Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem

There are bad days and there are bad days. The members of SAMCRO are having a string of very, very, very bad days. Sons of Anarchy continues to knee our guys in the groins in what has become the roughest and most painful season of the drama to date, and "Fruit for the Crows" added a stomp and twist to the ball-busting.

SAMCRO should have known that jumping into bed with one cartel means another cartel will play the jealous ex-lover. The club is in way over its greasy head with no easy way to get out of the deal, dodging bullets from the rival Lobos Sonora cartel—which is so ruthless, it's willing to kidnap families in order to get innocent people to do its dirty work. That's low, even for criminals, and opens up a whole new bag of doodoo for the club. That first message was for the Mayans; the next one could be for SAMCRO.

The situation is actually convenient for Clay, as the club can blame any threat to Tara on the Sonora cartel, who SAMCRO believes will handle business by targeting the family members of those they wish to influence. That puts a little distance between Clay and the hit he put out on Tara, so I'm sure he doesn't think it's the worst thing ever. He's certainly not going to tell everyone that the note left in the car wasn't in the Lobos Sonora style, as Alvarez told him ("they would have written it in kids' blood"); he's just going to keep that bit of info to himself. What's more, Clay bullied Wayne into staying out of his business. That Clay is a real jerkface this season! I'm guessing their friendship is over. Wayne has a decision to make: back off or step up. The former will get Tara killed, the latter might get Wayne killed. Like I said, bad day all around.

And I haven't even mentioned Juice yet! His storyline is killing me. It's like seeing a friend of yours who is always chipper walk through the darkest tunnel of his life. This is NOT fun, but props to Theo Rossi for selling it, especially in this episode. "Fruit for Crows" opened with some great foreshadowing, with Juice kneeling beside a tree (note: I don't ever want to see Juice and a tree in the same scene again) mumbling pleas for forgiveness for what he did to Miles and the club. Linc, who is becoming less charming in that straight-jacket sort of way and just plain scary in that straight-jacket kind of way, has tightened the screws on Juice and you can see it. Juice is in bad, bad shape. It was particularly obvious when he walked past Chibs, ignoring his concern, and it was devastating when Clay presented him with his "Men of Mayhem" badge. That was probably the best scene of the season so far, and it's all because of Rossi. The anguish on his face comes through the screen and just squeezes your heart until it's completely wrung out. Right then, I knew what he was planning. Juice wasn't the only one with tears in his eyes during that exchange.

But if ever I heard a sound that was music to my ears, it was the snap of that tree branch right after Juice tried to fresh-squeeze himself by using a chain as a noose. It's telling that he stitched on his patch before trying to end it all; he has no ill will toward the club itself. He's SAMCRO for life, however much longer that lasts. Poor Juice.

Back at the club, Bobby finally boiled over and did the unthinkable: called for a vote to oust Clay as president. Slippery slope there, Bobby! And how badass is it that Clay—CLAY!—is the one who seconded the proposal, putting it into motion? He may be a jerk, but he's got cojones the size of watermelons.

Just when we thought Sons of Anarchy couldn't get crazier, creator Kurt Sutter added more and more drama, and we're only on Episode 7! It's insanity brought to a very frothy lather in what isn't much more than a macho soap, but it's being scrubbed with steel wool.

Skid Marks:
– Jax going after the cartel shooters solo? Whaaaaat? Not quite buying it. Jax, when you ride a motorcycle, you're pretty much out in the open. Food for thought the next time you go after guys with sub-machine guns.

– Opie and Lyla's marriage didn't last long, did it? I want to feel bad for them, but they split so fast it's hard to root for them to get back together.

– How will the disappearance of Armando, the missing president of SAMTAZ, factor into things? Was he kidnapped by the cartel, and is he worth saving? Or did SAMTAZ's drug-dealing ways push it to a darker side, perhaps right into the open arms of the cartel?

– What the F is Piney doing with an empty bottle of tequila and a loaded shotgun? I thought he was going to decorate the walls with a palette of his own brain.

– Close-range headshots in consecutive episodes! Boom! Headshot!


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

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Brilliant show and excellent season. Loving the way the screws are tightening on all of the characters.
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The branch broke. Juice Lives! He should now be SAMCRO president.
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The tension throughout the characters this season, and this episode in particular, is just so fun to watch. I thought it surprising that the show would kill off Juice at this point, but then I heard the branch breaking and his body falling, so I expect he isn't dead yet. I still love the character and I'm having a lot of fun this season watching his struggles (not happy fun, but heartbreaking fun). I'm also about 99% sure Clay wont be voted out, even if it doesn't have to be unanimous. I expect Piney and his shotgun paying a visit to Clay, which'll result in someone (probably not Opie, Jax, or Bobby) killing Piney... I don't think he'd commit suicide.
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I have no idea whats going to happen with Gemma and Tara. Though I think Wayne will die rather than let anything haoppen to either of them. AND I think cool black sherif dude, is going to end up siding with the Club against the Fed.
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See, I think lines are being drawn between the old club and what will end up being the new. You'll have the SAMCRO old guard, Tig and Chiv and the older bikers minus Bobby and Piney who will support Clay because he's always been the leader. The new guys will support Bobby until he gets killed (which I think sadly is going to happen) and eventually Jax when he ends up being pushed to make his move. Juice will be a turning point too, I bet. He's going to end up coming clean and the when the new guys hear why he did what he did, there will be sympathy, while the old guard will call for traditional vengance. On top of the drug madness that's been going on, it will split the club right down the middle. These are the earthquakes I see messing with the club: The death or exile of Bobby, the treason of Juice and what to do about it, and the whole drug running situation. Forget Hamlet, Jax is the Biker Christ, come to teach SAMCRO a better way than the old blood and thunder of Clay.
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Great episode, great review. Thanks again Tim!
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I think Theo rossi deserve an Emmy...Juice's story is so captivating!!
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Love Rossi. I just cannot see the club kicking Juice out for being black. I must be naive.
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Throwing him out? Maybe. But, killing him? I don't think so. He's put himself in a worst situation by snitchin' to the cops.

As much as I was angry at him last week, as much as I felt sorry for him this week.

I was a bit angry when I saw him hang himself because I figured he could have written a letter to warn the club about the police and DEA thing. So much that I didn't hear the branch break.
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i think at the end you hear the branch break,also when i heard Juice saying the Act of Contrition i thought it cool of kurt to show how a murdering, drug dealing ,gun selling, biker can still feel bad and pray
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Yes, and the body hitting the ground. (I checked it again)
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I would normally hate Juice, but I honestly feel like they wrote him beyond the boundaries. They might as well have given him wings and made him fly off into the sun. Maybe they'll fix him, but I don't see how. It's either a work of complete genius, or it's...what it more likely is.



Juice: How to Burn a Great Character in 3.6 Episodes



We get that Jax is supposed to be a badass, but "I'm going to handle these shooters alone on my Harley," and "That's cool, we'll stay back here and let you," was a pile of crap.
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Kurt Sutter is a GENIUS, and love this midseason peak! The branch breaking was quite a wonderful sound..... I cannot wait to see what happens next. What I love about this season is so far every single one of the primary characters has at least ONE lie going with the other charters. The tension is glorious.
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Best season ever. I too, was happy to hear the sound of a branch breaking!!

How oh how is Juice going to get out of this. GREAT performance by Theo Rossi!!
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I don't think Clay loses a vote of no confidence. And my guess is it has to be a unanimous decision, and the person that will stand in the way will be Jax. I'm really really curious how the SAMTAZ thing will play, because you know it has to. What I think Sutter is setting us up for is a huge separation between all the members.
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Agree. That is about the same as the vote for the dope...
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I am really starting to dislike all the characters, especially Clay.
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The fact that this show gets overlooked at awards season is ridiculous. Sutter has given the world a show to fill the void left by the conclusion of "Breaking Bad" and there isn't a single drama that has aired this season that is riding along at the pace of this fourth season of "Sons". Fourth season can be a tricky season for dramas as most veer into "past their peak" garbage. The tension created by wonderfully crafted stories and stellar performances from the entire cast episode to episode of this original gritty drama is heading into territory previously populated by brilliant but virtually ignored dramas (ignored for turning the genre on its head) such as "The Wire" and "Battlestar Galactica".



Theo Rossi, who can say more about the work he has done this season? Watching this character painfully go through what he is enduring and the actor making the viewer feel horridly for Juice is a testament to the wonderful young actor. Ray McKinnon also gets a special mention for the character he is creating, far far cry from his memorable run as "Deadwood"'s Reverend Smith. And Rockmon Dunbar, that goodness Sutter found a way to get this actor after his great work in the short lived but wonderful "Terriers" was cut short apparently to make room for some garbage about a haunted house. Can't wait to see what is in store for Katey, Maggie, and Charlie.



Oh, and if Ron Pearlman doesn't get his Emmy nomination for his work this year he should go all Clay on the committee.



Best Drama on television at present helping ease the wait for the return of "Game of Thrones". Ride on Sons!
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No one is safe and I love it!
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I knew the moment the story line with juice started he was going to die or be killed. and when he had tears in his eyes when clay gave him his patch, I was almost on the floor crying myself. I couldn't even look at the screen when he had the chain on himself.. it can't end this way.. !!
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Even if that branch did break, I don't see Juice being in very good health.
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such a good episode.... Juiiice noooooo!!!! Im with you on Lyla!! Cant really care for her... But she is fun to look at especially when she wears skimpy lingerie
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Theo Rossi preformance in this episode was amazing
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This season of SOA has been beyond amazing. Juice has always been one of my favorites and I'm sorely hoping that we haven't seen the last of him
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great article, I was/ am so worried for Juice, he's such a sweet soul(for an outlaw biker) it's hard to watch him in so much emotional pain, I have to give Theo Rossi a long standing ovation for his above & beyond preformance this season.

I'm thinking with the disappearance of Armando, maybe Kozik (Kenny Johnson) goes to take over as pres or vp of SAMTAZ (he was only available for 4 episodes & Kurt did say he was writing his exit from the show open ended just in case)
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yes.. YES... YESSSSS!! I could not have summed it up better myself!
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