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‘Sons of Anarchy’ Review: “John 8:32″

Sons of Anarcy Review John 832
FX

Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 roars out its ninth episode of the year, “John 8:32,” as Tara’s elaborate plan begins to unravel, while Jax takes a bold new strategy to get the persistent DA Patterson (CCH Pounder) away from prosecuting SAMCRO..

Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode “Los Fantasmas” saw DA Patterson pressuring both Nero and SAMCRO to give up a shooter, while Gemma learned the truth about Tara’s deception, so how does “John 8:32” 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 9, “John 8:32!”

In the morning, Gemma decides to give prayer a try, before Nero wakes and she fills him in on the drama with Tara. Meanwhile, Jax decides to come clean with Tara about Clay’s plan with the Irish, acknowledging that he understands the distance growing between them. Across town, Patterson assures Roosevelt that she has no intention of quitting her pursuit of SAMCRO, instructing a tail be placed on Jax Teller at all times.

Jax arrives to the club’s makeshift parlor home, eying a mysterious young girl waiting near their motor pool, before Unser arrives looking to talk about the situation with Gemma. The pair are soon interrupted by the sounds of the girl attacking one of bikes outside, before Jax gives chase, but is forced to let the girl go when a crowd of Charming residents gather for the commotion. Over in prison, Clay sits down to a prison mass, scheming something with one of the Irish inmates.

The club identifies the girl as Brooke Putner, daughter to a worker from Oswald construction and a woman who died in the pileup caused by John Teller’s death years earlier. Adding complications to matters, Roosevelt arrives to inform Jax of his impending tail, while Charles Barosky calls the boys away on urgent business. Meanwhile, Lowen and Tara fill out the required forms for her divorce to Jax, though when Lowen points out that any of Tara’s potential actions in faking her pregnancy would make another felony, Tara brushes off her concerns.

Clay makes a scene at the prison mass, declaring himself the reverend of the hour before biting off a guard’s nose to get put in solitary. Meanwhile at Diosa, Jax brushes off Nero’s attempts to talk about the situation with Gemma, before Barosky and Collette arrive to announce that Patterson has squeezed their businesses in pursuit of Jax. Gemma arrives, revealing to Jax that Nero offered himself up to satisfy Patterson’s gun charges, for which Jax realizes that the DA will keep pursuing them, and calls a meeting.

Jax first arrives at the home of Brooke’s father Gary Putner, who explains that they recently lost the house, and Brooke came across clippings about her mother’s death that led her to SAMCRO. Seeing what the family has been through, Jax refuses to accept the man’s money to pay for the bikes, noting that his late wife looks familiar from her photos. Meanwhile, Nero pays a visit to Tara to smooth things over with Gemma, though Tara quickly grows defensive and reveals to him that Gemma killed John Teller, and had Clay placed behind bars before he came along.

In a different part of the hospital, Gemma corners Margaret Murphy in Tara’s office, managing to deduce from the woman’s defensive reactions that Tara indeed faked the pregnancy with Margaret’s help. Elsewhere, following a vote from the club, Jax visits DA Patterson directly and offers to deliver Gaalan O’Shea with a shipment of guns, in exchange for full immunity for SAMCRO and his wife. Patterson questions if Jax can deliver what he claims, but ultimately agrees to accept the mutually beneficial deal, vowing revenge if Jax fails her.

Jax meets with Oswald to ask for assistance with the man’s employee Putnam losing his house, offering support in Oswald’s eventual bid for mayor, before Tara’s frantic phone message calls him away. Meanwhile in isolation, the prison doctor manages to sneak Clay a cell to call the Irish, the intended purpose of his stunt, before the attacked guards are given a chance to take their revenge on Clay.

Over at Diosa, Jax surprises Nero with a right cross for harassing his wife, after Jax had forbidden family matters from complicating their business deals, and the two brawl across the kitchen. Gemma and Happy eventually break up the fight, after which Nero reveals that Gemma too has suffered to protect Jax, having been forced into sex with Clay for the prison guards’ disturbed pleasure. Gemma explains to Jax that Margaret Murphy confirmed Tara to have lied about her pregnancy in a bid to divorce him and take the boys, though he should find someone else that he’d believe to confirm it.

That night, Unser ushers Lowen into his trailer, before Jax emerges from the bathroom to confront her at gunpoint. Terrified, Lowen confirms that Tara intends to divorce him and take the boys, though she can’t 100% confirm Tara faked the pregnancy and miscarriage. Jax ultimately lets Lowen leave, agreeing to Unsers’s terms of nonviolence, while Lowen flees in her car and calls Tara. Elsewhere, Nero asks Gemma if she killed John Teller, to which she relates the entire history of John’s life with the Sons, dealings with the Irish, and descent into manifesto madness. Gemma admits to condoning Clay’s murder of Jon, something she’d never even told her son in its entirety.

Jax returns to the parlor to find Brooke waiting to apologize for her earlier actions, curious about why Jax went out of his way to help their family keep their home, as Jax admits he wanted to say sorry to a mother. Brooke leaves the shop, passing a homeless woman who bears a striking resemblance to her purportedly dead mother, while Tara sings a lullaby to Thomas at home, clutching a gun in anticipation of Jax’s arrival

OUR REVIEW:

‘Sons of Anarchy’ has definitely bounced all over the place this season, no doubt in part due to Donal Logue’s unintentionally early exit as the year’s villain, and such oddly diversionary episodes as Venus Van Dam (‘Justified”s Walton Goggins) return. That said, the last two hours in particular have shed a great deal of light into the conflicts ahead for the final hours of the penultimate season, which continually prove compelling, if a little implausible.

Maggie Siff has been especially strong as Tara this past season, both in selling the character’s dedication to her cause, as well as the increased fray that leads her into such desperate measures as preparing a gun against her husband. As had been noted in recent weeks, Tara isn’t especially wrong for her taking desperate means to get her children away from such a violent lifestyle, but the character has become altogether warped by the fragility of the world around her, now finding herself backed in a corner the series may well pluck her out of regardless.

The same goes for Katey Sagal’s Gemma, who becomes the first of many mirror moments to turn her gaze outward, giving a brief attempt at prayer before Nero wakes. The hour feels especially ripe with symbolism this week, as we hear the preacher discussing “John 8:32″ as the power of truth, while both Jax and Patterson make mention of their difficulty looking in the mirror, and Jax later notes to Brooke his desire to apologize to a mother, the way he’d so spectacularly failed with Tara and his own mother.

‘Sons of Anarchy’ at its weakest feels especially scattershot, with the Brooke b-story once again threatening to take us out of the story altogether, though the brief interlude ends up informing Jax’s own larger revelation about the lengths people go to for family. To turn matters back toward Gemma, tonight we see another long-awaited milestone for the series, similar to Jax’s plea to the other charters to reject guns, as Gemma finally delivers her uninterrupted perspective on John Teller’s murder.

We’re hard-pressed to say if the final four episodes of the season have us more concerned for Tara or for the club in general, the way Jax offers up the True IRA to satisfy Patterson’s vendetta, but the stronger focus has returned a sense of urgency to the season that had been absently missed among all of Lee Toric’s madness, and the rampant destruction.

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, “John 8:32”? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ recap of “Huang Wu,” and stay tuned as we bring you additional coverage on tonight’s episode with series creator Kurt Sutter!

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