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The Airing of Grievances: Sons of Anarchy Week 12

The new world order?

I’m sure the title Darthy has some meaning other than a phonetic spelling of Darcy spoken with a lisp, but why would you want one?

Grievance #1 – Another 90-minute episode. That makes three in a row. So this is just a 90-minute show now, right? I never would have guessed that SOA would be the ones to follow the Sherlock model.

Grievance #2 – Clay admitting his involvement in the Nomad home invasions, which Jax has spent weeks trying to prove. The scene itself is excellent. Kudos to the cast for playing it as uncomfortable as it should be. They hardly look up from the table, and they certainly don’t look at each other. And credit director Robocop with making the scene eerily quiet. Jax’s efforts to connect Clay to the Nomads has provided some worthwhile character moments, particularly in him using completely unrelated leverage on Juice and his own mother to enlist them in his crusade. But this grievance isn’t so much about the effort Jax put into it, but rather the time the show spent on it. Overall, the home invasions were a huge plotline this season, but the mystery of it and the tension of Jax's digging were both underwhelming to say the least. This quick defusing of the situation makes me think that time could have been spent better elsewhere.

Grievance #3 – Oh no! Drea de Matto in the credits! I really thought we were done with her.

Grievance #4 – Jax's chat with Pope's second in command. If this is supposed to be our clue that Jax is conspiring with him to take Pope down (like the bizarre hints dropped about the cartel last season), I'm going to be really disappointed. It reeks of being shoehorned in at this late stage as a way of heading off potential future criticism, and it offers no reason why Pope's man would want to push him out. If, on the other hand, it's just another example of the new Jax, then I have no complaint.

Grievance #5 – The car crash was last week?? I don’t get too caught up in TV show timelines, but man, a whole lot happens in the SOA universe in a week. After that 14-month prison stint between seasons 3 and 4, the boys should have come back to hover-bikes and shit.

Grievance #6 – The pointless shootout with the Irish and the cartel. I guess this was just to get Jimmy Smits in deeper with the Sons and to set up the latest in the Drea de Matto custody battle, but between the way the cartel had to behave for this to happen and the way it gets resolved with relatively little incident, it feels very forced.

Grievance #7 – I don’t like Clay going free agent. I’ve been a big Clay supporter this season. I liked his cagey old man act early on, and recently he hasn’t had to do much to stay in my favor except not be Jax. But now he’s making plans to continue the IRA gun trade with a new crew. After a season of Clay struggling to find himself post-presidency, he’s basically putting himself back in that role just without the patch. It’s the least interesting thing he’s done all season.

Grievance #8 – Booooring! Darthy was well-done. I don’t have a lot to complain about, except that you can really tell 90 minutes has become the norm. It allows the show to take its time with those great early scenes in the Chapel, but after that it feels like a lot of average mid-season happenings drawn out to agonizing lengths. Breaking Bad frequently has success structuring their hour-long episodes around one or two very significant talk-y scenes that eat up most of the runtime. I like to think the early scenes here could have carried that weight. Especially when coupled with the montage of Clay losing his tattoos (a well-done scene and a monumental moment for the series… if they stick to it) and Jax forcibly pumping his recovering junkie ex full of heroin as a great "holy shit" moment to end on. That sounds like a great episode by itself.

Grievance #9 – Scenes from next week. So Jax vs Tig is the main attraction? It shows a refreshing bit of restraint on the part of the writers. Like they finally bit off as much as they could chew. But it's something that's been a long time coming, and doesn't really have me dying to see the finale. I am looking forward to Donal Logue killing or abducting Tara though. I'd wager heavily on that happening. After all, something's got to keep her in Charming.

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