“The Separation of Crows” ends in the exact same place “Greensleeves” did, with Jackson Teller looking at a box that contains a severed body part of a close friend, a bloody reminder of the ever-increasing cost of his mission to avenge Tara’s murder.
The plot hasn’t advanced much. The circumstances haven’t changed.
And yet, where I railed against last week’s episode for serving as a 60-minute holding pattern, “The Separation of Crows” succeeds where “Greensleeves” failed, despite effectively doing the same thing.
Because here, the cycle of pointlessness that is Jax’s life has an effect. Here, we watch our main man make move after move to try and save one of his closest friends and advisors, we watch him do something drastic to try and quash another perceived threat to the club, and what happens?
He ends up in the same damn place as before, screwed over not by the choices he made now, but the life he chose a long time ago.
“Sons of Anarchy” will always have too much going on from a plot standpoint, but much of that excess of riches has to do with the gang landscape of the San Joaquin Valley. Whenever the show manages to extricate itself from that quagmire and focus on one problem (August Marks and his new black ops security squad, for instance), it allows other plot lines to breathe and makes for much more compelling television.
Everything and nothing happens over the course of “The Separation of Crows,” but the show did well to finally resolve the issue with Jury that was born way back in the season’s second episode. That scene worked on so many levels, both for the suggestion that J.T. committed suicide and the fact that the series avoided the obvious (and wrong-headed) revelation that Jury ratted the club out to the Triad.
The J.T. suggestion is a great example of “Sons” making the best of its overabundance of story. “Sons” does have a rich mythos and when the show focuses on one or two aspects of it, it can usually hit a home run. Jax has often been torn between emulating J.T. and Clay, we’ve seen him spend seasons doing one or the other, and is clearly now failing as he tries to serve as president as his own man. J.T. was stuck in a similar scenario, torn between outlaw and outcast, and I’m OK with the possibility that he literally just ran out of road one day. The truth of what happened to J.T. isn’t as relevant anymore as the specter of his endpoint, and what it might mean for the pending finish of Jax’s story.
I was also delighted to see Jury rebut the possibility that he was the one who dimed out the club to the Triad. I’ve seen a lot of comments in the previous reviews insisting that Jury made the call that set off the murders at Diosa, but that seemed too dark a turn for him as a character. I’m not making bets on who played that card, but keeping the mystery rat in play provides another in an endless string of obstacles for the club, while now adding the fact that Jax may have effectively put his charter at odds with the rest of SAMCRO with the club in its darkest hour, further dividing the “brotherhood” he’s allegedly been fighting for.
After several episodes at the forefront of the show, Juice’s plot line has slipped back in the pecking order, and that’s fine, because the urgency needs to remain on Bobby’s plight for now. Good to see Unser proving his worth by seeing through Jax’s manipulations almost instantly. Unser has been one of, if not the only, well-developed law enforcement characters in the series’ lengthy run, and to see him crack Tara’s murder would be a nice touch in what is sure to be an otherwise grim final stanza.
So “Sons” seems back on track, after it got off-track, and I’m sure we’ll repeat this cycle again and again over the final four or five installments. See, I know Charming is bad for me, I know it’s gonna hurt me one or two more times before it’s all over, but I just can’t walk away.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news in Charming ... and the real world.