybody around him. August Marks remains Jax’s most powerful ally, but with Jax going behind his back on multiple occasions, he could soon be his most powerful enemy. Marks delivered a chilling speech to Jax about how he wouldn’t be afraid to kill any “Sons,” and something about it made me believe he wasn’t just talking about SAMCRO members. For now though, Jax seems to have him under control and even managed to curry more favor from him by solving a rogue One-Niner problem.
Nero has been a great addition to the cast over the last couple of seasons, and just last week I was talking about how he was one of the more morally good people on the show. I’m afraid I may have jinxed poor Nero however, as he first beats the hell out of a guy who had just hit Gemma, and then proceeded to get dragged further into the Mayan’s gang business. I was totally behind him giving a beating to that abusive guy, but later seeing him gunning down One-Niners with the Mayans was very worrying. He was once a hardened criminal who cleaned up his act a little, so he won’t even pretend to be a completely upstanding member of society. The fact that he seemed to enjoy killing those guys, with a startling smile on his face as he did it, seems to suggest a darker turn for the character.
Juice staying in Charming was already starting to strain credibility a little bit, so I appreciate the writers offering up a reason for him to stay around that actually makes sense. The club was his whole life and Juice simply doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Pairing him up with Unser makes a lot of sense as Unser is the one character who won’t try to manipulate him in any way. Juice and Chib’s friendship used to be one of the more sweeter aspects of a pretty dark show, so watching Chibs telling Juice he’d be better off killing himself was pretty sad to see, and was especially powerful considering Juice’s previous brush with suicide. Juice has lied and killed to save his own skin for a few seasons now, so I don’t see him making it out alive. The question remains whether he’ll give up Gemma to save his own skin when Jax inevitably catches up to him.
We got to see a lot more of the new Sheriff in town, Althea Jarry (Annabeth Gish), and boy did she have a few surprises up her sleeve. I was expecting her to be a tough as nails opponent for SAMCRO, but it turns out she may end up being a new ally. Pretty much every law enforcement officer other than Unser has tried to take out the club, so going in a different direction here is a smart choice for the final season. With this being Sons of Anarchy though, there’s always the possibility that she’s playing them, but for now she seems too crooked as evidenced by her already taking a bribe. She also took a liking to Chibs right off the bat, and I must say the two of them had pretty good chemistry. I feel the whole “comparing war wounds” trope is completely overplayed, but I’ll let them away with it as Chibs can do whatever he wants in my opinion.
With betrayals at every corner, “Playing with Monsters” continued SOA’s great start to the season while also toning down the action a little bit. The final scene of the episode proved to be the most haunting for me, as Jax worked over the guy who hit Gemma earlier. I couldn’t help but feel that Jax is basically Gemma’s attack dog now, as she stood at the door while he beat the holy hell out of his target. She has him wrapped around her little finger at the moment and he’ll do anything for her, which acts as another comparison between Jax and Clay. Something makes me think it won’t last for too long though, one way or another.
Can Nero get away from the Mayans, or has he passed the point of no return? Let us know in the comments below.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
The Night Of: “The Call of the Wild” Review
Vice Principals: “The Foundation of Learning” Review
The Night Of: “Ordinary Death” Review
Joe Hill’s ‘The Fireman’ Review
How Speedrunning Changed My Perception of Games
Vice Principals: “Circles” Review
The Night Of: “Samson and Delilah” Review
‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Review
Vice Principals: “Run for the Money” Review
The Night Of: “The Season of the Witch” Review