As we reach the mid-way point of the final season, the term “cliffhanger” is a useful one. Every story – Gemma, Juice, Jax’s war with everyone – ends the episode with only one step left to take. And, as it is the step that directly precedes a huge fall onto some merciless seas and heartbreaking rocks, it’s almost impossible to imagine them going any other way.
Episode 6 showcases the crushing pressure that has directed Sons of Anarchy Season 7 so far, but mixes in a carefully written amount of plot progression – balancing out the fear with more fear. And some additional complete terror. And a car chase.
An eventful episode, creator/writer/director/self-silencing-inmate Kurt Sutter, along with co-writer Mike Daniels, has it clocking in at just under an hour of strategies, betrayals and leather-bound bad-assery. As with each episode, the team pen a stylish, believably bumpy ride, while we head towards the monolith of inevitable truth.
Katey Sagal’s Gemma – for whom there are few worthy introductions – befriends Lea Michele’s truck-stop waitress amid another of her scenes talking to the air where Tara should be. These never get any easier to watch and only get easier to praise; both Sagal and Sutter have crafted a grotesque reminder of what Season 6’s finale has left the family with and without. Following this is the worry that lovable lost-boy Juice’s tale is nearing its end. Having been chillingly reunited with his club-mates thanks to the Mayans and some vicious desperation, Theo Rossi’s self-confessed coward appears out of hope and out of time.
Jax himself has an episode more akin to Machiavelli than the trailer trash he’s often mistaken for, as Charlie Hunnam’s club president ties loose end to loose end. Liaising with prison Nazis in the form of Marilyn Manson (still completely perfect for his role as a scheming, tattooed giant) and trialling peace with Alvarez, he still finds time to hint at progressing race-relations with the Grim Bastards and work towards the silence of Henry Lin. It’s truly an impressive tour of a slick, cutthroat world.
Having compromised, traded and butchered his way towards peace, Sons of Anarchy’s ride-or-die morality towards those who have wronged them has little wiggle room – even in the case of family. Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em exhibits Sutter’s talent of balancing the clear danger of the present with the bleak, blurry sadism of future episodes, which – though graceful and poignant – looks permanently dark and unavoidable.
Sons of Anarchy Season 7 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription, and on Amazon Prime, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
Where can I watch Sons of Anarchy online on pay-per-view VOD?
For more information, see where can I watch Sons of Anarchy Season 7 online in the UK?