Sons of Anarchy 6.10 Review: “Huang Wu”

Sons of Anarchy 6.10 Review: “Huang Wu”


We’re reaching the end of the season of Sons of Anarchy, and you know that it’s time for big stuff to go down. Unfortunately, it looks like all that “big stuff” is going to be happening next week, when it seems that Clay is finally going to be attempting the great escape (I don’t watch previews or anything like that–this expectation is based on how the episodes lead the story). This week’s episode was really about putting all the pieces in the right place, and setting up for the endgame. Still, it was a strong episode–as they’ve all been this season, for the most part. Man, it’s tough to be critical of a show that impresses me every week.

And right off the bat, that opening montage really manages to hit the emotions. It’s really rough to see Wendy back on the junk. The school with happy students despite increased security. Tara’s empty office was painful, too, even though I hate her now. But by the end of the episode, that image of her empty office is even more depressing. More on Tara (a lot more) later.

First off, we’ve got to deal with the Irish and the Chinese. At first, it seemed like bringing the Chinese into the episode was just going to be setup for a weekly shootout and quick conclusion–that kind of storytelling is something that this show does a lot (and usually does it pretty well)–allowing for some fun action alongside all the stuff that pushes the season’s story forward. This time, though, we can’t help but worry about the repercussions. The Chinese certainly seem like they’re going to be playing a role in the massive events that are sure to come. The Irish, the police, Clay, the DA, and the Sons have had this violent playdate on the books for a while now, and this episode pulls one more faction into the conflict. I’m completely pumped to see where all this goes, and how it gets there.

Meanwhile, poor Wendy is having a difficult time dealing with the guilt over her part in Tara’s scheme, and she’s back on drugs. Nero and Unser take the ride to her apartment to to help her out. Oh man, a Nero/Unser teamup. I’m so happy. Both characters are very level-headed and serve as grounded anchors in a show that can get extreme, and putting them together led to some great scenes. The reasoning for sending the two of them to deal with Wendy seemed a little bit shaky, but it worked out. Some great comedic lines between them as well as some bonding. It was a total treat. Part of me is hoping that this pairing was setting up for something in the future: maybe if Nero wants to marry Gemma, he asks for Unser’s permission. That seems in character for Nero, and it would just feel so warm to watch something like that unfold. But enough speculating. We’ve got to talk about the heavy stuff.

The rest of the episode was really about the relationship with Jax, Tara and Gemma, and the fallout of all the truths that came out into the open last week.

First off, it’s finally clear where everyone stands. Basically, it’s everybody against Tara (which sounds good to me). Jax apologizing to Gemma and Nero was incredible. I can’t stop gushing over how much I love Nero–seems like I dedicate a whole paragraph to his greatness every week, and I’m just so glad that there’s no lingering animosity between him and Jax after their fight last episode. The club, Gemma, and Nero are all unified behind Jax against Tara’s betrayal. And with the lawyer completely spooked, Wendy off in dreamland, and Margaret splitting for fear of personal safety, Tara is finally all alone.

Gemma’s scene with Tara in the house had me in chills. Amazing acting between these two women, and intense writing totally had me on the edge of the seat. That Tara had a gun the whole time left me scared that either one of them could be killed there.  There have been a lot of scenes between Gemma and Tara over the course of the series, and I think that this one may have been the best. I loved how Tara finally credits Gemma for teaching her how to be an old lady, and calls out Gemma on the kind of stuff that she does to protect her family. But Gemma wouldn’t ever split apart the children from their father, especially not by faking a pregnancy and miscarriage. Tara didn’t think that Gemma would have boundaries with her manipulation–but she does, and Tara’s crossed them. It’s something that I’ve been talking about in these reviews for the past few episodes–Gemma’s always been ruthless and smart, but there are things that she wouldn’t do. And this beautiful scene establishes it. Gemma’s not lying when she says that she’d never do what Tara did–we’ve spent enough time with her to know exactly where she stands.

And Gemma’s delivery of that threat was just cold, in a good way. When Gemma leaves, you can just see Tara crumple–physically and emotionally. She finally realizes how alone she is.

She’s desperate for any kind of power or control left, and attempts to go after Jax. It’s hard to know exactly what she has in mind when she follows him to Colette’s Diosa–in fact it’s likely that she didn’t have anything planned, driven to any kind of action by pure desperation and emotion. But when she catches Jax with Colette, she breaks. No. She shatters. It’s the last straw for Tara.

As much as I dislike Tara for the way she’s acted this season, it’s hard not to feel for her when she’s breaking down. Her “What’s happened to me?” outbreak outside Diosa was brutal. And that gun has such a heavy, heavy presence. How close was she in that moment to putting that gun against her own head? That is something that scares me going forward.

Especially when you consider the final scene of the episode, between Tara and the DA after the ending montage. Tara’s completely hopeless, broken, shut down, devastated. She has nowhere to go, and she knows it. Suicide is not a pleasant thing to think about, but it seems like a plausible outcome for Tara. I worry that she won’t live to see the end of this season–by her own hands or some other force.

I want her to get some kind of redemption, though. Whatever you or I might say about her fall from grace this season, she’s a powerful character, and deserves more than for her story to end like this.

All the pieces are really moving into place, and the next final episodes of the season are sure to be mindblowing. What did you think of this week’s Sons? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Worth Mentioning

Man, Margaret in the beginning, telling how she stayed at the hospital. It’s easy to forget the toll all this stuff takes on the regular citizens. Impossible not to feel for her.

“Just stop lying.” Wendy, despite being a drug addict, is so much smarter than Tara.

Juice’s new bike, maaan. Come on Tara, not cool. He only got it a few episodes ago.

“Get you in touch with your inner cholo.” “I had that removed, with my spleen.”

No followthrough on last week’s storyline with the girl who smashed the ice cream shop’s window. Not that I had particularly wanted or expected anything to come of it, but it shows how strange and out of place that line was.

Happy eating chinese food and enjoying cartoons with his somber captors was absolutely hilarious, and a very welcome moment of relief at the end of a tense and very heavy episode.

[Photo via Prashant Gupta/FX]

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