Sons of Anarchy "To Thine Own Self" Review: Everything on the Table

Sons of Anarchy S05E11: "To Thine Own Self"

Sons of Anarchy clocked in with another 90-minute episode tonight, and because I was fortunate enough to have a press screener, I didn't have to sit through 30 minutes of commercials. Phew. Normally viewers can expect 22 minutes of TV per half-hour, but tonight's episode registered an hour in total, meaning we were shorted six minutes from the standard rate. I don't think anyone is really going to complain since SoA Season 5 has mostly been excellent, but a common trend has emerged in these extended episodes over the last two weeks.

More Sons of Anarchy doesn't always mean better Sons of Anarchy, and between tonight's "To Thine Own Self" and last week's "Crucifixed," much of the additional time has been spent on the trickling down of the club's secrets and lies to various members, with everybody's dirty laundry getting aired. Is this the series realizing that it has so much more to cover and fewer episodes than it thought so it's scrambling to squeeze it all in? Maybe. Is it as fun as the rocket-launcher fight that helped swell last year's "Call of Duty" to an hour and a half? Probably not. But these scenes are incredibly important to the season.

Personally, I don't mind watching the dissemination of information, because things get more and more dangerous for everyone, and that's Kurt Sutter's style (it also helps me remember WTF is going on). And "To Thine Own Self" appeared to be the final game of Information Telephone, because pretty much everyone knows everything now. Clay knows that Jax knows that Clay knows, and Jax knows that Clay knows that Jax knows. Gemma knows, Romeo and Luis know, and everyone who wears a patch that didn't know before knows now.

But like "Crucifixed," much of "To Thine Own Self" consisted of dotting and crossing letters that needed to be dotted and crossed to get us to the point where everyone knows everything and everything is on the table. And because the club is so disciplined under Jax (who shows the least discipline of all of SAMCRO's members even though he's the president), the knowledge of Clay's workings and Jax's plans were met with exclamations of "Oh Shit!" and understanding nods rather than the hot-headed trigger-pulling that set the first half of the season on fire. Things have actually calmed down in the second half of the season, but I don't expect them to stay that way.

None of the current goings-on would be as mellow as they are (relatively speaking, as is always the case with Sons of Anarchy) if it weren't for Jax's quick fix to the big problem of keeping the cartel happy by using Henry Lin's firearm resources and the Mayans' drug mules to fill in for SAMCRO. It's about time the club finally got out of these business transactions, considering the blood that has spilled since shaking hands with Romeo and Luis. "I'm tired of being crushed under the weight of greedy men who believe in nothing," Jax told Clay. "I have to change that." This is the most notable accomplishment of the Jax administration thus far, but it seems like a fairly easy fix, not to mention a slightly suspicious one given that Lin has (I think) little background or trust with the cartel and vice versa. And do the Irish have any say? And was the cartel that okay with Jax's change of plans—including Lin's price hike—that they would go from wanting to cut his head off in one moment to taking his word on things and letting him go free the next? Apparently I would not make a good outlaw, carbon.

But even with all this going on, Sutter still managed to add two-and-a-half huge new details to Season 5 with just two episodes left. Nero finally went O.G. after his old crew got involved with Nero's new ladies-for-hire venture and tried to pay for Jax's peace offering of guns with bullets instead of cash. Either the station-wagon escape was totally ridiculous or that wood paneling is bulletproof, because that Mexican gang lit up that car with little damage to the guys inside. And what happened to gangs these days? Are they so lazy that they wouldn't chase down the guys who just shot at them and took off with their guns? I am disappointed in you, gang members.

That little incident led Nero to believe his old gang friends and not the cartel were the ones who'd taken Jax, and Nero went loco on his old boys, sending two of them to the morgue while they were just trying to hit bongs and watch some Terra Nova repeats. Not cool, Nero. I would have expected him to be a little more diplomatic about the situation instead of going in guns-a-blazin', and it sets up a lot of problems for Nero and SAMCRO with ANOTHER gang they now have to tangle with. And that's not even counting the tension of the Nero-Gemma-Clay love triangle, which peaked when Nero stopped by Clay's house for an amazing scene with Gemma. There are a lot of people in bad spaces right now, but Nero's in the worst. And it's all because of a mistake.

We also met a new mystery man played by Terriers star Donal Logue. I have no idea what's going on with him, but the man knows a lot more he should about everything, and he's some sort of master of disguise. The balls on Sutter introducing a character like this so late in the game! Perhaps he's already setting up Season 6?

Things have cleared up to the point that there's no other recourse except for Jax to hit Clay head-on in the final two episodes of the season. But Clay always finds a way to wiggle free, and peace-loving Bobby, who visited Clay in the final moments of the episode for a chat, might be one who helps him out.



NOTES

– This Juice stuff needs to sort itself out, quick. Seeing him get the business from Jax is almost unbearable.

– We still don't know what Clay's plans are with regard to the "legal documents," and it's taking a bit of the bite out of that plot. We know he's up to something, but what? Until we know, how are we supposed to care that much?

– No Pope in the episode. No Mayor Hale in the episode. No Roosevelt. Don't these guys have big roles this season?

– Unser might go out from cancer and not a bullet like we thought. It's sad to see him in such a weakened state.

– Congrats to Tara for taking the job offer! But when is she going to tell Jax?

Comments (68)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Hey can someone tell me what the name of the song was while they were being shot at In the car?
Reply
Flag
Agony of the Damned - Toxic Holocaust
Reply
Flag
Tara just gets more and more unbelievable as do the plots around her. I am hoping she gets killed off in the cliffhanger last episode of the season. My thought on the last episode is that Jax will kill Clay and then find out that Clay was really his father...an Greek tragedy.
Reply
Flag
"I AM RAPTUROUS!!!" - Happy
1
Reply
Flag
Next weeks episode is titled: Darthy...
When we find out Clay is Jax's real dad..I'm going to puke. Sutter...you suck, in the worst way.
2
Reply
Flag
So the nurses' brother is the biggest badass ever lived? Perfect casting with Donal Logue!
But who is he? And is he going to kill Tara and the kids?
I don't know about the station-wagon to be bullet-proof but it seems to be adamant in any sorts of crashes. Very funny with a weird 80's action-show vibe.
Reply
Flag
http://popgoesthearts.blogspot.ca/2012/11/sons-of-anarchy-5x11-review-real-nero.html

Flawless episode. This season has been off the charts fantastic!!
Reply
Flag
I think that the mysterious man is John Teller. I think that when Clay tried to kill him, he faked his own death with help from Unser and Bobby. I think he's perhaps been watching from a distance...maybe I'm totally wrong, but I wouldn't put anything past Sutter....
Reply
Flag
Such an unsung show!!!
Reply
Flag
DONAL LOGUE MOTHER**CKERS.

SOA is **cking awesome for their blatant love for fellow FXians The Shield and Terriers. When I saw Karina Logue in the previous episode as the nurse who was killed, I was really hoping Donal would show up. And BAM! SOA is trying to include everybody Shawn Ryan has ever casted. I'm really hoping Donal is playing Karina's sister again. I consider it an inside joke for those of us who loved Terriers enough to know their relationship =)

I'm kind of hoping Bobby's "warning" to Clay at the end is innocent and not actually selling out Jax and/or Chibs. Please. Don't make Bobby an asshole.
2
Reply
Flag
I don't know if this has been said already, but i believe the club is going to split in two, with Jax as one President, and probably Clay as another for a rival bikie club.

Jax will have Happy, Chibs and the new big guy (Don't remember his name)

Clay will get Juice and Tig. Bobby can go either way.

I think next season will be like a civil war in Charming.
1
Reply
Flag
That is stupid. As stupid as the cartel being CIA Agents...
1
Reply
Flag
Good episode, cannot wait for the finale!

Having seen Katrina Logue (Otto's nurse victim) the past few episodes I was thinking about the fact that she and Rockmund Dunbar (Roosevelt) were both on Terriers and I got a little kick out of it. When the guard opened Otto's cell door and I saw Donal Logue come peeking his head around the corner I literally paused the show as I laughed and clapped. I also pretty much think I know where he's going with it, insofar as the real life brother avenging the death of his real life sister. When I saw Donal walk into the room later wearing a suit, it turned the situation entirely on it's head & I think Donal will wind up being the big bad for next season.

I am so excited but it is going to make the wait between seasons feel that much longer.
Reply
Flag
Maybe Donal is the brother/husband of the killed nurse in last weeks episode?
4
Reply
Flag
That was my thought exactly...
Reply
Flag
Most likely!
1
Reply
Flag
tara is gonna die this season. there's a set up for next season. so sad about otto. let him out already. how much can one character take? come on mr sutter, it's make-believe so set him free. i would love to see him out and about with his crazy self.
Reply
Flag
you do know Otto is Sutter?(Sutter is playing Otto) So directing and writing and now on top of that you want him to be acting also:D
Reply
Flag
lol, i didn't know that. kind of ruins it now. :-) otto is doomed to die too, due to scheduling? that's even worse. somebody get that man in a time management class. be honest: if you knew otto was to get his walking papers, wouldn't that be on the calendar with big stars next to, just in case there was a minute you'd thought about forgetting it?
Reply
Flag
I liked this show a lot at first. Then I got tired of everybody being down in the dumps all the time. I mean, they never seem to have any fun at all. The worst is the dynamic between Jax and his wife. Debbie Downer.
2
Reply
Flag
I lost interest after Opie died and then they had the episode with Walter Coggins wearing fake boobs the following week and I thought - "yup it has now jumped the shark". I watched it for another couple of weeks but it just got weirder and less believable. Very sad to see such an awesome show go so, so wrong so quickly.
2
Reply
Flag
Staff
You quit watching? While this show has filler eps, the dialog and characters never seem dull. Agreed that Tara can be a pain, but she gets better.
1
Reply
Flag
I found a lot of the eps dull until this season. Used to fall asleep watching it a lot.
2
Reply
Flag
Yup me too or, so much worse, sitting in open mouthed horror. Walter Coggins episode as a prime example of a 'WTF'? moment.
Reply
Flag
Day number 11.
Yes I am going to critique it. And it might go long. Which is why there is a convenient more button to click on that you can ignore.

This was arguably the best hour of SOA this year. I say hour, because if you carve out all of the silly crap, BS and stupidity it was actually a fantastic episode.

I would take out Lila being wheeled out in her chair in the brothels opening day. Seriously who does that? The stuff with Nero and Gemma. Not entirely, just you know the intentional doing in proximity to Clay so he can catch them and know that Gemma is plotting against him. Because, well you need that in order to Gemma to screw everything up and Clay to get away with everything again. But mostly the stupid shoot out. That I think was the worst scene of SOA ever. Not just for the shooting of the car and nothing happening. But the crash, the destruction of the car and then the driving away. Had you gone to Kurt Sutter season two and said. Kurt we want to do a scene where the guys get shot at in a car, drive away, crash, flip, crush the roof,and then miraculously land on their wheels with the roof uncrushed and drive away unscathed like some cheesy action movie. Sutter would have slapped the shit out of the person that suggested that. But now it is ok.

The good part of the episode was basically Jax being smart Jax. His line about how he was "tired of being crushed under the weight of greedy men that believe in nothing" Was probably the best line of the series. His interaction with the Cartel was superb as well. Had they cut all of the useless crap out of the episode it would have been fantastic. But we need to set up Nero being killed, so that story had to occur. And we need to start setting up for an out for Tiggs and the death of Pope as ridiculous as killing Pope is because none of them have the connections to do so. And pope is too smart a character to die. But he will, it will be silly and yea.

Now for the new guy. Donal Logue is fantastic. I welcome his addition to the show. Even though it makes me wish Terriers was still on and curse FX for canceling it. But what is he going to be? Is he going to be a white Pope. Former big time biker that got out of the life and is immensely successful has connections and is of some relation to the Nurse. Or is he an ex undercover cop with connections that had some relation to the Nurse. I have no idea. If last years "twist" (Bullshit) CIA ending is of any indication. Donal is going to be an Alien with the power of time travel to erase all of the clubs troubles and send them into the future. And somehow require Clay to keep living.

I also think after Jax laid everything out on the table. Got them out of all of the business. He should have just shot Clay in the head and then explained why. Due to the deal, Clay has no use. He should be dead.

Bobby is going to betray Jax. No idea what the reason is going to be. It is probably going to be to "protect" him from turning into Clay. Even though Clay is an asshole motivated solely by money. And Jax just got them out of all that big money. And set up the deal with Nero and the deal with Pope on the housing development. So the two couldn't be more unalike in their motivations. But Bobby will betray Jax, Clay will come out ahead and still be alive. Bobby might die and rightfully so. Tiggs will probably live. And backwards is forwards and forwards is backwards. Tada season finale.

Oh an Tara had a semi smart day. Leave Tara, leave now. Take the boys with you. Hurry before Donal's alien zaps you with a death ray for killing his nurse alien scout.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
If you remember Terriers, you should remember the killed nurse in SOA as Stephanie, Hank Dalworth's sister. They're also siblings in real life. Because of this, I believe they're playing siblings again, and Logue's character is pissed off at Otto (and Tara) for killing her.
1
Reply
Flag
I knew she looked familiar.
Reply
Flag
Someone on screenrant pointed out that if you looks at the credits, the nurse Otto killed last week was Pam Toric, and Logue's name is Lee Toric. I knew his appearance had something to do with that nurse who I'm assuming was his wife or sister being killed.
Reply
Flag
Oh, I don't watch the credits or the on the next episode. But I am telling you Nick. It was his Alien scout. Lee, if that is his name is an Alien. AHS did it, why not SOA.
Reply
Flag
They are going to pull a Star Wars with those "legal documents" if you catch my drift.
1
Reply
Flag

Good episode. Sutter knows what he is doing. Everything is on the table, everyone knows everything.
I liked scene in the car. When Sons laugh and scream after the shooting. That’s real bikers sh*t. Craziness that separates them from some common criminals.
Nero is great character and I’m a bit pissed off he suffers so much.
Clay should die. There is no reason for him to stay alive. Jax should kill him and then find the evidence about all his murders. It would be too much to wait season eight six or season seven for that. Clay is Big Bad from the start and he lived so much more then he needed to.
Guy that tortured Otto is probably husband or brother of murdered nurse. And he will make Otto’s life living hell. But I think he will kill Tarra. That’s what would push Jax even further.
4
Reply
Flag
Nero's clock started clicking a lot louder tonight - I'll miss him a LOT!

Juice looked so much smaller this episode with his dejected stance, instead of his usual puffed-up outlaw stance.

Wow about the Terriers guy! My guess is that he is/was working with that creepy anything-to-get-my-guy/s Fed from last season.
Reply
Flag
I didn't catch Donal and the nurse being siblings, so I'm going with that, as it makes much more sense than my first guess.
Reply
Flag
I'm thinking Donal Logue's character is the husband of the nurse Otto killed. That would explain why he had some pull on the inside to get to Otto and it would explain why he's also targeting Tara.
I could be wrong of course, but I can't wait to find out.
1
Reply
Flag
I also figure he is likely related to her in some way which would explain his actions and especially his timing. I'd guess brother though since they sort of look alike, though I realize casting doesn't really work like that. I'm also guessing maybe he has something to do with a state-side Irish MOB. They look Irish and it would make for an interesting new enemy faction.
Reply
Flag
Yes, they are siblings in real life and played siblings on Terriers. I naturally assumed Donal Logue is again playing her brother.
1
Reply
Flag
Didn't they play brother and sister on Terriers too?
Reply
Flag
They're brother and sister in real life. So perhaps he's playing her brother on the show.
2
Reply
Flag
Guys, I'm really afraid of something here... What if Bobby was one of the original plotters who killed Jax's father? What if Bobby warns Clay about him warning Chibs, and he gets dead by the end of the season? If this happens, I'll not be pleased...
1
Reply
Flag
It has become quite clear Sutter has chickened out once again this season and Clay will survive to see season 6. This is getting ridiculous and needs to stop already. What more does Clay have to do to warrant death?
Reply
Flag
did you ever think,that Sutter never meant to kill Clay,until show end or to keep him till very end? That what he did with previous season,was to get to people to THINK Clay is a goner and had a plan to keep him all along? That what he did with every season,was to get season's bad guy and kill him at end of season and wanted to change it?
I can tell you one thing for sure.....even if Clay was killed last season, people would still bitch about this season and they would even say: "Maybe killing Clay wasn't such a good idea after all....."
1
Reply
Flag
how can you say it doesn't matter? :D He is creator of show and has clear idea what he wants with the show. Again he made people THINK Clay is goner....he didn't do weak shit that Mentalist did(where you thought that they really killed RJ->that was cop-out!)....in SOA you clearly saw Clay still being alive. If people are bored with this show now or are over it,then stop watching it. I did it with Mentalist.
Reply
Flag
It doesn't matter if Sutter intended to kill Clay. Last season begged for it, this season begged for it...Sutter set everything in motion and then pulled the plug in such a way that I expect aliens to land any week.
Reply
Flag
Paragraph 2: true. Paragraph 1: only if he is a terrible writer. It would appear he's getting his writing tips by watching the vampire diaries these days. Clay is Klaus, a multiseason villain who never gets killed because he's a popular star and character who the network wants as a draw in every episode subplanting any logical end to every season long story. I don't want to look too hard or I'm sure I will find more similarities. Maybe Sutter and Julie Plec had the same writing influences or maybe he just watches a lot of TV for teenage girls. I don't wanna know.
4
Reply
Flag
have to write again,because for some reason my comment isn't showing(even though I hit submit and it showed below!)
the he knows,that she knows that he knows,that she knows never gets old :D (love these type of jokes and wordlplay so to speak)
Cartel had nothing on SAMCRO with Rico case being dead,because of Otto. So why not take alternative,when (I think) they can't stop with supplying "goodies".(same as Gus couldn't kill Walt because of supply demand in BB). Like you said,this season every character knows something that others don't.
Car scene was funny(I think) and kinda awsome. Why was that car still able to run,after they flip it? Answer: "they got into another car":D....come on,you can clearly see that they are in other car:D And gang didn't fire all that many shots in car. Most of time they were ducking,and hiding. There were some,but not that much shots fired at them.
Mayor Hale and Pope are jokes.
I know Donal Logue from Grounded for life:D....awsome that he joined SOA
Wasn't that gang member,who got shot in the head from Shield( the one who made Aceveda get on his knees and made him give a bj?)
Reply
Flag
What's the significance of the "legal papers" that Jax has been trying to get from Clay? Bobby mentioned something about Jax not being able to prove that Clay was behind the Nomad home invasions since they no longer had access to the papers. Why would Clay's arrangement with the Nomads be documented? And when Bobby said they no longer had any proof of Clay's deceit, why wouldn't the confession from Juice and Frankie be all the proof they need? I've said several times, if Opie can be killed then everyone other than Jax is expendable. I love Chibs, he's one of my favorite characters next to Jax and Opie (RIP), but he should have been killed by Frankie two episodes ago, when he was forced to drive Frankie during his getaway. And, there's absolutely no reason for Clay and Juice to survive the season.
1
Reply
Flag
The legal papers (death and birth certificates, deeds, etc) were in the safe the Nomads took, if Clay has them back, that means he was in on it: the proof.
Reply
Flag
I'm married with kids, could have showed more emotion that she did! I would have cried...women are good at that.
Reply
Flag
Nah, you can get a new deed through the right bureaucratic hoops. There is nothing stronger than the emotional play in this situation. I'm not the right person to explain this. Married people with kids, feel free to step in here.
Reply
Flag
Very weak on Gemma's part, she could have used something like, "I need the deed to the house for an inspection" or something. There had to be something else that you can't just ask the county for a copy of.
Reply
Flag
Yeah, there's these people. We call them women. Also parents. They get all emotional about stuff. Literally, actual stuff. Things. Things attached to people. Mementos. The real ones were there when Thomas was born. Copies were not. The real ones are connected to Thomas by simultaneous temporal and spatial proximity and therefore emotion. These people cannot be explained logically. It is not rational. It is the opposite of that. You just have to accept it. Clay has been with Gemma for decades, she didn't need a better performance, because he knows better than to try to tell a woman her emotions are invalid.
1
Reply
Flag
wasn't Gemma's "performance" weak? "I want Thomas's papers." "You can get copy of them." "No,no,I want the real ones."
WTF
Reply
Flag
I want to shoot Bobby in the face.
3
Reply
Flag
I reply on that one because it was DIRECT to you, instead of a "reply" to someone else. Like right now, I can't reply to your last comment, it won,t let me.
All your comments have thumbs up, and a lot are ridiculously idiotic... like trying to link SoA and whatever is The Vampire Diaries... if you watch this pathetic show, your comments on SoA are clearly irrelevant... that's it.
Reply
Flag
Irrelevant? Do they not teach comparisons of any kind in school any more? Is this the result of them dropping analogies from the SATs? Do people no longer understand a metaphor, even when it is spelled out for them in great detail? The fundamental problems with those two characters are very similar and very much rooted in the way television shows and networks are managed these days. Nothing to do with the shows having anything in common. The comparison was meant to be insulting to the writing of the show. Letting Clay live was bad writing. However, while it was an insult, it was also highly relevant. As is my wanting to shoot Bobby in the face, which was a sentiment directly caused by the last few seconds of the episode. But you missed the point. I was asking why my wanting to shoot Bobby in the face would prompt you to call me a troll. The logic eludes me.
Reply
Flag
I GET YOU the gun. Need some bullets too?
The hell - I wanna do it! Treacherous, fat hypocrite that's what Bobby is.
Reply
Flag
You're a troll who rates his own comments... I'm sure from multiple accounts.
1
Reply
Flag
You don't know what a troll is. This is the only account I have, and I've never "liked" my own comments. This is a ridiculous theory for two reasons, (1) I hate keeping track of usernames and passwords because I have a shit memory. (2) I clearly post opinions that I know people will disagree with, so I clearly do not post comments for the purpose of getting "likes".
Also, why on earth would you even post this as a reply to THIS comment? How is it not a legitimate opinion that in a show like this traitors should be killed? I can see if some people believe it is a ruse, but if he did that behind Jax's back, it's hard to argue he shouldn't be killed.
Reply
Flag
why? Bobby is awsome.
1
Reply
Flag
for being a traitorous asshole? how is that not self evident?
1
Reply
Flag
I was hoping that his approach to Clay was engineered by Jax as a move to keep Clay off balance. If not, I'm with you. Bobby should sleep with the fish.
1
Reply
Flag
that was my theory, Jax has been too clever this season and Bobby has shown no signs of siding with Clay. I think its a ruse to get info/or something from Clay
1
Reply
Flag
It was good seeing Donal Logue again.. I'm still checking this site everyday hoping for news of somebody picking up 'Terriers'.. Futile, I know, but damn it! I want it!
Reply
Flag
Yet again every scene with Happy was stupendous, he can literally do no wrong in this show.
5
Reply
Flag
I know! Even his one-word votes are awesome. I'd like to see even more Happy.
1
Reply
Flag
Exactly, ever word he utters is pure gold.
1
Reply
Flag
Nero gave off a creepy Chris Cooper from American Beauty vibe. I thought he might actually shoot Gemma for toying with him. Would have really thrown a wrench into things and made for some great TV.
Reply
Flag
I was thinking that Clay might put a bullet through Gemma and Nero as they embraced, and while I want Clay dead, I would have been okay with this.
3
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook