TV Review: Sons of Anarchy, ‘Playing With Monsters’

Written By David Oliver

SONS OF ANARCHY -- Pictured: Key Art. CR: FX

Plot: Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and the MC pit more and more people against each other and kill all who get in their way. Meanwhile, Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) secret continues to spiral out of control and affect the lives of Juice (Theo Rossi), Unser (Dayton Callie) and a confused, young Abel (Ryder and Evan Londo).

Sons of Anarchy started off the season with a clear goal in mind: Jax avenging Tara’s (Maggie Siff) death. But at the end of the first episode, he thinks he killed the man who did it. Ever since, it’s been clear that was nowhere near the end of the revenge, and frankly, it’s getting a little repetitive.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

“Playing with Monsters” is the perfect episode title, as it’s a callback to the book Gemma reads to Abel later in the episode. This poor kid is not growing up on Sesame Street.

The MC frames the Triad for murder again, though they are all confused when it’s only one body reported dead. Jury (Michael Shamus Wiles) knows it’s two, so what’s going on?

Drug lord August Marks (Billy Brown) tells Jax, “Trust can’t live in the same place as secrets and lies,” something Jax desperately needs to hear (especially about his mother, *cough cough*). Jax has a change of plans: “It’s a black day.”

Jax works with Tyler (Mo McRae) of the One-Niners to track down and kill one of their members, Chester (Rich Paul), and yet again stir up feuds.

Gemma decides to give Sandy (Marlane Barnes) her more defenseless birds – subtle metaphor, no? This literally plays itself out when Sandy’s father comes looking for money, only to get in a scuffle with Gemma and Nero, all witnessed by Abel. “Does my daddy do bad things?” Abel asks Gemma. She denies it, only to call Jax later just as he kills Chester and a few of his men. “Hey mom, what’s up?” Makes you think twice about what people are up to when they answer the phone.

Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX
Photo Credit: Michael Becker/FX

Unser tries to steer the investigation toward Henry Lin (Kenneth Choi), though Sheriff Jarry (Annabeth Gish) questions his sources. Jarry goes to Jax and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) with the information, only to flirt with Chibs later (out of uniform), who later tries to buy her off from investigating the Chinese. She says she can give him a few days.

Chibs had earlier met with Juice, who pleaded for a way back into the club, only to have Chibs tell him to go kill himself. Dark clouds for all these days.

Will Unser and Wendy ensure Juice’s safety? Is Jax going to kill Sandy’s dad after beating him to a pulp for hurting Gemma? Who’s going to make it out of this season alive? Despite this season’s slower take, I’m still intrigued to see the big finish.

Rating: 7/10

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