TIM: OMG KAITLIN! Breaking news! I loved this episode of Sons of Anarchy! That's right, Mr. Whiney Complainerson had a ball watching "You Are My Sunshine," and it had everything to do with finally seeing some movement in a season that's been pretty constipated. The penultimate episode of Season 6 kicked the show's ass into gear and pushed everything forward super fast after straining to do anything but run around in circles during the hunt for signatures on documents and figure out a way to decline the Irish's insistence on a business partnership. The mad dash for the finish line started two weeks ago in "Aon Rud Persanta," but two long-dangling stories—Tara's desperate attempt to escape from her hubby's evil influence, and the Sons' desperate attempt to escape from the gun business—really hit their stride this week. Finally, some actual progress! I feel relieved.
KAITLIN: Are you saying that we actually agree on the awesomeness of this episode? Because I also loved it. I loved every double-cross that Jax planned, even if in my head I was saying "OMG, WHAT?" And I loved every conflicted emotion that washed over Tara's face as she struggled with her decision to rat on the club. But most importantly, I loved that this episode continued to restore my faith in Sons of Anarchy in the aftermath of Clay's oh-so-satisfying death. We've both had our complaints about this season, and I stand by them, but everything appears to be paying off now that we're in the homestretch of Season 6, and I couldn't be happier. I'm actually chomping at the bit for next week's season finale, and I haven't felt that sort of impatience for a new episode in quite awhile. Welcome back, Sons!
TIM: And also, goodbye, sons! Tara found herself stuck between two options: Rat on the club and get immunity for herself while keeping Abel and Thomas away from the splash damage of SAMCRO's family-destroying behavior, or stick with the club, hope she beats the trial, and watch her sons dodge bullets for the rest of their lives. So instead she chose a third option... grab the kids and runnnnnn! We saw the pain on her face as she struggled make a decision, we were led to believe that she was walking into Patterson's office to snitch, and then she hightailed it to a seedy motel with the kids. We may be looking at a situation where she pulls a fourth option out of her ass in the finale, but as far as I can tell, she's going Amber Alert and skipping town. Having the boys in tow retains her sense of security without destroying SAMCRO, but what will that mean to Jax when he can't sing "You Are My Sunshine" to his children? I think the best scene in the episode was the goodbye between Jax and Tara in the cabin. Jax thought Tara was apologizing for what she'd already done, but we all knew Tara was apologizing for what she was about to do. Pair that with the pain on Jax's face at the end of the episode, and this was the best Jax and Tara's storyline has been all season long.
KAITLIN: And how about that "She took my sons!" line as he sat angry and devastated in their room? A direct echo of when Cameron kidnapped Abel in the Season 2 finale. Only this time he was talking about his wife, someone he trusted and loved more than anyone else. Poor guy. He cleans up one mess only to be force fed another. But you're right, this is the best we've seen Jax and Tara this season, and I'm actually torn on what I want to see come of it. Their relationship has been a through-line connecting each and every season of the show, so it isn't as if Tara's just going to be able to disappear now. Especially if Patterson has Roosevelt and his men out looking for her, in addition to Jax and the club, who will undoubtedly be on Find Tara duty next week. But I'll be really, really pissed if Season 7 becomes a story about Jax trying to hunt down Tara and the kids. We've been through that already. I'd like for this little bit of drama to somehow be wrapped up in next week's finale, because it already looks like Kurt Sutter has Season 7's main storyline ready to go: Jax and SAMCRO vs. Nero. Juice's confession about killing Darvany on Jax's orders was something that had to come back to bite Jax in the ass eventually. Naturally, it happened at the worst possible time.
TIM: That was the spicy twist that made this episode even better! I thought Nero was going to give Jax a DDT or that he was prepping Jax for a suplex when he had his hand on Jax's back at the end of the episode. That was outstanding work by Jimmy Smits. His hollow eyes told us so many things, the biggest of which was, "None of you have any idea what I'm going to do next," and that's exactly how it should've been. It's been a while since SOA had me on nervous edge, but there I was, nearly wetting myself. Even though Jax's decision to have Darvany offed was better in the long run for everyone involved (that B was totally C and would have F'd the MC), Jax made a decision that leapfrogged Nero's authority—and then he lied about it. These homies are supposed to be business partners, and Jax put himself above that. Of course, Nero is now so entrenched in SAMCRO's business (and in Jax's mom), things get a little more complicated than just blind retribution. I wonder if the olive branch Marcus Alvarez offered up to Nero does turn this show into a gang war for Season 7 like you think. With Clay gone, the Sons need someone to hate on. It's been a while since they've hated the Mayans, so why not? As Alvarez said, "Brown and Yellow versus Black and White." Gang war, turf war, AND race war? I'd be okay with that! Although I'm not sure how many Yellows are left after SAMCRO pulled off another crazy, bloody trick in getting out of guns. It's a wonder SAMCRO had any business with the way they run things.
KAITLIN: It's also amazing the garage gets any work at all when Chuckie's trying to barter repair services for chinchillas, but I digress. If Sons of Anarchy was the type of show that was recognized by Emmy voters, I'd start the Jimmy Smits campaign right now. He's been turning in phenomenal work all season long and that last shot of him in "You Are My Sunshine" was the crowning moment. I'd also throw a little love towards Theo Rossi as well, because even though I mention my love for Juice often, Rossi's probably one of the most underrated actors on the series. He's completely sold the quiet hollowness of Juice this season, from the empty look in his eyes as he killed Darvany, to the moment he stared down the oncoming car a few weeks ago. Juice's storyline has been better this season than any other season, I think. That being said, I'd prefer it if Dark and Empty Juice went away forever and never came back. I'm not sure I can take anymore of it, even though I know it's not really probable that he'll suddenly be all sunshine and rainbows. But it's been going on for, what, three seasons now? If you were wetting yourself at the thought of what Nero was going to do to Jax in those final moments, I was wetting myself from the moment Juice walked into Diosa until the moment he fell to the ground crying after spilling Jax's secrets.
TIM: Darkest Timeline Juice needs some help! This could be Sutter's way of showing how a thuggish life can turn a happy-go-lucky jokester into a bottomless pit of despair, but man oh man, is it torture to watch. You know who else needs help? Connor! I love Connor! He's like the only decent guy left in this show. "It's been an interesting road, Jackson. One I'm really forward to getting off of." Amen, Connor. Ditch all these scumbags, particularly Jax. Our King in the North(ern Cali) continues to take risky steps to get out of the gun business, and while they're yielding instant results, they may not work in the long term. Are the Chinese done? Will the Mayans step up and retaliate for August Marks getting all the guns? Marcus called SAMCRO the referees in this power struggle, and SAMCRO is playing favorites and rigging the game. Ironically, getting out of the gun business might just lead to SAMCRO ending up on the business ends of a bunch of guns. This season looks like it's going to end on a very strong note, in preparation for a terrific finish to the series.
– After several seasons of being a relatively silent prop, Abel would not shut up in this episode! Get your SAG card, kiddo!
– Lots of good Tigness in this episode. After all he's done, Tig was worried about blood getting into the rat's nest that sits atop his head. Then he gave us this charmer: "Oh yeah right, like you've never had electrodes on your sack." And of course, Jax playfully reminded us that Tig is not above making love to corpses. Oh Tig. Don't ever change.
– What did you all think of that angry biker folk version of "You Are My Sunshine"?
– Jax talking to Patterson at the beginning of the episode: "But from what I've seen on the news, I delivered everything I promised." First, he delivered what he said through deception (Galen and Clay are dead) and mayhem (one of Patterson's men was killed and others were injured). Second, Jax watches the news?
– Tara hit Wendy! YES!!! "I'm your real mom!" Shut up, Wendy, you smackhead. Now you got smacked in the head.
– We all know Bobby was perfectly healthy enough to hold his own penis while peeing. That was some weird power play with West, right?
– Is that bullet that Tara pulled out of Bobby not important anymore? What's happening with that?
– It's no surprise the line of the night went to the vastly underused August Marks as he was dealing with the racist Irish: "And if it helps, my mom's maiden name is McDuffy."