'Sons of Anarchy': Can I Borrow a Feeling?

Tommy Flanagan and Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy Los Fantasmas

[This is a review of Sons of Anarchy season 6, episode 8. There will be SPOILERS.]


Around this point every season, Sons of Anarchy usually pauses the action for a moment to highlight the emotional aspects of the various plots and character arcs comprising the season's narrative. In that regard, 'Los Fantasmas' combines a curious mixture of characters eliciting some kind of woeful sentiment about their current predicament, while others – like Unser – exude more of an "it'll work itself out" kind of vibe that's as curious as his telling Roosevelt the MC is a vital part of Charming and removing it will only result in the city's demise.

Examining the emotional aspects typically works best in the aftermath of an event that also suggests a permanent shift in the character dynamic. Last season, it was episode 8 'Ablation' – which followed the aftermath of Gemma nearly killing Abel and Thomas in an auto accident caused by her driving under the influence of marijuana. The incident resulted in Gemma being smacked around by Tara, banned from seeing her grandkids, and being all but disowned by Jax.

Now it's episode 8 of season 6, and following Tara fabricating an assault from Gemma, the characters and the audience find themselves in another familiar situation. It's so similar, in fact, that you can practically see Charlie Hunnam cross-referencing the season 5 script for his big scene in which he disowns his mother again – making the title 'Los Fantasmas' particularly apt, in this case.

Rey Gallegos Charlie Hunnam and Tommy Flanagan in SoA Los Fantasmas

This time, however, Tara is on a full court press to finally distance herself and her children from Gemma, Charming, and all of SAMCRO – which includes her husband – and yet, the closer she gets to achieving her goal, the more she begins to have doubts about what it is she's trying to accomplish. Tara is one of the few characters on Sons of Anarchy whose supposed inner turmoil and doubt doesn't feel like complete hogwash, as she's also one of the few characters who realizes that SAMCRO is a mostly corrosive element that eats away at the souls of those who're involved, and especially those sitting at the head of the table. And while her sudden sense of doubt comes at a predictably inopportune time, it suggests another layer to her character that understands maybe there is something in Jax capable of turning the MC around and making it an endeavor that isn't constantly bringing violence to his family's doorstep.

Bobby certainly seems to believe that Jax can do it; his words to Tara go a long way in expressing how badly Jax needs her at his side in order to keep the MC from collapsing under even more Teller family drama. Wherever she goes, Tara seems to be reminded the plan that's about to go into effect will irrevocably change her world, and possibly only serve to make things worse. But considering the other corrosive element in Tara's life is out on the street telling Unser she's "tired of being hated," such irrevocable change may work out to be exactly what the club needs.


Sons of Anarchy continues next Tuesday with 'John 8:32' @10pm on FX.

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