Sons of Anarchy Season 4 Episode 9 recap

I am a little bit at a loss for words.   It’s been a bit of a day all around, and it is absolutely preposterous that it would be because of a TV show.   That’s really on the edge of not-all-that-rational.   But you know, after this episode, I’m really curious.  What do you want me to feel, Sutter?  Who do you think I’m supposed to hope will prevail?   Because at this point, all I hope is that as everyone dies, one by one, that the spacing isn’t too harsh and I can get my breath back between each.

Let me lag into TV story-room talk for a minute.   The planning of a season is supposed to be a bit of an art, yes, but you’re supposed to keep your audience guessing, first and foremost.  You’re supposed to make it a roller-coaster ride, and that’s part of the fun, too.   Throwing in some sweetness with the dark.   Some secretiveness with the boisterous.   Someone to love along with someone to hate.

And I have to be honest, I feel a lot like that’s just been thrown by the wayside here.   Who am I supposed to feel good for?   Perpetually idiotic Jax, who thinks he’s calming everyone down from the crisis of the week when in fact he is so completely oblivious to what’s going on around him, and the fact that he’s the ONLY ONE in the club, including Tara, for Gods’ sake, who doesn’t think that Clay is going to be the utter demise of everyone?   It’s like he decided, after airing his irritation some weeks back, that he didn’t have to discuss anything anymore, and just blithely assumes everyone’s going to do what they should.  (Lainey: I am going to say this every week - Jax is a LOSER.)

Which is fine.   A gullible character who only wants everything to turn out right is technically fine but when it’s the lead of the series, I have to wonder whose eyes I’m supposed to see SAMCRO through.   Because it’s bad that we know more than Jax.   It’s really bad that the person whose motivations we understand the most is…Clay.  

I know why Clay is doing everything he’s doing.  HE’s terrified of losing power, he’s going to be irrelevant when and if he’s unseated as president.  But it doesn’t make me like him more.   I suppose it makes me identify with him, in the sense that he’s got no way out; but rather than feel like he’s doing the best he can, as per Tony Soprano, it just feels like his head’s  his own ass and he’s setting fire to everything in his path so that nobody will survive without him.

It’s kind of how, when you leave a job, you hope the place goes to pieces without you.   But those feelings fade after a couple of weeks.  You realize a more rational plan is to jut go forward and be happy somewhere else.   Clay, I guess, can’t.

I was screeching about this to my brilliant friend Shelley who says if you do know the evil person’s motivation, it’s a parlor trick.  That it either is the whole scheme of the program, or that you’re going to find out something in the end that we never realized before (that John Teller was secretly screwing Clay over, for example).   But to me, it feels more like a Lifetime true-life movie.   You already know the facts of how the horrible mother drowned her children (or insert your tabloid crisis of the week), now you get a chance to attempt to go inside her mind to find out why.

The thing is, there doesn’t seem to be anything else in Clay’s mind.

Gemma, on the other hand – she’s got layers and a motivation.   She is trying so …forcefully to override her own instincts.  She knows Clay is lying through his teeth to her about everything – how far back does that go? Can she pinpoint when it started?  How much of it is her fault?   She’s chosen Clay over her sons more than once, it seems - can she afford to do the same with her grandchildren?   What outweighs what?  Romantic love over parental? Grandparental?   

I believe the reason Gemma is so concerned with Tara is because she sees in Tara what she, Gemma, could have been.  Strong, resolute, and yet lost.   Can she give Tara the tools to take care of herself, even as she cleans up after Clay?

You justify all kinds of things when you’re in trouble.  Your crazy brain tells your conscious brain not to worry – that you’ll fix all the problems later, when there isn’t such clear and present danger.   Later she’ll apologize to Jax and Tara.   Later she’ll clean up the babies’ lives.   Later she’ll stop relying on Unser’s undying love for her, or at least stop exploiting it so blatantly.

But as we saw, as Clay made the call on that ancient, jacked-up cellphone – Gemma doesn’t have any time left.