[This is a review of Sons of Anarchy season 6, episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]
After last week's retread of the familiar power struggle between Gemma and Tara, Sons of Anarchy keeps the confrontations going by placing Jax right in the middle of four fierce women and their various agendas that involve him or SAMCRO (in one way or another).
So far this season, Gemma and Tara's dance has taken something of a different approach, in that Tara is no longer vying for control of Jax in the hope that she might be the one to help him better steer the Sons into the legitimate business.
Instead, Tara's doing the only sensible thing: she's cutting and running. But that's easier said than done when the person most likely to hunt her down is, in essence, one of the primary reasons she's so eager to put Charming in her rearview. In some sense, the push and pull of Tara's long con escape plan is no different from the other two getaways that are currently in progress.
In that regard, we still have SAMCRO's flight from the IRA gunrunning business and Clay's gratuitously violent, overly elaborate and tortuously slow-going escape from prison. (If nothing else, Sons of Anarchy season 6 will go down in history for have the most montages involving a bloodied Ron Perlman nursing his wounds in a jail cell.)
But like Tara's inability to escape the gravitational pull that is Gemma, Jax and the intolerable baggage that comes with being a part of the Teller family, the MC just can't seem to break free of the Kings and Galen. That is, until Jax hits Tyne Patterson up for a get-out-of-jail-free card by once again invoking the name of Legitimate Business and appealing not only to her civic-minded side, but also the side interested in her career trajectory.
For its part, 'John 8:32' does a nice job of drawing as many parallels within the episode's storyline as it can, making the narrative feel more cohesive than others this season. This added cohesiveness also helps with making this particular extended episode feel less arduous to get through, since most of the thirty or so extra minutes is spent listening to characters tell each other all kinds of information the audience already knows.
But the primary parallel that's the most undeniable is the one in which the characters concede that Gemma and Tyne are not to be trifled with, and that no matter how much Tara, Jax or maybe even Nero now would like ignore them and hope they go away, these relentless women have to be acknowledged one way or another.
Because when it comes right down to it, they wield more power and influence than anyone might be willing to admit. Tyne's ability to apply pressure has Jax in her office making insanely risky deals, and Gemma's actions cause such an intense ripple effect that a disturbed teen is compelled to hurl a pipe wrench through a plate glass window in response to an event that happened more than 10 years ago.
That kind of influence means nothing good is headed Tara's way. In fact, it's enough to suggest that Unser has a better shot at becoming sheriff again than Tara has at escaping with her kids.
Sons of Anarchy continues next Wednesday with 'Huang Wu' @10pm on FX.
Photos: Prashant Gupta/FX