‘Sons of Anarchy Review: “What A Piece of Work is Man”
‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 7 roars out its 9th episode of the final year, “What A Piece of Work is Man,” as Jax makes a bargain with August Marks for Bobby's life, while Unser and Jarry uncover surprising new details of Tara's murder, and SAMCRO loses yet another of its own.
Last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ installment, “A Separation of Crows,” saw Jax and the club uncovering a rat in their midst, while Bobby languished under Moses Cartwright, and Gemma suspected something amiss about Abel. So, how does “What A Piece of Work is Man” keep the series rolling toward its inevitable conclusion?
Read on for your in-depth review of everything you need to know about ‘Sons of Anarchy’ season 7 episode 9, “What A Piece of Work is Man”!
I sat out reviewing last week’s ‘Sons of Anarchy’ installment, not for any inability to watch, necessarily (although the Sunday-Monday-Tuesday gauntlet of reviews and catch-up isn't getting any easier), but instead for the fact that the FX biker drama remains somewhat dramatically inert without any development of its most explosive conflict. For as much death, destruction and yes, mayhem as the season ratchets up between SAMCRO, the Chinese, August Marks, and now the gang’s other charters, all of Jax’s actions still boil down to bad information, that when exposed and dealt with, still might elicit a conceivable reaction along the lines of “well, we really screwed everything up, but it REALLY wasn’t our fault.” No one could necessarily blame themselves for Gemma’s world-destroying lies.
In that sense, ‘Sons of Anarchy’’s final season has rung closer to that of ‘Dexter’ or even ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ in that the desire to stretch out a status quo sense of conflict clashes with the ultimate endgame’s urgency. We know the other shoe has to drop at some point, and Jax needs to be made aware of his mother’s role in Tara's death, but everything up to that point seems reluctant to commit, and thereby less interesting than it might have been a season ago. Dramatic irony works with the smaller focus of a 'Hamlet'-esque tragedy, but given the many moving pieces of a modern TV series, everyone’s culpability spreads thin by how far Gemma’s lie ripples on the narrative.
Of course, Bobby’s death is still a tremendous blow to the core cast, and while we’ve heard Kurt Sutter say before that SAMCRO wouldn’t suffer so many losses as a final season might lead us to believe, few could argue that Bobby ranks among the few almost-innocent characters we’re saddest to see greet the reaper. And to its credit, “What A Piece of Work is Man” treats the moment with appropriate gravity, moving even the corpse-cutting Happy to tears as they load Bobby’s body into the van. Not to mention, Bobby had proven himself time and time again as one of Jax’s most loyal supporters and friends, even after last season’s fakeout, so the so-called “Prez” might well lose all faith in himself by the defeat.
The other side of Bobby’s death unfortunately feeds the season’s narrative black hole, as whatever doubts Jax might cast upon himself would again presumably land on Gemma once her lies come to light. Even Bobby would likely recognize that no one could have predicted Gemma misleading SAMCRO down such a deadly path, and given the dozens of deaths that have already been heaped upon Gemma’s conscience, it’s difficult to say what one more might really change for her mental state. Lest we forget, the war triggered with the Chinese also killed over a dozen women and at least one SAMCRO member to date, so while a bigger deal though Bobby may be, the air of death hardly represents anything new for Charming’s current climate.
At the very least, “What A Piece of Work Is Man” finally brought August Marks himself back into the picture, as Jax acknowledged letting his own vengeance cloud matters of business, and put whatever remaining decency he had into protecting Grant and his mother from further harm. The inaugural chase scene felt somewhat obligatory by ‘Sons of Anarchy’ standards, though the pastor’s family seems to be positioned as a reflection of Jax and Gemma themselves, wherein the sins of the mother drive the son toward some desperate ends.
It was also nice to see Unser and Jarry finally putting together some of the pieces of Gemma’s lie, surprising though some of Jarry’s other behavior throughout the episode seemed to be. We’ll also have the upcoming forum over Jax’s killing of Jury to deal with, presumably bringing Juice back into play to extract the true rat’s name from Lin, though with only four episodes remaining in the series, we’ve still only scratched the surface of the true endgame. Throwing another charter into the mix as an enemy of SAMCRO might fill the void left by August Marks being taken to prison, though again, any conflict heaped on Jax’s shoulders at this point should reasonably shake off once ‘Sons of Anarchy’ finally exposes the gravity of Gemma’s crimes.
AND ANOTHER THING...
- Also worth mentioning this week was Nico Nikatera's Rat grappling with the treatment of one's old lady since being patched in, and while it's nice to see 'Sons of Anarchy' paying due to some of its supporting characters (we miss you, Phil!), it's hard to ascribe much of anything for the pair at this point.
- Since Abel hasn't fully vocalized Gemma's confession to anyone yet, what might we make of his eavesdropping on her apology to Bobby?
- Nero might want to whisk Wendy away to his
boatfarm sooner rather than later, lest that nasty heroin habit kick back in.
- Well, finally got my answer as to what inspired this remark at Comic-Con. Though the same could certainly be said of Juice.
- Good on Bobby's last moment of badassery, getting his vest on all by himself, despite a missing eye and fingers.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of road-rashing ‘Sons of Anarchy’ action? What did you think about tonight's latest, “What A Piece of Work is Man”? Join us next week for another all-new ‘Sons of Anarchy’ review of season 7's latest “Faith and Despondency,” and stay tuned as we bring you additional coverage on season 7 from cast and crew!