The Sons of Anarchy Season 4 finale has come and gone – in two parts. After an “all-hell-broke-loose’ “To Be, Part 1” – thank you very much Tig (Kim Coates), Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Tara (Maggie Siff), the actual final episode took a distinctively slower paced turn.
Unfortunately for many viewers, news of Romeo’s (Danny Trejo) potential collusion with the government was spoiled a week back. Other viewers who didn’t catch the Internet spoilers grew weary of Romeo after he told Jax that Otto (Kurt Sutter) did not turn on the club. Sure enough, just as Linc (Ray McKinnon), the feds and Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) were set to arrest members of Galindo, the IRA and SAMCRO as part of their Rico case, “The Three Amigos” showed up. Romeo (Danny Trejo) and Luis (Benito Martinez) arrived with their CIA handler, flashing badges. They shut down the Rico operation just a few minutes into “To Be, Part 2”. I’m sure the that the look of confusion on Linc’s face was echoed on those of several SOA fans.
Sadly, that was the biggest turn in “To Be, Part 2” so if you got wind of it, the rest of the episode had more ‘fizzle’ than shock – and there was a lot of ‘fizzle’ at that. “To Be” blunt, the episode rolled back the entire season. The great Rico case, the Juice (Theo Ortiz) suicide drama, and Linc’s entire role were tossed out the window in two lack-luster minutes.
If you didn’t get word of the spoiler, the episode still petered out in comparison to previous episodes leading up to the finale or in relation to prior SOA finales. Season 2 ended in a cacophony of deaths mixed with a kidnapping and a Darth Vader “Noooo” moment. The Season 3 finale righted all wrongs in Charming – great work Opie (Ryan Hurst) and was perhaps the best Sons of Anarchy season finale to date. In the Season 4 finale, viewers wanted just one thing – Clay’s (Ron Perlman) death. It was “To Be” the culmination of the Hamlet story arc. Perlman had performed his role amazingly this season, but now it was time to go. We’d all miss Perlman and the Jax vs Clay dynamic.
Unfortunately, CLAY IS STILL ALIVE. Woe on SAMCRO. Not only is Clay still alive, but also the decision to keep Clay alive wasn’t even made by Jax. Instead, the Fake Galindo squad forced the decision upon Jax. The IRA has refused to deal with anyone, but Clay. The CIA needs the Galindo-IRA deal to go down in order to raise capital and push forward the government’s initiatives. It was all a bizarre blitz of “WTF”. This happened just a few minutes after we learned that Rico was now null-and-void. So, ten to twenty minutes into the finale, everything we expected was completely dismissed. Jax ended up threatening Clay in the hospital instead of killing him with the blood thinner that Tara gave him. Perhaps the scene would have had more momentum if we didn’t know that Clay “had to live”. While Jax didn’t kill Clay, he did draw a drizzle of blood from Clay’s neck when Jax revealed that he would be taking over the club.
“You may as well kill me.” – Clay to Jax
“You’re already dead,” Jax replies and then spits on Clay.
Jax later told Opie that Clay has to live for now. He also asked Opie to be his VP. However, Jax didn’t tell Opie that it was the CIA who forced him to make that decision. Needless to say, Opie is suspicious since Jax knows the truth about Clay killing Piney (William Lucking) and Jax has randomly decided to take over as head of the club.
Oddly, Jax does tell one person about the new CIA involvement in SAMCRO. He tells Tara.
“Walking away from my club is one thing. But, letting it die… I can’t. It’s part of me. I’m so sorry.” Jax to Tara
When Jax asks Tara to leave Charming with the boys, she mutters the words “He’s mine”.
The biggest moment of this mediocre episode was Jax walking into the club to sit at the head of the table. He held Clay’s former president’s patch in his right hand. Tig and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) walk in next. When Tig makes a move to sit at Jax’s right arm in the Sergeant seat, Jax says, “No Tig.” Jax then invites Chibs. It was a nice callback to season 2. Jax, Chibs and Opie ran together for most of the second season and formed an alliance that was now coming to fruition.
Happy (David Labrava) and Juice walked in next. Happy just gives Jax a smile that says “true, true”, which Jax quickly returns. After all the events that went down, the scene felt exceptionally rosy. At 8:03 PM, Opie was still nowhere to be found so Jax pounded the gavel to start church.
That’s when Tara showed up. It was interesting to see the tension in the room. Tig flinches slightly and Chibs covers his eyes. Tara kneels down beside Jax and says, “I’m not going anywhere… I’m here, baby – I’m here.”
Next, Gemma walks in and we see that not only has the torch passed to a new president, but also a new queen. The picture of Tara with her arm around Jax is mirrored in the old photo of Gemma with JT. It’s going to be strange to see how this new dynamic unfolds. One has to think that Tara and Gemma may be enemies once again. And, if that’s the case then where does that leave Clay?
Points of Interest
– Is Unser (Dayton Callie) sitting in Gemma’s house at the end of the season? Whoa. That just seems odd.
– Laroy’s girlfriend is Damon Pope’s daughter. He’s a major player in Oakland. It looks like it will be a “blacks” vs “whites” season when SOA returns for Season 5 next September.
– The Charming Heights thing didn’t happen either. Linc showed up at the town hall meeting to dump the sex toys made by Mayor Hale’s Asian backer.
What were your thoughts on the Season 4 Finale?
To be honest, even The Sopranos had lukewarm finales in the past and it is regarded as one of the best shows of the last decade. Often, The Sopranos would open up plot threads and never close them. I still don’t know what happened to the Russian plot thread in the snow scene with Paulie (Tony Sirico) and Chris (Michael Imperioli). So, perhaps someone out there can argue that this was just a small setback before Clay’s inevitable death. However, the giant Rico/Clay 180 just seemed a little unfair to fans. When and IF Clay does die, it won’t have the same impact that it could have had in an otherwise great season.