Sons Of Anarchy: "The Pull"
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Sons Of Anarchy: "The Pull"

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Sons Of Anarchy

"The Pull"

Season 1, Episode 8

Holy crap! I can't believe this–they totally went there. They totally did it. Here I was, I thought, maybe, maybe they'll say they're going to do it, but then they'll just chicken out, and I'll get my heart broken. Again. To hell with that. To hell with you, Lucy. I don't need your football. But I was wrong. I was wrong.

On tonight's episode of Sons of Anarchy, "The Pull," they totally took baby Abel out of the incubation chamber.

All right, fine, there was some other stuff going on too.

Anarchy's first season has passed the halfway mark, and the screws are starting to tighten. In "Pull," Sam Crow finally had to come up with the money they owed the IRA, a realistically massive $200,000. They're short by seventy grand; Gemma pressures Luann into a loan, but that still leaves them $15k in the hole. (It's been a while since we got a reminder of how nasty Gemma can be to get what she wants; ""Bad shit happens to greedy whores," was damn cold.) But Jax comes through, like always, by selling a tanker full of diesel to Sheriff Unser for a cool $20k.

Money might be the least of Clay's concerns, though, because the Mayans are finally making their big move. After getting a package in the mail from the ATF (Kohn, natch), Darby contacts Alvarez with info about Clay's IRA contact. The Mayans see it as an opportunity to take Sam Crow's place, as well as finally get rid of the competition–and in a movie that Darby completely fails to see coming (funny how tunnel visioned white supremacists can be), Alvarez has his son put a simultaneous hit out on Clay and Darby. Since we're not at the finish line yet, both hits fail, with Clay's new IRA buddy getting one in the ass, and Darby's white trash playmates going down in his place.

It doesn't take much effort for the Sons to realize who was behind the botched hit, and Clay immediately starts calling in the other clubs, prepping for war. Jax isn't convinced. He claims they don't have the weapons or the cash to go all out, and he's not sure more bodies would fix anything. Looks like all that journal reading has been going to his head; but what Jax doesn't seem to realize is that not everyone he trusts will stand by him if he tries to keep playing for peace. He and Clay argue, with Clay voicing "doubts" about Jax's commitment, doubts that Jax expects, and doesn't seem bothered by. But as soon as he's gone, Tig tells Clay he doesn't trust Jax to follow through on what needs to be done. Whenever a favored son decides to go his own way, there's almost always trouble; Jax is going to need to find out who he can rely on, and soon.

Tig's wrong about Jax not pulling the trigger, though. But before we get to that–Abel really did come out of his box, and while as a plot development it doesn't hold a candle to bar shoot-out or cold-blooded murder, there is something there worth mentioning. In the midst of all the craziness, Jax gets a few minutes alone with his kid, and it's your standard father and baby scene. It does, however, shed a new light on all those journal reading scenes. Or it did for me. While I like the journal as a way to split Jax from his mom and step-dad, in practice, it usually just amounts to some vague voice-over platitudes that aren't immediately relevant. Tonight's talk of bloodshed tied in, clearly, but I also like the idea of a father trying to impart wisdom to his son, even if he doesn't know he's doing it. Jax has his own kid now, and it changes the stakes for him–he has to decide how much of his father's message he wants to pass on and if he wants things to stay as they are for the next generation.

Really, though, the highlight of "Pull" was Kohn's final freak-out with Tara. It's a scene that's played out before in a hundred movies: scary man threatening vulnerable woman, in a bedroom no less. No sharp objects around, but he's armed, and he's stronger than she is. And boy is he nuts. Kohn has a Norman Bates-ish quality to him, although he's nowhere near as likeable; his generally even tone and his surface level logic make him harder to dismiss because he's so damn insinuating. Tara and Kohn dated for a while, apparently long enough for her to get pregnant (and, after she broke it off, get an abortion), and it's possible to see how Kohn could've initially attracted her. He seems so nice and grown-up. It's only when you actually listen to what he's telling you that you realize he's a whack-job.

The whole thing plays slow, building to the moment when Tara gets a gun and gut-shoots Kohn. Instead of calling 911, she calls Jax; it's a move she's been edging towards ever since she moved back to Charming. Jax even accused her of it last episode–of needing him to deal with the problem in a way no one else would. Of course Jax shoots Kohn in the head, and of course, Tara takes comfort in Jax's big biker arms. It all feels inevitable; not in a negative way, but just how this story had to end up. The details were what stuck with me: the shot of Jax and Tara screwing on the bed with Kohn's corpse laying a few feet away; or Kohn's iPod, with its endless loop of Andy Williams' "Can't Get Used To Losing You." For all his aspirations, Jax is still a thug at heart, and for all her morality, Tara wouldn't have him any other way.

Grade: A

Stray Observations:

--Half Sack's ambulance theft was great, as was the pay-off.

--Clay tells Gemma to get ready for way by stocking up on "food, booze." A horde of drunken, well-fed bikers descending on Charming. Man, if I was a local, I think I'd see what the weather was like anyplace else.

--Screw Sam Crow, where does Jax stand on Sparkle Motion?

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