‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 5, Episode 12 Review – Keeping Life Beautiful

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Ron Perlman and Kim Coates in Sons of Anarchy Darthy Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 12 Review – Keeping Life Beautiful

It’s hard to imagine that, after all of his murderous and greedily underhanded deeds, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) would be able to evoke any kind of emotion other than anger or hate. But that’s precisely what he does as Sons of Anarchy takes the show’s defining antagonist and blots out his affiliation with SAMCRO like Happy does the ink on his body. That’s all there is to it; Clay’s days as an official part of the MC are over, but he remains among the living – something Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), in his increasingly savage state, simply cannot abide by.

‘Darthy’ picks up a short time after the events of last week’s ‘To Thine Own Self,’ and almost immediately answers the question of just what Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) was doing paying a visit to Clay after Jax dropped such a bombshell on him. Clay spills his guts to the table in return for Bobby’s no vote on an introduction with Mr. Mayhem. MC justice is swift with a unanimous vote for Clay to lose his patch, and Bobby the lone holdout regarding Clay losing his life. And so, Clay Morrow dodges the reaper once more, but Jax still manages to get his hands on the old man and give him a righteous beating. It’s unclear where the rage is ultimately coming from: all of Clay’s past misdeeds, or the utter frustration over the fact that he’s still drawing breath.

Both men lose it. Jax in front of Bobby while the VP tries to explain his motivations, and Clay after he dismisses Gemma (Katey Sagal) post-beat down. But as Jeffrey Lebowski said: “Strong men also cry…strong men also cry.” In the hands of a lesser actor, it could have felt superficial and false, but Perlman manages to give the scene some real heft that spells out the sheer magnitude of what just transpired. Everything that has defined a man, driven him and given him purpose has come to an end – and despite losing all of that, Clay knows he’s lucky to walk out of there alive.

Mark Boone Junior and Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy Darthy Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 12 Review – Keeping Life Beautiful

Jax, meanwhile, is all but consumed by hate and the need to exact his revenge. What Bobby did was for the good of the club; Jax is the leader SAMCRO needs right now, but the man is still suffering. How does Jax balance being what the club needs with the needs of the insatiable beast growing inside him?

He turns to Pope (Harold Perrineau) for a little guidance. And as such, Pope is his usual frighteningly placid, yet insightful self when it comes to the topic of revenge. He’s been there before – heck, he’s there now with Tig (Kim Coates) – and, if he lives to see the end of season 5, he’ll be there again. Pope understands that, to be a leader in the kind of business he and Jax are in, one has to acknowledge the need to satisfy one’s baser instincts – otherwise it’ll eat away at the person making the decisions, that individual will lose focus and, as a result, the whole herd will collapse.

Perhaps that’s why guys like Lee Toric (Donal Logue) decide to go it alone when it comes to seeking vengeance. The blowback can only fall on one person, instead of a whole family or MC. Because that’s how revenge works: it’s a vicious cycle that perpetuates itself through others raging at injustice, and sweeps up everyone who’s even remotely involved until there’s nothing and no one left. Tara (Maggie Siff) and Nero (Jimmy Smits) are perfect examples of this.

As Wendy (Drea de Matteo) quickly learns by the end of ‘Darthy,’ people who have messed with Jax in the past and walked away, don’t fare too well next time their paths cross. So Jax injects her with heroin for daring to threaten him and his family. It’s a vicious bit of work for a man who has come to believe brutality is his ally, and will keep all that he holds dear from a similarly cruel fate. When a guy like Tig thinks you might be taking it too far, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate.

In terms of dramatic punch, ‘Darthy’ may have set the new standard for Sons of Anarchy. Here’s hoping it continues through next week’s season finale.

Ron Perlman in Sons of Anarchy Darthy Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 12 Review – Keeping Life Beautiful

Various other items:

  • Is Jax planning to make an offer to August (Billy Brown) for his part in whatever is going to go down regarding Pope and Tig?
  • Somehow, Clay managed to make a two-month trip to Belfast to avoid Jax’s vengeance sound like a pretty sweet deal.
  • Is Toric simply a fan of Artaud, or is his reading of Watchfiends & Rack Screams a sign of things to come?
  • Galindo suddenly storming the Barn of Illegal Arms Deals may have been extremely convenient, as far as the episode’s storytelling goes (as did Galen’s kidnapping of Wendy), but the payoff in reaction from Jax and Clay more than makes up for it.


Sons of Anarchy will end season 5 next Tuesday with ‘J’ai Obtenu Cette’ @10pm on FX. Check out a preview of the episode below:

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  1. Wow

  2. Feel somehow Tig will get away with Clay, Juice and Gem. Pope and Jax to fall out consequentially. Also feel the need to read Artaud.

    • to that uhm Irish Guy like making commercials with us will say . whats new im sure they Table and Naomi Campbell . well . Dave Corey hard time . . . UUAA .

  3. I miss Linc Porter

  4. I know I’ve been pretty hard on this season of SoA, especially when commenting here but I have to say that even though this episode had it flaws it was the strongest of the season IMO.
    My only question is, does Bobby know about Clay’s plot to kidnap Tara and how that led to the damage to her hand? And shouldn’t Clay have revealed that in his confession to the club? I just think if Bobby or anyone else knew about that that it would have been the icing on the cake and would have assured him a date with Mr. Mayhem…
    As far as the finale goes I think the ending montage will have Clay flying off to Belfast and Tara being led to Prison. And I hope Nero stays around for next season. Jimmy Smits has been the highlight of the season for me…

    • U say ur very critical of the show, yet you don’t know that jax told bobby about Tara’s hand last episode…

      • Well thanks for answering my question.
        As far as the rest of your comment sure, I admit to being critical sometimes but I didn’t know that that means I have to remember everything.

        • This season, much like Boardwalk Empire, was slow. The last couple of episodes where just great but the start of the season was just slow to me. With the show finally revealing what the plan is it’s starting to go in the right direction. I am just hopeful they do something random and just shocking that no one would see coming like maybe killing off Gem or Tara or Clay/Jax. I think the Clay/Jax thing won’t happen until the series finale just because they’re the main characters.

    • yes Bobby knows about Tara and Clay trying to kill her and her hand etc. Jax told him and Chibs and I think Juice was there when they all were in Clay’s place after Jax had them all meet at Clay’s to find the papers. Jax told them everything at that time.

      • Juice doesn’t know about Clay’s attempt to kill Tara but he’s aware of the friction between the two.

  5. I hope Jax and Tara (not sure why everyone calls her Terra)get killed off. The pair of them are so annoying, Chib’s kill them off. Jax can’t even grow a real beard. Can’t believe hardened men like Chibs, Trig and Bobby would work for a someone who looks like a little boy throwing toys out of his pram.

    • no way that Jax will get killed off until the end if Jax gets killed there is no Sons. Sutter has said this himself. Jax is Hamlet and whilst he will die it will not be until the end.

    • Looks are no way to judge anyone,that will get you killed in REAL life.Look at fighter like GSP As JJ if you even no them.Look at kids and girls being suicide bombers.Young kids are more likely to kill you for no reason or very little,than are adults.You think your looks make you?WAKE UP and look at the world around you.It’s a movie and Jax plays a great part as do the others.The show is not so popular because Jax is not mean looking.The things he’s done in the show many times is more than you’ve done in your entire life that’s 100%.I can’t grow a full beard and would die for the things I care for without thinking twice.Other things I would love to say,but it would not be smart.I wonder if your half the man you make yorself look like by your coment???????

  6. I really love this show, but I don’t like the turn for the worse that Jax is taking. I don’t think he should get rid of Tig, because I feel that Tig has paid for his mistakes. Jax is becoming another Clay, and that is not good at all!

    • Well, really, Tig only paid for killing Pope’s daughter. He’s also the reason Pope’s so much on SAMCRO’s back, reason why they got imprisoned (which led to Ope’s death). Jax might still be holding a grudge and therefore have no problem handing him to Pope.

      • Remember, Clay was the one who set Tig in motion that resulted in Pope’s daughters death. I forget the specifics but Clay lied to Tig about something that went down and Clay blamed black, which sent Tig on his murderous rampage. I have a feeling Tig will be on the plane to Belfast with Clay.

    • If it weren’t for Jax, Tig would still be in Stockton getting nightly visits from Pope’s minions. Jax was able to get Tig time with the club, and some extra days of freedom. I guarantee that what ever is about to happen to Tig will be much better than what would have happened if Jax hadn’t convinced Pope that he needed Tig’s backing at the table.

      And let’s not forget that Opie was a casualty of the mess Tig created.

    • The thing is…..It’s easy to forget that the Sons are a bunch of outlaws who are doing very dangerous business deals. In another setting they’d be the bad guys, but in this setting they’re the “Good” Bad Guys. In reality there’d be a lot of nasty outcomes with all the problems that have gone on.

      The point Jax made about the gavel corrupting is a valid one. Once you have to lead when what your’re leading is really on the edge, then there’s bound to be times where the temptation to let the power corrupt absolutly would be overwhelming. Unlike Clay Jax at least seems to be looking out for the club rather than personal gains…

    • My additude about Jax IF he screws Tig will make me hate him.Die for the things you say you live by,if not your not even a man.IF he does this to Tig he’s a GOOF but Clay is no better got girls killed because he’s a b****.Selling out a brother is as bad as it gets,the death of many people is even worse unless they gave you a REAL good reason,like hurt your family or something along those lines.

  7. Well if your like me you couldn’t sleep at all last night after the airing of the best SOA episode yet. I think next week Jaxx will deliver Tig to Pope as promised and Tig will die. Clay will go away without Gemma and the MC will be forced to continue being mules for the Cartel. I wish tomorrow was Tuesday!

  8. I feel this show has jumped the shark after last night’s episode. So many plot holes now and Clay’s storyline drags once again to another season. Even though there is one episode left and I shouldn’t judge yet, I believe Clay will get away once again. Either way I’m hoping this season finale is as good as the season 3 finale.. but it seems unlikely.

  9. @Peej This expression Plot holes is constantly over used, plot inconsistencies? maybe? its something used interchangeably by many commentators, across a multitude of shows, and they aren’t the same at all, what plot holes?

    @MackDay you apparently dislike the best characters on the show LOL, and that’s not happening, they’re the endgame for the show.

    @JaredDac i gotta be honest, i was with you for maybe the first 2 or 3 episodes of this season, but since then I’ve immensely enjoyed the season, and it’s slow burn approach, watching suspense just grow to an insane height, last night and the finale are the epitome of things coming to a “head”. The voiceover narration that Jax was doing was SO reminiscent of Linda Hamilton in the Terminator series (T2 Predominantly), so spot on, cheers to Kurt Sutter for that. Sutter told everyone the season would be like this, almost a balancing act for the show as last season was the complete opposite and full throttle every episode. That can become overkill very fast.

    Personally I’m dying to know what happens with Clay from here, if he gets into another season how will his interaction be with the club, i mean is he a recurring character? as opposed to a lead, i honestly don’t know how hes gonna do it, but i definitely have faith in Sutter after all these years.

    Last night’s episode was fantastic.

    • Sorry, I meant bad writing.

      • @Peej Again though, you haven’t referenced any, i thought this season more so than last has great writing, b/c last season was so dependant on it’s fast pacing, which doesn’t mean it was any better or worse, i immensely enjoyed last season. But this season, i have enjoyed seeing the actors essentially get to act more, the plot kind of dictated how characters were last year, this year i feel like the scripts have been more subdued and the actors are left having to carrying a heavier load, which also like last season’s fast pace isn’t any worse or better.

        But with that being said, i think it’s been insanely entertaining to see what Charlie Hunham(Jax) in particular has done with his parts, last night’s episode was masterful in terms of his performance, and Ron Perlman (Clay) is always fantastic.

  10. This episode did open up alot of new story lines. It seems every character has something unfinished going on. Need about 5 more episodes to tie things up.

    Or, we could have a Godfather moment, and kill everybody on one night.

  11. This was one of the best episodes.

  12. I just hope that Jax doesn’t do Tig in. I think Tig has much more to offer Jax and the Club. In fact, turn Tig loose on Clay!

    • agreed! I wouldn’t kill Tig. I think Tig is def seen the light on Clay and is loyal to Jax and the Club and realizes that his loyalty to Clay was abused and used.

    • Sure, and then Pope destroys SAMCRO. Don’t forget, if Jax didn’t convince Pope that he needed Tig on the outside, that Tig would still be in Stockton enduring a brutal hell far worse than what he is about to receive. And regardless of what light Tig has or hasn’t seen, he killed Pope’s daughter and the fall out from that was Opie getting his head crushed in with a steel pipe.

  13. I have a feeling that the Marshall is going to be the next sherif of charming

    • I would like to know if anyone caught the name of the actor that plays the Marshall?

      • The actor playing former U.S. Marshall Lee Toric on SOA is Donal Louge

  14. I still can’t make any sense why Romeo made such a dick play like that. I guess he didn’t think Jax could get a deal without Clay, but making that move just seemed foolish from the beginning

  15. I don’t see a Season 3 type ending where they are all laughing in the paddy wagon knowing they outsmarted the ATF. Someone here said the actor who does Pope is starting another show, so somehow Pope dies or disappears. I see Clay and Juice rescuing Tig .Do they go to Ireland? Form another club? The montage at the end will be Tara in handcuffs, Clay, Tig, and Juice together hugging, the retired marshall becoming sheriff, or loaded for bear to take on SAMCRO. Of course, there has to be a twist somewhere.

  16. When Jax says “Listen, closely” to Juice I get worried. As the lovable screw up, Juice is a plan derailer. And there aren’t holes in the plot, we simply don’t know everything Jax is doing. That’s what made the season 3 ending so fantastic. All was revealed and nicely buttoned up.
    The looney ex-marshal sounds like he was forced out of his job. He is clearly unbalanced. Are those his anti-psychotic meds in the bag?
    Clay must be behind Romeo’s outburst at the barn; probably a retaliation move for being ousted.
    Tara is ready to make the move to Oregon. Just go already, Tara, while you still have some piece of yourself left!
    Wendy, Wendy, Wendy. Will you never learn not to threaten Jax?
    Maybe Tig will be freed from Pope by Clay. Jax will have kept his end of the bargain then Jax and Pope will both want Clay dead. But the cartel will protect him to keep the Irish guns coming.
    Gemma and Nero have great screen chemistry. I hope that goes on. And we did get to see that he is quite in charge of his crew – minus one.
    Chuckie. Seussical. Hilarious!
    I love this show. The season is ALWAYS too short

    • Wendy, Wendy, Wendy…. I was sick to watch just how far Jax went to get her out of the way. That just was above and beyond.

    • They have the Asian guns they don’t need the Irish.Remember the meeting with the Asian and the talk at church (the club).

  17. Man, that table is getting smaller and smaller. Other than picking up Phil, and V-Lin as a prospect, they’ve lost the Nomads, Opie, and now Clay. Not to mention Piney from the previous season. Now they look set to lose Juice and Tig. Who’s left really? They all talk about protecting the club, what really remains of the club? I understand the whole point is to make them a bit of an underdog. It’s been the theme from season 1, where outside threats constantly breathe down their necks. Otherwise there’s no drama. But having said that, who’s going to be scared of, or respect an MC like that? Sure they have their charter clubs they can fall back on, their allies and affiliates, but if I were Tacoma, and looking at the mother charter, I’d be wondering what the hell is going on.
    What I am thinking of is how Kurt is setting up the next two seasons which are the last. He needs things to be able to reach some kind of obvious finale. He can’t push major story changes simply through a character death, unless that character is replaced. I mean there are so many characters who can die, but they can’t all be killed off.

    • Not just the table, but everywhere. From the action when they’re together it would appear that the club has maybe eight people in it…Which wouldn’t be much of a threat to anyone. I think that once in a while they need to show the extended pack a bit more just to show it’s not a club of around 8 or so. They might be badd asses, but not that bad to make 8 seem like 80

    • Maybe a few from Tacoma, or another affiliate come in to fill the table. It’s happened before, hasn’t it? That wouldmean some new blood joining the show, maybe a few new main characters.
      I still think that Otto, and maybe Barger, isn’t finished with their mayhem quite yet.

  18. And one more thing…why isn’t Jax wearing boots? As much as he lays his scooter down, it’s amazing that he still has feet.

  19. Jax has worn white tennis shoes from the beginning. Not a white hat but the symbolism is the same.

    Who is Barger?

    • Sorry, I couldn’t think of his character’s name. It’s Lenny, I think…..Clay’s friend in prison with Otto.
      Sonny Barger was a founder of the Hell’s Angels in Oakland. He’s pretty much a legend in the biker world.

    • Barger is a real Angel,he plays the part of the older man in jail with that clay talked to last episode.

  20. Yes. Lenny the Pimp. Thanks

  21. Hey Sons of Anarchy fans – was hoping some of you could help answer a few questions I have about recent plot developments because I think I’m missing something. Bobby sets it up so that Clay is brought to the table. Club votes unanimously that Clay be stripped of his patch. Then everyone votes in favour of Clay meeting Mr. Mayhem – all but Bobby. I’m all good up until this point. But then Bobby justifies his actions to Jax by saying he prevented Jax from killing Clay behind the club’s back. But…the club JUST voted yes to it…like 30 seconds prior. Is it just that Bobby wants to keep his word with Clay? Given what Bobby knows about Clay – I have to ask myself why. Anybody got any insight they’d like to share?

    Also – why did Romeo bust in on the gun exchange?

    The good news is that I think I have finally gotten by boyfriend hooked on the show. Soon I’ll be able to annoy him with my questions instead haha.

    • @Clarky – Romeo busted in to make sure things were going to go down smoothly since he knew Clay wasn’t in SAMCRO anymore and the Irish would only do business with Clay.

    • You’re right that it seemed very strange for Bobby to do that when everyone else at the table voted to kill him. I think the reason Bobby did that (Other than you want to keep Clay in the series) was because the table is the governing body and not the whole club. It’s sometimes tough to remember that, but this is actually supposed to be a big club, but we generally see about eight of them. I think his logic was that it would be a tough sell to the total club who until a few months ago saw him as their leader. Without concrete proof it might undermine Jax leadership. So there was real logic in that decision.

      As for Romeo…..That bugged he hell out of me too. Why pull a dick move like that for no good reason? I think the reason was because Romeo and his partner are Feds. They saw Jax do a quick switch on them and must have figured that once the cartel started buying weapons from the Chinese that Jax would start dealing with the IRA if the started trusting him. They didn’t want that because it wasn’t something they could control if the Sons did get weapons from them. So they really messed things up for the Sons by making the IRA think it was a set up…..Hey….It’s a rough life if you’re going to deal guns

    • Bobby explained his actions by not wanting Jax turning into clay, which made perfect sense, Clay would of definitely killed Jax if the situation was reversed, that doesn’t make him any better or worse as a leader, but it definitely hurts the integrity of the club, they all want to get away from guns, get away from the mayhem, no pun intended, but they’re all willing to kill a former member? I mean hey, i want clay dead as anyone else does, but Bobby’s reasoning made perfect sense, Jax constantly talks about reforming and transforming the club into something that Clay never wanted, more peaceful, and not constantly looking over their shoulders. Killing Clay does not help that direction what so ever.

      • Have to disagree. The way things have been going, killing Clay would benefit Jax and the club more than anything else he could do. Clay’s purpose in life, as of late, has been to tear down everything the club is about, for his own selfish reasons. Destroying Jax has been an afterthought to him getting what he wants. I say burn him to the ground!

  22. Hey like i said i wanted him dead too, but the real question was whether or not Bobby’s reasoning had any merit, whether or not you agree with him is irrelevant, you simply have to understand his perspective, which i did. I still want clay dead myself :D. Though id like Jax to personally do it, not through a middle man honestly, but eh, beggers can’t be choosy .

  23. I think it’s pretty unlikely Clay will get killed unless Ron Perlman wants out. He’s just too essential to the over all story. The antagonist who sometimes is on the right side of things. I really doubt they’ll get rid of that character unless Ron says “Enough”

  24. Still wondering what Jax is up to… what did he tell Juice in private, what were those instructions hopefully we’ll find out in the finale. Also Bobby drives me crazy but Jax has been pushing it and going a little too darkside at times, by Bobby voting no to mr. mayhem He’s protecting Jax from all that rage consuming him and also making it so that Jax won’t be able to kill Clay out right, because he would be going against the club to do it. Whether everyone else wants clay dead makes no difference the votes already been cast, I think of it as a sort of insurance policy against Jax knowingly being Clays killer at least for this season. In response to crazy ex marshall were not looking at the new sherrif, what makes him so formidable is he’s untouchable, and has access to everything because of his history, being sherrif would hurt the character, he’ll do much more damage to SAMCRO staying under the radar with his guns and hella medication. I just hope this season finale is as great or better than season 3 which was the best. At first when I saw the preview I was like what the hell how many more SAMCRO memembers are going to die, or be excommunicated, but then I thought about it, Tig is supposed to be handed over to Pope So why does Jax have him in the middle of nowhere with a gun aiming him down, he’s not the executioner, thats not the deal so there maybe hope for a double cross, what do you think?

  25. After reading the comments i kinda get the feeling most of you skip half of the episodes. Let me clarify something about the bobby/clay deal.

    Without bobby making this deal clay wouldnt have come clean in church. because of the lack of evidence to bring clay to the table, jax‘s increasingly savage nature wouldve caused him to kill clay behind the clubs back. This would obviously not be good for the club, as their club is. already

  26. Sorry, my phone just crashed.
    Let us continue, shall we?

    It would obviously not be good for the club since it they are already falling apart, not to mention killing clay wouldve taken jax another step into becoming Clay, which he obviously wanted to prevent.
    That is why bobby made the deal with clay. He (Clay) had to come clean in trade for bobby’s no-vote on the meeting with mr mayhem. Clay’s days as a son are over, Club learns the truth, and Jax is prevented from going behind the clubs back.

    on a sidenote. Clay is the series main antagonist and you would have to be an idiot for not realising he won’t be killed until the ending of the last season.
    Remember, the plot is based loosely on shakespeare’s Hamlet although i’m not sure many of you are familiar with it.. Tsk tsk tsk…