After the hyperviolent start of the season, last night's episode felt relatively tame. Only three gruesome deaths? That's child's play when it comes to Sons of Anarchy. But one major player had an unlikely escape and another has his head firmly on the chopping block. Will the show have the guts to pull the trigger on another beloved character? Here are ten things we learned from season six, episode three, “Poenitentia.”
1. There Goes My Hero, He Killed Somebody: I floated a theory last week that Lee Toric (as played by the phenomenal Donal Logue) was going to be our antihero this season. Well, I think we can safely call that theory as dead as a hooker in a motel bathroom. Toric is surprised by one of Nero’s girls, whirls around, and shoots her — then smothers her for good measure. Like you do. I have to wonder whether this wasn’t the original plan. It’s obvious his intention from the start was to get at Nero somehow. Was she always going to end up on the business end of a pillow? Or was this just a happy accident?
2. And Then There Were Five: I’ll spare you the photo of Bobby’s map this week (even if Kurt Sutter didn’t), but Bobby’s Nomad Crew is up to five members, including Quinn, Hopper, West, and Montez played by Jacob Vargas (Traffic, Jarhead). The fact that they keep casting these familiar faces to flesh out Bobby’s crew makes me hope the Nomads rise up to be major players by season’s end. In the season premiere, Juice reminded Gemma (and us) that Bobby only needs six members to form an official Nomad Crew. You know I’ve got every extremity crossed that Juice is that sixth member. But after this week, maybe the safer bet is Trager.
3. Byz-Lats vs. the Barrio Brew: First of all, let’s take a moment to appreciate a man who appreciates alliteration. After casually slinging the term “banger beau” around to D.A. Tyne Patterson, Toric has nothing but praise for a bottle of “barrio brew.” (Unless it was actually Barrio Brew.) His method of cracking open a cold one may be a little unconventional, but it's effective. Toric has decided Nero is his best bet for a concrete connection between Matthew Jennings’s KG-9 and the MC. He’s not wrong.
4. That Son of Anarchy: Speaking of Matthew Jennings, they’re still hitting that connection between Darvany’s kid and Jax pretty hard. In the opener, we hear D.A. Patterson describing Matthew’s journal over shots of Jax, well, journaling. Later in the episode, Jax is again put in the child’s position when he catches Charlie and Colette “settling their accounts.” I’ve already talked about how, in its customarily twisted way, Sons of Anarchy has set up Colette as both a mother and a whore figure. Jax peaking around her brothel door looked for all the world like a traumatized child. And, later on, the petulant way in which he rejected her phone call speaks volumes about Jax and his double standard when it comes to women. Wasn’t he just fraternizing with his wife at the end of last week? But Colette is somehow in the wrong? At the end of the episode, Jax is seen drinking milk directly out of the carton. A man-child move if ever I saw one.
5. What Handsome Jack Saw: The shot, by the way? Charlie catching Jax’s eye? Horrifying. Peter Weller’s face is not exactly the cuddliest at the best of times, but this triumphant grin was next-level upsetting. Charlie had a busy episode catching fire, slitting throats, and getting paid. I’m curious to see where they’re taking his character. Will he and Jax remain uneasy allies? I find that very unlikely after this incident. Is that a face you would trust?
6. Man, Clay Has More Lives Than a Cat: How many times, show? How many? How often are you going to threaten to kill Clay only to pull back? How can any of us ever believe his life is in danger when he keeps getting saved in this eleventh-hour way? So after refusing to help Toric, Clay is sent into Gen Pop prison, where we’ve been told over and over again he won’t last the day. And sure enough, before he can slip into his Stockton prison blues, he’s surrounded by some of Damon Pope’s men hell-bent on revenge. Or are they? Nope, because Jax needs Clay alive to deal with the Irish, Morrow is allowed to live — provided he can earn it. But what’s a little neck-shiv-ing among friends?
7. Hooker in the Bathroom, Recompense: Not one to throw the hooker out with the bathwater, Toric goes about taking hair and clothing samples from the poor girl in order to frame Nero for her death. (Toric’s officially an SI now, so he’ll presumably be able to leverage this frame job for more information from Nero.) I’m sure we all appreciated the extra-creepy way Toric lovingly stroked the cadaver’s hair before slicing it off. He murmured something about “making it right” and her death not being in vain. Of course, he was channelling some unresolved issues about his sister, but his penance also speaks to the larger theme of the episode. (The title, “Poenitentia,” has to do with repentance. It also evokes penitentiary.) The episode opened with Nero in church (much to Gemma’s dismay) talking about how much confession helps him. Everyone in this series is carrying a massive burden of remorse and sorrow. Some of them are willing to confront that, others less so.
8. The Tig Is Up: Or is it? Tig has as many lives as Clay, and while I thought they might actually go through with his assassination this episode, the cliff-hanger makes me think he’ll weasel his way out of it. Again. After he figured out that Tig foolishly took out that Ghanezi brother in the season premiere, Jax felt he had no choice. He gave the MC a lecture earlier in the episode about how with the ATF on their case, they had to keep their noses clean. Impeccable. Not even a traffic ticket. So, well, a urine-soaked corpse in the bay isn’t exactly clean. I think we all saw this setup coming; Jax practically gave Tig the “I knew it was you, Fredo” speech. I wonder how he’s going to get out of this one.
9. Are You Buying This?: I’m not, actually. What motivation would Tara have for telling Gemma and Jax? If she’s trying to get out, why would she give them further inspiration to pull her back in? I think this is a safety measure. She has the resources and the ally to doctor up a fake test result. If Tara were pregnant, there’s no way Jax or Gemma would physically harm her when she announces her plans to leave. Right? That’s my suspicion, anyway.
10. Everyone Knows It’s Wendy: And I have no idea what Wendy’s endgame is, but I hope she and Tara are working together. Wendy obviously has motivation for revenge. Jax’s actions were beyond the pale. I was thrown by her behavior in the season premiere. Contrition doesn’t really suit her. But if she and Tara are in cahoots to extract the boys and neutralize Jax and Gemma? Well, that would be amazing. And remember, Wendy has Gemma’s gun now. A reckoning is on its way.