There are very few episodes of any show that I have had to literally stop and take a few minutes after watching to decompress before I can even form words to describe it – tonight’s episode of Sons of Anarchy was one of them. Although the title “Poor Little Lambs” sounds more like something you might see scrolling through a list of Pretty Little Liars episodes, it makes perfect sense when the credits roll (since “Like Lambs to the Slaughter” might have been a tad too graphic).
Sons of Anarchy set us up, in the simplest terms. Viewers were drawn in as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) attempted to pick up the pieces of his post-Tara life in a very aggressive manner, but overall, the first three episodes of the season were unapologetically lacklustre. Sure, there were some great chase scenes and plenty of brutality (and irony) to go around, but in terms of actual story, there was a lot going on but not really enough of a sense of urgency to give fans a reason to care. Jax, clearly blinded by his own personal turmoil, set in motion a flawed plan, and the club, walking on eggshells around his grief, followed suit. After tonight’s fatal ending, something tells me that his eyes are wide open now.
Kurt Sutter and his writing team masterfully manipulated viewers into a false sense of security and then tore off in a new direction by the end of “Poor Little Lambs.” The pace of the show has been expectantly slow as Jax tried his hand at playing puppet master, moving players around the board to fit into his elaborate revenge plan. I think at this point we can call his initial attempt an epic failure. Somewhere along the line someone who he trusted, or he was hoping to motivate into being trustworthy, went rogue and whispered his secrets to the wrong person (best guess, Jury).
The body count was already high going into this episode, but now we’ve crossed over into uncharted territory. In the past, mass casualties have always been reserved for the opposition. There have been a lot of close calls over the seasons and main characters killed off, but for the most part the home team has remained the safer side to be on. The strategic deaths of friends and family of the club have been used to move the story forward in very specific ways, but as a whole, threats have been warded off (e.g. in the warehouse explosion last season everyone managed to evacuate the clubhouse before the bomb went off). And, in “Poor Little Lambs,” it looked like viewers were in for more of that same tactic – which made the ending that much more shocking.
If Jax was under any illusion that plotting to destroy Lin wasn’t going to have any blow back on his club, he isn’t anymore. His revenge has taken a tragic turn, and this time the consequences landed right on his doorstep. In this war, the players aren’t concerned with badges or innocent bystanders; they are only interested in inflicting their message through the loudest possible medium. Lin knows that the Sons hit his drug buy, and it’s only a matter of time before Marks figures it out – and by then, Jax better have a more imaginative plan in his back pocket.