Just when we think we know what’s going on in Charming, our expectations get blown out of the water. Sons of Anarchy‘s episode late night, titled “Toad’s Wild Ride” (and, fun fact, directed by the original RoboCop, Peter Weller), offered plenty of twists, turns, and shocks that have completely changed our expectations for the rest of the season.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead, kids.
Highlights from last night’s Sons ofAnarchy are definitely divided between killer turns by Dayton Callie and Joel McHale, and the various plot twists that plagued SAMCRO. Though the episode kicked off slowly, and seemed as though it may represent a break in the tension, this expectation was quickly turned on its head as various story threads started last week were wrapped up … and quickly.
First and foremost, we have to talk about Joel McHale, because we’ve been waiting for this cameo all season. Playing a not-so-slick conman who spends most of the episode running and being SAMCRO’s punching bag, McHale’s turn seemed more like a throwaway instead of the game-changer it was promised to be. That said, McHale did a great job as a slightly-seedier Jeff Winger, and we still like him quite a lot. Maybe he’ll show up again, Salazar-style, to wreak genuine havoc for the club. You never know.
Reflecting on his cameo and story arc, McHale told The Hollywood Reporter:
“Everyone was like, ‘Hey, you weren’t killed,’ ” he jokes. “They’re like, ‘That doesn’t happen — usually everyone dies.’ ”
Since McHale’s character survived with mere scrapes and bruises (and possibly a wired jaw), will he show up again?
“Dear god, I hope so. I would be thrilled,” he said. “Because then that would mean that my death would be much more spectacular. Hopefully he’ll bring me back and I’ll be raped by a semi or something. It’ll be some horrible death,” he adds.
We have to drop some praise for Dayton Callie’s performance as Wayne Unser last night. We agree with Zap2it‘s assessment that the nature of the show doesn’t allow for much story to be sent Unser’s way, but that’s why Sutter keeps him around. SAMCRO likes Unser, but they forget to value him. That allows some of the show’s bigger secrets to be interpreted first by the former cop, and gives him time to work out the details before anyone takes notice of him.
For instance, he pieced together the home invasion scheme perfectly. Though Clay is playing chess master with the Nomads and trying to paint himself in an innocent light, as he suspects that Unser is on to him, we don’t think that he is buying the staged “trailer invasion” that nearly cost him his life if not for two shotgun shells and a deft intervention by the manipulative former president.
Lastly, the road-side shooting that plagued Jax and Chibs near the end of the episode. Though the two miraculously survived being run off the road and shot at with sub-machine guns, the scene lays track for future episodes. The shooters were African American, meaning that this could either be Niner retaliation, A secret plot by Damon Pope, or (gasp) another ploy by Clay.
Pope targeting Jax after quickly sealing such a profitable deal with him seems a bit pointless, and we think that Kurt Sutter is a better storyteller than that. Clay suggested earlier in the episode that Pope is behind the club’s latest troubles, so why not hire a couple of plucky kids to make it look that way? In any case, last night’s episode put Jax on the warpath with Clay, even if he doesn’t admit it to his surrogate father’s face. He’s wise to Clay’s schemes, and this is good for the show, because Jax staying in the dark about this when he’s “the smart one” makes very little sense.
It’s clear to we, the audience, that Clay stands to gain the most from a SAMCRO that flounders under Jax’s leadership. Why wouldn’t Jax know it too?
Then there was the uber-painful final scene, with Gemma running aground with her grandchildren in tow. We won’t say anything about this scene, aside from the acknowledgement that Gemma has probably destroyed the shaky trust built with Tara over the past few episodes, as well as the healing steps she has taken with her son, Jax. We suspect that Gemma still has a long way to go, but the end of this week’s episode shows the bottom plainly.
TOAD’S WILD RIDE. after tonights SOA episode, gemma & tara’s relationship will NEVER be the same. plus we totally fuck up @joelmchale.
— kurt sutter (@sutterink) October 23, 2012
A few other things we didn’t get to delve into: We haven’t decided whether or not we feel sorry for Juice, we’re curious to see what Tara does with the perfume, and Nero Padilla is still our favorite new character. Curiously absent, yet again, was Damon Pope, which is a shame because he’s such a fascinating character. He needs to do more than show up in a limo every once in a while.
Did you catch last night’s Sons of Anarchy? Tell us your favorite moment and where you think the show is headed down below.
Oh, and here’s a promo for next week’s Sons of Anarchy, “Ablation.”