Sons of Anarchy Review: “Poenitentia” (Season 6, Episode 3)


Jax’s (Charlie Hunnam) decision making process has been somewhat compromised by his emotional baggage in the last few episodes of Sons of Anarchy. He has put the best interest of the club in the corner, and replaced the contents of the pedestal with his own personal agenda. As the club becomes more visibly affected by the recent choices made by leadership, Jax is starting to come around. Although he still makes it very apparent that his family is his number one priority, which we saw in his loaded threat to Toric (Donal Logue), he also gives one up for the team when he lets his grudge against Clay (Ron Perlman) fall to the sidelines in favor of severing ties with the Irish.

Somewhere in between his emotional decisions and those that are mutually beneficial for the Sons of Anarchy, is one that fans have been holding their breaths and hoping would never come. For five seasons fans have watched as Tig (Kim Coates) pulled himself back and forth across the grey area. We grieved with him when he lost his daughter, and we cried tears of joy with him when Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) met an early grave. We seethed at him when Donna (Sprague Graydon) took the bullet meant for Opie (Ryan Hurst) , and berated him when he couldn’t let go of his grudge against Kozik (Kenneth Johnson). We have watched him pledge his allegiance to both presidents of the MC in blinding loyalty. And now, we will watch the beginning of his end.

As much warning as audiences had that this inevitable moment was approaching, it still felt like something that was in the distant future. Everything on Sons of Anarchy has a way of catching up with itself, and when Tig reacted to the taunting from the Iranian, he made the decision for Jax. The further the club gets from stability, the less room there is for a trigger happy, loose cannon. It wasn’t a club decision, but out of all the choices season six has already show us, it seems like the most obvious one. Keeping Clay alive, however, doesn’t feel like a fair trade. It certainly doesn’t provide fans with restitution for what is probably coming next. The signed and delivered parts have been checked off, but the situation is not yet sealed. I, personally, plan to live in denial until then.

The position between a rock and hard place is exactly where Jax found himself on this episode. He needed Clay alive to transition the club out of the gun business. There’s certainly too much heat with the possibility of the school shooting being traced back to the club for it to even resemble a wise decision to keep distributing. With Clay being a) the fall guy for Pope’s murder, and b) privy to way too much SAMCRO history, the Niners (or, whatever Pope Industry creatively calls themselves these days) were demanding retribution – and reasonably so. The burden of providing them with it fell on Jax. Since he has been keeping the entire situation very close to his vest, he couldn’t take it to the table. On one hand, this alleviates the guilty conscious of a brotherhood. On the other hand, it puts all the pressure on him to make the right call. The bigger problem is that there isn’t a clear-cut “right” call, there’s only the one with the least amount of collateral damage.

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