‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 5, Episode 8: ‘Ablation’ Recap

Published 2 years ago by

Katey Sagal Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff in Sons of Anarchy Ablation Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 8: Ablation Recap

At the end of ‘Toad’s Wild Ride,’ it seemed as though things on Sons of Anarchy were very much up in the air (and that’s actually in addition to Gemma (Katey Sagal) driving her Cadillac off the road and into a tree). But really it’s in reference to all the scheming that keeps the plots going forward. If nothing else, the show does love some scheming. It has built a solid foundation on the endless plotting of its principles, and as the story turns toward the final five episodes of season 5, the real machinations start to emerge.

As is the case more often than not, there are a few complications, but by and large, ‘Ablation’ is the season’s episode where everything that was up in the air begins to fall into place (at least until a twist ending reveals nothing is as it seems). Last week, Jax (Charlie Hunnam) confronted Clay (Ron Perlman) about his involvement in the Charming home invasions, to which Clay responded in the manner that best suits him. At the time, it was surprising that Jax would be on to Clay at that point in the season, and now, it’s even more interesting that he’s putting a plan in place to effectively take him out – though leaving it up to a club vote feels a lot like leaving the backdoor open.

To that end, in the sage-like words of one Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits), Jax needs to “accelerate the endgame.” Of course, Nero’s talking about Jax’s big plan to move SAMCRO away from cocaine and guns, but, in a way, it’s sort of lighting the fire under Jax that’s needed to be lit since season 1 – or at least pointing out Jax’s apparent lack of fire.

Ron Perlman and Katey Sagal Sons of Anarchy Ablation Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 8: Ablation Recap

The main concern for ‘Ablation,’ however, was how and, if – considering the series’ past history with such things – Jax would deal with the situation once the truth that Gemma was driving while stoned came out. However unlikely, the whole event initially plays right into Clay’s plan. In being there to guide Gemma through yet another lie – telling Jax that his mother and children were attacked on the same evening he was – he conveniently deflects suspicion away from himself and flings the club’s aggression toward Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau). For a brief moment, it also appeared as though Gemma’s brush with death would bring her right back into Clay’s arms – at least it gave the old man an opening to try and shoo Nero away from his stuff. Clever as Clay is, though, he’s been known to coast when victory appears in sight; and as he does, holes immediately begin to appear in Gemma’s cover story.

But first, the MC has to deal with the two guys who shot at Jax and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan), and thanks to the hands that were sent to Unser (Dayton Callie) and Pope, the club has a good lead on the identity of the second guy. With little effort, the Sons corner him on a rooftop, coerce a confession out of him that includes the name Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito) and an assurance that no one went after Jax’s mom and boys. As a thank you, Jax puts a few slugs in they guy’s belly and lets him fall from said rooftop for good measure.

It doesn’t take the Sons long to get onto Frankie Diamond either – or perhaps that’s the other way around. Jax, Chibs and Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) respond to a call from Nero and wind up walking in on Frankie holding him and Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) hostage and demanding money. Frankie spills all the info on Clay, before Nero, being the nice guy that he is, offers Frankie $130k and few nice watches in exchange for leaving quietly – which seems to do the trick as long as you don’t count taking Chibs as a getaway driver and shooting Lyla in the leg as some sort of violation of their agreement. Jax explains to an understandably perturbed Nero this is a club thing (meaning Clay) and he shouldn’t worry about it. But Nero points out they’re partners now, and this kind of thing always blows back on everyone (meaning him, but more importantly, Tara and the kids).

David Labrava Charlie Hunnam and Tommy Flanagan in Sons of Anarchy Ablation Sons of Anarchy Season 5, Episode 8: Ablation Recap

Armed with the truth from Nero, Jax confronts Gemma about the crash by basically handing the reins over to his wife, which actually seems fair considering everything Tara (Maggie Siff) has suffered on account of her mother-in-law. In a way, this brings the whole storyline of Gemma’s downward spiral to a close. She’s ostensibly scared straight – at least enough to be doing some knitting at Nero’s, instead of getting picked up in a bar by Joel McHale – and given her response, she seems to understand the irrevocability of what her actions have caused. There’s a reality to her situation that, in a really frightening way, Jax twists to gain the upper hand in this sordid mess. Gemma’s a time bomb, but the only thing keeping her from going off has always been her family. By going to Clay and reminding him that a Gemma without family is a mess no one wants to clean up, he’s effectively put himself in the driver’s seat.

But there’s something so sordid and merciless about Jax’s plan that the whole time we thought he’d been picking up ideas from Nero, it feels more like Jax was taking notes on Pope. It’s a reveal of a new Jax almost; it’s the full manifestation of the fearsome man we saw in ‘Small World.’ One who gives his mother the choice between a life spent in the company of “hookers and bangers,” and one spent with the family that means everything to her. And yet the most spiteful aspect of Jax’s plan is that either way, it could be a death sentence for his mother. After all, he’s effectively sending Gemma into the lion’s den – especially with Clay knowing about the RICO case now.

Somehow, this doesn’t seem to be what Nero meant when he suggested accelerating the endgame.


Sons of Anarchy continues next Tuesday with ‘Andare Pescare’ @10pm on FX.

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  1. Does this writer even watch the show with his statement that Jax hasn’t displayed a “fire” to move the club in a different direction. Throughout each season Jax has sought an endgame to the club only to be pulled back into the life and the circumstance that his club must move as a family in making decisions despite the scheming and betrayals. Step your game up Kevin! judge a character based upon the rules of his world and the actions he takes not by your continuos episode to episode analysis

    • Calm down, Bob. It’s an interpretation of what’s presented on screen. There are plenty of people who see Jax exactly as the writer does. I’m one of them. If you disagree, say so. Your opinion is valid, but you need to learn to share it without attacking the writer. He’s providing his insight on the show, so there’s a chance it might not jive with yours. Doesn’t mean he’s wrong and doesn’t mean you’re right. Share your insight, but don’t perpetuate the negative stereotypes about commenters.

      • I gotta agree with Robert here, as every season passes Jax’s urgency to get the club out of it’s current situations has increased, this season is no different, I’d say the only thing that has slowed that down at all was the situation with the Feds, and the Cartel that was introduced last season and spilled over into this season. That however didn’t mean his “fire” was lacking, he was stuck, the only thing this episode showed was he was being more creative and finding ways to get his mission done despite outside circumstances. That is not the same as lacking “fire”.

        Regardless, loved the ep, the speech Jax gave Gemma was priceless.

      • Hey Derrick good response to Robert.

        By the way, it’s “jibe” not “jive.”


  2. Now this is a storyline with Gemma that I can get behind. And if played out effectively it will justify all the melodrama that took place during the 1st half of the season and we can once again see the Gemma of seasons 1-4.

  3. Damn…I’m not going to see this for a few days…..I really thought Gemma’s crash was going to just be a dream segment. Clay’s got to go, but it would seem like it might be a two for one deal…..

  4. I understand that Wikipedia isn’t exactly a reliable source, but according to information on there the final season of SOA is the seventh. That will be labeled as “The Final Season”, so in my mind I feel like a lot needs to either not happen, or change for the show to be able to carry itself that far. As much as I want to see both Clay and Gemma get killed off, they are an essential part of this show, obviously. I feel like we’re being lead to think something is going to happen, but something else will occur causing all our expectations to be wrong. If Wikipedia is correct, than these writers have to find something to do to carry this show for two more seasons. Clay and Gemma, in the writers perspective, could carry this show longer but if they choose that direction than I feel like the show might get really upsetting as it continues on.

  5. I hate to say this, because she is one of my most…unfavorable characters, but poor Gemma. I dont think I could image my family shutting me out like that, I’m not saying what she did was right or that she’s a victum, because she’s not, but still. I couldn’t help but get this little pang in my chest for the poor girl; which is odd, but true. This whole situation with Jax and the club, against Clay and all these oddities and loose ends, I just feel like this season will never end. I think for Christmas I’ll ask for Clay’s death, because THAT has been really dragged out. And I can now honestly say Tara isn’t a reliable character anymore, she’s more like Gemma than I think anyone’s willing to admit. But all in all, good episode.

    • I kind of agree with you Corrinne. Even though Gemma screwed up royally, Jax is asking his mother, a former gang-rape victim, to have sex with a man she hates, in order to be back in his family. It would be like being raped again, but having to pretend you like it.

  6. does jax realize that gemma may spill the beans to clay about him asking her to sleep with clay? is he counting on this?