Sons Of Anarchy Review: “Playing With Monsters” (Season 7, Episode 3)


Although SAMCRO has sidestepped their plans to become a legitimate organization, they haven’t left the porn industry behind. “Playing with Monsters” started by showcasing the more “normal” aspects of Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) life, before throwing viewers directly back into the mayhem. Sons of Anarchy also used Cara Cara as the backdrop for some far less amusing scenes later on in the episode, those of which became the catalyst for a meet-and-greet with the new sheriff in town – an event that took a surprising and altogether confusing turn.

Charming has gone through several main law enforcement agents over the seasons. The writers have never shied away from using and abusing their characters, and those wearing a badge have been consistent targets of this treatment. Unser (Dayton Callie) was pushed out of office, Hale and Roosevelt (and Agent Stahl) were killed, and now the writers are trying their luck with a female taking over this power position.

The MC has always tried to maintain an environment where they are basically the only criminal element. Much to the chagrin of the club, that is an act of kindness that has been often overlooked – especially when violence does spillover onto the streets of this quaint community. Obviously, it hasn’t always been a successful venture and is constant work, but there is at least some effort to keep the consequences of their outlaw ways outside of Charming city (er, town?) limits.

When Unser was in charge, he managed to find a middle ground, and it looks like the new sheriff also has some alternative ideas for relationship building in this area. But frankly, whatever angle the new sheriff is playing is troubling. It’s an interesting change within the narrative to have a law enforcement agent who could potentially be this willingly manipulated, but what’s conflicting is how forward she was about it all. There was nothing subtle about it her proposition. She didn’t try to analyze the situation and finesse her way into a pay day, she was just unattractively direct.

On top of her conspicuous approach, Sheriff Althea Jarry (Annabeth Gish) has decided to focus her energy on Chibs (Tommy Flanagan). It seems like such a normal thing, being attracted in another person, but for someone in her position to show interest in a member of the club, it’s almost like placing a flashing neon sign at the entrance to an on-ramp that says ‘trouble ahead,’ and expecting smooth sailing. It’s just not going to happen.

Besides seemingly buying into whatever the sheriff is selling, the club has gotten themselves mixed up with a very detailed, high-risk revenge plan that doesn’t seem to include an exit strategy. Kurt Sutter thrives off creating these elaborate intertwined story lines. He’s weaved all the characters together to the point that if Jax goes down, there will be a domino effect.