Well, the Irish really are not very happy about the Sons wanting to get out of the illegal guns trade. In “The Mad King,” they are hoping to get rid of Jax and set Clay back up in business—not as the head of the M/C but exclusively as a gun trader. They inform Clay of their offer by sneakingit into prison via a copy of the book The Mad King (by Edgar Rice Burroughs?). The “mad King” might also be a King Lear reference, as SoA does love those Shakespeare references.
Tara continues to advance her plans to defeat the Queen (Gemma) and escape from the whole mess with her two sons (and one on the way). The two plots—Tara’s escape scheme, Jax’s efforts to extricate the Sons from doing business with the Irish—continue forward in “The Mad King,” and I guess we will see if the two schemers (Jax and Tara) eventually come into conflict. Currently, though, the two plot lines are pretty much taking place separately.
There continues to be a drought of man hugs. The only hug in this episode was a perfunctory hug between Jax and Nero: yes they clasped hands and embraced each other with their other hands, but it seemed half-hearted. There wasn’t even a shoulder-tap or back-slap to accompany the hug! Still, a man hug is a man hug, even if disappointingly unenthusiastic.
The Episode By the Numbers:
Man Hugs: 1 (season total: 6)
Truly Disturbing and Possibly Nightmare Inducing Conjugal Prison Visit: 1
Masturbating Guards Watching And Making Sure that Conjugal Visit is Really Conjugal: 2
Massive Clubhouse Destroying Episode Ending Explosions: 1.
If you want to know about the psychological state of the Sons of Anarchy, just pay attention to the man hugs. Through most of season six, the hugging has been in decline, as has the club, the members dwindling, dead, imprisoned, or, like Bobby, off elsewhere. With “Salvage,” after reaching a low point with the destruction of the club via a beer keg packed with plastic explosives, the club seems to be on a bit of an uptick. Chibbs pulls the ceremonial gavel out of the rubble and hands it back to Jax, and by the end of the episode we see Jax, gavel in hand, making an inspiring speech at a gathering of the various SoA charters, convincing them to join with him in getting out of the gun trade. Bobby reveals that he has been working to recruit new members, not to his own club, but to bring them back with him to Charming.
We even get the return of Walton Goggins as Venus Van Dam.
By the end of the episode, we even see Jax smiling.
And with the return of positive feelings about the future of the club comes the return of man hugs—we see four hugs at the gathering of the charters. “I love this club,” Bobby says to Jax, “and I love you.” An enthusiastic man hug follows, and all seems right with the world.
The Episode By the Numbers:
Man Hug Count: 4 (season total 10)
Scenes of CCH Pounder Taking Off Her Wig And Letting Her Braids Fly Free: 1