Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sons of Anarchy 3.10 'Firinne'

“Unless we want a three-headed grandchild, looks like we’re gonna have to share some family history” – Gemma

With Liam and McGee’s duplicities exposed, Jimmy outed as having his own agenda to the IRA and the truth about Jax and Trinity’s relationship finally revealed by their respective mothers ‘Firinne’ felt like it should be the end of the Sons’ little jaunt on the “moss-covered shit hole” – as Opie referred to it –that is Ireland.

With Abel still M.I.A. though and Father Ashby laying some knowledge on Jax about his Father’s wishes for his future it seems like Ireland hasn’t quite finished with SAMCRO just yet.

‘Firinne’ certainly upped the ante in the action stakes as both Liam and McGee met their maker, the former in a lot grislier way than the latter, and the Sons finally came face to face with Jimmy in an incendiary gun fight.

In spite of all that though, by the end of the episode I could finally start to see why so many people were critical of this season of Sons of Anarchy when it went out in the States a little under twelve months ago.

Don’t misunderstand me, this was still a terrific hour of television and Sons remains one of, if not the, best drama on television at present, and it’s only because people expect so much I think that they are sometimes critical of the show.

My frustration now though is that, as I said in that opening paragraph, it feels like SAMCRO’s reasons for being in Belfast are now, with the exception of the reason they are there in the first place – Abel, all tied up.

Finding Abel shouldn’t have really taken this long and it does feel like the return of Jax’s son to him is being strung out to fill the episode quota. I don’t think for one minute that it is actually the case, but it looks like Kurt Sutter and the writers mapped out the season but realised too late they didn’t have enough material to fill thirteen episodes.

The Irish detour has been a fun aside to this season, and I’m glad Sutter did it and I respect the hell out of him for trying something different with the show but ‘Firinne’ felt like the natural conclusion to the Irish arc and we now need to get SAMCRO back to Charming with Abel in tow.

The lone Charming storyline in ‘Firinne’ was Salazar blackmailing Tig, Kozik and Piney – the only remaining patched members of the club in the US – in to killing Alvarez and delivering him the Mayan President’s supposed stash of $250,000.

The leverage Salazar has over the MC is of course that he has Tara and Margaret held hostage.

Again this whole storyline also feels like its gone one longer than it should; a one episode plot that would normally be resolved within the hour – how long can Salazar and his old lady really keep the two hostages prisoner? But because of the slow pace of developments across the Atlantic this one arc for the Charming boys seems to also be outstaying its welcome.

We did get some exposition from Margaret though as she and Tara lamented their situation and discovered the origin of that tattoo on her back, which had kind of come as bolt out of the blue in the last episode.

It might have seemed somewhat inexplicable that this straight-laced administrative type was once a heroin-addict biker groupie but it does at least make sense of why she’s taken such a vested interest in trying to steer Tara away from club life.

I’m guessing Jax’s reunion with Abel is episode-closing fodder so regrettably it would appear we have at least one more week of SAMCRO on tour before we get everybody back to Charming and some semblance of normality back on the show.

Again, I do respect what Sutter has tried to do sending the club to Ireland, but it does feel like it’s taken too much time up now and wasted a lot of great actors in the process.

I don’t even think I saw Theo Rossi in this episode, Opie and Chibs got a smattering of lines and even poor Bobby was reduced to nothing more than a very hairy extra.

These remaining members of the club could have been far better utilised back in Charming in terms of storytelling, but in trying to keep the realism in the show I get that although Ireland has mainly been about Jax, Clay and Gemma – with Chibs getting a bit of inevitable rub from being so close to home – there is no way that SAMCRO would send two if it’s own in to volatile unknown territory unaccompanied.

Hopefully once the Irish elements of season three are resolved though, the final couple of episodes will have some big, far-reaching developments for the club going forward.

Just to confirm one final time though, I’m only critical because my expectations are so high. If this had been an episode of any other show I’d have been hurling superlatives at it left, right and centre, because even if it’s not at its brilliant best, Sons of Anarchy is still about the finest hour of television there is anywhere.

A Hail of Bullets:

- I meant to comment on the Irish-tinged theme tune remix the other week when I last reviewed the show but it slipped my mind.

I do find it a bit much to be honest, and by the time the opening credits reach the end you’re half expecting the SAMCRO reaper to be holding a shamrock rather than a scythe.

- Anybody else catch Happy’s face as Liam was tortured? The rest of the Sons looked quite sombre at the sight of a club member being subjected to quite medieval forms of interrogation, but old Hap’ had a look on his face that one could only describe as unbridled joy.

- Clay’s kiss of death to McGee before he shoved him off the roof of the building would have been a lot more poignant had I not been distracted the whole time by the quite awful green screen that was blatantly behind them. It goes back to my point last time out about them not actually being in Belfast, but costs, practicalities etc. I know, I know.

- Nice to see Cherry hasn’t been completely forgotten, but her presence didn’t really add anything in to the mix in this episode I’m afraid; I’d completely forgotten that she was involved with Liam, so it just shows how little of an impact she’s had this season.

- I didn’t think they’d actually let Jax and Trinity get as far as they did with each other before dropping the reveal about their blood relationship. Trinity seemed rightly irked by the revelation when it finally came but Jax seemed far too casual about the whole thing for me. That said, I did enjoy his “two minutes later I’d have been dancing in Tig territory” line.

Sons of Anarchy continues in the UK Wednesday @ 10pm on FIVE USA


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