Sons of Anarchy: Fear the Reaper

Wowza. I don't even know where to start. So much happened on Tuesday that there's no point in recapping. I'm choked up, I'm fuming, I'm devastated after watching "Call of Duty," a 90-minute episode of Sons of Anarchy that touched on every facet of the series that makes this series one of the best dramas currently on television. People died. Manly tears were shed. Laughs were laughed. Bro hugs were delivered. Friggin' rocket-propelled grenades were shot. And all of it happened with respect to the heart of the show's most important character: the club.

Up until now I've put too much focus on the troubles of the show's individual parts. The somewhat separate storylines that've fractured SAMCRO are starting to come back together, and they're fitting into place like pieces of shattered glass. There are times we can see what the club used to look like (Juice and Chibs' talk in the bathroom was a fine example of the heart and soul of SAMCRO), but the overall image will never be the same. Toward the end of "Call of Duty," I became less involved with the individual storylines and saw the motorcycle club as its own entity, battered and beaten but rising up as everything comes to a head and we march into the final episodes of this amazing fourth season.

The strength of SAMCRO won't allow it to go down without a fight. The club is much bigger than any individual member, and like some weird force of nature, it will find a way to course-correct. Maybe it's karma coming back on Clay, maybe it's something simpler, but there's a fury rising up against Clay and it's put something in motion that won't stop until he can no longer screw up the club. This isn't Jax, Gemma, or Opie coming for Clay. It's the Reaper.

Currently holding the scythe is Opie, who blew the walls off the joint in that final scene. Ryan Hurst brings something to the table that's indescribable. More than any other cast member on the show, his normally subtle emotion jumps out of the screen and punches me in the gut. When Opie found Piney dead in the cabin, Hurst opened up in a way that we've rarely seen, and the effect felt like someone was ringing my eyeballs dry and stuffing Saltines down my throat. We all need to give Hurst a huge round of applause, and if that doesn't work, head over to his actor page and give him a good rating because he's at a criminally low 7.3 right now. (I don't know who is sabotaging the Sons of Anarchy scores on the site, but seeing that pissed me off.)

Several of you called it: Opie would be the one who set out on a mission of vengeance against Clay. It's unclear whether this was Gemma's plan or whether Wayne went off on his own to set it in motion (the "Next On" scenes indicate that Gemma is not in agreement), but I get the feeling something huge is going to have to happen to get Opie to look the other way. Jax can't call him off now that their relationship is rocky, and would Jax do it anyway? He's just as pissed at Clay as everyone else.

While Opie is very deserving of the privilege of pulling the trigger on a whimpering Clay, I'll still be disappointed if anyone other than Jax does it. From the moment we first saw Jax and Clay in the pilot episode, the writing was on the wall. Given the fact that we still have three episodes left in Season 4 and Opie's got the anger of a thousand hurricanes in him RIGHT NOW, I don't see Opie chasing Clay for three episodes. Oh god, I just had a horrible thought: What if Clay kills Opie? Ahhh! My guess is that Opie will somehow be derailed from his quest and Jax will get to finish the job. It HAS to be Jax, doesn't it? Clay HAS to die, doesn't he?

Let's run down what else happened and start with a toast to the memory of Kozik, who blew up after stepping on a cartel mine. I never really liked the guy, especially after he tried to play street hoops with some hood rats and ended up losing the guns. Maybe bleaching your tips does do weird things to your brain. But he was a Son, and I'll do a shot of whiskey for him later.

Of course the last thing that Tara needed in her life came and visited her in the hospital. Wendy is a junkie whore looking to get to know the kid she abandoned, and normally I'm compassionate about this kind of stuff, but you know what? Screw her smug ass. She didn't even apologize or honestly thank Tara for what she did. Instead she got on her sober horse and came in like she was owed the privilege. I hate you, Wendy, and I hope you relapse. Let's also give a round of applause to Maggie Siff, who has really delivered impressive performances in back-to-back episodes.

Juice and Chibs in the bathroom... I can't say enough about this scene and especially Chibs, another personal favorite character. Juice was finally able to confess the truth about his father, and Chibs reacted the way we all wanted him to. Being black may be against the rules, but the bond between club members supersedes the rules and I doubt the Reaper would care. It was good to see Juice take a step in the right direction, getting half of his problems off his chest, but why did he pin his problems on the sheriff and not Linc, especially after Roosevelt apologized and said he has Juice's back? Juice opened the door to clearing his conscience and then just jumped into another closet and closed the door behind him.

Tig made one of the boldest moves of the episode, handing in his Sergeant-at-Arms badge to Clay, effectively saying he's not on his side anymore. It was such a huge statement and embodied the honor that holds SAMCRO together, the same honor that Clay has spit on. With Tig no longer on his side, Clay is alone on an island. Tig's been on the sidelines a little too much this season, but he always manages to steal scenes whether he's holding a knife to a rabbit or caressing latex recreations of porn stars. Gotta love Tig.

Finally we get to Otto, who, after years of making sacrifices for the club, finally turned and agreed to help Linc incriminate Bobby and the rest of SAMCRO. But Bobby fixed at least one of his lies by killing Georgie, and is on his way to tell Otto the truth about Luann. The question is whether he'll get there in time and if any of this will matter to Otto. Otto still knows that Bobby was sleeping with Luann while Otto rotted away in prison.

"Call of Duty" was one of the series' best episodes to date and deftly used all of its 90 minutes to bring things together. Every single episode this season has made huge leaps, but "Call of Duty" turned the tide and proved that when you go behind the club's back, you have to face the Reaper. Watch your neck, Clay. I don't know who will be holding the scythe when it comes swinging for you, but everyone is taking turns sharpening it.

Notes:

Sons of Anarchy has been called "Hamlet on motorcycles," and that comparison is not lost on creator Kurt Sutter. Proof: The first part of the two-part Season 4 finale is called "To Be," a reference to the famous "to be or not to be" quote from the Bard's play. Hamlet spoiler alert: Everyone dies in the end. While I don't see Jax poisoning a sword, it does open up the possibility that almost anyone can go.

– If Sons of Anarchy was on HBO, everyone would be all over its sack. I don't know why this show doesn't get the credit it deserves. Right now, it's phenomenal.

– Lots of great dialogue in this episode! Clay to Tig: "Jesus Christ. You and fat Elvis. A bunch of chicks. [Should] I marry you too?" Gemma: "I flew my broomstick into a wall." Chibs: "Shit. A couple of guys hugging in the bathroom." Clay to Wayne: "Nothing more dangerous than a man who knows he's already dead."

– Speaking of Call of Duty, what do you all think of Modern Warfare 3? It's more of the same, but I don't think any other FPS game's online component compares to its polish or addictiveness. It's stupid fun.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (71)
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Ryan hurst is the most ut! I feel like he is one of my cousins. Love my family. What an actor. He can do anything.
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Forgot to say I liked the actor who played Kozik and thought they could've used him a lot more but oh well. Seriously what is the body count in this season? It's crazy haha.
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And I think that Kenny Johnson (Kozik) had another role offered... too bad they blew him up though, because that show got cancelled.
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I don't think it is as high as last season. Lord, they killed so many people last season that when Juice was worried about them finding out his dad was black I thought to myself, "Huh, apparently I'm upset that these guys are racists, but mass murderers I'm okay with?"
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This show is just so good. I agree it would've gotten way more attention had it been on HBO, though it is doing brilliant on FX and feel that Sutter has a firm grip on the show because of the good relationship with the network. Ryan Hurst was amazing in that scene. When Wayne said to Opie 'Clay has got to go son' and that look on Opie's face just honestly gave me goosebumps. Really a finely crafted season and I can't wait to see the final few episodes!!! They should just hand emmy's to everyone on the cast and crew.
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Opie will kill Clay. It was all laid out when Wayne told Opie everything Clay had done to his family. There is NO WAY anything is going to stand between Opie taking revenge now, now knowing that Clay put out a hit on Opie (which got his wife killed), and his dad.

Once he does kill Clay, I predict the club will take a vote on a new president, which will be: OPIE. And Jax will decide he has to stay with the club, to try and help Opie "set things right with the club". Given the fact that Jax didn't let Opie out when he wanted out and his wife was still alive.
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If you want online competitive FPS gaming, play counter strike. The new one is CS:GO, coming soon.
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Also, I agree: there was a lot of great dialogue in this episode. Gemma had two really snarky and funny responses to questions:

What in God's name happened?

... I flew my broomstick into a brick wall; and

Why am I not surprised?

... Because drugs dull the senses?
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This was a really good episode, although it's hard for me to say it's one of the best. I thought the 3 or 4 episodes previous to this one were better, just because the tension in those episodes were SO high. There were a lot of great performances in this episode, and the last 5 minutes or so were fantastic. Despite Gemma's wishes, I expected Unser to tell Opie the truth, and I'm glad it happened that way. Hurst is awesome and I'm glad you mentioned it -- I also loved him in Remember the Titans and his smaller roles in a couple other movies.
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Uh an amazing episode and Oppie was GREAT just GREAT the way his face turned red and you can actually see that he WAS really emotional.. uh this episode I couldnt close my eyes!



I agree this show is NOT getting the credits it deserves! we should do something about it.. (not sure what though)



I can not wait to see the season finally even though I really wish they can do 22 episodes like other shows!
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If it had 22 eps, it would be the same storyline, just dragged out longer. I like the 13 ep arc.
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This show works better because it's 13eps(faster paced storylines), the fast pace of this show really gets the blood pumping tuesday nights!!!!
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hmm actually you have a point.. I just love it so much I want to watch it always!
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You got me there, I totally agree! I'm always excited for Tuesdays!
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Didnt Koziks arm dropped on Juice ? And the faces made by Clay, Romero and Jax when Juice just took a walk through the mines were priceless !!! Having watched SoA from episode one pays off more than I thought it would ...
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Yes, his arm did hit Juice. Looked like a metaphor for everything landing on Juice right now.
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Well written, except for the part about Modern Warfare 3. Tbh it's just MW2 with new maps, play Battlefield 3 instead, and you'll forget all about MW3.
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I hear ya, but I don't have a PC so no BF3 for me. Just can't deal with the console versions only supporting 24 ppl or whatever. That game needs to be played with 70.
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I would say the only complicaton that could stop Clay's death is arrest, and then, it should really only delay it. With the Sons outside, not offering protection, lots of people in that joint would be gunning for Clay. But that would just be so anticlimactic, and a cop out if he were to go like that.



Ryan Hurst was AMAZING. His father was dead and he still was preotecting club members in his head. When Unser pointed out all Clay has taken from him now, (Donna, and his dad) Opie looked devastated, angry and something else. Pain? I don't know, it was just the best performance I have seen in years, and if he doesn't get an Emmy nod, then that is ridiculous. I digress. Clays death, to me, must be inevitable, because they have killed those other members for doing far less, and his betrayal of the club has to count for something.



And Tim, you are so right, the SAMCRO is a character again. The relationship between these men hasn't been shown in the same light the last few seasons, not really. But now, Chibs and Juice, Tig's de-patching himself, by showing that relationship, we could really see the blow that "de-patching" was. These men are a family of the closest order. It was nice to see that again.



I'm not sure if Opie will succeed in killing Clay, or if Clay will succeed in killing Tara, but something is going to happen, and I for one will be sitting right in front of my tv waiting with breath that is bated.
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Me toooooooooooo!
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The show is melodramatic bordering on silly. But great camp. The Jacks character is always brooding and grimacing in an exagerated manner. LOL The Jemma character is a drama queen. Everyone overacts and tries too hard with the bad azz posturing. Opie is like a biker rainman. They all need to learn to relax on their bikes especially Clay and Jacks. The scene with the two guys making out and hugging in the bathroom was hilarious. So was Jemma accidently running into people at the hospital. And the Unser guy is like a magical elf who keeps showing up at unexpected times. And just when things get too silly they send the boys out to kill some extras just to remind us they're really bad azz dudes. LOL
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Oh man you missed an episode of 90210 while you're posting the above and trying to sound cool.. Im sure it wasnt as easy as it looks!!!!
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If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it might be a troll.
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Have you ever seen this show? I mean, before that episode. Otherwise, you wouldn't think Chibs and Juice in the bathroomwas hilarious, you might understand the depth of that scene. And you would also understand where Unser goes, and why he followed Ope to the Cabin. Maybe, watch a few episodes, then speak with intelligence. And spell check.
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Did you just start watching the show with this episode? Because that's always a great way to decide whether a show is good or not, by watching a random episode and making blanket statements about it.



Here's one: You're soo funny! You use 'azz' instead of ass! lol



Seriously, just try watching it from the beginning and give it a shot, it can be funny, serious, disturbing, even a little heart-warming at times. That's what a good tv show should be, engaging. If you don't like it, find something else to watch.
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Hear that? Sounds like we've got ourselves a hater....It's a decent show, never horrific with some terrific acting moments by scene-stealing actors..



Give credit where credits due. If you don't like it, I'm sure there's a reality show out there with your name on it. :)
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Thank you for that laugh. Reality show.. giggle.
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Fantastic recap Tim. This episode, amazing.



Love Tig! What a freak. Laughed myself silly when he was molesting that doll. And handing in his patch to Clay, wow. The man said more, had more of an impact on Clay, than anyone else so far, and all he had to say was, "You're right, this ain't how it's supposed to work." Understated and classy.
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Tig was wonderful and has been underused, but the Clay reaction, did Ron Perlman have tears when Tig handed him that patch? It was amazing.
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So many good moments between characters in this episode. It's like they can take any two characters, put them together, and something amazing can happen.
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Could not agree more. I wonder how many takes they go through to produce this sort of gold. This show sets the bar so much higher for me in terms of quality performances and plot and character development.
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This show-Wow!

Every episode is a Season Finale for other "normal" shows! And hardly anyone knows its even on TV! Years from now they will be talking about this show and "how we really missed the boat on this one!"
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Wendy did thank Tara for being Abel's mother. It was in the same breath as her "congrats your're a mom" speech. Awesome episode. I envision a "complication with Clay's offing"--he gets arrested.
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WHAT THE HELL!!!!! If Clay makes it to next season (assuming they end on a cliffhanger) he'll be the luckiest bastard ever and I want him to pick out lotto tickets for me. Can I just suggest to fans of this show that you'll absolutely LOVE Homeland as well. Like this show, it gets better with each episode and they make it a point of keeping you uncomfortable and loving it every episode. I wish Juice would have just told the truth from the beginning and maybe things would have been cool. Hate to say it but I think he's a goner come seasons end. Hurst and Stiff killed it this episode, I wanted to cry and punch my tv screen watching their scenes. I too am wondering how they'll call of Opie or if Clay will kill him or he'll kill himself? I'll end like I've done during every review so far: F U CLAY!
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I'm already in love with Homeland. sorry :P
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Awesome, don't apologize for that.
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As some people have already said, Kenny Johnson died blown up again and, to nail the reference do The Shield, he said before the explosion: "You gotta be shi%$ing me".



It's a catchphrase of The Shield, normally uttered by Dutch or Vic Mackey.
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Yeah, I honestly thought, "Not again Lem!" Because he will always be Lem.
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Since we're in a mood for trivia: Sutter only contributed to 19 ep. of the Shield while Shawn Ryan wrote 88. The series was more Ryan's baby.
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Actually, I think Kurt Sutter wrote one more episode than Shawn Ryan on The Shield. There was 88 episodes and Sutter did 19 and Ryan did 18 or maybe 19.



As for Lem(yea I still call him that), I thought the exact same thing. First a grenade, now a landmine lol
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P.S. When Clay is about to die... I will listen to ryan bingham-the weary kind, If think would be perfect as the soundscore for the scene.
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TIm: I finished BF3 and CoD MW3... and have to tell you, I preffered Cod (in singleplayer) the story is fantastic, cinematic is great. but in mp BF3 is on another planet.
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I pretty much stick to only multiplayer. BF3 on the PC sounds fun, but I wasn't too into the beta for the 360. I know COD is the lame mainstream game, but they've polished their MP. Now they just need to get rid of spawn campers.
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Spawn campers are like zombies. Will always be around to mess things up. This from a guy that started with QuakeWorld and had to deal with spawncampers on a 28,8 modem.
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Tim, as always, you're perfect. there's nothing to add.



However, I pose this question: Clay has virtually killed the entire family of Opie, who can stop him now? I mean if it happened to me... no one stops me



someone can tell me how many SoA seasons are scheduled ?
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Thanks man! Writing about this show is a blast...
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ok thanks...
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I've read somewhere that there only gonna be five...

Maybe Tim as more accurate news on the subject.
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Hmmm, no, Sutter had a 7 seasons story arc ( more and less ). You got a note on E! if you wanna read it search it, I won't post any external links on this website. But you can google Sons of Anarchy 7 seasons and you'll get results.
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Yeah 5 is a done deal, but it's not going to end at that. Especially when the show is bringing in its best ratings by far. I would guess 6 or 7 seasons is right.
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Sutter wanted to do 7 if the ratings allowed him to do so ( and so far with those ratings on Cable he can do 20 seasons ). But who knows, maybe the story gets short and he'll end the show early or maybe he thinks 7 seasons won't be enough and makes more.
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SOA keeps getting better and better and better. I already forgot the whole Belfast thing...this season has been amazing and I can' t wait for the finale...It'll be epic I hope.
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I like this for forgetting the whole Belfast thing, and for your pic. miss Reaper so much :c
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Just to be clear, it doesn't matter if Clay doesn't get killed, I am never going to stop watching the Sons of Anarchy until Sutter ends it. Then I'll start all over again and do all the critique and analyzing that you guys are doing now. For me it's just great entertainment. This Hour and Sometimes Hour and a Half, there is nothing I am thinking about but "The Sons". All my problems are lost to me and I am transported to Charming and the lives of the best characters on TV. Best show on TV bar none. Clay, Gemma, Jax, Tara, Unser, Tig, Bobby, Chibs, Opie, Happy, Juice, Otto - I'm invested in all their lives, love them all. Thanks so much for writing this blog - direct and to the point and most important you obviously really watch the show and love it as much as we do.
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Thank you! And you nailed it - we care about these characters' lives! They're real people to me. Seeing Gemma and Clay look at each other from across the parking lot or whatever at the shop was brutal. To see how far they've come. It's like Parenthood, but hairier and with RPGs.
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OMG they killed Kenny (again), you bastards!
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Thumbs up!
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I couldn't have say it better, Tim. It' hard for me to add anything; you've said it all

Intense episode of a Great show.



I don't know if Kurt Sutter has some kind of grudge against Kenny Johnson but he always has his characters killed with an explosion (grenade or mine). :-p
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Otto blew up Lem! AGAIN!!!!!
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plain and simple one of the Best shows on television, top 5 if not the best, no need for the BCS here or Strength of Schedule never a dull episode period love this show
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Clay has to die. He's gone too far and no one is going to catch him. Tig handing over the SaA patch was just perfect, it had so much more impact than if he attacked or threatened Clay. You can see Clay's position pretty clearly, he's gonna be either President or dead, cashing out is no loner an option. He knows that Gemma is not going to let him get away anything anymore.

Everyone in Samcro is going to side against Clay for different reasons but the same central factor: they're starting to see him unravel.



I still think that Unser going to die and Tara is going to leave. Both characters have nothing left to work with, Unser is dying and isn't a cop anymore, i bet Clay kills him.

Maggie Siff is doing a great job these last 2 episodes but her character can't keep being the damsel in distress or the supportive old lady, she's becoming dead weight. I dont think they'll kill her off though, they've given her a way out, i just wonder if they'll have her take the boys with her or if she leaves them behind?



I still have a bad feeling that Juice is gonna do something drastic about the RICO case and not to himself! I dont think he's gonna sell out the club and im still dumbfounded that the feds would SHOW HIM THE ROOM!!! I keep thinking about that stupid keypad entry system and Juice being a electronics geek. O.o



RIP Kozik, didnt see that coming. Good God, Sutter!! I get less anxiety watching a season of 24!
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It isn't that Clay has to die. It is Clay better freaking die. If he doesn't die then they ruin the whole season and there series. If there is no consequences or there isn't any commensurate with what he has done (which by now is only death) then they ruin all the great work that they have done and lose me as a viewer and I am sure others.
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My two favorite moments was Juice's mile long stare as he turned and walked very unconcerned back through the minefield and Clay's single tear as he turned away and he and Gemma close their doors across the garage lot. With Tig turning on him he knows he has burned every bridge and its too late to get out of his mess.
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I'am at a loss for words over how awesome this season is, and after all this it still feels like it's building up to the finale. Special hugs this episode to Ryan Hurst, the ending was so well delivered by him.
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What I don't get is the Juice situation. Chibbs told him not to worry about the whole race issue. Doesn't that mean that they don't have anything to hold over him anymore? I don't get why he 'checked in'.
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Once Linc showed Juice all the info they have and told him their plan to use RICO, it wasn't just about Juice being Black anymore. It was about Juice helping them to help SAMCRO -- Linc made a deal that he'll try and leave SAMCRO out of it, as much as he can, if Juice helps in taking down the other gangs. As far as Juice knows, if he doesn't cooperate, SAMCRO will just go down with RICO.
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Because he still has Miles' death over his head and the fact that he has helped Linc and the Sheriff already. Juice also knows about the RICO investigation and has to help pin the Irish to get SAMCRO out of the indictment. Maybe he knows he is accepted now but theres still so much to go down and Juice is in the middle
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I guess so... I'm just frustrated that Juice can't seem to catch a break! I love how much his character has evolved and come alive with this whole story arc. I'm just afraid that it is going to cost him his life.
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It does seem like he still feels stuck in it... Maybe he's too scared that if he stops, he'll give up the club. Maybe he's PTSDing. At least he made a step towards clearing things!
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I thought the most powerful moment of the entire episode was the single tear rolling down Clay's cheek. Great drama is about making the monster back into a man right before he dies.



Also, the whole Bobby and Otto thing isn't going to happen. Otto is in solitary and there is no way he's getting a chance to talk to anyone from the club.
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