Sons of Anarchy: “Faith and Despondency” Review

From the mouths of babes…

**SPOILERS BELOW**

Boy, how many jaws had to be picked up from the floor after that scene. We’re all used to Sons of Anarchy ending on some sort of revelation or discovery, so once things died down and we got back to the house with Abel, Wendy and Jax, it felt like we were just biding time. In an odd use of making the audience work for it (and boy did Sutter stretch it), Abel finally told his father that Gemma killed his “second mom”. And with those few words, it’s the kid that blew the whole season wide open.

Faith-JaxOnce you get to that scene, it actually clears up a lot of the earlier issues with the episode. Up until that point, things felt rushed, like loose ends were being tied up in a way that hadn’t happened at all this season. Had this been any other season, “Faith and Despondency” packed in as much as a finale or penultimate episode. We saw the club beaten and against the wall, only to find out they were in control pretty much the whole time. There were some classic SAMCRO elements thrown in with some sloppiness that overall left the episode uneven, but elevated by that ending. With only three episodes left, the writers had to kick things into high gear to get the story that we really care about back to the forefront.

Taking things from the top, the club was still reeling over the death of Bobby. We were greeted to the most awkward, sex montage in the history of the show. No one seemed happy, everyone trying to find solace in the physical act. Each encounter more empty than the last. Jax cry-maxing with Winsome was a very telling moment for the character. He couldn’t hide his pain anymore, and having had that level of intimacy with a woman that looks an awful lot like his dead wife broke him.

Elsewhere, Juice was being made into a prisoner within the prison, another broken man doing what he thinks he needs to do to stay alive and in the good graces of the club. There were several levels of sadness at play, but I personally can’t get over the level of despair it takes to let Marilyn Manson have his way with you in a one on one situation. Poor Juice, sometimes dead is better.

mathew-st-patrick-sons-of-anarchy-season-7-665x385Last week, SAMCRO set things up so that Marks was arrested and his team mostly left without a leader. Moses made for a strong lieutenant and seemed to be a step ahead of Jax the entire episode, which took some of the drama away if you’d been paying attention this season. See, Jax has been outsmarted, outplayed and generally out of his league at every encounter. So, to have him appear to be against the ropes for once, instead of confident while the world fell apart around him telegraphed the final play a bit. SAMCRO set up most of their remaining enemies in elaborate fashion, suffered minor consequence, and got to dish out some cheesy, yet satisfying justice on Moses. An eye for an eye and all that.

Thrown in the middle of all that were two powerhouse performances from Walton Goggins as Venus and Kim Coates as Tig. Their relationship had always been playful and weird, but as it progressed, it became something strong and painfully human. Venus, as a character, has always been strong, yet vulnerable. She was always treated with respect by the club, and piqued Tig’s interest in a way we’d never seen. So their conversation about their love, and identities held so much weight, and had so much finality to it, that I wish it’d been built up a little more. While we were in it the moment, it was captivating, and strong, but we got there almost by surprise.

Very similar was Jary and Chibbs’ conversation. It held some weight, but a running trend with Sons of Anarchy has always been making the women look completely insane more often than not. This scene was no different. When Chibbs is the reasonable one in the relationship, it’s not growth, it’s just wrong.

JaxFaceAbel’s confession wasn’t the only one to take place. Actually what prompted it was a pretty spectacular moment on its own. Jax, finally explaining to Abel that Wendy was his real mother was a tender moment. We’ve come so far from the days of the young heir to the club and the junkie. Wendy in particular has grown to be one of the better people on the show. By telling Abel about his mother, Jax was recognizing that.

“So is that why grandma killed my other mommy, so that my first mommy could be here with me?” That little kid has been playing up the weird all season. He already attempted to set Gemma up to get in trouble before, and just like a little kid would, he slid out some of the harshest truth without even knowing. NOW, we will get to the resolution we’ve been waiting for. It just took an extra long time to get to this point. but man Jax’s face made it all worth it.

Score: B+

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