‘Sons of Anarchy’ Review: “To Thine Own Self”
‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 5 rides again with its eleventh episode of the year, 90-minute “To Thine Own Self,” as Jax's efforts land him in hot water with the Galindo cartel, while Nero finds himself slipping back into his darker days Tara considers a new opportunity, and Otto (Kurt Sutter) finds himself with a mysterious visitor (Donal Logue).
Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode “Crucifixed” saw Jax attempting to turn Juice’s betrayal to his advantage while pursuing one of Opie’s prison killers, Gemma making a move on Clay, and Tara’s prison meetings with Otto (Kurt Sutter) taking a deadly turn. So how does “To Thine Own Self” keep things running? What more damage can season 5 of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ do to SAMCRO that hasn’t already been done?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 5 episode 11, “To Thine Own Self!”
In the morning, Tara tells her husband that the Providence hospital made her an offer, though it may be a moot point if Otto’s actions blow back on her. She tries to press on Jax that once his RICO issues have been dealt with, the two can do as they please and leave Charming as they planned, but the SAMCRO leader seems to waffle at the idea. Elsewhere, Gemma serves Clay coffee, musing that the two could have a fresh start, as Gemma slips that Tara had asked for personal items to give to Otto.
The club’s lawyer confirms that the RICO case fell apart in the wake of Otto’s actions, but warns Jax that Tara could do hard time if found to be guilty of conspiracy. Jax advises the others not to bring the matter to the club table just yet, while a mysterious man (Donal Logue) enters Otto’s cell, and beats him mercilessly.
Over at TM, Jax presses Juice to find Clay’s documents that day, delivering a similar ultimatum to his mother and bringing her up to speed on all the secrets and charges being leveled against the club. Elsewhere, Clay invites a bitter Tig over for drinks, and presses on his former friend that he may have some outside opportunities coming up, which Tig should consider if he tires of Jax being in business with Damon Pope.
The Sons attend the opening of the new Diosa National, but the happy gathering is quickly mired when some of Nero’s old crew show up looking for him to take control once more. Jax agrees to sell them guns to keep them out of their hair for now, though Nero seems none-too-pleased at the idea. Back at TM, Gemma puts on an act about looking for her dead son Thomas’ birth certificate, hoping that Clay will cough up the real one no one knows him to have, but it proves a dead end.
While Tara and Unser bond over his chemotherapy woes in the hospital, Clay tries to back Romeo and the cartel off the notion of killing Jax. Romeo allows him a few hours to change his surrogate son’s mind about eliminating the drug and gun deals, while out in the desert Nero’s men arrive to purchase their guns from Jax, Chibs, Happy and Tig. Too many arrive too aggressively, leading the Sons to realize they’ve been set up, and the boys speed off guns blazing. Happy takes a minor head wound, and the car undergoes an impressive flip, but the Sons manage to get away clean.
Later, Jax soothes Nero’s anger and heads for a meeting with Henry Lin, before Clay pulls him aside to chat. Clay lays out the honest truth in spite of Jax’s anger, that Galindo plans to kill him and put another at the SAMCRO table if he walks away from the deals. Clay urges Jax to keep the drugs and guns in place if only for the time being, but Jax remains resolute that he no longer wants to be under anyone's thumb. After he departs, Clay calls Romeo looking for more time, but Romeo urges his men to go through with the hit anyway.
Back at the hospital, Tara meets with the Providence representative to tell her she wants to move forward with the job opportunity, though covertly enough to give her time to convince her husband. Meanwhile at the prison, Donal Logue’s mysterious man meets with Otto once more, in far better clothes, identifying himself as citizen Lee Toric and thanking the incarcerated SAMCRO member for giving him a purpose in life again. He assures Otto that the next few months will prove the most painful of his life, before departing.
Jax negotiates with Henry Lin at his place of business, offering the chance to provide guns for the Galindo cartel in place of the Irish. The deal settled, Jax learns from Juice that he found the documents hidden in Clay’s air vent, and orders Juice to gather everyone at the home without letting Clay out of sight to hide the documents again. On their way to the house however, Mexicans jump out in front of Bobby and Jax, kidnapping the club leader and leaving Bobby behind.
After learning of Jax’s capture, Juice accidentally leaves Clay alone long enough to discover his documents disturbed, while Nero busts into his crew leader’s home believing them to have kidnapped Jax. Having nothing to do with it, the crew denies the accusations, but Nero shoots the leader in the head and proclaims to his associates that the big bad boss they’d come looking for has returned.
Jax finds himself in a holding room confronted by Romeo and Luis, before explaining that he never intended to leave them without gun and drug supply. Instead, the Mayans will take over drug muling, with the Chinese keeping the guns flowing, a prospect that heartily satisfies both operatives. With no other issues, the men cut Jax loose.
Jax explains the entirety of the CIA/RICO dealings to the rest of the members around the table, acknowledging that he never intended to move the Sons out of either drug or gun business without the full approval of the other members. Bobby calls for a vote, acknowledging an interruption in cash flow until Diosa gets on its feet, and the club unanimously votes the measure in. Afterward, Jax presses his mother to keep Clay occupied at her house, while he and the other members ready a little “show and tell” at Clay’s. Meanwhile at the hospital, Lee Toric follows Tara as she prepares to leave for the day.
Alone with Gemma, Clay questions her involvement with Nero, while dodging Juice’s frantic phone calls. A knock at the back door next interrupts the pair, revealing a very distraught Nero looking for Gemma, and surprised to see Clay. Apparently no one kept Nero in the loop that Jax’s kidnapping was a misunderstanding, making the resumption of his violent ways unnecessary, and stirring up forgotten demons. In a moment alone, Gemma assures Nero that she isn’t back with Clay, but can’t explain just yet, professing her love and asking him to wait.
Over at Clay’s, Jax finds that the man indeed found time to move the documents from the vent hiding place, and assaults Juice for his carelessness. Bobby urges him to let the vendetta against Clay slide, as Jax dejectedly reveals that Clay was responsible for not only his father’s death, but Piney’s, and the attempt on Tara’s life. With Bobby and Chibs stunned, Jax walks out.
Later, Clay finds Bobby at his door, unsure if his former VP plans to kill him, but Bobby assures him he came to keep him alive.
So, are we relieved yet? Jax managed to successfully transition the club out of guns and drugs without getting anyone killed, and even Clay seemed sympathetic as he attempted to spare his surrogate son from certain death. Surely nothing else can go horribly wrong, right? Right? Don't bet on it, given the ferocity from Donal Logue's mysterious visitor. We love to see an optimistic future on the horizon for the 'Sons of Anarchy,' but something about 'To Thine Own Self" has us feeling the darkest times are yet to come. For now, we're still hooked.
Did you get your fill of road-rashing ‘Sons of Anarchy’ drama? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ episode recap of “Darthy” on FX!