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Sons of Anarchy “A Mother’s Work” Review (6×13)

11 Dec

sons-of-anarchy-613-1So, here we are at the end of the penultimate season of Sons of Anarchy,  and I feel like I’ve watched more of this show than I have the patience for. I imagine this finale is a divisive one; I, for one, am taking the negative route. I just can’t look past the blatant audience manipulation and plot contrivances that permeate this overlong, sloppily thrown together mess.

First of all, we have characters being used as mere plot devices, none more so than Wayne Unser. One of the things that have made him so endearing is his perpetual, grounded, and sensible care for Gemma and her place in this messed-up world of hers. However, now Sutter believes that a short hugging scene makes up for all the awfulness of Unser’s decisions in this episode. What do I mean by awful decisions? So…I thought Unser was one of the more sensible characters, but then he decides to head over to Gemma and tell her Tara turned on Jax. And okay, so when Unser is like “Yeah, I know you just wanted to leave and all, but you know what, I’ll leave these keys right here and head off to get your pills and maybe jerk off a little in the kitchen”, I’m able to chalk that up to sheer idiocy.

But then, when I’m expecting the next scene to be him going batshit crazy over the fact that this insane, angry drunk just LEFT, PROBABLY DUE TO WHAT HE JUST TOLD HER, he instead saunters over to get some ice cream and thinks about the situation for a bit before deciding that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is the right thing to do.

It’s an utter disparaging of the value of his character, and it’s one more in a line of contrivances that get us to that last scene, which, by the way, is not very good. It’s a gratuitous scene that should feel powerful, but instead just feels like a character death. I lament the fact that Juice arrives to tidy it all up; Gemma seems as if she’s finally able to own up to her crimes and turn herself in, but she eventually doesn’t have to. I get her motivations behind it all–she truly believes that killing Tara is the right thing to do, because she places everything under the guise of family–and the shitty place she’s in, but she doesn’t really face any consequences here.

Okay, okay, so everyone does feel some consequences at the end, but then again, it just seems like we’re in this perpetual state of violence and misery that’s advertised as “realistic”. Yes, everyone in this show is digging him or herself deeper into a hole, but that doesn’t mean the show can’t have fun. I’m not saying everyone should smile and dance with each other, but rather we have more episodes like, say, “Salvage”, which was a thoroughly entertaining episode that hearkened back to the old days.

Anyway, that’s not to say this episode doesn’t have its good parts. The acting, for the most part, is pretty damn good, specifically in Jax and Tara’s tense reunion at the park; Siff’s wonderful at conveying the fear, loathing, and even the love she feels toward her husband, and Hunnam does great work with the stoic expression, a man with pent-up feelings simmering, waiting for the right time to explode. In addition, as much as I dislike the way the final scene turns out, I am looking forward to Juice’s storyline; so far, the writers have done a nice job balancing his arc with the friendship and tension between Jax and Nero, and hopefully that continues next year.

All in all, it’s a mediocre and frustrating finale with a few entertaining moments, which is really emblematic of the season as a whole. I’m not terribly excited for the final season, but I do wish for some improvement next year.

GRADE: C+

SEASON GRADE: B-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Jax’s storyline seems a bit rushed; I do like the idea of him trying to repent for his sins, but we don’t get very clear motivations behind his quick turnaround. Instead, we get an awfully written monologue to begin the episode and some REALLY heavy-handed symbolism with the running over of the bird (did we really need that?).

-So even Nero’s been corrupted by the Mayans. It definitely illustrates the pull of the criminal world on supposedly virtuous, even-keeled people, but of course, while I can see it happening, I wish he could make better decisions; he’s one of my favorite characters, and I don’t want to see him brought down to Jax’s level.

-I’m happy Tyne Patterson’s hasn’t descended into the cartoonish villain Toric was; Pounder’s an excellent actress, and I’m looking forward to how her character handles this.

-Speaking of acting, the show brings in Kim Dickens and Peter Weller, and does pretty much nothing with them. Unacceptable.

-Jax saying his goodbyes is a fairly poignant and well done moment.

-See you all next year for the seventh and final season.

Credit to FX and Sons of Anarchy for all pictures. I own nothing.

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