Sons of Anarchy “Laying Pipe” Review

I usually like the episode title choices for Sons of Anarchy, but ‘Laying Pipe’, however literal it may have been towards the end of the episode, feels a little crass given that SAMCRO have just lost one of their finest. That aside, this was a pretty good episode.

It picked up soon after ‘Authority Vested’, with Jax, Tig, Chibs and Opie in lockup. Romeo managed to come through and get them some protection, but it wasn’t enough to stop Jax being summoned for an ultimatum by Damon Pope (who can apparently reach anyone, anywhere). He wants half of the money the club makes from running drugs and Tig to stay in jail for the rest of his life — but he also wants a Son dead for the men he lost. This only leaves three options, and with Jax clearly at the centre of the show, that whittled it down to two.

I was convinced it was going to be Chibs, dear reader. IRA stuff aside, I thought that he would probably step up, especially since Opie has young kids back home. But Opie, in a repeat of last week’s tactic, practically threw himself into the ring. (I have to admit that I watched the scene from between my fingers, not wanting to see it, but not wanting to miss it either.) Poor Opie.

Pope had already agreed to let the remaining Sons leave after this point. But their conversation about the agreement marked a changing point in Jax; he might have been made President at the end of last season, but it was in this scene that he finally looked the part. The new agreement? Tig is released, too. Jax claims he wants Tig’s vote, after which he’ll give him to Pope to deal with as he sees fit. Would he really hand Tig over? After the trouble that’s befallen the club — and the heartache that Opie suffered — because of Tig’s actions, I can’t see Jax not wanting him gone eventually. Clay’s future isn’t looking too rosy, either.

Outside of jail, the girls aren’t playing nicely. Gemma is so pissed that Tara won’t allow the daycare to let her see the kids that she decides to pit Wendy against her. Gemma tells Wendy that Tara is abusing opiates and that she’s probably not in the right frame of mind to look after her kids. Wendy goes to see Tara, who denies misusing opiates, and tells her that now is a good time for them to discuss the situation with Abel. Tara shuts her down cold. Later, she gives Gemma a particularly Gemma-esque spiel about how she shouldn’t fuck with her family. Gemma snarkily asks why, if Tara would kill her. Tara says no, but her husband might.

I suspect how you feel about this part of the episode depends on how you feel about Tara. As someone who has never particularly liked the character, I found her annoying this week. I get that Tara’s trying to be a good mother, and I know that Wendy screwed up a lot in the past, but I hate that Tara isn’t willing to even have a decent conversation with her, if only to stop Gemma being able to use Wendy as a tool against her.

And perhaps a bigger issue: do we need another Gemma? Tara standing up for herself and becoming a stronger woman is fine, but she’s actually turning into a Gemma clone. But maybe there’s a point to that. Notice how Gemma actually did put on a scarf after Tara told her to? Is this a hint that she and Tara are slowly swapping places in the ranking of the SAMCRO women?

Also this week, Clay convinced Juice to take him to wherever Gemma’s been going, to find out who she’s been seeing. There he meets Nero and gets acquainted with a peppy young escort. That last bit sends Gemma over the edge when she finds out and she attacks the girl. The blatant hypocrisy makes Gemma look a bit of an ass, but she gains points a) for smacking the girl around (since she’s played by some Disney chick) and b) because I’m tired of Clay’s moping anyway. I’m glad they paired him with Juice (who provided the episode’s only comic relief) because it’s such an odd pairing that it keeps Clay from getting annoyingly broody.

The episode ends with Nero’s brothel being raided by the police and Gemma being picked up along with the workers and girls. I can’t even speculate on where this is going.

All in all, a good episode. It’s hard to see how the Sons will get out from under Pope’s thumb, and things are looking dire for Tig, which is set to make the rest of the season very interesting indeed.

What did you think of ‘Laying Pipe’? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!