Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sons of Anarchy, "Capybara": Stand by your Opie

Spoilers for last night's "Sons of Anarchy" coming right up...

That's two estrogen-heavy episodes in a row, with much of the plot being driven by the manipulations of Agent Stahl (a lady who doth protest too much about this case now being personal) and Gemma (who appears to have decided that she'll have an easier time controlling Wendy than she will Tara). Ally Walker and Katey Sagal continue to tear it up, so I'm not complaining, but it's interesting to see how a show in such a testosterone-laden milieu is being dominated at the moment by two middle-aged women.

And on the male side of the ledger, Ryan Hurst continues to demand promotion to regular status next year. It's amazing how much more vulnerable he looks just by taking off his usual headgear, and I'm really, really hoping that Deputy Chief Hale finds a way to tip SAMCRO off about Opie not being the rat (without also letting them kill the actual civilian witness).

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: after a bumpy beginning, "Sons of Anarchy" is really clicking right now.

Finally, for those of you who weren't happy that last week's review initially featured a photo of Stahl with her face bloodied from Otto's attack, let me again apologize. In general, I'm very vigilant about not putting any kind of spoiler material on the main blog page to protect people who time shift, but I was so hypnotized by the image of Ally Walker looking so dazed, confused and furious that I couldn't resist making a screencap of it. Won't happen again.

What did everybody else think?

27 comments:

dave s said...

Is there a way to catch up with this online? The first couple episodes seem to be on the FX web site, but then it skips to episode six.

Hatfield said...

I can't believe you posted that picture of Tig and Clay conspiring!

Just kidding, I probably shouldn't poke fun at the people who were mad about last week; not their fault I have no life and therefore can watch every week right at 10. As for this episode, sheesh, I am wore out. The whole thing felt like a race against time that Opie was losing without even realizing it, so even though it took its time (or maybe because of that) this episode had me more tense than I've been since the Sopranos finale. I really like Opie, and obviously Ryan Hurst, so all I could think about was how screwed he seems to be. C'mon, Hale, you gotta come through! My hope is that they wouldn't telegraph it so clearly and then kill him anyway, but then I think about Stringer Bell, and I get scared again.

Walker is great, but I still have problems with Gemma. It's not Sagal's fault, she's acting the hell out of the material, but her hate for Tara seems silly enough as it is--now we're to believe she would rather have the woman she tried to kill who almost caused the death of her unborn grandson? I get why, I suppose, but it doesn't play for me.

No matter, that is a minor irritation in what has quickly become my favorite show (that's airing currently, anyway).

Also, I hope this isn't spoilery, because it's a legit question: the preview for next week said that next week's episode is the last before the finale, but I thought this was only number ten and we had thirteen. I guess I should just trust what FX says, right?

jengod said...

Dave S., you should be able to find most of what you need on Hulu: http://www.hulu.com/sons-of-anarchy

As for the ep, Opie and Donna rock my world. They're so fabulous just by themselves, and almost essential as a mirror of Jax and Tara. Hurst and Grayden not only bring the pretty, but they can also make me cry.

As for the Tig-Clay conspiracy, I think they're going to go after Opie, but someone else is going to get plugged instead.

jghowel said...

great episode, but what im confused and wondering about is how the ATF lady knew that Jax was the get-away driver and lookout.....anyone got any thoughts about that??

Carolyn said...

I assumed that Stahl was basically just guessing that Jax was the driver and waiting to see Bobby's reaction to that.

Given that Donna leaped in with "Jax won't let that happen!" when Stahl tried to threaten her, I think she decided just to throw his name in there to stir the pot some more.

jengod said...

I agree. I think Stahl guessed it was Jax, knowing that he and Opie are usually a matched set.

As for Donna's outburst, I think it was more foreshadowing. She's right, Jax would die before he let anything happen to Opie. Heck, for that matter, a lot of the heft behind Opie's declaration, "I can protect my family," was because he and Jax together can protect each other and each other's families. (And they do.)

Long story short, Jax will end up in the middle of whatever goes down.

Kevin Michaels said...

Another great episode. What really works for me in this show is the tension - there's this sense of a ticking clock hanging over everyone (not just about the obvious but also with the relationship between Jax and Tig, Gemma and Tara/Wendy, Clay and Jax....). Some day in some film school somewhere the students will do a compare and contrast between this show and The Shield (not just because of Sutter). The depth of the relationships between the couples like Opie/Donna or Gemma/Clay is interesting in comparison to Shane/Mara and Vic/Corrine.

Agree that this show is clicking - it's becoming a weekly must see.

pdf said...

Not only was the action this episode dominated by the female characters (Stahl, Gemma and Donna), but unless I blinked and missed something, there was no on-screen violence...and it still managed to be one of the tensest episodes of the season.

Anonymous said...

this episode just seemed to remind me of the Sopranos episode where Big Pussy got whacked....I hope, somehow, the same thing does not happen to Opie. Also, not a Shiled viewer, which I know is where Kurt Sutter cut his teeth, but wondering if next week, being the penulitmate episode, will contain the fireworks and the season finale will more or less be low key...this show has me feeling like the Sopranos, Deadwood, and the Wire did....counting the days til the next episode and then on the edge of my seat.

Debsa said...

"Katey Sagal" must get the Emmy as Best Lead Actress in a drama in 2009,

Thanks again Alan...

shara says said...

Alan, thanks for your ongoing excellent coverage of this awesome show. I think a lot of bloggers/critics tuned out after the first couple of episodes, because there aren't many Sons of Anarchy Watches that I've seen. I hadn't tuned in to the show at first, but you were going on about it, and my husband was going on about it, so I finally gave it a chance and it just keeps getting better and more interesting. The vibe I get (although Mr. Shara Says disagrees with me) is something between Deadwood (a class of outlaws on the edge of society defending an old school wild-westy order as the forces of "progress" threaten to make them irrelevant) and the Sopranos (where violent work and dysfunctional family are too interconnected for substantial distinction). Good stuff.

shara says said...

@debsa - echo that. Somebody give the lady an award already. She's fantastic - an absolute delight to watch.

Hatfield said...

Gotta love these comparisons to Deadwood, The Sopranos and The Wire, as that is my triumvirate of best series ever. High praise indeed.

And ignore my stupid question above; I went back and counted and last night was Ep. 11.

jim treacher said...

All is forgiven, Alan!

It's not Sagal's fault, she's acting the hell out of the material, but her hate for Tara seems silly enough as it is--now we're to believe she would rather have the woman she tried to kill who almost caused the death of her unborn grandson?

You're assuming that's her endgame. I'm not so sure. I think her main goal is to make Jax and Tara choose. And the perfect way to do that just fell in her lap. I don't think she's really forgiven Wendy.

great episode, but what im confused and wondering about is how the ATF lady knew that Jax was the get-away driver and lookout...

Calculated risk. She was guessing (notice the blank page of the "report?"), and she didn't know until she got his reaction.

Diana said...

I interpreted Gemma's turnaround on Wendy differently: I thought she was using Wendy to make Tara jealous, to refocus her on what her long-term plan was with Jax. Wendy is weak, and bad for the club; I don't see how Gemma would support the "happy family" getting back together, and I think Gemma knows Jax better than to think he'd go along with it.

Anonymous said...

Gemmas scared of Tara. She doesnt want to lose her son to a smart woman.

samcrow said...

We should consider that Gemma's power play in regards to the Wendy/Tara situation is centered on her greatest fear, which is losing Jax. The writer's have repeatedly reminded us that Gemma, and Clay to a lesser extent, is concerned Jax is getting soft, turning into his father, and abandoning the club. The closest Jax ever came to that was the first time he was with Tara (from all accounts). With Wendy, Gemma can control her & know that Wendy will always be in debt to her. Wendy will never make Jax leave the club because she has nothing else going for her.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody explain Tig and Clay's logic at the end? Clay already thought Stahl was setting Opie up. So wouldn't she bug all of Opie's stuff while he was in lockup? Opie didn't sneak a bug into the meeting and he didn't try to get Jax to confess on tape. I get that Tig's always in the mood to kill, but I didn't get why Clay would be convinced, especially if he wasn't convinced by all of Opie's debts being paid off.

On the other hand Stahl's play of guessing Jax was the third man was genius. I could see that causing even Jax and Piney to wonder.

jim treacher said...

Yeah, I think the fake witness statement on top of the bugs was what clinched it. Plus Opie's behavior since he came back, so distant and distracted. He hasn't exactly been inspiring trust, and how Stahl has really put him over a barrel.

Wonder how they'll kill her?

dez said...

I wonder if *Hale* will kill her. He's gotta be wondering if she was using him all along.

For a moment, I thought Gemma was going to give Wendy the kiss of death. Still not sure she didn't, of course, but we'll see. I agree with samcrow that Gemma probably sees Wendy as much easier to control than Tara.

Thanks for making this a nice play to hang out for spoilerphobes like me, Alan :-)

Mark B said...

What intrigues me in both The Shield and now Sons of Anarchy is the exploration of loyalty, with the assumption that blood loyalty, family loyalty, lineage and heredity is the primary binding force between people. Like all bonds, however, outside forces can either break them or make them stronger. It’s the end game being played between Vic and Corrine in contrast to Shane and Mara. It is the test that is being set up for Jax.

Anonymous said...

dave - you can probably buy episodes you can't find elsewhere at iTunes

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who actually likes Wendy? Of course I love Drea De Matteo and was very upset when she was whacked on sopranos and Tara has rubbed me the wrong way from the beggining. I would much rather see Wendy with Jax than Tara. Wendy has no dimension yet as she has only been in about 10 mins of show but I'm sure next season we will see more of her charecter and more fans will get to like her.

Anonymous said...

Like Hamlet, Jax needs his Horatio. So I doubt that Opie gets killed.

If I were a betting man, I'd suspect Half-Sack. He could have been recruited straight out of the Army. Plus, for an Iraq Vet, his character seems just a little too simple.

Mr. Cockburn said...

Anonymous: The Hamlet analogy is spot on. I can't wait for SOA to further explore and increase the tension in the mystery of Jax' fathers death and the role of Clay and Gemma in it. The number of truly great and interesting arcs, and the fantastic acting, definitely makes the comparison to Sopranos and The Wire legitimate.

FancastFan said...

Anarchy fans - Fancast has the show, including the pilot, and exclusive interviews with the stars.

And here's the really fun part: on Monday, Nov. 24, two days before the season finale airs on FX, Fancast will be hosting a live chat with series star Charlie Hunnam and executive producer/creator Kurt Sutter. It will start at 11 am PST (2 pm EST). Fans of the show can ask questions and interact directly with them.
Cheers,
Jim (for Fancast)

kellyg42 said...

Here's what I didn't understand...they KNEW the dude they wacked was there with a mistress. Why doesn't anyone suspect the mistress?! They KNOW a female witness is the story - why hasn't anyone made this logical conclusion? Or that it could have been someone Jax missed as look out? I'm just shocked they are so ready to jump on it being Opie unless they already wanted to get rid of him.