Sons of Anarchy returned last week with a slow, but poignant start. For one, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) exacted his revenge on the man he thought was most directly responsible for Tara’s death in a most gruesome fashion (I don’t know about you, but I won’t be eating fortune cookies anytime soon). Elsewhere, Gemma (Katey Sagal) skated through the first hurdle in throwing everyone off the possibility that she had anything to do with the unfortunate events, all while protecting Juice (Theo Rossi). And, Unser (Dayton Callie) scored himself an interesting new position back on the “right” side of the law.
On tonight’s episode, “Toil and Till,” Jax laid out his detailed plan to take down Lin and his operation, as part of his epic supply of payback for Tara’s murder. It’s more than a little unsettling to watch all of his carefully laid out plans to remove the club from both guns and drugs and move the organization in a legitimate direction, which has been a highlight of the last several season, fall to the wayside. Especially since the death of his wife wasn’t strictly related to club business.
Although, you could make an argument, a winning one at that, that Gemma’s actions were a direct result of the club and the sense of fear that its loved ones feel on a daily basis. It’s doesn’t lessen her actions, but Gemma was terrified that Tara was betraying her son, and that she would lose him and her grandchildren because of it. Think about it – if you remove the club from the equation, everyone would be living happily ever after in Mayberry (as Lin so cheerfully nicknamed Charming in this episode).
I will give credit to Gemma for at least appearing to feel bad about what she’d done to Tara. When Abel asked her how she knew that his mother was in heaven she replied, “Because your mother was an angel on Earth, and all angels go to heaven.” It’s kind of a backhanded compliment with a genuine delivery, but at least it acknowledges that Tara was a decent person in her mind. Later on in the episode we see Gemma hold back tears as she briefly takes in a few photos from the crime scene. She has never been the most upstanding character on the show, although she’s definitely had her moments, but this situation will never be as black and white as fans may want either.