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‘Sons of Anarchy’ Review: “The Mad King”

Sons of Anarchy The Mad King Review
FX

Sons of Anarchy’ season 6 roars out its fifth episode of the year “The Mad King,” as Jax desperately attempts to broker a peace with the Irish, while Roosevelt closes in on Nero for an escort’s murder, and Wendy finds her loyalties divided between Tara and Gemma.

Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode “Wolfsangel” saw the arrival of a new Nazi gang in town complicating Jax’s already deteriorating relationship with the Irish, while Clay and Otto enacted a deadly plan from behind bars, and Tara conspired with Wendy to get custody of their kids from Jax, so how does “The Mad King” 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 5, “The Mad King!”

With SAMCRO and all its associates on lockdown within Teller-morrow, Jax and the others survey all the usual Irish haunts, with no sign of either Connor or Gaalan. Finally, Jax and Chibs manage to shake down one of their drivers for information, who reveals a plan to pick up Connor for extradition the next day. Elsewhere, DA Patterson pays a visit to Sheriff Roosevelt to press him into following Nero Padilla as their way to bring the Sons down.

On their way to meet with Colette and Barosky, Jax and Nero reassure one another that they remain committed to growing Diosa and keeping violence out of their lives. Meanwhile, Eli surveys the house from a distance, before Barosky pulls up alongside him and shoos Roosevelt away for violating his jurisdiction. Barosky brings his worries about the encounter to Jax and Nero, though Jax assures him Roosevelt has nothing real on any of them. Back at TM, Unser offers his help to Tara in facilitating plans to get Abel and Jax away from the club.

Acting as a decoy, the Sons manage to get close to Connor by posing as his ride to the airport, before Connor identifies them and a gunfight ensues. Jax manages to get the drop on Connor by ramming into a palette of beer next to Connor, ending the struggle. Jax uses Connor’s phone to get in touch with the Irish Kings, announcing his intent to end the bloodshed, and offering August Marks as a means to triple their business. The Kings agree to take it under consideration, despite their racial misgivings, as we see that Gaalan too had been present for the discussion on the Irish end. Gaalan assures his bosses that they can keep Clay in place for distribution, and sever ties with the Sons.

Gemma surprises Wendy at work, forcing her to don a scarf to hide her fake bruise, while Gemma worries that the problems with the Irish will force Tara to step up her plans in getting the boys away. Gemma asks for a copy of the will naming Wendy as guardian, offering up some older baby pictures of Abel as collateral. Wendy questions why Gemma has grown to accept her after all these years, to which Gemma admits to being tired of having to fight Tara all the time. Elsewhere, Jax learns that Clay’s lawyer requested a conjugal visit meeting for he and Gemma, a sign that Clay has news to report that they don’t want recorded by law enforcement.

Nero meets with Roosevelt to question why he remains a person of interest in the escort’s murder, to which Roosevelt admits that the DA wants to pin the school shooting on SAMCRO. Meanwhile at the hospital, Lowen reveals to Tara that Lee Toric’s murder actually looks like an organized move on SAMCRO’s part, hurting Tara’s case to stay out of jail. Wendy barges in to meet with Tara, weary of continually lying to everyone, but Tara reminds her they’re doing it to protect the children, should she be sent to prison.

Gemma arrives to see Clay at their private meeting, during which Clay explains that the Irish contacted him about escaping prison to handle Belfast distribution, now that Jax wants the club out of guns. Knowing the gesture bodes ill for SAMCRO, Clay asks Gemma to bring the news to Jax, before two guards enter and force Clay and Gemma to consummate the visit for their entertainment. After brutally forcing the two, the guards threaten to kill Clay if they discuss the incident.

Barosky expresses his worry that Patterson will never back off the Sons, though Jax responds that they’ll keep a low profile and avoid any illegal activity. When Gemma and Chibs arrive, Chibs assaults Jax for the apparently foolish move of suggesting the Irish get in business with Marks’ crew, unaware of how deep the racial hatred runs. Jax calls the Irish to see about progress on making a decision, to which the Kings suggest they’ll call back that night with a response. Meanwhile, Roosevelt finally learns from the DNA testing of Nero’s car that the hair and blood fragments indeed belong to their dead escort.

With the entire club and its associates gathered at Teller-Morrow to await the Irish’s call at 8:00, Roosevelt arrives to pick up Nero. Before the arrest takes place however, Jax notices a shamrock pen that Chucky confirms came from a mysterious keg delivery, which Jax and Chibs realize likely to be a bomb. Jax clears the clubhouse, rushing to retrieve a sleeping Abel from the back room, as the group just barely makes it out in time to see the whole Teller-Morrow building go up in flames.

Boy, it always seems to rain on SAMCRO, doesn’t it? After losing multiple major characters in last weeks’ bloodsoaked “Wolfsangel,” the Sons must now deal with an escalating feud with the Irish, and the destruction of the iconic Teller Morrow facility. The loss of a building pales in comparison to last week’s body count of course, though it feels as if the endless reign of destruction could desensitize ‘Sons of Anarchy’ viewers to all the rampant bloodshed, and the character conflicts that actually carry weight.

And it would seem impossible for anyone to deny Tara’s duplicitous reasons to get the children away from SAMCRO, given Abel nearly perished in the explosion, among so many deadly occasions in the past. It isn’t entirely clear how the conflict with the Irish will play out either, given the third season’s division between storylines ended up a bit scattered, and season 6 has plenty of ambient enemies for SAMCRO without needing to cross oceans.

“The Mad King” offered up a good deal of filler material for its 90-minute runtime, an overall sign that the story could do with a bit of belt-tightening. That is to say nothing of Bobby, who fails to appear beyond his tangential subplot of earlier episodes. Overall, “The Mad King” didn’t offer up very much in the way of dramatic substance, continually raining misery over its characters in a manner that proves a poor substitute for actual growth. We’re early in the season yet, but we’re worried about the trend of a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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, “The Mad King”? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ recap of “Salvage,” and stay tuned as we bring you additional coverage on tonight’s episode with series creator Kurt Sutter!

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