Sons of Anarchy Recap – 5.01 “Sovereign”

Sons of AnarchySons of Anarchy has returned and the reign of Jax Teller has begun, but it is a rule that involves a secret deal with the CIA and secrets that could potentially tear the SOA apart. Let’s take a look at what went down on Sons of Anarchy “Sovereign”.

Appropriately, we start out with the Sons on the road at night with Jax narrating poetically about life on the road, and the strange peace that comes with the late night runs.  Finally it becomes clear Jax is writing to his sons in a notebook as the scenes shift to different characters.  We get our fist look at Jimmy Smits Nero putting the boots to Gemma.  Yeah I went there, there is no other way to do it.

We return to the road as the Sons flank filthy Phil driving a panel truck, obviously filled with guns, while “People keep on talking” provides the soundtrack.  The Niners lay in wait and fire on the convoy, eventually upturning the truck and catching it on fire,  Phil, and the guns, are safe this time, but it is obvious that the Sons of Anarchy and The Niners are in full on war.

Morning after.  Jax fills Tara in on the events of last night and tells her he wants her to carry a gun due to threats from The Niners.  Tara tells Jax she can’t attend Piney’s service because she is going to be training her replacement.  Her hand is still in a cast, so she has not healed completely.  The scene ends with Tara telling Jax she is putting the kids in daycare, a move they both predict will rile Gemma.

Sons of Anarchy NeroSpeaking of Gemma, she wakes up naked in the same room we saw her in earlier.  She gets to her feet as Nero enters the door.  She finds a gun and pulls it on him.  The two other girls are awoken by a third women and told they have morning “dates”.  This prompts Gemma to ask him if he is a Pimp.  He prefers to call himself a “companionator”.  Nero and Gemma have matching chest scars, that little detail alone tells you this is the beginning of a long relationship.

Clay, Chibs, Juice, and Tig are at Clay and Gemma’s house, moving his stuff out. We go back to Nero’s place and see that it is indeed very upscale,  Nero is very cordial and easily charms Gemma. She leaves in a cab but not before giving Nero her number.

Opie is in the Cemetery as the Sons hang nearby.  Jax talks with Opie privately, Opie still feels the situation is not being handled honorably. In his opinion, it should be Clay being buried today.  Jax apologizes for asking Opie to be his VP and sit at the table with Clay.  Opie promises him that he is not going to turn in to Clay, Opie says he just doesn’t want to turn into Jax.

Gemma arrives home and talks to Uncer, who informs him that Clay is there moving his stuff.  Clay is on oxygen and moving very slowly.  Gemma helps him find a ring and tells him not to take the photos.  Clay asks to talk for two minutes and Clay Tells her he deserved what happened.  He talks about the difference between him and JT, and ends his tirade by telling Gemma that he will keep her role in JT’s death a secret.  Veiled threat?  More than likely, but Clay seems so sincere.  Definitely a classic Sons of Anarchy moment.  Will Clay really take the secrets to his grave, or is he just telling Gemma that he still holds some power.  He tells her he loves her and always will.  She begins to sob and he approaches her to comfort her but she takes him down easily with a single elbow, showing how frail Clay has become.  “Don’t you ever touch me again.” She seethes to him as he gasps for air on the floor.

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Jax meets with Romeo and Luis and tells them he needs a sit down with Damien Pope in order to resolve the problems with The Niners.  Romeo says that he can help with Bobby Elvis, but he needs to inform him what is going on.  Jax tells Romeo he has leverage with the knowledge that he is a CIA operative.  They drop off Bobby Elvis and part ways, but it is clear there is tension forming.

At the clubhouse, Roosevelt shows up and questions the sons about recent home invasion robberies, and the reported attack on their ‘auto parts’ shipment. It is clear he feels The Niners are behind this in retaliation and warns them against bringing the violence to Charming.  On the way out he reassures Juice that he won’t out him.

At a rail station we get to meet Damien Pope, who meets with some of The Niners.  He is upset because he told The Niners to lay low and instead they are stirring up things with the Sons of Anarchy.  It is revealed that Leroy has been killed at Pope’s command, his body dismembered and thrown in a pit. Definitely one of Sons of Anarchy‘s more graphic moments. A new Niner is placed in charge.

At the reaper table Jax announces that the Nomads of Sons of Anarchy are disbanding, and three of them are there to join the Charming group.  Also Filthy Phil is now a full fledged member. They are voted in unanimously.  Jax announces that he is taking Bobby as vice president, and that Opie will be stepping away from the MC for a while.  Chibs seconds the nomination and Bobby is the new VP.  Clay stuns the meeting by admitting that he killed Piney.  He manages to spin a story where he killed Piney in self defense, claiming Piney was drunk at the time and tried to kill him over the Cartel business and drug running.  He claims he blamed it on the Cartel to protect the Sons of Anarchy business.  He also tells the Sons that it was Opie who shot him.  Tig is very unsettled, since he killed Veronica Pope and attempted to kill Leroy in retaliation for Clay’s shooting.

After the room clears, Jax and Clay have a one on one.  Jax is suspicious of Clay’s motives and what’s to know what the play is.  Clay says there is no play, but he also wants to know why Jax didn’t kill him.  Clay senses there is something more to Jax not killing him,  Jax admits he needs him  for the Irish, but mentions nothing about the CIA.  Outside Gemma shows up and is wondering why the kids are in daycare, she also can’t understand why Jax did not kill him. Nero gives Gemma a call to check in tells her to call him anytime she needs him.

At the railroad,  Pope’s aid August prepares Darnell, the new leader of The Niners for a meeting with the Sons he instructs him to shoot Jax when he shows up. Jax arrives with Bobby, Chibs, and Happy.  Jax is upset Damien Pope isn’t there, but begins to negotiate with Darnell who dutifully pulls the gun August gave him and points it at Jax, but the gun is empty.  Sons of Anarchy August separates the resulting fist fight, kills Darnell, and appoints a new Niner as leader.  He tells the new leader, in front of the sons, to tell The Niners the beef with Samcro is over. August tells them that Mr. Pope will be reaching out to them soon.  As Pope’s crew clear out, Jax surmises the meeting was to tell them that Damien Pope decides who dies and when.  This is far from over.

Back at Gemma’s, Clay is looking through some photo albums as Juice brings out the last of his stuff.  Tig shows up and confronts Clay over the lie he told.  He tells Clay that he has murdered an innocent girl based on the lie.  Clay tries to claim the greater good angle.  A call on Tig’s cell phone interrupts them, he learns his daughter Dawn was stopped for DUI, but the arresting officer has MC connections and offers to let her off if Tigs will come pick her up.  He makes arrangements to go pick her up.  On his way out Clay asks if they are good, and Tig says he doesn’t know.

At Roosevelt’s office we learn that there are witnesses naming Jax and Chibs in the shooting on the highway. Tig has also been identified as the killer of Veronica Pope.

At the train yard, Tig shows up to get Dawn but is handcuffed by an Oakland Detective.  Damien Pope shows up and confronts him.  Pope asks him what he thinks is going to happen, Tig says Pope will kill him.  Pope says that would be too easy.  Sons of Anarchy TigThe pit is opened and among the remains of Darnell and Leroy is Dawn, unconscious.  She begins to wake up as Tig screams for mercy for Dawn as Pope’s men dump gas in the pit. Pope, smoking a cigar, tells Tig that he knows his pain and throws the cigar in the pit.  One of Sons of Anarchy’s most brutal revenge sequences ever and Kim Coates acting here is superb.  A very disturbing scene.

Damien then informs Tig that he is going to jail for the murder of his daughter, and warns him that he should forget about what just happened or it could happen to his other daughter.

Gemma is visiting the boys and arguing with Gemma over the daycare issue.  Gemma insinuates that she should be caring for them, but Tara tells her that her drug and alcohol use is making her a danger to the children.  They are interrupted by Jax, Bobby, and Chibs,  Uncer calls and tells them about their pending arrest.

Clay is in his garage with his motorcycle.  He flexes his hands and ponders it for a moment, finally deciding to try to get on it.  It falls over, taking him with it.

At the train yard Tig, now alone with the cop and a person he brought to take care of the bodies.  Tig manages to overpower the cop and get his gun, killing both men.

Back at Jax’s they figure out that Pope is trying to get them in jail so his men on the inside can kill them.  There is a disagreement between Tara and Gemma as to whether they should run, Gemma finally tells them she knows a place where they can go.

We get montage as Uncer feeds Gemma’s Bird, Jax, Chibs, and Bobby hit the road, Tara smokes a joint, Clay sits frustrated in his garage, Opie puts Piney’s trike up for sale, Pope buys some kids ice cream.  Finally,  Gemma shows up at Nero’s with Jax, Chibs, and Bobby.

At Gemma’s Uncer is up late when the doors burst open and three men enter and begin beating him.  We get only a few clues to their identities: they are white, and one has a prosthetic limb.  So this i clearly not The Niners, so who is it?

Overall “Sovereign” managed to reconnect with the overarching plot lines while avoiding any predictable connective tissue.  The rivalry between Clay and Jax is clearly coming to a head and Jax’s deal with the CIA could make the Sons turn on him in an instant.  It’s only a matter of time before Clay finds out what is going on and makes his move. I LOVE the fact that Jax is beginning to try to turn the tide on the CIA, because it just doesn’t make sense that an MC with “Anarchy” in their name would be anyone’s whimps.

Making the CIA deal the straw that could break Jax’s back is a genius move.  I can feel the tension already; we know the secret won’t last forever, what will happen to Jax when it comes out?  Also very nice how they reiterated the theme of doing things for the ‘greater good’ but how on an individual basis the Sons don’t necessarily buy that motive.  So a brilliant multilayer setup for the season in a lot of genius ways.

On the Pope end, how crazy good is Harold Perrineau? Pope clearly wants to snuff out the SOA and will stop at nothing.  Another great storyline to be addicted to.

Overall, it’s a relief to have Sons of Anarchy back, but I for one had no idea it could come back so strong.  Just an amazing episode with a ton of great acting and story twists.  This season could be the best yet!  Visit our Sons of Anarchy forum and weigh in on your favorite part of the premiere.

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