Episode Title: "J'ai Obtenu Cette"
Writers: Kurt Sutter & Chris Collins
Director: Kurt Sutter
Previously on "Sons of Anarchy":
When it comes down to it, the majority of the tragedies in this season of “Sons of Anarchy” can be traced back to two people: Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman), when he initially said “blame it on black” about his shooting at TM and Tig (Kim Coates); who was so consumed with thoughts of revenge for Clay’s shooting that he killed an innocent woman and made an enemy unlike any SAMCRO had ever dealt with before.
By the end of the fifth season finale, only one of those men got something close to a happy ending. And next season’s tragedies seem to lie on the doorstep of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) and his beloved smother mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal).
Full spoilers lie ahead for "J'ai Obtenu Cette." If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, turn back now or Big Otto will bite through human flesh again.
Let’s get this out of the way first: the regular cast members of “Sons of Anarchy” were all outstanding in this episode. However, Ron Perlman’s turn as Clay stands out because he managed to make Clay sympathetic again as he fell into Jax’s carefully orchestrated trap. There’s no forgiveness for the monstrous things that Clay’s done on this series, but it’s almost impossible not to feel for him when he realizes that both Gemma (Katey Sagal) and Juice (Theo Rossi) betrayed him.
Almost as impressive were Kim Coates’ facial expressions as Tig realized that Jax had led him to his death at the hands of Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau)… or so we were meant to believe. When Jax pulled out that hidden gun, I initially thought that all of SAMCRO was in on the deal and that there was an ambush waiting for Pope and his men inside.
Instead, Jax went “one man army” on Pope’s men and he allowed Tig to fire the shot that killed Pope… with Clay’s gun. Looking back on last week’s episode, we can see that Jax actually used the advice that Pope offered him for dealing with Clay indirectly as long as the end result was the same. So, Pope basically gave Jax the idea on how to murder him and make it blow back on Clay.
Pope had grown on me this season and I actually liked his character more than I liked Tig. Pope’s chats with Jax were enjoyable and he seemed to like Jax even if the feeling wasn’t really reciprocated. Unfortunately, the only real human moment that Pope ever got was early in the season when he bought children candy and ice cream while clearly thinking about his dead daughter.
Even so, Pope had to pay for torching Tig’s daughter alive. And it was a cathartic moment when Tig got his revenge. Tig’s happy ending came in the form of an abused dog he rescued from a dog fight earlier in the episode. The dog is clearly a substitute for Tig’s murdered daughter. And since Tig’s other daughter rejected him, the love of that dog is the only real affection that Tig is getting out of life. It’s not much of a happy ending, but Tig has to take what he can get.
Another aspect of Jax’s plan seems to have finally given him a working relationship with Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar). It may not be the close friendship that Clay had with Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie); but it’s a big step towards getting Charming P.D. out of SAMCRO’s way.
Taken as a whole, Jax’s plans to get SAMCRO out from under the drugs and the guns worked to perfection… and it was almost too perfect. A lot of Jax’s plan seemed like he was making it up as he went along and he had the type of luck that you only get on TV. Even Pope’s right hand man, August Marks (Billy Brown) immediately guesses that Jax set up Pope’s death and framed Clay.
But MarKs doesn’t press the point with Jax aside from a half-hearted threat and he puts the hit out on Clay. And before Pope was brought to his death, Jax had already coaxed a rich contract out of him that would give SAMCRO’s legitimate businesses a boost. As Pope always told him, Jax was thinking beyond the streets.
All of that would have been Jax’s biggest victory if he hadn’t shattered some of the bonds within the club. Bobby Muson (Mark Boone Junior) resigns as V.P. in disgust at Jax’s actions and Juice nearly warned Clay in time to get away. But more importantly, Jax let his relationship with his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff) deteriorate to the point where she told him that she was moving to Portland to start a new life with their sons.
It’s not as if Tara wanted to leave Jax, there just doesn’t seem to be any other way to get him out of Charming and away from SAMCRO. Jax didn’t exactly take Tara up on her offer and he seemed upset that she went behind his back. So, when Tara was led away for participating in a conspiracy to commit murder, Gemma wormed her way back into Jax’s graces and she held him in intentionally similar pose to the one that Jax and Tara made from the closing moments of the season 4 finale.
The one person in this mess whom I have no sympathy for is Gemma. She’s just a snake who brings chaos and destruction to the people whom she claims to love. She’s arguably made life hell for her current lover, Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits) and the implication at the end is that she’s the one who is offering evidence against Tara for the investigation. Although Clay could also potentially have done that to strike back against Jax.
As far as shocking moments go, I don’t think anything topped Big Otto Delaney (Kurt Sutter) biting his tongue off and throwing it while Lee Toric (Donal Logue) watched. Although Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) forcing a man’s face into a pile nails was probably the second most shocking moment of the episode.
The fourth season finale didn’t seem to have the closure that it needed and it felt like several cheats were in place to keep Juice and Clay alive past their expiration dates. However, "J'ai Obtenu Cette" felt more emotionally satisfying and there’s the sense that both Clay and Juice are marked men. That tension can only play out so long before the audience gets tired of it.
But for now it’s working.