'Sons of Anarchy' Season 5 Recap

By Matthew Dagen,

The critically acclaimed drama Sons of Anarchy kicks off its sixth season in a little over a week. The show, which follows the exploits of the SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Originals), chiefly the club's president Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), comes off a season where betrayal was one of the most common occurrences in Charming. The past 13 episodes saw some interesting characters being introduced, as well as killing off plenty, including one of the most beloved characters on the show. The finales have been some of the better episodes of the series; the second season finale comes to mind, which featured Abel being kidnapped as well as Gemma going on the run after committing a murder. This season finale didn't disappoint either, and it set up for what should be an explosive sixth season as well.

Season five didn't waste any time in getting things started. Within the first half of the season premiere, we were introduced to the new antagonist, Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) and what he's capable of. Pope is a very successful businessman, but he also hadn't let his days of running the streets go away yet either. He also has a very violent way of dealing with things, namely the way he burned Tig's daughter alive, right in front of Tig.

Pope's reach with the gangs in Oakland also helps to get some of the Sons thrown in jail. Jax, Chibbs and Tig are picked up for murders that they actually did commit back in season four, but wouldn't have been charged had it not been for the "witnesses" Pope told to come forward. Opie, still reeling from the weight of Clay killing Piney, has himself thrown in jail with the other Sons so he can stay close to Jax. Once in jail, Pope has a sit down with Jax and explains that he needs one of the Sons to die in prison in exchange for the One-Niner that the Sons had killed, and that it can't be Tig; Pope wants Tig to rot in jail for the rest of his life for killing his daughter.

What followed the Pope/Jax meeting was one of most gut-wrenching scenes of the series' history. Jax was ready to volunteer himself to be the one that died in prison, but Opie attacked the guard, forcing Opie into the makeshift cage match. From there, all Jax, Chibbs and Tig could do was watch as Opie was beaten to death right in front of them.

Upon getting released from prison, Jax continues his contact with Damon Pope, using his resources to help look into the home invasions that have been occurring around Charming, as well as tapping Pope as an investor for Mayor Hale's Charming Heights project, parlaying that into Hale giving Jax a property that his new business partner, Nero (Jimmy Smits), can set up his establishment at.

Jax, along with Unser's help, figures out that Clay is behind the home invasions. Clay had been using the former Nomads (Frankie Diamonds, Greg and Gogo) to stage the break-ins, but after they went after Sheriff Roosevelt's home and the sheriff's wife ended up dead, Roosevelt went on a rampage, blaming the club and wanting blood. Jax tries to work with Eli as much as he can, even delivering Frankie Diamond's dead body after Frankie tried to leave the country with mafia help.

After the whole home invasion mess is done with, Jax gets back to more pressing club business: getting SAMCRO out of the drug game. Jax, behind the club's back for the most part, sets up a deal that will see the Mayans taking over the cocaine muling, Pope's gangs will continue to distribute, and the guns will start coming from the Chinese, as Jax knows that Galen and the Irish won't deal with him now that Clay isn't running things anymore. The cartel asks for one more shipment from the Irish, which goes very south very fast. Bullets start flying, and though none of the principals are dead, the tension between the Real IRA, the cartel and the Sons is at an all time high.

While Jax is dealing with rival gangs and the cartel, Tara is doing her part by visiting the prison and Otto, claiming she's treating him for various diseases, but she's really there to get him to reverse his RICO statement. Tara does eventually get what she needs, but definitely not the way she would have hoped. Otto, which one of his late wife's old crucifixes that Tara brought him, knocked a nurse unconscious, then repeatedly stabbed her to death with it, all while Tara watched in horror. Otto's testimony isn't any good anymore after committing a felony, but Tara is now worried she's an accessory to murder.

Clay comes clean about the home invasions to the club, and actually tells the truth this time, unlike how he stretched it when telling the club about Piney's death. There's an unanimous vote to remove Clay from the club, and all but Bobby vote for Clay to meet Mr. Mayhem (the club's euphemism for killing one of their own). That night, Clay's reaper tattoos are all blacked out, effectively cutting his ties from the club.

Jax, having found out that Juice was the informant talking to the feds about present crimes in the RICO case, enlists Juice's help to bring Clay down once and for all. This plan isn't ever actually mentioned, but Jax propositions Juice with this as redemption for ratting out the club.

The Sons help Nero's crew bring down a rival at a dog fighting ring. Tig seems very emotionally attached to one of the dogs, so when Jax tells him that he found the breeder's location, Tig is all over it. Little does Tig know that Jax is bringing him to Damon Pope, who has been waiting to kill Tig since the Sons got out of jail. Once Jax and Tig get to the warehouse, Jax pulls his gun on Tig and makes it look like he's giving him up to Pope. Once Pope walks Tig inside, Jax pulls a gun out of a compartment in his bike and kills the guard outside the warehouse. Jax goes in and kills two more of Pope's men, then gives the gun to Tig so he can kill Pope. Tig happily shoots Pope twice in the head, then looks down at the gun. It's Clay's gun.

Jax calls Roosevelt while he's at the crime scene, and directs him to the gun that is stashed on the hill nearby. Back at Clay's house, Clay is packing up his stuff, ready to skip town to Belfast, and as Juice is telling him to run, there's a knock at the door. Roosevelt walks in with the gun in an evidence bag, asking where Clay's been that afternoon. Gemma lies, saying that Clay had left for a few hours, with the gun. Roosevelt arrests Clay for the murder of Damon Pope.

Tara still isn't quite right after what happened with Otto in the prison. While all that was going on, she received an offer from Providence Hospital in Oregon to be a specialist up there. Tara told Jax that she accepted the job and that she'll be taking their boys with her to get them out of Charming. In the middle of the conversation, Jax and Tara hear a knock on the door. It's Roosevelt again. Jax says it's not a good time, to which Roosevelt replies that he knows it isn't. He's there for Tara. She is placed under arrest for conspiracy to commit murder for the death of the prison nurse, Pamela Toric. Tara breaks down in tears when baby Thomas starts crying in the other room. On her way out the door in handcuffs, she's semi-composed, and the only thing she says to her husband is call the lawyer.

The closing montage, set to an awesome cover of "Sympathy for the Devil" as sung by Jane's Addiction, sees Bobby cutting his VP patch off his kutte, Nero back in the life he was working so hard to distance himself from, Tara in the back of Roosevelt's squad car, and Gemma attempting to console her son as his wife is being taken away.

Season six premieres Tuesday, September 10 on FX.

Images Courtesy of FOX



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