After a fairly uninteresting episode last week, Sons of Anarchy returned this week with “John 8:32.” If not exactly a return to form, this was a thematically elegant episode, with multiple scenes playing off the Bible verse alluded to by the title. As with the previous episode, there were lots of scenes of people in rooms talking to one another, but those scenes played out more effectively. If, according to the Bible, the truth will set you free, the episode seemed to be testing out that precept. Characters continually asked one another to tell them the truth. “Any truth to that?” Nero asks Gemma—about Tara’s accusation that Gemma had killed her husband, Jax’s father. Ultimately, Gemma tells Nero the truth, but whether that set either of them free is not quite clear.
I should mention that there will be spoilers, so stop reading if you don’t want to know what other truths are revealed in the episode.
Jax learns the truth about Tara’s scheme, about the false pregnancy, the faked miscarriage, etc., and, ultimately, it’s probably for the best that he discover that his marriage in its current state is an illusion, but is that being set free?
The episode begins with Jax spending a little time with his reflection in the bathroom mirror, as did Tara in the previous episode, the only difference being that Jax didn’t actually have a conversation with his reflection (that, and Jax was shirtless throughout the scene, which Tara was not). Jax also pays a visit to Patterson to offer her a deal—that he will give up the IRA to her if she will back off on persecuting the Sons. I’m not sure that he’s telling the truth about the deal (and the “deal” may be concealing some other plan), but he does seem to hit the truth when he also says to her, “Neither one of us likes looking at ourselves in the mirror.”
The chess game between Tara and Gemma advances. Tara, unfortunately, seems to have mistaken her previous move for checkmate, and doesn’t seem to realize that Gemma still gets a turn. All in all, Tara’s carefully orchestrated plan doesn’t take long to fall apart. If her primary pieces on the board (the lawyer Lowen, the former junky and father of Jax’s first child Wendy, and the hospital administrator) aren’t exactly removed from play, they’re revealed to be not much more powerful than pawns, and what power they do have is neutralized—in fact, all three fold pretty quickly under just a little bit of pressure.
The episode begins with a teenager inexplicably breaking the window of the ice cream shop, which leads Sheriff Roosevelt to speculate on motive: “Extremely lactose intolerant?” It ends up being more complicated than that, and in one of the last scenes of the episode, there’s a nice conversation in the empty ice cream shop between Jax and the girl, which, in these two episodes dominated by scenes of two people sitting and talking, may end up being my favorite scene of the group.
We also get a scene of Clay attending a church service in the prison (which also serves to present John 8:32, the text of the preacher’s sermon). His attendance has to do with his planned escape (not sure how yet), but it’s all carefully orchestrated, including Clay’s seemingly impromptu sermon, which is quite hilarious, as he testifies on the joys of female genitalia (not his words, or, rather, word), and the sweet freedom-setting qualities thereof. Then he bites a guard’s nose off and gets tossed in the infirmary after being beaten up by the other guards—all part of the plan, apparently.
Sons of Anarchy by the Numbers:
Man Hug Count for the Episode: 1
Man Hug Count Season Total: 16
Pipe-wrench Tossing Teenagers: 1
Noseless Guards: 1
Scenes of Jax and Nero Going Mano-a-Mano: 1