'Sons of Anarchy' - 'Laying Pipe' a Sophie's Choice for Jax, some thoughts
By April MacIntyre Sep 26, 2012, 14:28 GMT
\'Sons of Anarchy\' episode \'Laying Pipe\' sees our SAMCRO boys Opie, Tig, Chibs and Jax go to prison, but only three leave lock down.
'Sons of Anarchy' episode 'Laying Pipe' sees our SAMCRO boys Opie, Tig, Chibs and Jax go to prison, but only three leave lock down.
The death of Opie was so intensely brutal, deliberate and psychologically damaging for Jax and his crew, that many journalists will be on a conference call with Kurt Sutter today in a quasi grief counseling session to ask questions as we grapple with all that Ryan Hurst had to handle on the series.
Opie's reign as the strong silent type endured Christ-like suffering, beginning with his wife's murder (Tig on Clay's orders) and then his dad Piney (William Lucking) killed in cold blood by Clay. Even his mother is named Mary.
Every resultant action and horrific end is directly linked to Clay and his lies. Clay is the cancer of this series, yet he lives so that the entire operation can do business. Jax, Tig and Bobby are well aware of this fact, but it was driven home when Jax demands Tig's loyalty, leaving Clay without any real enforcer in the club. You can bet your last nickel Jax and Tig will exact revenge, and that little speech Jax gave Pope was just a ruse to get Trager out of prison.
Tig has snapped, Kim Coates' tortured character has the crazy in his eyes now, in a bad way. His whole raison d'etre is to kill Pope and as many of his crew as he can. Jax is now signed on.
Harold Perrineau's craftily cool chieftain Damon Pope visits Jax in lock down, as his reach goes well into law enforcement. A true Godfather type. The lowdown from Pope, he wants half their purse with the guns and drugs muling... and by the way, one of the Sons needed to die as payback for the dead cop and One-Niner.
Adam Arkin directed this tense episode, as we twist for one of the boys, wondering who it will be?
Tig would have sacrificed himself for the club but he was not an option. It was to be between Opie or Chibs.
Opie didn't have to be there at all, but he made sure his best friend was not alone inside. His actions made the decision for Jax, as Opie really had everything taken away from him already save his kids. He was broken, disillusioned and quite frankly over the MC if you read between the lines in his dialogue. "Aren't you getting tired of this?" he says to Jax in prison. "It ain't fun anymore. Chasing cash we don't need,
and spending every dime trying to stay alive."
Opie's death scene itself was a starkly lit, staged event, as the shadows hid the faces of the brothers assembled to bludgeon our SAMCRO warrior to death as sport for the sadist guards in full view of his MC boys.
Charlie Hunnam and Tommy Flanagan each played it just right, as Kim Coates' acting continues to bowl me over; Tig turns his back during the assault; there is only so much he can process, and this was too much so soon after Dawn's murder by immolation.
Jax had his eleventh hour confession to Opie in the holding cell before the death match, and it came clear to an enraged Opie who finally put it all together, the scope of Clay's mendacious manipulations, the brunt of which was heaped on Opie's family.
When Jax tells Opie, "I had to make a choice. Kill Clay or save the club." Opie's answer foreshadowed the entire series in one sentence: "You made the wrong choice." Karma's wheel is crushing the life out of the MC year after year, as no one will prosper, and no one will emerge unscathed.
"There's a new plan," a steeled Jax tells Pope after Opie's death. "I just watched my best friend get beaten to death for you. Now I'm gonna get the club to sign off on your cash, but I need Trager outside. Him knowing I saved his life gives me an internal advantage I'm gonna need. When I'm done you can send him out the same way you did his kid, cause I really don't give a shit."
No ladies can play nice on 'Sons of Anarchy.' I do believe Tara loves Gemma, but as I said last week, you do not go through the rigors of medical school and achieve the title of doctor without a world view change, and Tara has a superiority complex and closeted disdain for the entire MC save for her husband, whom she hopes to shield.
This imperious part of her personality came out when she dressed down Jax's ex Wendy (Drea de Matteo) slagging her off as a junkie whore. Tara looks down her nose at just about all of them.
That scene of course was served up courtesy of Clay's old lady Gemma, as Katey Sagal has infused our badass mama with the right levels of bitterness and slatternly appearance now. Tara even criticizes her appearance and wardrobe, calling her out for looking like a teen slut. Like her Clay, Gemma's a superb liar and manipulator.
Gemma is also not aging well, and Katey is doing a superb job at showing the ugly hard edges of her character. Her hair is over-the-top frosted, too long, she dresses inappropriately as she makes bad personal decisions while self-medicating. It's subtle, but you can see the change in just one year. Gemma's a hot mess.
Nero's Carla (Wanda de Jesus) is stealing scenes in the meanwhile, as Gemma calls her his "whore Friday" after getting a classic Gemma rolling side eye when she pops into Nero's room for a status update. I loved how Carla grabbed Juice (Theo Rossi) who is quick to correct her "white trash" reference with "I'm Puerto Rican." Great scene for the two actors, and a bit of needed levity.
The introduction of Ashley Tisdale as an Indiana whore remains to be seen for its value; the cathartic beatdown that Gemma gave her was short and powerful, as a bemused Clay interprets this act as a sign his old lady still loves him. Gemma is just pissed off at life in general, and she could take our new blondie.
In the end...
Ryan Hurst did an amazing job with his character Opie. But this is not his story. It's Jax's tale, his journey and we have to expect even more mayhem (i.e. deaths) by series end.
Opie was disconnected and living with guilt and isolation, and his death was a respite from all of it. I will miss his character as I did his dad Piney, played by William Lucking.
Both of these men were perfect in their roles dreamt up by Kurt Sutter, fleshed out for our enjoyment.
All good things have to come to an end. Deal with it.