Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Review “Playing With Monsters”

Sons of Anarchy Season 7 Episode 3 Playing with Monsters (5)
Previously, on Sons of Anarchy, Gemma forked Tara to death, Juice shot Roosevelt in order to protect Gemma’s secret and Gemma created a “truth” about a menacing member of Henry Lin’s crew as the person responsible for Tara’s death. Okay, technically, that is not what happened on last week’s episode of Sons of Anarchy, but these events are at the center of everything happening in Charming.

It’s fitting that the episode kicked off with a pornographic take on Frankenstein, called “Skankenstein.” Although “Playing with Monsters” got off to a light start with the club wrapping on their first official Red Woody production, the rest of the episode was spent watching Jax’s evolution into a monster.

Will The Real SAMCRO Ally Please Stand Up?

You know what I’d love to see? A gathering of the Mayans, Lin’s crew, the August Marks inner circle, the One Niners, the Grim Bastards, the Indian Hills Chapter, Marilyn Manson’s nazi jail gang all in one room together. After silencing the barrage of obscenities and racial slurs, I’d then like to ask for all of SAMCRO’s supposed allies to please stand up. After getting past the awkwardness of everyone standing up, I’d then love to pull in a massive dry erase board and create a table of lies, promises and promises broken by SAMCRO to each respective faction. Of course, this is not how television works and perhaps my desire to see this happen is a reflection of how weary I’m growing with the budding race war that Jax is setting off in Charming and the surrounding counties. Luckily for Jax, the people he’s double-crossing are not the type to take a step back, exchange notes and reflect on who keeps benefiting from all the strife and violence we’ve witnessed over the first three episodes of this season.

Nero and August seem to instinctively know that Jax is so full of shit right now, that his beautiful sun-kissed skin ought to look turdish brown. Unfortunately for Nero and August, they don’t have quite enough facts to put all of the pieces together. Given the efficient rate at which Jax is pitting the rival gangs against each other, figuring out Jax’s treachery could just be their last thought before they take a fatal bullet from some misguided person acting out of revenge.

By the episode’s end, I was left with one question – to what end? If I follow correctly, we’re watching Jax carry out an elaborate plan to destroy Henry Lin’s crew. More on that in a bit. The problem with this plan, aside from the flawed premise upon which it was built, is that Jax is stuck in the second stage of grief – anger. And I’m not talking about your run of the mill anger. No. Jax is operating on some Incredible Hulk-level of anger. He is so singularly focused on taking out Lin that Jax has lost the balance from which he used to operate. In losing Tara, Jax lost the part of him that cared about trying to maintain relationships and tried to minimize collateral damage because he wanted so very much not to become Clay. While we’re sitting at home watching our blood pressure rise as we worry about who in the club will be the first to fall because of all the double dealings, broken promises and deceptions, Jax is just riding around Charming like:

That leads to my next question, does Jax care about the potential fallout for his club members? I was glad that Bobby tried to broach the topic of all the bodies the club has been dropping, but it was far too much of a suggestion and not enough of the come to Jesus moment that it needed to be. Further, as we all know at home, taking down Lin will not lessen the blow of Tara’s death. To make matters worse, his pursuit of this grief-driven revenge mission could end up costing Jax the few people in his life who sincerely love and care for him. Like his mother, Jax is not built to be in this world alone. He thinks losing Tara is his rock bottom, but I don’t think he’s really thought about everything else he could lose.

After completing the episode, I had to actually remind myself that Gemma’s lie is the cause of all the mayhem unfolding in and around Charming. The club has done a pretty good job gaining momentum over their enemies and now I’m ready to see some consequences. Granted, it won’t be completely satisfying to see the club take a hit because I like the guys and I understand that they’re trying to stick by Jax. Further, nothing will be more satisfying than watching Gemma take a fall. I’m hoping that what we’re watching is what will ultimately play out as a three part “fall of Gemma” plot. Phase one is revenge, phase two is fallout, bloodshed and collateral damage and phase 3 is Gemma being exposed and watching Jax being crushed by the realization that he has hurt so many and lost many more because of a lie his mother told him. If I have to watch the race wars play out again on Sons, I’d like there to be a satisfying payoff to it.

Unaccompanied Minors

If Tara really was speaking to Gemma through her crows, I’m pretty sure she would poop on Gemma’s head, peck her eyes out and tell her that she’s doing a shit job at watching over Abel and Thomas. Indeed, Abel should not have been exposed to violence, but the more salient point is Abel SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AT A BROTHEL! Jax should shoulder some blame here as well. After confirming that Abel was okay, the next thing he should have asked was why the hell his son was there in the first place. On another note, I don’t think Gemma would have been as mad as Wendy thought she’d be, if she discovered that Rat and Brooke were having sex in front of Tommy. I’m sure Gemma would have told them to cut it out, but I don’t think that would have compelled Gemma to ask a different crow eater to watch Tommy.

Other thoughts and observations . . .

– As nice as it is to see Lyla becoming the next Luann, I really wish we could have some discussion between her and Jax or someone else about Opie’s kids. It would be nice to know how they are doing and if the loss of their parents has at least blessed them with a life far, far away from SAMCRO.

– I don’t know what to make of Jarry and her accepting the bribe from Chibs. The flirting, winking and casual nature of her interactions with the club felt like an act.

– As for Juice, we’ve seen him be contrite and try to earn his way back into the club. Enough of the sacrificial lamb. I’d like to see Juice complicate Jax’s campaign to stir up discontent.

– Tyler has clearly forgotten how menacing August Marks can be. I, for one, remember what August did to Leroy and the guy that temporarily stepped into leadership – until August shot him in the head. Clearly, Tyler is not the most competent leader. Jax likes the partnership with Tyler because he knows he can influence and manipulate him. That same weakness, however, is also what makes Tyler a terrible partner – particularly if August finds out about the side deal and puts a little “pressure” on him. Tyler complains about being under the control of August, but the partnership with the Sons is no different. The One Niners problem is that they don’t have a connect. Without a connect, they’ll always be at the mercy of the person or the gang that has one. Tyler would have been well-advised to stick with the devil he knew. I would love August to prove to be a formidable foe for Jax. I’m bored with Jax always being the smartest gangster in the room. It would be nice to see someone pull a few fast ones on him for a change. Well, I guess someone other than Gemma.

– I know that Jax is acting out of grief, but by the end of this series, he might just surpass Clay in terms of horrible deeds. This is not the Jackie Boy of previous seasons who just wanted to protect the club. Indeed, Jax loves the club, but he hasn’t been met with any resistance yet.

– Really hoping for a little payoff with the Jury storyline next week.

– The writers are succeeding at selling me on Wendy. I’ve at least warmed up to her as being the best of a lot of terrible options.

– I like Ratboy as a comedic foil to Tig, but I don’t care to watch the cycle of dangerous love start up again. Brooke is adorable, but I don’t care about her love story with Ratboy. Take Wendy’s advice. Seriously.

– I also don’t care about Sandy and her daddy.

Until next week!

What did you think of this week’s episode of Son’s of Anarchy? Sound off below!

Pooh gif from Funny or Die.