Sons of Anarchy, "Firinne": kissing cousins, wait, make that sisters

Quick Take: Sons of Anarchy, "Firinne"
"Your father new the patch was a mistake and so do you" - Father Kellan Ashby
soa

Review: Sons of Anarchy, "Firinne"
(S0310) Nothing like a heaping helping of kick-ass to quiet the haters, right? Man, "Firinne" was a hell of an episode. Granted, we didn't really get any closure on Abel-gate, but the writers managed to tie the situation back into the show's overall theme; Jax's desire to change the way MC operates. I have argued for weeks that the Abel kidnapping has threatened to consume the show, sucking the life out of all of the other, frankly more interesting, aspects of Sons of Anarchy. It's a relief to know that Sutter and company had a vision for the season that elevates it above simply chasing an infant around the globe.

Charming
I figured it best to start off with the ongoing Tara crap first and get it out of the way so we can focus most of the recap on the good stuff in Ireland. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it is very frustrating to keep having to come back to Charming to deal with Tara (Maggie Siff) and her always-annoying boss (who we discover is a former biker groupie with a history of substance abuse). If bosslady isn't getting her shirt pulled up over her head hockey fight-style to reveal a hilarious tattoo, I don't want to see her on screen. Her backstory makes her interest in Tara more understandable, but that doesn't make her character (or Tara's for that matter) any less lame.

Salazar (Jose Pablo Cantillo) calls Teller Morrow looking for any patched member he can find. He gets Piney (William Lucking) on the horn and tells about his prisoners. Salazar then makes some outlandish demands; kill Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) and steal $250,000 from a safe in the Mayan leader's home.

This sets in motion a series of events as absurd and unbelievable as any the show has ever attempted. Piney, Lem (Kenny Johnson) and Tig (Kim Coates) show up at Alvarez's crib and, after a tense stand off, convince him to play dead for 24 hours. What motivation does Alvarez have to play along? To preserve the tenuous truce between the two clubs? Please, the Mayans and the Sons have been at war for years. Alvarez would be much more likely to use the Tara kidnapping against the Sons to crush the MC once and for all. There is no way he would risk his reputation on the streets by pretending to be assassinated by SAMCRO. It makes no friggin' sense.

Belfast
Unlike the past episode, which could have pretty easily been combined with the prior week's mega-sode, "Firinne" really moved the story forward. Kellan tells Jax that if he can prove Jimmy O (Titus Welliver) was involved in the barn bombing that killed a couple of IRA soldiers and destroyed valuable IRA weopons, the army will throw their support behind SAMCRO. In order to do this, they must first get Liam (Arie Vereen), who has disappeared, to confess his involvement. A tip from Rita (Taryn Manning) (ellicited by way of a tag team guilt trip by Mo and Gemma) leads SAMCRO to Liam's dockside hideout.

What happens next is vintage Sons of Anarchy -- savage and gratifying on a primal level, it is one of the best action sequences the show has done all season. With help from the IRA version of Saayid Jerrah, SAMCRO goes medieval on Liam until he spills the beans. With his confession in hand Jax (Charlie Hunnam) puts Liam out of his misery with a couple of well-placed rounds and the club turns their attention to McGee (who Liam implicated during the torture session). Before they can deal with the traitor, Jimmy and his goons burst in with guns blazing. SAMCRO is one step ahead, raining molotovs down on their heads from a position on the roof. For a moment Jimmy is in the club's clutches, but McGee (Andy McPhee) reappears with IRA backup and the shoot-out continues. Jimmy escapes but McGee isn't so lucky. "It's just about the money, brother," says McGee. But for Clay (Ron Perlman) it seems to be about something more, possibly shutting McGee up before he says anything to Jax about John Teller's time in Belfast. Clay makes his former brother-in-arms give up his cut (which he later burns) before hugging him and sending him plunging to his death.

Let's talk for a minute about the most controversial element of the episode; the incest angle. Jax and Trinity (Zoe Boyle) have been dancing around each other for weeks and it was only a matter of time until they hooked up. A lot of people on SOA message boards questioned whether or not the two had been flirting or just being friendly, but to me it was always obvious. Maureen (Paula Malcolmson) and Gemma (Katey Sagal) have certainly had their differences, but they agree on one thing when they walk in on their children in various states of undress. "This is very bad. Unless we want a three-headed grandchild, I guess we're going to have to share some family history."

The thing I don't really get is why the writers decided to include all of this stuff to begin with (other than to totally skeeve out a large segment of their already frustrated fan base)? Why couldn't Gemma just tell Jax that JT had another kid? It's not like the show hasn't shown us in the past that MC culture is pretty accepting of guys stepping out on their respective "old ladies." Hell, Jax has happily stood by and watched while Clay cheated on his mom. I recognize that Jax is a bit of an idealist and worships his late father, but still. I think the show proves my point when Jax reacts to the news with little more than a laugh and joke about Tig. I don't know how or why the "John had an illegitimate daughter" secret took precedent over the "mysterious circumstances surrounding John's death" secret that SOA focused on its first two seasons.

I loved Jax's sit down with Father Kellan (James Cosmo) after the IRA council makes it clear that Jimmy O will be taken care of internally. If nothing else, the Abel kidnapping has given Charlie Hunnam a chance to flex his acting muscles. And James Cosmo is no slouch either. "I'm about to break a vow, an oath of confidentiality I had with your father," says the priest, "He never wanted this life for you... I couldn't do anything to save the son, but I can do something to save the grandson." It takes Jax a few seconds to process he is being told, but when he figures it out, he erupts. "Where is my son!" Ashby echoes a line from a few weeks ago about Abel being in the arms of a loving family and that just sets Jax off even more. He pulls out his piece and forces the priest to cough up an address.

Here is where I think FX screwed things up. The episode ended perfectly. Jax is in shock over the news and the viewer is left feeling ambiguous about whether or not Jax will eventually agree with Ashby's decision to give Abel a chance at a life away from the MC. (I actually thought there was a pretty good chance he would come to that conclusion.) But FX didn't give us a chance to stew over it for a week because in the previews for next week's episode it showed SAMCRO chasing down Abel and his new adoptive parents. Way to go, you just spoiled your own show. Leave it to the network to mess up after an otherwise awesome episode. Dummies.

By Lucas High

About the author

Lucas High is a man on a mission. That mission: to watch television for a living. Drop him a line at lhigh2@gmail.com, on Facebook and on Twitter at twitter.com/LucasHigh.

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