…I’ll make sure it’s quick
Jax knows. In what has to be one of the most powerful and deliberately paced episodes of Sons of Anarchy, Jax confirmed that Gemma had in fact murdered Tara. In almost direct opposition of how he’s been all season, Jax was more patient, and cautious. Having to be sure that what he’d heard from his young son wasn’t just a kid dealing with a tough stretch in a bad way. Now that he knew what really derailed his life, his next step was crucial.
This was another super-sized episode, clocking it at 73 minutes. While the opening scene was strong, some of the following scenes could have used a bit of cutting here or there. It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Juice was going to be fine, but there was little tension in his long walk through the prison. There weren’t many sections like that, but enough to drag things down slightly. What brought the episode back up was the fallout, and the interactions with everyone after learning the terrible news. “Suits of Woe” carefully demonstrated final breakdown of the leader we once new, and laid out a slightly hazy end game.
What made this episode work was the small interactions with the club and Nero. Jax didn’t immediately want to see Gemma. He had to know for sure, he had to find more concrete answers, and there were only a few people he could trust. Unser telling him that the man he’d tortured and killed wasn’t even in the state at the time of Tara’s murder was the first chip at his resolve. The doubts he may have had in Abel’s story were slowly falling away. This scene was also great because Unser was pretty through with Jax’s shit at this point. On the verge of being outright hostile toward his former friend.
The next stop, and possibly one of the best scenes in the shows history, was Jax meeting Juice in prison. These two had only seen each other twice all season, none have been on exactly good terms. Juice had just killed a man he knew to be innocent, on a lie he helped build. He’s endured mental and physical torment in and out of prison, and here is the leader of the club he wanted so much to belong to, sitting in front of him, begging for Juice to come clean with information that would tear him apart, and effectively sentence Juice to death. Both Hunnam and Rossi completely owned this scene. Hunnam doesn’t do flat out crying well, but a pained, resereved, anguish is his bread and butter. You could feel the fury burning off of him, while Juice could only sit and spell out how he was partially responsible for destroying everything they loved. This may be the last time these two men interact for the rest of the show, and if it is, kudos fellas. Take a bow.
Gemma had her own errands to run since Juice made sure to call and let her know that the cat was out of the bag. Her scenes on their own didn’t garner much of a response. Since she was directly responsible for everything happening, it was much harder to sympathize with her farewell tour. Although her scene with Abel at the school was touching. Less than touching was the old simp, Unser going back and telling her everything. I get that it was beyond everyone’s realm of possibility that she would be behind so much death and sorrow, but he really needed to keep his mouth shut.
The real MVP had to be Nero though. This man has given up everything for Gemma. Tried to make peace between all sides, and leave the game with some dignity and his lady. He won’t get that ending. It was a smart play to have Jax reveal everything to Nero over the phone, but not hear what was said. He face sold it. The subtle changes, the pain, the anger, then the despair. It was all there. Him letting Gemma go after telling Jax he’d inform him, but it could easily be seen as a last act of love, or just the need to get her the hell away from him.
Nero and Jax closed out the episode, and presented us with his ultimate dilemma; of course he’s angry, and wants revenge, but the act of murdering his mother would eat him alive. He still loves her. Plain and simple. And now he has to make right everything he’d done wrong in her name. There were definitely moments this episode where it seemed like Jax was being dense, but they made sense this time around. Who would want to believe what he just learned. Only two episodes left, I hope they’re not spent sitting around tables plotting out diplomacy. “Suits of Woe” finally set all the pins up, now it’s time to knock them down.