Posted October 18, 2012 by Matthew Frendo in Movies & Video

Sons of Anarchy Review: "Small World"

“Jax has been battling monsters the entire series, leading everyone he cares about to the edge of the abyss…”


To start my Sons of Anarchy review let me just say: “motherf**ker! I hate being wrong.” Apparently my guess about who was behind the home invasions was just that. As everyone knows from the end of last night’s episode, Clay is behind them. I, for one, am not sure how I feel about it (and I’m not just saying that because my supremely awesome guess was wrong). I mean, it’s a cool conflict to have going for sure. But when exactly did Clay talk to these Nomads and get them on his side? I have to go rewatch the pilot to make sure, but I thought they were already in the club when Clay left the hospital. And if he’s in the hospital, when did he have time to bring an army together, especially with Tigs there every minute? Still, I never thought to guess Clay, mainly due to his house being broken into, and because it just seemed, well, kind of like guessing Vince McMahon was behind another maneuver against Steve Austin back in the WWE heyday of the late 1990′s. Too obvious to be the twist. But it was.

I did love the Jax side of this equation, shown in his final conversation with Pope. When Pope told Jax he needed the ability to see the inevitable, it looked like Jax understood. And the only inevitable is Clay making a move for power. It also looks like Clay has not only the Nomads, but Juice as well. As seen by the table vote, Clay now has almost half the club. If Jax hadn’t made that deal to get Tigs in line with his plan, he may have lost the vote, and by extension, the club. It’s becoming more and more certain that Tigs will have some big moves later in the season for sure.

“So, while Jax is moving the club in a less violent direction with prostitution, the capacity for violence within him has increased.”

Let’s talk about Tigs, and the murder of the prison guard, for a minute. Tigs shooting the guard’s wife without even a discussion was a throwback to the Tigs that we saw when the series first started. He takes care of a messy problem no one else wants to deal with, and does it in a way that relieves the others from any guilt. The difference this time was in Jax. If you remember, near the end of Season 1, Jax and Tigs got in a fistfight because Tigs was trying to kill an innocent witness. Jax put his life on the line when he fought Tigs to get her free. Now, it’s a bit different. When Tigs killed the innocent witness this time, Jax had no problem with it (it looked like he even appreciated it), and considered it “collateral damage.” So, while Jax is moving the club in a less violent direction with prostitution, the capacity for violence within him has increased. This was pronounced with the beating to death of the prison guard, with a snowglobe of all things (a snowglobe with magic glass apparently, as it did not shatter after being driven into a man’s skull…again…and again…and again…). The internal conflict within Jax that’s sure to follow will be interesting to see.

Another change taking place is the dynamic between Jax and Tara. If you remember, Gemma told Tara early on that it only can work in two ways: either Tara knows nothing about the business, or she knows everything. It was everything for quite a while. But the end of last nights episode showed differently, with both Jax and Tara lying to each other. Jax didn’t tell her about the guard, and Tara lied about seeing Otto. While I at least understand the guard being kept secret, I don’t so much with the Otto thing…unless Tara is planning to go back there and do what Otto asked for. I know it will make for great TV if she does, and will show her becoming more like Gemma, but on the other hand, I really like her character and will actually be somewhat heartbroken if she goes down that road. One of the highlights of the season so far, for me at least, has been what Sutter has done with Tara. We’ve gotten to know her more, and seen her change as a character in ways that are still coming to fruition. On a side note, in regards to Otto, I don’t see why Tara doesn’t just give him an injection to kill him herself. I mean, I’m sure there’s some elixir in made-up medical TV land that will kill Otto without a trace of poison coming up on a toxicology report. And Otto’s whole goal is to die anyway. It seems the simplest choice, but maybe that’s just me.

The thing with Nero’s half-sister was weird. Not much more to say about it, except that, as far as sex is concerned, this has been the craziest Sons of Anarchy season so far. First, we had Goggins come in as a she-male last week, and then the almost forced sex at gunpoint this week, all so the gun wielder could watch while she shot herself. And then to see Joel McHale enter at the end, and start chatting up Gemma. What?

Some dark places are being entered into, with each episode hurdling deeper and deeper into the black. As Nietzsche said, “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Jax has been battling monsters the entire series, and has led everyone he cares about to the edge of the abyss, which they’re all now gazing into, just waiting to see what the abyss has in store for them next.

Geeksmash score: 93/100


For more on “Small World” check out The AV Club’s take on the episode.

For more reviews by Geek Smash’s Matthew Frendo click here.

Matthew Frendo

Matthew Frendo is an accomplished concert violinist, Hong Kong Kung Fu champion, the creator of World of Warcraft, and a screenwriter living in Los Angeles. He’s also a pretty good liar, as only one of the things he listed is true. In reality, he’s a huge geek for television, literature, and film, with bachelor degrees in Philosophy and Media Communications, and a Masters in Motion Picture and Television. His interests include philosophy, martial arts, Zen Buddhism, Ring of Honor, intelligent horror used as a mirror to society’s ills, forgotten pieces of music and art, French Extremity, comedic satire, the lost art form of reading, BBC, Sons of Anarchy, Star Wars, and Planet of the Apes. The only reality TV he watches is Big Brother, a source of both inspiration and shame.