Sons of Anarchy: Fitting Jax For a Crown

Last night's Sons of Anarchy, "To Be, Part One," was all about letting dozens of cats out of the dozens of bags that various members of SAMCRO had been stuffing them into. It may have been light on action (save for one unexpected bike-and-car chase), but if you're a fan of Jax following in his father's footsteps (as we've been teased with since the pilot episode), the episode did not disappoint.

Things started off right where the events of last week left off, with Clay bleeding in a chair. Opie might want to play a little more Big Buck Hunter before he goes on another murderous rampage with a target that's only four feet away from him; the son of Piney merely incapacitated Clay with two critically wounding shots, sending television's number-one villain who isn't sitting on the Iron Throne to the hospital instead of to the morgue. But it was just as well, because Opie could never be the one to off Clay. Jax, who's a much better shot than his furry best friend, did his best impression of the white-hat-wearing hero of Rustler's Rhapsody and shot Opie in the hand. Clay said to blame it on "blacks," Wayne cleaned up the scene, and the truth-exposing we've all been waiting for began with a bunch of lies and blood.

I've always said (and many of you have agreed) that Jax has to be the one to put Clay in a box—or at least to close his tenure as president of SAMCRO. Gemma is played puppet master, pulling strings to set him on that course. It's an understatement to say Jax has a quadruple-Thanksgiving-sized meal on his plate and only one more episode to polish it off. He's got to settle things with Clay, make sure a huge gun deal goes down between the Irish and the cartel, and get out of the club to protect his family. And he doesn't even know what the Niners are about to do, or what the feds have in store. Somehow, when Sons of Anarchy started wrapping things up, things got even more complicated. But the Jax of SAMCRO Present isn't the Jax of SAMCRO Past, and he's going to get things done. Why? Because certain situations have progressed so far that secrets can no longer stay buried and Jax is finally no longer in the dark. The secrets are out, and Jax is ready to wear the crown. Or is he?

The highlight of the episode for me came when Gemma sat Jax down and just unloaded the truth on him. It was a coronation of sorts, Gemma laying out the plan to take down the club's current king and leave the throne vacant for Jax's shapely buttocks (amirite ladies!?). As Gemma told Jax about Clay murdering his father and setting up the hit on Tara, Jax surprisingly didn't blow his top. Charlie Hunnam wonderfully underplayed the reaction, whether it was due to shock from the info dump or something else, and Jax thought things out in a striking display of maturity while letting the truth sink in. Gemma's insistence that Jax man up was almost a longer, less lame version of the "With great power comes great responsibility" speech from Spider-Man, where Peter Parker realizes his destiny. I half-expected a John Williams score to swell up with a hero's theme as Gemma told Jax that he has to kill Clay. "It's in you, it's who you are. Clay has to die... and when it's done, you take your place at the head of the table. Where a Teller belongs. Where you belong." I can't tell you how long I've waited to hear that conversation, and it did not disappoint.

But that conversation wasn't all for Jax's benefit. Gemma wasn't just steering Jax in the direction of step-patricide for the good of the club. Gemma, master manipulator, was looking out for herself and her own interests. She's been equal parts victim and villain this season, using what she knows to her advantage. Gemma expects Jax to kill Clay and take over the club, cementing her security as club matriarch for years, as she just so happened to leave out the secret of her involvement in JT's murder. But there's just one teeny-tiny problem: Tara. Tara ain't no spring chicken. She read the letters and she knows the truth, and if Jax actually considers staying in Charming and heading up SAMCRO, Tara can use that damning evidence against Gemma at any time (if she can get her hands on the letters for proof). It's the classic girlfriend-mother tug-of-war, except with a touch more murder and motor oil. It's no longer just about Jax taking over Clay's spot, it's also about Tara taking over for Gemma. If I were in prediction mode, I might say that Season 5 will be a lot of Tara vs. Gemma. Good stuff.

The Bonehead of the Week Award goes to Tig, who, struck with grief over not being with his friend Clay when he was shot, recklessly decided to run over the leader of the Niners. First: Tig! What the F!? Cooler heads needed to prevail in this situation! First, the Niners weren't even the ones who shot Clay. Second, just because the cover-up story is "blacks did it" doesn't mean it's the Niners, you simple-minded fool. Third, weren't you just supremely pissed off at Clay? Take the issue to the club, that's the protocol. If there's one thing Sons of Anarchy unfortunately falls back on too often to propel story forward, it's the repeated use of anger making people do dumb things. I'm very disappointed in Tig. For shame! The question now is whether the Niner story will finish out next episode, or whether it be used as the spark to ignite Season 5's flames.

There's one big question I have, and you all are going to have to help me clear some stuff up. The gun deal between the Irish and the Golindos is threatened by the presence of the feds. Jax knows this because he talked to Lemmy in prison, and Lemmy told Jax that Otto turned. So why did Romeo lie to Jax about Otto not turning his club in? Does he want the deal to go through so badly that he's willing to risk it by telling Jax what he wants to hear? Or does he have bigger plans now that Clay is out of the picture? Will he kill everyone involved in the deal and laugh all the way back to Mexico, RPGs and .50-cals under his arms? It's these little details that often have big repercussions, and I fully expect something big to come out of it next week.

However, the real "big question" for Season 4 is right there in the episode title: "To be." Even if you weren't an English major you know the second half of that line is "...or not to be," a clear reference to Jax's decision to be the man his destiny says he has to be, or to walk away from fate and be the man he's not meant to be. Given that Sons of Anarchy is coming back for another season, I'd say Jax will become that man one way or another, at least for another 13 episodes. "To Be, Part One" was a fantastic set-up for the final hour of this amazing season.

Notes:
– This was originally supposed to be a 90-minute finale, but Kurt Sutter broke it into two parts, and it showed. However, the result was incredibly effective. Things were drawn out in a way that built tension instead of making them boring. Everything felt still, like the calm before the storm.

– No Bobby, no Juice, and barely any Opie. One has to believe they'll have some big parts in the next episode. It was okay they weren't around this week, though. The Jax-Gemma-Tara-Clay stuff deserved the spotlight.

– Happy: "He's got to die, like a lot."

– Will Jax kill Clay with the blood thinner Tara gave him? Will he do it another way? Shouldn't Clay die by being set on fire and shot out of a cannon toward a vat of acid while shotgun-armed SAMCRO members use him as a clay pigeon? That's how I think he should go out.


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

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Dec 06, 2011
1. There are a thousand ways that they could stay in the city without Tara dying. See below for examples such as Wendy getting legal partial custody, or while the 'court case' for custody is going on, it is actually illegal to move during it.

2. Clay's death. It's inevitable. And while it may not go as smoothly, it will eventually happen. I also like the shout out to Hamlet and the use of poison. Jax wants to kill Clay.

3. Lets not forget that Clay might survive because Jax is about to go to jail for the RICO case. He is driving directly into an ATF sting operation lets not forget.

4. I am REALLY dissapointed with the 'outside villians' in this season. Biker ATF guy is more annoying then anything else and I jump for joy when he gets so little camera time. I do enjoy the new sheriff, but ATF needs to get shot, almost as bad as the Lesbian FBI agent.
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Dec 04, 2011
I think that Clay in gonna ''kill'' Jax or maybe the Mexicans or another who hates them but something bad is going to happen to Him
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Dec 02, 2011
Am I the only one who is convinced that Tara is going to die next episode? From what I could tell everything is being set up for her death with the killing of Clay simply playing as a distraction. When Tig went AWOL and killed the Niner's girl it seemed obvious to me that they will retaliate by killing Tara setting up Jax to become leader after murdering Clay and the Sons and Niners going at it next season. Which is unfortunate since after all those seasons of disliking Tara for the back and forth BS she has finally come into her own this season and I find her quite likable now. Oh well, its the only way I see Jax staying with the club.
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Dec 03, 2011
:-( Me too. I love me some Tara but I think she's doomed. This is potentially the second time someone will murder a beloved Tara. *glares at Joss Whedon*
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Dec 02, 2011
About the "how should Clay go?" question - I know Clay deserves to be nuked, but isn't the syringe Tara gave Jax the equivalent of Hamlet's poison, considering all the shakespearean references and comparisons? I am getting more and more convinced Kurt Sutter will be wrapping this series up to go in the glory of guns blazing and main characters dying. So, Jax WILL kill Clay, and then he WILL die. And good, because I will remember it as a good series worth coming back to, and not a bike soap opera.
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Dec 02, 2011
I couldn't believe that a mere hand wound would knock adrenaline/anger filled, giant Opie out cold! I don't think Jax will use the blood thinner - he's the kind of guy that would think it was too easy/not violent enough for a revenge murder. I think Tara gave up the letters to Gemma too easily, making me believe Tara made copies to blackmail Gemma into not manipulating Jax into staying. I also think Abel's bio-mother will get partial custody so that her permission is required before Abel can move out of state, forcing Jax and Tara to stay in Charming. But no idea how Tara will get out of the murder-for-hire that can't-be-broken.
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Dec 01, 2011
1.) I dont believe Romeo did find out about Otto being turned. He has people in high places it seems but Lincs whole operation (mainly set to take down the Irish Kings and the cartel) seems well under the radar that I dont think it would have been exposed.

2.) I doubt Clay will be killed by the blood thinner from Jax, that seems way to Breaking Bad style and not the loud bang bang style of SoA.

3.) Theres no way Tara can make it out of this episode alive, if she did, her and Jax would leave which obviously wouldnt happen. I can see Gemma taking a page from Clays book and killing Tara and blaming it on the cartel to get Jax to stay and take the throne
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Dec 02, 2011
I don't think that Gemma will kill Tara, not yet. I wouldn't put it past her to be capable of it, she offed her husband, after all, but not yet. I think that she will if she has to, but I don't think she will pull it from Clay's page, because it would be redundant, and the one thing that these writers are not is repetitive.
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Dec 02, 2011
I also don't think Gemma will kill Tara; however, I do think Tara is going to die in the next episode. Remember, the cartel hit is still on. After the failed attempt, Romeo told Clay that they would handle it themselves. It could also be the catalyst that winds up keeping Jax in Charming (though realistically, it could also be something that solidifies his belief that he needs to get his kids out of Charming).



I just don't think Tara is going to be around much longer. When characters start asking other characters if they love them... it doesn't bode well.
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Dec 01, 2011
best part was how badass Tara was in the end with Gemma, best statement " Hes mine"
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Dec 01, 2011
Why is everybody sure of Clay being killed ? Did I miss something and Ron Perlman is not part of the cast next season ? This beast is hard to kill and the "shitstorm" coming up might help him.
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Dec 02, 2011
I think that we are all assuming that Clay needs to die, and the story has progressed that way since the very first episode.
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Dec 01, 2011
First, Gemma vs. Tara. I think that you might have forgotten something. With Tara's "I learned it from you," comment to Gemma, I think you may have underestimated Tara. Do you really think that she didn't make a second set of copies once she found the others missing? I mean, if she truly learned ANYTHING from Gemma, it would be that stuff. She knew when she handed Gemma the keys that Gemma would give Jax the letters, and she knew that she would keep the letters back that implicated her in anything. At minimum, Tara made copies of the letters that implicated Gemma more than once. I don't think that she will have nothing to fall back on, because if there is anything we have learned about Tara, is that she isn't stupid. Of course, handing Jax that syringe, we also learned that she can be as cold-hearted beotch as Gemma. Now, while I agree that Clay should go out with acid burning off his tats, and burning alive while they use him as target practice, I could really see a beautifully poetic scene with Jax standing over him, telling him that this was going to kill him, and that he knew everything, and then doing it. The look on Ron Perlman's face, I can just see it, and it would be perfect. However, if like I said before, Jax goes down in that deal with the Irish because of the Feds, well, then who will kill Clay? I think that is the only way Clay is making it out of here.



Second, I really hope that Jax isn't stupid enough to discount entirely what Lemmy said. He is a trusted friend of SAMCRO, and the other, well, isn't.



As for Tig, I was pretty ticked. I understood his motivation, he felt guilty about the stuff he said just hours before and blames himself. I also look back on every stupid thing that Tig has done, and realize that this isn't the first time, and likely won't be the last. However, inciting the niners rage wasn't a brilliant move, but it sure made for great TV!!!
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Dec 01, 2011
Another thing, I still can't figure out the point of bringing Wendy back. There must be some reason?
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Dec 01, 2011
I think this is the end of Tara. For Jax to stay she must go. And Tig killing Laroy's girlfriend has to trigger the same sort of retribution. No point killing Gemma - with Clay almost dead the acting president is Jax now.
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Dec 01, 2011
I have this mental image of Jax sitting at the head of the SAMCRO table, gavel in hand. Tara and Gemma standing on either side of him each with a hand on his shoulder. Jax is looking deadpan straight ahead and Tara/Gemma at each other.



There you have it Season 5! It's going to be one big power play or at least I hope so.



I don't think Clay is going to die this season as he still has an Ace up his sleeve and that is Tara being on the Cartel's hit list. I think Jax will give Clay a temporary reprieve as long as he stands down as President and gets the Cartel hit off of Tara's head.



Jax is going to get the club into legit business. Tara is going to oust Gemma (I really want to see Tara try the 'Queen' hat on for size) and Gemma's going to fight back. Lastly, Clay will be in the wings trying to get his throne back.



Jax & Tara won't leave Charming until Clay is dead as they both want revenge for what Clay has done to them.



The only thing really making me nervous at this point is whether or not Tara is going to survive the finale. When she started doing the deadpan 'Tell me you love me?" all I could think of was holy crap she's going to top herself. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope the Cartel doesn't do it either. I think the Jax & Tara relationship is probably the most honest and realistic on TV and I love that it's not perfect.



That's my take, and Tim as usual love your dissection I look forward to it just as much as the actual episodes!
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Dec 01, 2011
I think the ATF motorcycle guy is the key to this story. He's so secretive. Could it be that John Teller planned his own death (and used anothers body) to escape the people wanting to kill him and he's back? Or could it be that the ATF guy is kin to John Teller and knows exactly how his friend or brother died?
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Dec 01, 2011
I think those are fantastic theories.
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Dec 01, 2011
P.S. I have a question to which I have no answer.



Why this show is not so popular?
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Dec 02, 2011
Excellent question. I watched it because it debuted when I was looking for a "The Shield" replacement, and I thought it would be pretty gritty. It never has disappointed me.
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Dec 01, 2011
first of all. Tim, as always, you're perfect in the analysis of the situation.



Now I wonder why Clay should die? I understand that the logic of the facts should tell us just that (I also believe that Clay has to die), but. Clay has always done what he thought was right for himself and for the club. While it may seem absurd, I do not think Jax will avenge his father's death.



Strangely Jax has always tried to resolve the issues around the SOA table. When Gemma told him that Clay killed his father , he wasn't impulsive and he didn't say that he wants to kill Clay. But Gemma and Tara suggested him to do so.

Don't forget that after all Jax's father has betrayed the family having an affair in Ireland.



Can't wait to see the ending ... SOA always surprised me
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Dec 01, 2011
Oh, I don't know about his father, but he will avenge the attempt on Tara.
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Dec 01, 2011
We dont really exactly wat Otto said..what if its just Bobby and not all the club?



There is something about Otto turning that doesnt sit well with me..
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Dec 01, 2011
It doesn't sit well with Otto either. I think that is why he moved up his execution date.
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Dec 01, 2011
I love this show, but I hate what's going down right now. I really want Tara to get Jax out of that town. I know that might mean the end of the show possibly next year, but there's only so much tearing up the world the Sons can do, and I know Sutter must see the logic of that. It's too good a show to be redundant. I've always been more for a series going out in style, than being at the mercy of a network decision.



I know, I want the sweet ending. So sue me! The show started with Jax contemplating his father's words and getting out of their crazy lives, why couldn't it end with that actually happening?



Plus, I've been in Tara's position in a similiar situation, and we all know she's just trying to keep him alive. Many years ago, eventually, my man died under these conditions. I love this story, these characters, Jax, too much to see him taken down. It would break my heart.
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Dec 01, 2011
What I guess I missed a few shows back, what was the deal with Otto cutting his wrists? A failed suicide attempt or was there an ulterior motive?
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Dec 01, 2011
Otto receives a razor blade hidden in his breakfast egg and slices his wrist. This turns out to be a plan set up by SAMCRO as a guard slipped a scalpel to Otto, who proceeds to kill the Russian mobster who tried to kill Jax in prison.



from wiki.com
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Dec 01, 2011
Jax is obviously going to stay and I can't imagine a scenario in which Tara doesn't stay. They've built up the Tara/Gemma dynamic too much for them to not continue it. I'm sure Season 5 will be heavy on the Tara/Gemma storyline/feud.



And I think Clay lives. I've read theories that maybe he either ends up in jail or under the thumb of the law, and I think one of those is pretty likely.



When the Jax/Clay situation ends much the same way that Dexter has to end with a Dexter/Deb showdown, that's the end of the show so Sutter can't kill of Clay any more than Showtime can kill of Deb Morgan.
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Dec 01, 2011
I think Jax is obviously going to stay. No idea about Tara, that is a tough one. What I would like to see is Tara stay and her and Jax become king and queen. However if that happens then Gemma has to go. I think a few episodes of Tara and Gemma playing cat and mouse next year with Tara coming out on top would be great. But I don't see both of them staying. Not after that last conversation between them.



Clay is going to die. Not sure if it is going to be from Jax. Maybe Unser willl sneak in and smother him with a pillow.



As for Romeo lying to Jax. I am not sure that actually happened. I think he has a mole. I think it is his number two. It is the only thing that makes sense to have Benito Martinez playing in that role. Maybe he is undercover DEA or a Federale or something I have no idea. But it has been bugging me all season. But he asked his character to check it out and they have been pretty competent thus far so it doesn't make sense that he didn't find it out.



Either way this has been a fantastic season and I can't wait to see what they come up with next year.
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Dec 01, 2011
What I hope doesn't happen in the finale is for them to basically copy what they did last season, which is having the cops and DA's office think they're succeeding, but for SAMCRO to have had a larger plan by manipulating everything that has gone on. It'll be a way to keep SAMCRO fairly intact, but it'd be too similar to last season if it ends up that both Juice and Otto lied to Potter and that these lies ultimately save the club. It worked well last season, but this time around, I think I'd prefer a shit-storm.
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Dec 01, 2011
I'm guessing that the Niners will retaliate during the gun deal and turn everything to shit. I have no idea how it'll all end up, but I am expecting that.



I also think that Jax will use the blood thinner. Clay can not possibly be alive for next season, unless Jax, Gemma, Tara, and Opie are all dead. That's unlikely, so Clay will die, and for the purposes of the show, Jax will stay in SAMCRO. But for that to happen, I don't think he can kill Clay any other way. The death itself has to look like an accident (aside from getting shot a couple times) otherwise the club will get into more shit. More shit sounds good for future seasons, but I don't think Jax will stay in SAMCRO if he can't convince Tara (if she's alive, of course) that he'll keep the club peaceful.
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Dec 01, 2011
I think the blood thinner is going to be too easy of a way to get rid of Clay. It should be done truth SamCro style.
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Dec 01, 2011
1) Since when was Tig ever a guy who thought things through? He's a blunt instrument, through and through. And he holds grudges. Anyone remember why he voted against Miles being patched?



2) The title of the episode is "To Be, Part 1", meaning that next week will be "To Be, Part 2". There's no question at all about "To be or not to be", or else this episode would've simply been called "To Be", clearing the way for next week to be "Or Not To Be".



And yeah, I definitely expect next season to be Tara vs Gemma. And it should be GREAT.
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Dec 01, 2011
This episode left me with quite a few questions, so much so that I half expected a Batman-esque ending to the episode.

Will Jax kill Clay? Will he stay in SAMCRO? If so, how will Tara be convinced? What is Romeo's end game? If nothing, then what is Otto up to? Will Potter and the cops make their RICO case? What will the Niners do in retaliation? Who will live, and who will die? For all this and more, tune in next week -- same Sons-time, same Sons-channel!
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Dec 01, 2011
The quality of this show is absolutely amazing.

I'm in a lost of words to describe this incredible episode, it's simply one of the best shows EVER made.
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Dec 01, 2011
I was pretty impressed by this episode. "Calm before the storm" is definitely the way to describe the low hum of tension running through this episode. I'm very excited to see what happens next.
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Dec 01, 2011
predictions- For Jax to stay Tara will probably die or he goes to prison, considering Abel's mother turned up and the cartel are supposed to be taking care of Clay's problem, things dont look too good for Tara.

Juice, Bobby and Opie's situations are a lot less clear,

The only way i could see Clay AND Jax making it to the next series is one of them going to jail
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Dec 01, 2011
damn now we gotta wait another year after next week grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Dec 01, 2011
"Gemma, tell me you love me." What a great line.



The scene between Tara and Gemma, then Gemma and Jax, and finally with all three together was some of the best television all year.



I keep telling my friends who don't watch Sons, that they need to watch Sons. For me, it's the best series on television. Hands down.
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Dec 01, 2011
I'll take Breaking Bad over SoA. But agreed. Great show.
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Dec 01, 2011
Tim: Re: the reason why Romeo told Jax that Otto could not be confirmed as a Rat I believe is perhaps either Romeo or Romeo's "Right Hand Man" who said that he would check with his people in Stockton Prison, is really working for the Feds and therefore with Lincoln/RICO who is determined to see that the meeting with the Irish/Galindo occurs. Loosing Clay is a small chink in his plan; he will still get Jax, Tig, Chibbs etc. He's already got Bobby and Juice is as good as dead once the realization that he is a snitch is out. Juice will probably hang himself in jail; he's had some practice now so there's that. I don't think ever had any intention of honoring his promise to Juice that he would let SOA go like he promised Juice he would; ie. if Juice told him when/where the meeting was to be held.



I don't think Jax will kill Clay just yet because Before he can Clay will tell him about Gemma's involvement in JT's murder. And, I don't think he will use Tara's syringe either. He wants to keep her out of it as much as possible.



I love the power struggle for Jax that is going on between Gemma and Tara. Tara is intelligent and has amassed a lot of wisdom from Gemma. However, Gemma as been at her game a long time and is a pro. Jax must now decide to either ascend to the Head of the Table (his Birthright as John Teller's son) Gemma wins or, follows his heart and love for Tara and leaves SAMCRO, Tara wins!
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Dec 01, 2011
I'm very annoyed about Tigs stupid move, and the lack of effort his buddies made at stopping him from taking off on his own in the hospital. Especially when any fool could tell he wanted revenge from what he was saying in the hospital. Also I just can't see how both Jemma and Tara will make it to season 5. Jax has to stay in the show or there is no show. So what will happen to force him to stay? If Tara dies, then he has no reason to leave the club. I think Jemma could kill Tara and make it look like Clay's hitmen were never called off, so that Jax stays with the club and more importantly stays with her. If Clay dies, who else has she? If Tara kills Jemma on the other hand, this sets her up nicely as being stuck with the club as the head old lady. I have to say I'm not a Tara fan, and I'd rather see her go than Jemma from a character point of view. But saying all that, I have yet to predict what will happen with the show, and I eagerly await what Kurt Sutter's genius brings.
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Dec 01, 2011
Clay's hitmen were never called off. Am I wrong? Tara is still in danger and I can only see Jax staying if Tara is dead or severely incapacitated.
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Dec 01, 2011
There's a lot of theories going around that Romeo is a rat or somehow in league with Linc. I say its possible because there has to be more to Linc's plan than just Juice and Otto. Why would he risk showing Juice the RICO investigation details and letting him go back to the club if he didn't have some other backup collateral?

Also, I can't imagine Sutter being satisfied with Jax killing off Clay with blood thinner. I don't know whats going to go down in part two but I know there will be something that blindsides us all and I can't wait to see what it is
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Dec 01, 2011
HOLY SHIT! That's all I got
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Dec 01, 2011
What the hell, Tim. Talk about shortchanging Tara's role in the episode
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Dec 01, 2011
Seeing former Hell's Angels leader Sonny Barger as Lenny was a nice touch.
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Dec 01, 2011
As to the question of whether or not Romeo lied to Jax, I don't think Romeo lied. Technically Otto just ratted out Bobby, not the whole club, and Bobby was going to be the one the DA was going to use to make the RICO connection. At least that's the impression I got. However, if Romeo does have the contacts he claims to have then there's no way he could not know that something's up. I don't see Romeo killing everybody to take the guns; he wouldn't want to start a war with the IRA while fighting another cartel. I do think Romeo would kill every Fed that tries to arrest them at the meeting and the fallout from all those dead officers would leave SAMCRO up shit creek for next season. Should be really interesting to see how it shakes out.
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Dec 01, 2011
love this show. pretty cool they put sonny barger in there.
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