Sons Of Anarchy Review – Orca Shrugged (Season 5, Episode 5)

“Orca Shrugged,” this week’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, was a somewhat mixed bag, offering up much in the way of satisfying resolution, yet not being without a couple moments that stood out as feeling forced.

Beginning the episode was the return of Jax’s narration, an expository tool I’ve warmed up to since it was first introduced. Through it, Sutter provides the viewers with their first bit of resolution, giving Jax an outlet for his feelings inspired by Opie’s death.

Last episode, Jax was oddly silent on the matter, dealing mostly in quiet contemplation, so it was nice to hear his thoughts laid bare in such a fashion. I’m still not sure if I approve of this particular tool being used on a week-to-week basis, as it could be construed as a cheap and easy way of telling the viewer things that would be better off left to be revealed through other means, but it works in this case.

Following that, Sutter wastes no time getting down to business, and quite literally. Jax, along with most of the club, is in a hurry to wash his hands of SAMCRO’s recent dealings and get in bed with Nero, and it’s not long before that arrangement is made official.

Clay does raise a concern, that they don’t know for sure yet if Nero can be trusted, but he’s the sole dissenting voice and, seeing this, moves that they vote now as opposed to putting it off as they’ve done with the matter involving his murdering Piney, one I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever see get resolved. A quick vote later and it’s decided, SAMCRO soon will be in bed with prostitutes, though not literally, at least not in this particular case.

That leaves securing the property Jax brought up to Nero last week, and for that Jax must get in bed with an even stranger bedfellow, Hale. Though it was relegated to an afterthought last season, and was seemingly shelved indefinitely in the finale thanks to Lincoln Potter’s comical departure, which made it little more than a punchline, Hale isn’t about to stop fighting the uphill battle of making Charming Heights a reality. Except it may now not be quite as lost a cause, as Jax throws him a life-preserver in the form of blackmail against the man who was prepared to give Charming Heights its dying blow. On top of that, Jax tells him he’ll find Hale another financial backer.

But hold up, what happened to the club wanting to stonewall Charming Heights? Obviously, this is all some sort of ploy by Jax, but to what end? I don’t doubt it’ll make sense soon, but for the moment it feels like somewhat of a contradiction of what all was established last season.

Furthermore, what of Nero’s end of this deal? As Jax requested, he’s forcibly removed himself from Gemma’s life. Without him, she’s left to try and fill the hole with female prostitutes. But, when that fails, she reinserts herself just as forcibly as Nero had removed himself, demanding he provide her a reason for this sudden change.

At first, he treats her coldly, clearly wanting her just to leave; however, his efforts find no traction as Gemma only becomes more and more determined to figure this conundrum of hers out. Then, when he tries to extricate himself from the situation, she pulls him back in and he takes her, and matters, into his own hands, forcing her up against the wall.

For a moment, it looks as if they’re about to kiss, their faces less than an inch apart, but Nero holds back. Like he tells her, his kid is more important than what they have, and the only way of ensuring his kid has the future he wants him to is by going along with what Jax said. This all makes for arguably the strongest scene of the episode and paves the way for the next welcome resolution.

That would be the one between Tara and Gemma. At this point, both women are broken, no more fight left in them. Gemma’s now lost not just one but two lovers and she fears she’s about to lose her son due to misplaced (or so Jax thinks, not knowing her true involvement in his father’s death) hatred. Tara still hasn’t healed, literally and figuratively, from when Clay’s men tried to kidnap her and injured her arm to such a degree that she worries she’ll never again be a surgeon, only reinforced by her inability to stitch together the bite wound on Tig’s butt cheek.

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