‘Sons of Anarchy’ Review: “Huang Wu”
‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 roars out its tenth episode of the year, “Huang Wu,” as Jax comes to grips with Tara's betrayal amid a business complication between the Irish, Italian and Chinese, while Tara herself makes one last desperate play to get her children out of harm's way.
Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode “John 8:32” saw Tara’s elaborate plan begin to unravel, while Jax took a bold new strategy to get the persistent DA Patterson (CCH Pounder) away from prosecuting SAMCRO, so how does “Huang Wu" keep the season rolling? Will ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 finally mark the end for SAMCRO?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 episode 10, “Huang Wu!”
Tara awakens the following morning to find Jax already in the house with their children, but rather than confront her, Jax lets Tara know someone from the club will be watching her and the boys, while he stays elsewhere for the time being. Meanwhile, following release from solitary, Clay informs his Irish contact within the prison that his trial has been moved up, forcing Gaalan and the Irish to expedite their plans to free him. A short while later, Margaret finds Tara in her office and learns of their deception’s end, for which Margaret decides to take vacation out of Charming for her safety.
Jax arrives to the newly-certified Stockton Diosa to stay for the time being, before both Gemma and the club arrive with urgent news: Clay has requested a meeting with Gemma, while Gaalan has urgently demanded to see the Sons. Before they go however, Jax explains to the group what happened with Tara, and apologizes to his mother for disbelieving her earlier.
Jax and the others meet with the Irish to learn that Clay’s escape has been hastened, even as SAMCRO has yet to lock down the Italians for the business transition, who have been receiving offers from the Chinese. Gaalan suggests the Irish take part in the deal to show their loyalty, also press-ganging SAMCRO into aiding with Clay’s escape, given the short notice left Gaalan without a crew of his own. Meanwhile, Tara arrives to a still-spiraling Wendy’s home to scold her for allowing Gemma to unravel their plans for the boys, backing over Juice’s bike in frustration on her way out.
The Italians assure Jax they only needed to hear the Chinese’s offer out of respect, before Gaalan helps demonstrate their new shipment of weapons to solidify their deal. When the Chinese arrive to the meet however, Gaalan unexpectedly shoots one of their men as a demonstration of Irish dominance over the market, something the Sons and Italians realize will likely backfire on them, whether or not the Italians accept the Irish offer. Elsewhere, Unser learns that Wendy had a visit from Tara, reluctantly partnering with Nero to pay the relapsing heroin junkie a visit.
Back at home, Tara secures her gun, surprised to find Gemma paying her a visit to pick up some things for the boys. The women square off as Tara points out that she only followed Gemma’s example in her elaborate plot, though Gemma fires back that Jax would never allow her to take his children away, no matter what legal barriers she set up. Labeling Tara’s betrayal unforgivable, Gemma advises her daughter-in-law to apologize to Jax, but say goodbye to her children, as the club can either tell them “mommy moved away,” or “mommy passed away.”
Jax calls Patterson to confirm her various immunity deals before delivering Gaalan in 48 hours’ time, though she’ll need significant manpower to do so. Meanwhile, Unser and Nero make tense smalltalk on the way to Wendy’s, before Unser gives in to realize that Nero only wants to make Gemma happy. When they arrive at Wendy’s however, the smell of smoke presses them to break down the door, where Wendy lies passed out, having attempted to use the stove in her drug-induced haze.
On the way to Diosa, Jax and the other bikers quickly find themselves under attack from Chinese retaliation, eventually forced into a shipyard where the gangsters get the drop on them. Henry Lin’s uncle understands that the club had no control over Gaalan’s actions, but still demands the Chinese take over gunrunning in Northern California if SAMCRO relinquishes the trade. Jax admits he has no choice but to deliver Gaalan to the Chinese and shut down the Irish pipeline, allowing Happy to stay with the Chinese as a hostage. Elsewhere, Tara berates Juice for continually following her, for which Juice happily directs her to find Jax with Collette at the Diosa house.
Over at the prison, Clay offers Gemma a letter of intent that would allow her to keep their marital assets without a divorce, as he’ll be unable to file while out on the run. Afterward, Gemma arrives to Wendy’s and volunteers to put the woman through a more personal rehab back at her house. Tara arrives to Diosa looking for Collette, stunned to find her in bed with Jax upstairs, before attacking the woman. Tara flees the house, brandishing a gun at Jax when he follows, and wondering how her life fell into such a horrid state.
That night, Jax puts his children to sleep while Gemma takes care of Wendy, and Clay lies restless in his cell. Jax sets his attention to fixing his father’s bike from the Teller-Morrow wreckage, while Tara pays a visit to Patterson, and attempts to take the earlier deal to put her children in witness protection. Patterson explains that the offer no longer applies, given other matters pending on the case, and Tara leaves believing no one can help her.
Well, that didn’t quite turn out how anyone expected, did it? Where last week’s final moments made it seem as if a major showdown would erupt between Jax and Tara after his systematically unraveling all the lies, tonight’s opening minutes surprisingly zagged with a reminder that violence weighs heavy on Jax, and could never voluntarily land on someone he genuinely cared for. It’s a testament to the work of Maggie Siff, Charlie Hunnam and Kurt Sutter that the drama has so quickly moved past the madness of Tara’s complicated plot, and onto the devastating, nuanced fallout that results.
True to ‘Sons of Anarchy’ formula, our brief breath before the final three episodes of the season sets up a few conflicts likely to recur into next year, still dovetailing a few wayward threads along the way. We know Gaalan and the Irish will likely come to a head within the next few installments (and possibly Clay as well, by his ominous goodbye to Gemma), but now it looks as if the Chinese have been set up to hold a larger stage going forward, at least for the foreseeable future. The series can be a bit heavy-handed in its place-setting episodes, but given so many plates to wobble, “Huang Wu” still manages some healthy pathos along the way.
Tara rightly calls Gemma out in the “I learned it from watching you” defense, but as Gemma smartly reminds her daughter-in-law, family draws a much sharper line in any underhanded deals. We know Tara’s intentions came from an altruistic intent to spirit her children away from a culture of violence, though the deceptions she spun seem to have damaged the family moreso than any direct threats from the club lifestyle. We’d be remiss to ponder ‘Sons of Anarchy’ without Maggie SIff, but given state of the character by episode’s end, we’re harder pressed to imagine that Tara could find any reasonable place going forward. Keep an eye on any Charming brooks, ‘Hamlet’ lovers.
All in all, a bit less piece-moving (or montages for that matter) could have given “Huang Wu” more time to resonate on its own, but we’re clearly headed for a much stronger finish than the outset of season 6 initially led us to believe. And hey, kudos to Collette for finally paying off! Nine episodes later.
What say you? Did you get your fill of road-rashing ‘Sons of Anarchy’ action? What did you think about tonight’s all-new episode, “Huang Wu"? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ recap of “Aon Rud Persanta,” and stay tuned as we bring you additional coverage on tonight’s episode with series creator Kurt Sutter!