Sons of Anarchy "Los Fantasmas" Review: A Haunting in Charming

Sons of Anarchy S06E08: "Los Fantasmas"


KAITLIN: Here at TV.com we are a studious group of individuals who tirelessly research everything we write in an effort to better understand television and also episode titles written in foreign languages. Today I typed "los fantasmas" into my Google searching device and discovered that it translates to "ghosts." And "Los Fantasmas" was definitely an episode full of ghosts. To be fair, Sons of Anarchy could accurately be described as one drawn-out and bloody ghost story, but I have a feeling that the specter of John Teller isn't what the episode title was referring to, even if he is a constant presence overshadowing the series. 

Everything that's happened so far this season (and prior to it) is slowly coming full circle, as is the SOA way. The events of earlier episodes are finally settling and forming cohesive plotlines. We picked up in the aftermath of Tara's fake baby-cide, and the loss of a child Jax never really had was haunting him and making him question life, the universe, and everything. The ghosts of the children killed in the school shooting were haunting the club after D.A. Patterson leaked a story to the press implicating SAMCRO and the Byz Lats as having supplied the gun that Darvanay's son used. And Wendy. Poor, poor Wendy. Her junkie past came back to haunt her this week. I could probably go on, but I'm actually terrified of ghosts. The point of the matter is that our favorite Charming residents are all being haunted by their pasts. I'm just going to throw this out there, but maybe they shouldn't have been such bad people all their lives? (J/K that show would be so boring.)

TIM: Exactly, this was a clever way to sneak in a Halloween episode with all these spooks haunting our friends. And dare I say, this was one of the most mature episodes of the season as things got legit heavy and reflective. Finally the school shooting wasn't a statistic or a plot device; it had actual soul when the father mourned the death of his kid who was shot in the tragedy. And in the world of Sons of Anarchy, mourning = revenge and then sticking a knife into your jugular. But that didn't take away from showing the impact the shooting had on people other than law enforcement, gangbangers, and headline writers for what I think was the first time. It was overdue, and it pushed Jax into a headspace that would make him really reflect back on his role as a father and husband. This has been teased all season long, but in "Los Fantasmas," it was all on the table in the emotional conversation with Tara at the end of the episode. As for Tara's headspace, who knows what that crazy bitch is thinking?

KAITLIN: After hating her something fierce last week, I found myself conflicted this week in regards to Tara's story. I still don't really know what she's thinking, and I think that's been my trouble with Tara all season long. I've felt disconnected from her character. I didn't recognize her. She had turned cold and shut me out. I feel a bit like Jax right now, begging Tara to let me back in. Because she—and I suspect many viewers felt this way too—was my connection to the SAMCRO world. I felt relief wash over me when she teared up in the bathroom after Unser and Lowen had both shamed her for what she'd done to Gemma. The old Tara made an appearance, and I was grateful to see that she hadn't completely lost who she was. But then she stared herself down in the mirror and the mask she's worn all season was back in place. She obviously has doubts about herself and about her life with Jax, but now that the fake miscarriage is out of the way, I'm looking forward to exploring her internal battle. Is she upset about what she did to Gemma (and might do to Jax)? I think she is, but she's trying to convince herself she did the right thing by her family.  The only trouble is, she's realizing that in doing so, she's no longer becoming Gemma, but that she's is Gemma. 

TIM: Tara's plan might have worked had she been up against robots, but she didn't account for other people having free will  and there were too many extremes involved for it to not all come crashing down on her, and I'm so glad Unser told her off like he did. And I'm glad he told Gemma a thing or two, too. Unser was at his pimpest in the episode, calling out these ladies for their ridiculous behavior and I loved it. And as the details of Tara's scheme come out, countermoves are being made and even those close to her, like her lawyer, are starting to get sick of her shit. Gemma appeared to get Wendy on her side, but I'm not sure we'll even see how that comes out because all that matters is when Jax finds out what Tara's been up to. He has to figure it out soon, right? Someone is going to tell him. And he's going to go nuts. Faking a miscarriage that resulted from an assault by his mom? I hope I don't need to tell everyone that is not cool.

KAITLIN: Speaking of Uncle Touchy, I also liked his discussion with Sheriff Roosevelt about how he'd have handled the clusterf*ck that is happening in Charming. We've always been told SAMCRO is woven in to the very fabric of the town, and that ripping the Club out of the town would make it unravel to the point it could never recover. I'm not sure I've ever bought in to that necessarily, but I am definitely buying everything Roosevelt is selling. I don't know if it's just the performance of Rockmond Dunbar, or if I like that he's not quick to jump to every ridiculous conclusion just because the thought popped in to his head. But he's the first truly competent law enforcement officer/government employee (aside from Unser, I suppose), to grace this series. Even Patterson isn't above being a little shady sometimes, and look how that backfired on her. Two people are dead because of her. To summarize: Roosevelt for President. 

TIM: Ugh, Patterson really showed her colors as an at-all-costs official concerned with getting things out of her hair even if it doesn't serve justice. It's like she absorbed some of Toric's methods after he was stabbed out of the series (and maybe she did since Toric's departure was abrupt). Her pressure got Nero to falsely admit to being responsible for the guns instead of selling out SAMCRO (Nero keeping it real!), and later she pushed Charlie into hunting out some info for her otherwise she'd rezone jurisdiction so Charlie's dirty cops wouldn't make any of that side cheddar. And she got nothing out of it, and now Nero is free. I wonder what the purpose of getting Nero in custody was then. Now she's using guilt as her weapon in getting Nero to talk. Sorry honey, that's not going to work. Her character took a real hit in this episode. She doesn't seem like a legitimate threat anymore. Eh, I guess that's not surprising given how sloppy I think this season has been. Oops, did I just say that out loud?


KAITLIN: Oh shit. Sutter's gonna find you and it's not going to be pretty. But truthfully, I kind of agree with you. *hides from Sutter and the Internet* As I stated last week, I was not a fan of Tara's arc through the first half of the season (but have high hopes for the back half). I also think this storyline really took a hit when Donal Logue's commitment to Vikings took his character out of the series. There was a lot of bullshit crazytown shenanigans on the horizon and this storyline with Patterson feels very much like a last minute scramble to fix that. And it's hurting the season long arc. Yes, we've seen how it affects Jax, and I'm very much a fan of where Jax is going this season—his journey and legacy as president, and even more so as a husband and a father—but the rest of it stinks. That being said, I still think the series could come out on top when all is said and done. There are still five episodes left in Season 6, and as we all know, that's when Sons of Anarchy really comes together.



SKIDMARKS


– Even though Wendy's totally lame, why is she going back on the drugs now? It was much better seeing her get her life back together.

– Be honest, would you watch a new series about Roosevelt if the tagline was "Black. Lots of sugar"? Because I would. <3 

– Best line of the night, as the cop watched blood shoot out of a guy's neck like a Bellagio fountain: "Give me a towel!"

– Please sign our Change.org petition to jettison the Juice-goes-dark storyline. Yeah, sure, we haven't even scratched the surface there, but if we have to watch another scene like the one where Juice didn't move out of the way of the speeding car that ultimately killed Byz Lat # 1, we're going to start sending Kurt Sutter our medical bills. 

– HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT GUY EXPLODE WHEN THE CAR HIT HIM? Peter Weller directed this episode; was that a nod to that scene in Robocop when the guy who was messed up on toxic sludge blew up when he got hit by a car?



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Staff
Nov 04, 2013
Sloppy season for sure. Especially with every other ep being 90+ minutes and doing absolutely nothing with it.

While there is hope that this season will come together towards the end, it'll feel much more like relief than anything else. Donal Logue not being fully committed to SOA definitely hurt the season, not killing that MF'in bastard Clay continues to hurt the show.
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Oct 31, 2013
Maybe an itsy bitsy too much Gemma this season?
Anyone?
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Oct 31, 2013
Anyone else not missing Clay? Two episodes without him, and I only noticed after the episodes. His character is such a power house, but it goes to show that shows are more than just one character.
I'm so annoyed at the Tara storyline. I completely disagree with what she did, but I always liked her, and I always wanted her and Jax to make it. I hate feeling this conflicted. Wendy can't handle all the emotional craziness Tara has brought to her life, and I think it makes sense that she can't deal and turns to drugs again. It would be interesting if she overdosed, where would that leave Tara's plan, or I guess even if she doesn't Tara probably won't want a junkie looking after her kids. I still think Tara won't go to jail though.
Roosevelt is being awesome this season. He is used to the Sons now, he sees them differently, maybe even understands them a little. I don't get that you can't take the Sons out of the town, that they are part of Charming, as Unser claimed to Roosevelt. They are a bunch of (albeit loveable) thugs, who run drugs, guns and prostitution. Can anyone give me examples of how they have helped Charming be a better place?
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Nov 01, 2013
They keep out gangs like the niners who would clearly destroy charming. the sons are like how the mafia once was in Brooklyn. They kept the neighborhoods nice and didn't exploit their own people. They ruled by fear 50 years later and the place is overrun with crack cocaine and gangbangers. I'm sure I'll be called a racist for this but the black gangs don't have the same pride in their community they exploit their own people to make money. Example any inner city area in the united states. I doubt there's anywhere in charming where once its dark you can't walk down the street in fear of being mugged. So without the sons charming gets over run by gangbangers and other undesirables and loses what makes it a charming place to live.
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Oct 31, 2013
I have the feeling, Roosevelt is getting more and more awesome by the episode. Rockmond is fantastic!
And a good question: what did they do to make Charming a better place? In former seasons they SAID they would stop Charming being overflown with drugs and gangs... But from what we've actually seen it's like all the crap gets into Charming BECAUSE of the MC, right?
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Oct 31, 2013
Ya as much as I love the boys, I wouldn't want them in my town. Their guns led to the school shooting. Their club was blown up, so that's a bomb going off in the town. What series had a drive by at the start? Shoot outs in broad daylight, car chases.... I can't even remember all the crap they've caused. Robin Hood they ain't.
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Oct 31, 2013
I'm actually waiting for the time when Tara finds out that Jax cheated on her, then all her restraints are going to fall off for good.
But since television usually only punishes females, I guess I'm in for a long wait.
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Nov 01, 2013
Thank you for stating that! I totally agree. Men get to be "anti-heroes" but women are "psycho" "bitches" destined to fail on television and be denigrated in the media for their choices. No one heaps shame on Jax Teller each time he kills someone in cold blood, but Tara carries out a bloodless coup in a community filled with enemies, false friends and allies with other allegiances and people lose their empathy and compassion. No one wants to give her credit for her effort to create the proper situation to ensure her children's safety, an effort that asked no one else to compromise or implicate themselves overmuch in her perfidy nor shed any blood but her own. As extreme as her plan may be, she's worked hard to protect everyone around her as much as she is able and yet the hate just keeps being piled on top of her. Ridiculous.
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Oct 30, 2013
Tara is becoming Clay. She is manipulative, cold, selfish and abusive.
Unser lets others use him. But he is the only one that gets to tell Gemma the truth. And she does listened to him.
For me, this episode was the weakest this season. How is Nero going to react when Gemma tells him what really happened, and how is going to affect his relation with Jax? it seems complicated.
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Oct 30, 2013
Rockmond Dunbar is killing it as Roosevelt. After the death of his wife, one can see Roosevelt no longer sees in black and white...but shades of gray. But even with that, he comes off as an honorable man. IMO ppl are being harsh with Tara, of course what she pulled was dreadful, but this is SOA and I've seen far worst from characters on this show. Tara, we see now on screen, is a Tara that was born from all the chaos, violence, pain, fear and hurt she had to endure because she chose Jax. It's sad to see her morph into Gemma, but it is what it is. As far as Gemma, I wish she could just leave things alone and be grateful she still has Nero. Actually I thought Patterson did a good job of guilt tripping Nero, she just doesn't realize that his guilt won't make him give up Jax, it may however eat at him through the core. Jax is so lost....can we at least get an Opie ghost to handout sage advice.
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Oct 30, 2013
I have always loved SOA, and have enough loyalty to see this season through. That being said, the last three minutes of this episode was the best of the season. I agree completely with Kaitlin, Tara turning stone cold and becomes like Gemma. Tara's change cuts off the connection between the audience and the show. And besides aren't most of us totally Tara-Jax epic, true love forever, I'll die for you, fans? It was the premise that the show was built on, and while fans will accept almost anything else (Opie getting killed), I don't think they will accept a world without Tara-Jax!
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Oct 30, 2013
I'm not completely sure what to make of this ep. At one point it seemed like it was going somewhere, and 15 seconds later, it had essentially flipped a coin to decide what was going to happen.

While I get the prevailing opinion that this episode has brought the season quote-unquote 'full circle' I don't believe that's the case - IF ANYTHING, all this episode has done, is provide VAGUE and rudimentary answers, to questions that viewers have had since Season 5's finale.

While the majority are predicting a 'well rounded' conclusion, I'm of the belief that this is just following the NOW-typical SoA formula -

1st act: Carry on unresolveds from previous season/s, and solve them 'one way or another'

2nd act: all action and new problems, to create a central baddy, and resolve it or deal with the fallout, in next season's premiere.

My guess is that the final season of SoA will revolve around SoA (minus the supporters) hunting Clay down, in Ireland, and tangling with the quote-unquote 'True IRA'
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Oct 30, 2013
Tbh I had more fear for the blonde fbi agent than i do patterson, all i keep thinking is this is gonna blow back in your face love. here's to hoping everything comes together coherently and take us into the final chapter of the show. I mean just think back to the end of the series when opie killed that blonde bird how jax worked her and that plan came together. those series were 10/10 these recent ones are strugglin around the 6 or 7 mark for me
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Oct 30, 2013
I really hope that bitch cop dies before the season's out, SoA is really good as writing horrible female cops that I want to see die in a fire, first it was that chick with the weird mouth that Opie shot and now we have this equally as annoying Patterson.
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Oct 30, 2013
Patterson's a cop?? What?
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Oct 30, 2013
I'm guessing that Wendy OD'S and this makes Tara question her whole plan and she stays with Jaks.
The real question I now have, is what will the D.A. do next?
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Oct 30, 2013
Possibly. I have a feeling that the truth will out and the finale will see Jax kill Tara. I have no idea what the DA will do, she seems out of ideas and leverage at the moment. Maybe she will go at Tara again, especially if Tara sees her plan unravelling and feels threatened
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Oct 30, 2013
I can see him finding out, but not killing Tara - she goes to jail and Gemma ends up looking after the kids anyway. No divorce means he keeps the kids and finding out the truth about Tara means he actually has to let Gemma help him raise the boys
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Nov 01, 2013
That's just it, Tara has all the legal documentation and evidence in place to ensure that Margaret Murphy takes custody of the boys if Tara goes to prison. Her work with the attorney has been about ensuring that neither Jax nor Gemma would get the boys. That is what the notebooks full of stories from Tara and Wendy were all about. Tara probably promised Wendy that she would be "Aunt Wendy" until Abel is old enough to understand the truth, ensuring Wendy's cooperation as this is far more than she would ever have from Jax and Gemma.

There does not need to be a divorce in order for Tara to make a claim of unsuitability with regard to Jax having sole custody if she goes to prison, and now she has everything in order to ensure that the legal battle ahead of Jax will be so arduous, the boys will be in high school before he can hope to make traction, and then only if there is not a hint of criminality surrounding him, which he will be unable or unwilling to maintain. The notebooks, the paperwork, the restraining order, Gemma's arrest, Jax's criminal record, these have all been the foundation of making a strong case that these people have no business raising two small children. If Lowin has done her job decently, she likely also has affidavits from Feds speaking to any ongoing investigations involving SAMCRO and Jax as well, which do not have the same burden of proof in family court they have in criminal proceedings. Further, most states make it relatively easy for a couple to divorce if one spouse is sentenced to a long term in prison, so Tara likely plans to seek her divorce from prison to ensure the smoothest path.

I think Tara realizes how much is truly out of her control in her situation, she stopped being a victim and went on the offensive with regard to her priorities. There is no proof of Tara's actions, only suspicion, and the only way Jax learns the truth is if Tara confesses, which she will only do if and when Jax has demonstrated his ability to put the safety and security of his family before anything else. I share Tara's uncertainty, and like her, I wasn't terribly swayed by him this episode.
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Nov 01, 2013
I thought Wendy was getting the kids? That's why she was spending so much time with them. They were only pretending that Margaret was getting them to rile Jemma up, but keep her off the Wendy trail too.
I don't live in the States, so I don't know your laws, but with all the police reports, arrests, jail time, assaults, and her own insights and Wendy's, surely Tara could have got the divorce and full custody. The miscarriage was specifically to make sure Jemma was out of the way, by getting Jax to sign that form.
Jax will definitely find out, mainly because it's a tv show. Also they just skipped over that the doctors in the hospital would have examined her and done blood tests and realised she wasn't pregnant. It would be interesting if manslaughter charges where brought against Jemma, I could see the DA using something like that to try and hurt/divide the club.
The thing is Tara must really love Jax, otherwise she would just rat him out, and stay out of jail with her kids. I don't think she has fully thought things through and was mainly acting from hurt and bitterness. She did think it was Jemma who got her arrested. Until the stuff with Otto she had been no secrets full disclosure with Jax, and seemed to have committed fully to the club.
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Oct 31, 2013
I can totally see him killing Tara. I imagine it all the time, his hateful face, hers terrified, the screams, the blood, the remorse afterwards... It's gonna be great.
*sigh*
I know it's not gonna happen but I love to dream of it...
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Oct 31, 2013
Everyone has happy thoughts to get through the day
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Oct 31, 2013
If Jax can't kill Clay, there's no way he can kill Tara. I'd imagine that the next few episodes will centre on the Clay/Irish storyline, and Jax will get focused on this. For some reason I don't think Tara will go to jail. Everything she has done is based on her going to prison for a long time. But what happens if she doesn't?
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Oct 31, 2013
I don't know what the loophole will be but I can see Tara not going to prison, and having to deal with the fallout when Jax finds out. She was probably thinking she'd be locked up by the time Jax realises what happened and she wouldn't have to see him or deal with it. If she hadn't got arrested at the end of last season none of this would have happened. I don't think she would be filling for divorce if she hadn't got arrested. Ya the Wendy development is another problem for her now.
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Oct 31, 2013
I thought it was based on her going to prison and getting a divorce. If Jax finds out he can intimidate the attorney - who seem's to have an issue with the legality of Tara's plan now.
If she doesnt go to prison and Jax divorces her, after intimidating her lawyer, her plan can be scuppered.
Also Wendy going back to drugs should also dent Tara's plans
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Oct 30, 2013
TARA MUST DIE!!!
Jax finds out the truth through Unser or relapsing Wendy and kills the beeatch or takes away the kids. It's the only way to save the show IMO.
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Oct 30, 2013
On a side note bobby looked way different on seinfeld episode Kramer at the track saying his mudda was a mudder
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Oct 30, 2013
Im an old biker whore with a record...annoys me how she acts like they're both her kids good thing she has a 2 hour doctor gig/jail time/jail doctor gig n always dropped them off at tm to be watched to bond so deep with him all gem did was watch him all day
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Oct 30, 2013
No offense to women, but the Tara storyline is just not that great. I understand that she wants to free the boys from the life. But I honestly don't care. It is just a woman whining about the bad decisions she made. Call Dr. Phil, dammit! The only woman on the show that matters to me is Gemma, Rather see what Jax does to change the club (If he can) and he does with her when he knows the truth.


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Oct 30, 2013
"You want to secretly leave your husband who loves you."? Really? I have seen people who hate each other treat each other better.

Tara was in jail for what, 2 days? So jax had to bang a hooker? And an unattractive hooker at that? He is partially responsible for her possibly going to jail.
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Oct 30, 2013
I partially disagree. I think Tara's storyline is well warranted, and I will defend it as plausible in a world that's as plausible as the SAMCRO universe, but I will agree that I too am a bit worn down by it all. It's taking too long to progress, honestly, and I'm ready for Tara to just jump into some other shenanigan, like being Gemma's friend again, (wasn't that a fun experience?) which hasn't happened since season 3. Hell, just give us the old Tara back. She's been an emotionless disconnected character as Kaitlin stated and I'm just ready to move on. But at least she's reconsidering some of her actions.

Why do I have this horrid feeling that Wendy will eventually take her own life? It's she's screwed either way
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Oct 30, 2013
I fear S.O.A has been dextered
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Oct 30, 2013
I'm wondering what Tara is gonna do next. I would suggest getting a different haircut, but she's all rebellious n shit this season.
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Oct 30, 2013
Die, I hope...
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Oct 30, 2013
I wonder if thats not a wig. There aint a woman alive whose gonna go through all the crap Tara's taking. Especially if she's a hot doctor.
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Oct 30, 2013
Maybe she did it because she's going to be a mom?
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Oct 30, 2013
Mom's need to be as homely as possible. or they babies might grow up to be cowboys! I see what Youre sayin'.
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Oct 30, 2013
No, I mean in real life. It is possible she did it because she's preggo and wanted her hair to be easier.
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Staff
Oct 30, 2013
I wish that was a wig.
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Oct 30, 2013
Why would she wear such a bad haircut? It just don't make sense.

Then again, why select a wig that looks that bad?
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Oct 30, 2013
That was without a doubt some of the best acting I've seen from Charlie Hunnam. I actually teared up a bit at that last scene. You could really feel his pain and confusion. Good job Charlie!
We definitely need more of Roosevelt. Rockmond Dunbar is just plain awesome and he's being sorely underused.
Unser was absolutely a bright spot in this ep. He seems to be the moral compass for the ladies now.
It does seem like we're coming full circle and everything from the past will be brought out and everything will be wrapped up completely. Reminds me of how The Shield ended. I loved that the final season brought back everything from the entire series and wrapped it all up with a nice little bow. I hope SOA is going that route too. Not that I want it to end anytime soon, but I do like when shows don't leave loose ends.
Very heavy emotional episode here. Little light on the action but the emotional toll will weigh heavy for the next week. The last 5 episodes are going to be EPIC!!!
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Oct 30, 2013
Unser was great in this episode.He is my favorite character on the show which made me realize that is true of two other shows.He was fantastic as Steady Freddie Lopez on John from Cincinnati and Charlie Utter on the best show ever on tv Deadwood.

You two do a fine job on your weekly collaboration.
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Oct 30, 2013
Deadwood, "the best show ever." Seriously? Well it was pretty good. Good enough to make you mad the way it ended.
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Oct 30, 2013
Pretty much agree with the both of you. At least I can count on Charlie Barosky (Peter Weller) to keep me happy, who has been the only consistently good thing about this season.
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Oct 30, 2013
agree totally
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