How else can I describe the second-to-last episode of Sons of Anarchy‘s fifth season other than with a single word: happenstance. “Darthy” was obviously meant to be a murky episode for all the show’s major players, Clay’s being stripped of his patch causing the club to tear apart at the seams, but I know Sutter didn’t intend for it to all play out in such a hard-to-swallow fashion.
It all began last week when Bobby negotiated with Clay in order to save his life. In “Darthy” he explains to Jax what drove him to do that, talking about not wanting Jax to sprint headlong down the same path as Clay, but it never quite gels. Since the start, Bobby’s seen Jax as the golden boy of the club and has done his best to mentor him, to help him become the sort of president Clay never was. On that count, his actions make a certain amount of sense. He also knew, as he tells Jax, that they had no proof of Clay’s involvement with the Nomads. This was his way of convincing Clay to come forward, incriminating himself and thus saving them the trouble.
But what was to stop him from going back on his promise? Clay was out of the room and thus would’ve been unaware of his betrayal until it came time for him to meet “Mr. Mayhem.” It would’ve taken Clay out of the picture permanently, something Bobby of seasons past wouldn’t exactly lobby against, especially if he knew what Bobby knows now.
Lastly, it would’ve saved Jax from having to take matters into and put blood onto his own hands, what Bobby seemed to want to prevent. Why was it, then, that he stuck to the script he’d fed Clay, a move which he should’ve realized would be counter-intuitive?
Jax is now set against him and teetering even nearer the territory once occupied by Clay. It says a lot about him as a character that I fell for the cheap baiting at the end, taking Tig’s comment about “it” being ready to shoot as a suggestion that Jax was about to put a bullet through Wendy’s endlessly yapping skull.
Though what he actually ended up shooting her with was somehow worse. By pressing down on the plunger of that syringe, Jax robbed Wendy of everything she’d worked so hard to regain. Firstly, and most importantly, she’s now lost her ability to lobby for custody on the strength of her reform, it making her a better guardian in the eyes of the court than Jax.
But there’s also the matter of her sobriety which is now most likely (pun intended) shot. No differently than a single drink can send a recovering alcoholic reeling back into old habits, this dose could very well make Wendy back into what Jax and Tara saw her as when she first started coming after Abel, a junkie. Rather than simply kill her, letting her die with a clear head, Jax has seen fit to ruin her life but let her go on living with little hope of regaining that life she’d worked so hard to rebuild for herself.
One would find it hard to believe, but Clay suddenly looks almost virtuous when put alongside Jax. His past crimes are numerous and well-documented, but he’s not the same man who committed them. He outs himself as the one behind the home invasions, at Bobby’s bequest, takes his being booted out of the club as well as could be expected, only breaking down once and that when he was by himself, and wants merely what he’d been working towards all those years as president, “retiring” in essence with Gemma at his side.
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