And so the table is set for the second part of Sons of Anarchy‘s fourth-season finale. And seated at the head of that table, if Gemma has her way, is Jax.
That Gemma laid (almost) every card on the table before her son, spelling out the deadly sequence of events that began once Tara read the John Teller letters, was impressive. A lesser show tucks that information dump away for next season, or withholds a lot more than Gemma did. Yet in a way it was inevitable, as a means to bring this intense season and its explosive catalyst full circle. And bravo to Katey Sagal for delivering so much exposition in a speech that seemed not rehashed to informed viewers, and for portraying in Gemma an earnestness that barely if at all hinted at an agenda.
“Why are you telling me now?”
“Because I know how dangerous secrets can be, and it’s time we all knew the truth…. [Clay]‘s a murderous traitor and there’s only one thing to do now, Jackson. … It’s in you. It’s who you are. Clay has to die. … And when it’s done, you take your place at the head of this table, where a Teller belongs. Where you belong.”
Yet while Jax is more than game to make hospitalized Clay gravely pay for, among other things, plotting twice to kill his father as well as ordering the hit on Tara — did you see the way Charlie Hunnam’s eyes focused with intense hate as Gemma’s monologue unspooled? — satisfying his mother’s other want simply isn’t in the cards. Because as Jax promises Tara at the close of the episode, his plan is still to make tracks out of Charming, as soon as he can.
Let’s talk about Tara, who in the final scene seemed to stupefy-slash-impress Gemma at least three separate times. First, she correctly predicted that Gemma was not delivering the letters to Clay but to Jax, and that she secreted away the pages that implicated her in JT’s death. How did Tara know? “Because I’m smarter than you are,” she cockily told Gemma. “And I know Jax better than you do.”
Tara then earned all but a slow clap from her prospective mother-in-law by promptly producing a syringe of blood thinner that would enable Jax to end Clay’s life, flatly saying: “This is how you do it.”
“You kill him,” she continued to Jax, “and then you come and get me and our boys and drive us out of this poisonous town.”
As a final touché, Tara then makes clear to Gemma, “He’s mine.”
Maggie Siff’s alter ego sure came a long way from beseeching people earlier in the hour to “Tell me you love me.”
Rounding out the hour, Jax got wind that Otto flipped and ratted out Bobby to the AUSA, suggesting that the Feds might be wise to the Galindo-Irish gun swap that’s about to go down. Romeo said he’d look into it, only to later claim to Jax that his well-paid inside sources insisted that Otto snitched on no one. What do you think Romeo’s play is there? Simply that he really needs this deal to happen, jittery Jax or not?
There was also the matter of misplaced retribution for Clay’s shooting, which in haste Jax pinned on the Niners’ Leroy. (“He’s gotta die. Like, a lot,” said Happy.) Tig, guilt-ridden for failing Clay, drove a car onto a sidewalk and at Leroy, forcing the gang leader’s sweetheart through a window to her death. Tig got away (with a little help from his friends), but could that hit-and-run later come back to haunt SAMCRO?
What did you think of “To Be,” Part 1? What if anything is to stop Jax from killing Clay and following through on his plan to pursue “happily ever after” with his old lady?