SONS OF ANARCHY 5.07 ‘Toad’s Wild Ride’

Episode Title: "Toad's Wild Ride"

Writers: Kurt Sutter & Chris Collins

Director: Peter Weller

Previously on "Sons of Anarchy"

Episode 5.06 "Small World"

I take back everything I said about Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and his plan to retake control of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club. It’s not a brilliant plan… it’s a clusterf*** because Clay put his trust in three idiots: Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito), Go Go (Chris Browning) and Greg the Peg (Kurt Yaeger). They couldn’t even scare the sheriff’s pregnant wife without accidentially killing her and the unborn child in her womb.

Not that Clay’s estranged wife, Gemma (Katey Sagal) is doing any better. After Gemma gets a chance to prove that she’s not an entire screw up, she quickly reverts to form and endangers her most vulnerable family members. Jax (Charlie Hunnam) has forgiven his mother for a lot, but this might be the final straw.

Full spoilers are ahead for this week’s “Sons of Anarchy.” Turn back now if you haven’t seen the episode.

One of the more hilarious aspects of the opening minutes of "Toad's Wild Ride" was how quickly everyone realized that Clay and the Nomads were behind the home invasion robberies and what their agenda was. Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) did most of the work, but Jax and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) came to the same conclusion.

Although I have to wonder if bad decisions run in the Teller-Morrow family. Because after learning about what the Nomads are up to, Jax sent Unser over to see them alone as an “introduction.” Seriously? Is Jax trying to get Unser killed?

I have to admit that I thought Unser’s time was up in this episode. The investigation into the home invasions was Unser’s major storyline this season and now that he knew the truth, Unser became expendable.

Except Clay decided that Unser can be useful one more time as an alibi and maybe a character witness to SAMCRO. Clay seemingly set Unser up to be killed by the Nomads, only to turn on them and shoot at them as they burst through Unser’s door. Only Frankie Diamonds had the good fortune of not being there.

Poor Juice (Theo Rossi). I loved the horrified look on his face when Juice realized that he had backed the wrong horse again. Juice really seemed to look up to Clay as a father figure this season and he was already surprised and put off by Clay’s riff with Tara (Maggie Siff) despite not knowing the details. But Juice knows full well that Clay set the Nomads up and that he played Unser.

Up to this point, Juice’s chances of survival were looking pretty good. He dodged a major bullet last season after escaping the clutches of the RICO investigation. But now that Juice is one of the few men left who knows the truth about what Clay did, his odds don’t look so good.

This was not a good episode for Jax. Charlie Hunnam’s performance was fine, but Jax’s decisions were almost indefensible. Even though Jax knows the truth about Clay’s actions and confronted him about it, he’s still going to give Clay a chance to slither out of trouble by allowing SAMCRO to make the call on whether he lives or dies. But Clay’s already built up enough doubt in the minds of the club that he will likely get away again.

Even the assassination attempt on Jax and Chibs was probably another attempt by Clay to deflect the blame on to Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau). Pope is by no means a good man, but once he got his revenge on Tig (Kim Coates), Pope seemed more interested in making money with SAMCRO than destroying them. I’d be a little disappointed if Pope backtracked on that because it’s been entertaining to watch the club try to deal with his hold on them.

One of the guys who tried to kill Jax was black. So what? That’s such a huge misdirect that it had to be from Clay. I could even see Romeo (Danny Trejo) as the mastermind of the hit on Jax. Pope is such an obvious suspect that he is too obvious to actually be behind it.

I’m a huge fan of Joel McHale on “Community,” but he felt wasted here as Curtis; a con artist who slept with Gemma and then stole her car. Curtis didn’t seem to exist for any reason other than to expose more of Gemma’s fall to Jax and to feature at least two scenes of McHale’s character getting the s*** kicked out of him by SAMCRO and later Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits).

Jax initially lashes out at Gemma for her behavior before Nero tells him to take it easy on her. Which is fine, except that Jax later tells Gemma that he was glad when his brother died because he would have her all to himself. Holy crap… Despite what he said a few episodes ago, Jax’s twisted mommy issues haven’t entirely gone away.

As for Gemma, there’s no forgiveness for her if she got one Jax’s kids killed because she was too stoned to drive. The ending of the episode is vague about the extent of Abel’s injuries, but it looks like he may have been impaled by a tree when Gemma drove off the road. If you think that this family is screwed up now, wait until Jax loses his first born son and watch all hell brake loose. I can’t see Tara forgiving that transgression either.

The truth of “Sons of Anarchy” is that these are screwed up people living screwed up lives. Their ongoing destruction is our entertainment.