Sons of Anarchy has reached that point in the season where I often start to lose interest in the series. 13 episodes may be stretching out the story too long, and episode of 8 of this season, “Los Fantasms,” really seemed to be an episode with a lot of filler. And a lot of time of people sitting/standing and talking to one another, whether in the police station with Nero and Patterson, in a truck with Gemma and Unser, or with Tara, in the bathroom by herself, talking to her reflection in the mirror (note: this is never a sign of good psychological well-being). The trouble with the Irish seems to have disappeared for the moment, so that plot line, one of the central threads of the season, was not addressed at all. Clay didn’t even make an appearance. That the one completely Clay-less episode of the season seemed to drag on so much may be a good indication of why he hasn’t been killed off yet. Only Peter Weller as Barosky brought some energy to the scenes he was in (and Weller was doing double duty as the director of this episode as well).
Part of the problem is I don’t find the chess game between Gemma and Tara to be particularly interesting, and much of the episode was devoted to the aftermath of Tara’s gambit in the previous episode (which really wasn’t a gambit since she wasn’t really pregnant and thus her forced miscarriage was not really a sacrifice). I think it seems pretty clear that Tara is turning into a Gemma clone, even as she devotes all her energy to making sure that Gemma has no interaction with the children. “I did what I did in order to protect my kids,” which is pretty much Gemma-speak coming from Tara’s mouth, and I think we recognize that Tara’s “whatever it takes to protect my family” attitude is her taking on Gemma’s philosophy of family-protection as self-justification. A later scene where Unser makes that very observation seemed superfluous. As have a lot of other scenes this season which have repeatedly showed the parallels between the two.
It’s also pretty much the philosophy (“whatever it takes”) of agent-in-charge Patterson, who speaks about the “greater justice” being served, which is a philosophy that is more self-serving than justice-serving. Most of the cops and feds in the series end up being psychopaths or sociopaths of some sort. Patterson hasn’t gone that far yet.
Even though Jax says during a meeting “You don’t have to say anything” about the club’s concern for him (they believe the miscarriage story), for an episode where “you don’t have to say anything,” there was a whole lot of talking. There was no hugging in the episode, but Jax did tell the table, “I love you all.” Love is all around in Charming. The next episode is titled “John 8:32.” I don’t know if the truth will set us free, but I do hope that the next episode brings us less talking. And more hugging.