Episode Title: “Stolen Huffy”
Writer: Chris Collins
Director: Paris Barclay
Previously on “Sons of Anarchy”:
When the opening credits of this week’s episode rolled, I was a little surprised to see Ryan Hurst’s name still listed. But “Stolen Huffy” was primarily about the fallout of Opie’s death, even if it got a little sidetracked at times.
“Sons of Anarchy” has killed off characters before, but probably none as beloved as Opie. In the opening scene, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) theorizes that his friend had probably been searching for his “out” since his first wife was killed while Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) lauds Opie for dying as a warrior. Both of those rationales for Opie’s death were used by series creator, Kurt Sutter in a series of interviews last week, so it was difficult to not see that as the characters simply parroting his views.
The loss of Opie will likely cast a shadow over this series for a long time, as it should. In the short term, Jax gets some pushback from the club about giving such favorable terms to Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau), the man ultimately responsible for Opie’s death. However, Jax explains that Pope is an adversary who actually scares him because he could crush the club so easily. Giving into his demands may be the only way to survive until they can turn the tables.
It’s interesting to note that that Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito) and the Nomads vocally opposed Jax’s plan, but they didn’t seem to react when he mentioned that Pope was looking into the home invasions for which they are secretly responsible. If the Nomads were smart, they’d stop the home invasions now while they can still blame the Niners. But they probably still think that they can get away with what they’ve done.
Jax’s conversations with Pope and Tig (Kim Coates) in the previous episode suggested that he was well on his way to becoming more like his step-father, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). Jax takes a step back in this episode and he actually shows good leadership skills by getting the club in line for the new deal with Pope, strengthening his ties with Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits) and making sure that Opie’s estranged wife, Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) understood that SAMCRO is her family now.
In the midst of their mourning, Jax and Chibs are asked by Nero to protect Emma Jean (Ashley Tisdale), the young escort whom Gemma (Katey Sagal) attacked for servicing Clay. Nero’s gang connections think that she was behind the police raid against them and want her dead. A significant portion of the episode deals with Jax and Chibs trying to keep Emma alive when the gang members catch up to them. The motorcycle chase was fun, but ultimately the subplot was kind of pointless; especially when Emma is sent away for good while the club has to produce “a thumb and a tit” to prove that she’s dead.
Everyone quickly realizes that Nero’s number 2 woman, Carla (Wanda De Jesus) told the gang where to find Emma. And it gives Gemma the perfect chance to set two of her rivals against each other. With Tara (Maggie Siff) already angry over Gemma’s continued ties with Jax’s ex, wife, Wendy (Drea de Matteo); Gemma expertly introduces Tara as “her daughter” to Carla before explaining how she almost got Jax killed.
“Her daughter…” That’s brilliant. For all of the strife between her and Gemma, that is the relationship that Tara seems to secretly crave. Gemma seems to be well aware of this and she uses that to set off the match and watch Tara beat the crap out of Carla for her.
Gemma’s feelings towards Clay still consist of mostly hate, but when she learns about Opie’s demise she briefly embraces him for comfort before pushing him away. That was one of the best emotional turns in the episode. Because Opie and Jax had been so close while growing up together, Gemma must have felt like she lost another son.
Nero’s patience with Gemma has been hard to quantify since she has brought a lot of suffering into his life. Yet when Jax offers Nero a lucrative new partnership, he doesn’t hesitate to take it for more than a few moments… even though one of the conditions was that he stay away from Gemma. And despite Jax’s assurances that he’s dealt with his twisty relationship with his mother, if that was true, the series would already be over.
The closing wake for Opie was very moving and a fitting farewell for both the character and Ryan Hurst. There was something disconcerting about seeing Opie in that casket as SAMCRO paid their final respects. Despite the current “truce” with Pope, his day of reckoning with the club will probably come before the end of the season. And it should be interesting to see how that plays out.