Ed. note: We're trying something a little different this season with our Sons of Anarchy
reviews. Instead of having one person compose his or her thoughts for
you each week, we've decided it would be more fun to tag-team SOA in a conversation-style
review. So each week we'll discuss the episode and all the violence
Kurt Sutter feels we deserve, while still bringing you coverage of TV's
most violent drama.
TIM: Let's see, what happened in the premiere? Oh yeah! A kid in an adorable little dress shirt walked into a school and shot up the joint. The big question going into "One One Six" was what the shooting would mean to the club. And, as expected and basically explained all over the internet last week as a form of damage control, SAMCRO's gun business was indirectly responsible for class being dismissed early that day. It was a potentially heavy rock to turn over for Sons of Anarchy, complete with all the politics that accompany drumming up such a sensitive topic, but it appears that the show won't be taking the podium to lecture us on gun safety. And to that I say, "Works for me." Though SOA dunks itself in violence each week, it's never really politicized it, so why should it start now? Instead, "One One Six" focused on the public's reaction to the school shooting and how it will affect the club. There's an argument to be made for "Why did the writers include a school shooting in the first place if they weren't going to tackle it head on?" But we have 24-hour news cycles for that, and I'm here to watch bikers kick ass, not reenact Crossfire.
KAITLIN: I'm also on board with the show not politicizing the shooting, but—and I know we've only seen one episode since it happened—I DO feel like the series is wasting some potential with this storyline by not incorporating the shooting more thoroughly. Three kids died, and we saw how that affected Jax with his own children for about two seconds, but after that it was all, "Oh shit, we better clean this mess up and make sure it doesn't blow back on us." I just don't want the show to waste an opportunity.
TIM: Right. What SOA is doing is using the storyline as a way to get the club out of guns. This is a lot like what the series did with drugs last season. It seems like these guys always have internal debates about what illegal activities they should or shouldn't be participating in, and I understand that's a realistic problem for a club, but I hope there's a twist to it this time. Based on what we've seen in past seasons, I'm guessing the club will be divided over the gun issue (Chibs seems ready to flash his NRA card), there will be pressure from the outside to stay in the business (Galen isn't ready to stop shipping guns), and it will be a key component of an ongoing investigation against them (that gift just landed in Toric's lap). I miss the days when life was simpler and SAMCRO's biggest worry was a rival gang blowing their heads off. It's early in the season, but I currently don't see anything but this gun problem (and those who will use it against them) as being an immediate threat. Step up, Persians! I mean, Iranians!
KAITLIN: (Dude, Galen was a dick! I wanted to smack that smirk right off of his face.) It looks like Season 6 is the Season of Guns. But Jax is acting like getting the club out of running guns is going to be easy, telling Tara how they're going to go legit like it's no big deal. And speaking of Tara, she's making some moves of her own. Specifically, she's going ahead with the guardian stuff, and unless I'm going completely insane, did I hear the word divorce?
TIM: I've never bought into Tara's "let's hand the kids to the former junkie" plan, but that's what the show is sticking with. Doesn't she have ANY other friends? Or is that what putting everything into a motorcycle club does to you? Hopefully the ends justify the means, because I love tension between Tara and Jax. How amazing was that quick scene when Jax picked her up from prison? They didn't say ANYTHING to each other, and then BAM, the credits rolled. That was very powerful, and it showed how far apart they are. The way their relationship was handled was great in this episode. They were both standoffish, yet they still showed glimmers of being really into each other. Whether it was out of habit or out of a responsibility to the children, or maybe even just to play their roles, it was a fascinating watch. And the episode closed with them doin' it, but doin' it so... mechanically. They were so glum. They're playing house. And will every episode end with Jax humping? I know some people who will be okay with that.
KAITLIN: I would probably be one of those people. I mean, I, uh, I watch this show for the articles. Anyway, that was another case of Sutter & Co. showing instead of telling, and I think it was really successful. But I do feel like the show fast-tracked Tara's unhappiness a bit. She's been looking for a way out of Charming for awhile now—ever since her hand was broken during that botched fake kidnapping in Season 4—but she's never acted like she didn't also love Jax at the same time. I guess prison has changed her outlook on life and opened her eyes to what's really important. Something I'm sure Clay Morrow knows a thing or two about.
TIM: What a perfect segue into Clay's story! It seems like we never know exactly what Clay's up to, and this situation is no different. He's game to take Toric's deal to save his ass, but he played his leverage and said he'd only do it if he got to talk to Gemma and Jax first so he could be an honorable rat. Are we sure we believe that? You just never know with Clay. I felt for Gemma when she went to see him and he groveled; that's got to be confusing as all heck. And when Jax didn't make time to see Clay, it was hard to tell whether Clay's feelings were hurt or if he was simply bummed that he wouldn't be able to make the deal. Maybe it was a little bit of both. But his ass got saved anyway, thanks to Toric forging his signature on talking papers—that's how insane and vengeful Toric is. I'm no officer of the law, but I do believe that's illegal.
KAITLIN: I didn't get the impression that Clay's feelings were hurt when Jax blew him off. Part of me thinks he knew Jax would never show up, that he was relieved he didn't have to sign the papers and turn rat. I mean, he's not Juice, you know? He's stronger than that. But then again, Clay's always out to save Clay, and he's terrified of not being in protective custody, so who knows at this point? Like you said: We never know what the F Clay is up to. Also, it'll be interesting to see his reaction when he discovers the forgery. Which, by the way, I just feel like Toric didn't prepare enough to forge that. He didn't even stare at a copy of Clay's signature at all beforehand. And you know this isn't Toric's first time. He's a professional at bending the rules to fit his own agenda. Shoddy work on his part. I want CCH Pounder, who plays the DA Toric was nagging, to kick his ass for that later on.
TIM: Although "One One Six" was a much quieter episode than the premiere, there still was some sweet, sweet violence, and it came from the cabin in the woods. SAMCRO relocated Darby/Darmody/Darcy (whatever her name was), the mother of Matthew the school shooter, out to the boonies to make sure the Feds didn't get a chance to talk to her. Or just as likely, to make sure she didn't get a chance to talk to the Feds. Yowzers, this was tense. Dealing with a potential tattle-tale is tough, and who can blame Whatshername for being scared and uncooperative? There was a bad play here courtesy of Acadio (Dave Navarro), Nero's cousin, who ran after her when she flipped out and drew a shottie on everyone. Dude, you should have played the middleman and talked her down instead of running into the van after her. Keep the peace, man. Still, I don't think he expected Nero to nail him with a headshot. I certainly didn't expect Nero to do that. A little trigger-happy, are we Nero? Whatever happened to the ol' shoot-'em-in-the-leg trick? You could learn something from Person of Interest, bro. And that was your cuzzzzzzzzin, man. Brutal. All the crying in the world won't cover up the fact that you messed up.
KAITLIN: Speaking of all the crying in the world—JUICE. The poor guy is still trying to work his way back into Jax's good graces after snitching, so that means he gets to do all the really shitty jobs that Jax needs done. He helped set Clay up last season after Clay treated him like a son. He got his ass kicked last week by Chibs so Chibs could get right with everything that has happened. And this week he had to pump Whatsherface full of heroin and then smother her on Jax's orders. At least Jax had the decency to jump in when Nero went off on Juice (this lie will obviously come back to bite the Sons in the ass later this season, right?). Still, man, can't we just have one season where Juice isn't getting shit on? I don't know how much longer he'll last. Or how much longer I'll last.
TIM: The thing that hit me hardest about Juice's job as Jax's bitch was his face; it was just so empty. Theo Rossi is so underrated, he's been doing a great job for years. I also think "One One Six" will be underrated since it lacked a lot of the explosiveness of the premiere, but I thought it was great. Lots of good character setup and a solid sense of direction for the season. To me, it felt like a more mature episode of SOA that didn't try to do too much and it benefited because of it.
KAITLIN: When I compare "One One Six" to the premiere, I think "One One Six" was the stronger of the two episodes. The season-long stories are slowly moving forward, and it wasn't weighed down like it could have been, given its status as the first episode after a school-shooting. If the show keeps this up, I'll be pleased.
– So far, the Bobby storyline is what it is. He's recruiting members to go Nomad and he's got three of the four required. If the whole season just visits him sporadically recruiting people until he has like a hundred and then we see him riding with 100 dudes, I (Kaitlin) will be happy. But for now, it's not really enthralling.
– So, in this lady prison you can beat the shit out of another inmate and then get released the next day?
– One thing I (Tim) never even thought about was that Clay's first name is Clarence. Haha, Clarence.
– Tara's hair was looking a lot better this week! You go, girl.
– The C. Thomas Howell comeback continues! Welcome back, star of Sideout!
What'd you think of "One One Six"?
AIRED ON 12/9/2014
Season 7 : Episode 13