Paul Risker reviews the ninth episode of Sons of Anarchy season 5….
A solemn family reunion and a plan that doesn’t come together…
In what was not an uncommon occurrence, the previous episode of Sons of Anarchy closed on a typically dramatic note, at least as far as the fortunes of Chibs and Gemma was concerned.
Chibs was left for dead at the side of the road by Frankie Diamonds. Meanwhile Jax offered Gemma an ultimatum to repair the ties with her family, whose pleas that she has gone cold turkey fell on deaf ears. Instead Jax plans to hold the automobile crash as leverage over her, turning her into a pawn to be used in his war with Clay. Jax needs proof that the Nomads were acting on his orders, and Jax instructs Gemma, “He’d do anything for you, let him in. Get his trust. I want you to be with him, sleep with him. Make him feel like a king. The dirty secrets will start to flow just like they always did.”
In response to her question of what would happen should she not, Jax with cold conviction tells her, “Then get used to living in a brothel, because hookers and bangers are going to be your only family.”
Recap over; episode nine, “Andare Pescare” contradicts Jax’s warning. Nero and Gemma grow closer, taking Carla’s ashes to a graveyard where they break into a crypt. Nero in a moment of emotional intimacy opens up to her and expresses a deep rooted fear. “Please don’t let that ever be me”, he tells her.
They visit his son Lucius, and she shares with him the story of how her younger, eighteen year-old self first hooked up with SAMCRO. He even buys two love birds for her, and he even goes so far as to shrug off Jax’s warning from earlier in the season. As far as Nero’s concerned, he’s too old to be told who he can and cannot date. This is the episode where Nero finally commits to Gemma for the future, but SAMCRO and family politics complicate Gemma being able to reciprocate.
Before his love bird gesture, Gemma’s visit with Jax is a moment of decision, in which she chooses between the past and the present, and the future with Nero. She accepts Jax’s ultimatum, though not without issuing her own terms. “The thing you want me to do with Clay, I can’t do both. If I’m going to go back to that place, I need to know what you promised is real.” She needs Tara to assure her that she will honour Jax’s promise. Tara tells her that if she does what is asked of her, then she can have a key to the house.
This moment is not a tender family reunion. Rather it is a dark chapter in the Teller family history. Jax asks her, “You good?” Her reply is a solemn, “No son, I’m really not.” But then perhaps no character should feel good about the future. It is setting itself up to be a dark prospect with already too much bloodshed.
“Andare Pescare” sees a plan orchestrated by Jax and Bobby that whilst it doesn’t come together is interesting if only for the seemingly pointless motivation.
Jax tells Bobby that they need to get to Frankie first, to prevent either Clay or any of the other Sons killing him. In order for Roosevelt to give-up the name of the “Rat”, Frankie needs to be handed over alive.
In dramatic fashion they manage to intercede and stop Clay or Juice from pulling the trigger, but before Jax and the others arrive, along with the mob boss who has taken $150,000 payment from Frankie for protection is none too happy to hear he stole something closer to $500,000 from SAMCRO and their associates. At this point the deal is null and void. Whilst they are successful in saving Frankie from Clay’s trigger finger, mob boss Leo Pirelli is none too happy to find his guy dead, courtesy of Frankie, which to cut a long story short is how Frankie meets his end.
This of course is not before Frankie passes onto Juice a piece of information which will be oh so important to the remainder of the season. He tells Juice that Clay was the one who gave the orders for the home invasions, and that they stole the safe to obtain the legal documents. Despite Juice’s response that Frankie is a liar, how much time will elapse before Juice considers the fact that Frankie didn’t speak just a few words of truth when he looked his probable executioner in the eye?
An irritated Jax is reminded by Bobby that without evidence to prove Clay’s involvement, any accusations will only come across as vindictive. Little do they know that Juice is the guardian of the evidence they so desperately seek.
Jax meets Roosevelt in the woods, with Frankie’s body in his trunk. Confronted with one dead body, Roosevelt has no desire to be responsible for a second dead body and refuses to give-up the name of the “Rat.” But Jax knows that it is not Tig, Chibs, Clay, Bobby or Happy, but the one Son who only recently tried to hang himself: Juice (in season 4). There is little reason to take Frankie alive for Roosevelt. The real motivation should have been to prove Clay set in motion the home invasions, and in so doinghis actions were counterproductive to the club.
Roosevelt speaks up for Juice and tries to explain to Jax that he had no choice, but as far as Jax is concerned everyone as a choice.
The episode concludes with Jax tailing Juice as he leaves Clay’s house, but just exactly how this matter will be dealt with is yet to be determined, though Jax’s actions could impact a possible SAMCRO peace.
At Teller-Morrow, in an exchange with Bobby about Jax’s leadership, Clay’s conscience, there is a telling sign of a possible peace if Clay is to be trusted. Bobby reminds him of how much he wants the President’s seat, to which Clay replies “I thought I did.” Bobby tells him that he better be as clever as he thinks he is. Knowing what Clay doesn’t know, is that the former President is not clear of the debris yet; still one final threat to his survival lurks in the form of his closest ally.
Jax’s pursuit of Juice could inevitably shatter any prospect for peace. What is developing into an intriguing storyline of this season is Clay and Juices growing loyalty, which will be the tipping point for season 5’s denouement.
Watch this space.
Paul Risker is co-editor in chief of Wages of Film, freelance writer and contributor to Flickering Myth and Scream The Horror Magazine.