After the sometimes-manic pace of the past couple of “Sons of Anarchy” episode, “Toad’s Wild Ride” started off feeling like a downshift, an episode that might let the characters and the audience catch their collective breath a little bit.
Tuesday’s (Oct. 23) episode built up an almost palpable feeling of dread from the moment Clay knocked on the door of Unser’s trailer, right through the final scenes with various SAMCRO members and family scattered on various roadsides.
(Spoilers coming, right now.)
The final shot in particular, of an unconscious Gemma and Abel and a screaming Thomas in her SUV, was almost too much to bear (they wouldn’t — they can’t — let the most innocent character on the show die, right?). The accident is going to obliterate any shred of trust Tara felt toward Gemma, and it could undo the repairs Gemma and Jax did to their relationship as well.
Meanwhile, Jax and Chibs escape with their lives after being sprayed with semi-automatic fire and taking out one of their attackers, who’s black. Does that mean Pope is coming after Jax (which would stretch logic a little), or did Clay and/or Frankie hire someone to make Jax think that?
The direction in the episode (by “Robocop” Peter Weller, who’s helmed a few prior episodes) made fantastic use of the inherent tension between sets of characters, be it Clay and Unser, Clay and Jax (with Juice caught in the middle) or Jax and Gemma. All three combinations had dynamite scenes. In particular, the little chat between Jax and Clay — with the camera noting how close each man was to a gun on a table. Great stuff there.
The showcase for Unser was also a welcome one. Dayton Callie is a fabulous actor, but the nature of the show means he doesn’t always get a ton of story sent his way. His involvement in the home-invasion arc and his scenes with Gemma both last week and this have been great.
Guest star Joel McHale also got a lot more to do this week, even if it was mostly running and being beaten up. You mess with Gemma that way, you get what’s coming to you. (“Community” fans will be forgiven for reading Jax and Nero as NBC executives beating the snot out of poor Jeff Winger.)
We’ll be on edge for the next seven days waiting to see what happened to Gemma and the boys. What did you think of “Sons of Anarchy” this week?