SONS OF ANARCHY (FX) “Oiled” Review

Sons Of Anarchy Season 3 Episode 2

‘Oiled’, the second episode of SONS OF ANARCHY season 3, is a come down from the adrenaline high of the season premiere. While ‘So’ was pure tension building set up, ‘Oiled’ gives us a respite in favour of exposition.

Investigating the drive-by shooting, the Sons visit the shooter in hospital. Jax’s impromptu face job has left him with a wired jaw, but Jax looks for – and finds – a lip tattoo, which leads them to a small MC in Lodi. They’re being patched over by the Mayans and the drive-by was an initiation rite. The reason for all this? The Mayans want to route heroin through Charming, which means taking out SAMCRO. This worries the Sons; they’re not strong enough to withstand another war so soon. Can they convince Mayan leader Alvarez to take a step back?

Meanwhile, the True IRA are unhappy with Cameron for nearly ruining their longstanding deal with SAMCRO and getting them into general hot water. Father Ashby, a priest and Cameron’s cousin, appears to try to help him, but it’s Ashby who facilitates Cameron’s murder at the end of the episode. Maureen, Ashby’s sister, has been looking after Jax and will, presumably, continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Gemma is still at the home of her father, Nate, trying to cope with his dementia, while Tig gets it on with his nurse. During one of his less lucid moments, Nate discovers them together and believes Amelia to be his (deceased) wife. He shoots Tig in the shoulder. While Tig deals with it in typical blase Tig-fashion, Amelia is more than a little worried about a comment Gemma made. She googles her and finds that she’s wanted – with a $25k bounty on her head. But it’s not easy to get one over on Gemma Teller-Morrow, who discovers Amelia’s inevitable plan and leads her away, probably to be locked up somewhere. Oh, the irony.

Unser, back to being Chief again, find his whole police department threatened by closure. He has a choice: publicly back Jacob Hale in the mayoral elections and risk alienating SAMCRO, or say no and find Charming P.D. absorbed by the county sheriff’s department – which would leave SAMCRO with no police protection whatsoever. Looks like a rock and a hard place for everyone involved.

While I love the various storylines at play in Sons of Anarchy, what worked last week didn’t stand up this week. There was just too much going on, leeching the energy out of every scene. The Belfast plotline deserved more time to unfold, rather than big blocks of exposition being shoved at us. The Sons burying and threatening the leader of the Lodi MC was amusing, but it felt unnecessary. Surely there was a quicker and easier way of making him talk? Gemma’s storyline is great character-building stuff, though I can’t help but wonder: is there a point to this? Right now, it feels like we’re just getting to know little snippets of her past (her domineering mother, her loving father), but is it actually leading to a point?

I was disappointed that the actual aftermath of the drive-by was glossed over so quickly. It would have been a great opportunity to introduce us, even briefly, to more far-flung members of the Sons of Anarchy, and maybe even highlight the reactions of some of the SAMCRO guys who are in the background of the major plots this season. (Juice, Happy, I’m looking at you.)

All that said, it was a pretty decent episode with some interesting setup for future episodes. Jax finds out his son’s alive – albeit wrongly assuming he’s in Canada – so maybe we’ll see him calm down a little? Or will dangling that carrot of information in front of him give him more reason to react before thinking?

Again, I found Tara to be one of the most interesting characters of the episode. While there’s growing space between her and Jax, Tara seems to be immersing herself as deeply as possible in his world. After calling Gemma to chat – a sign of how far they’ve come in 2 years – Tara defies Jax’s wishes and goes to help her. Either he’ll come around to her way of thinking, and accept her accepting him, or he’ll be peeved. Time will tell.

What did you think of ‘Oiled’? Is there too much going on or is it just enough to whet your appetite? How do you think things with the Mayans will unfold? And what do you think Jax will do next?