SONS OF ANARCHY 4.02 ‘Booster’

Sheriff Roosevelt demonstrates his power over the club as Jax and Opie are held hostage by the Russian mob.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Episode Title: "Booster"

Writers: Dave Erickson & Chris Collins
 
Director: Guy Ferland
 
Previously on "Sons of Anarchy":

After 14 months in jail, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), his step-father, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) other prominent members of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle club found that Charming had greatly changed in their absence. Jacob Hale (Jeff Kober) was the new mayor, Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) was the new anti-SAMCRO Sheriff and their friend Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) was slowly dying from cancer. And unknown to SAMCRO, Roosevelt aligned himself with Assistant U.S. District Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) and his secret investigation to bring down SAMCRO, the Russian Mob and the Irish Kings.

Jax's girlfriend Tara (Maggie Siff) happily reunited with him and she accepted his marriage proposal. He also laid out his intention to leave SAMCRO to be a real family with their son Thomas and Jax's son, Abel. But first, SAMCRO lured the local Russian mob connection, Viktor Potlova (Keith Szarabajka) to the marriage of Opie (Ryan Hurst) and Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) on a Native American Reservation and out of the prying eyes of Roosevelt's men. After the ceremony, Jax and Clay murdered Viktor in revenge for his attempt on Jax's life while other SAMCRO members killed his crew and seized their high caliber weapons.

Clay ordered the bodies of the Russians to be dumped on the Charming Heights construction site to make Hale look bad. And back at home, Clay's wife Gemma (Katy Sagal) found the note that her late husband's Irish lover left for Jax during his trip to Ireland. To her horror, Gemma realized that the note may have implicated herself and Clay in the death of John Teller, Jax's father.

Story:

The next day, word of the dead Russians found at Charming Heights dominates the TV news shows. Jax tells Tara that it was in retaliation for the attempt on his life while Opie lies to his new wife, Lyla and says that SAMCRO wasn't responsible. Around the same time, Gemma goes to Clay with the note from Ireland and she is clearly worried that Jax or Tara have the letters implicating them in John's death. Clay reasons that if neither Jax nor Tara has brought it up yet then Gemma shouldn't make an issue out of it. At Charming Heights, Lincoln learns that his undercover officer in the Russian mob was also killed.

And yet Lincoln is strangely happy, because he knows that if SAMCRO was bold enough to take on the Russians than another criminal syndicate must be backing them. Jacob Hale arrives at the scene and he is livid that the Sons jeopardized his development plans. He orders Roosevelt to clamp down on SAMCRO immediately. Back at Tara's home, Gemma arrives to babysit her grandchildren. She takes the opportunity to snoop around the house and look for the letters. Gemma comes up empty until she realizes that Gemma must have hidden them at her office in the hospital. Soon enough, Gemma's worst fears are confirmed when she finds the entire stash of letters.

Meanwhile, Jax and Clay meet with Romero Parada (Danny Trejo), a representative of the Galindo Cartel who is very impressed with the weapons they are selling. But he also wants weapons of higher caliber as well as munitions and for the Sons to act as his drug mules when coming back from the meeting. Jax keeps quiet but this part of the deal was clearly a surprise to him. Later, he and Clay have a frank discussion about the implications of the deal. Jax agrees to go along with Clay's plans if he lets Jax leave SAMCRO when he does and passes the Presidency on to Opie.

During a club meeting, the rest of SAMCRO is cold to the idea of being drug mules until Jax and Clay lay out the impressive cash payment from the cartel. Regardless, Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Junior) and Piney (William Lucking) are clearly opposed to the club getting directly involved with the drug trade. Opie is also troubled by the turn of events, but Jax tries to talk him into it as they drive to the reservation to pick up the ammo for the weapons. However, they find the Russian mob waiting for them. Jax and Opie steal a truck and almost escape before the Russians flip the vehicle and subdue them.

The Russians pass on a demand to SAMCRO: the lives of their men for the weapons they stole. But before SAMCRO can respond in force, Roosevelt pulls up with the fire department and a number of officers. Under the pretense of smelling smoke, Roosevelt enters their inner clubhouse and takes an ax to the walls, their pictures and even their conference room as a final warning not to cross him. Realizing that the club won't be able to save Jax and Opie, Clay sends Gemma to get word to the cartel. Just before the deadline, Romero and his associates arrive at the reservation and take out all of the Russians but one… whom they keep alive as a messenger to the others to stay away from SAMCRO.

When SAMCRO returns with Jax and Opie safe, their attention turns to the destruction left by Roosevelt. Sensing a chance to change the mood, Tara tells everyone that she and Jax are getting married; which seems to turn the atmosphere from depressing to festive. But Bobby makes his disgust over the turn of events with the cartel obvious to Jax by pouring out his liquor rather than toasting to his marriage.

Breakdown:

If there was ever a battle for the soul of SAMCRO, I always thought that it would be between Clay and Jax. Instead, they seem to be the ones tearing the club apart together instead of being at each other's throats. And its Bobby, Opie and presumably Piney on the other side acting as the voices of sanity. Their problem is that they are idealists. They really believe that SAMCRO is primarily about brotherhood over their criminal enterprises. Clay and Jax have a more cynical view. They just want to get the biggest payouts that they can before they walk away from the club forever.

There's a certain sense of desperation from both Jax and Clay now that they're out of prison. Clay realizes that he doesn't have much time left before his arthritis renders his hands useless and Jax simply doesn't want to waste his time on the club when he's got a real family that needs him. Their affection for their brothers in the club does seem real, but it is trumped by their own self-interest.

I can't imagine that SAMCRO would be too happy if they knew that both the President and the Vice-President of the club were essentially moving against their best interests and planning to leave them behind. Jax even noted that Clay pushed a founding SAMCRO member off a roof in Belfast for essentially the same thing. If there was a SAMCRO Civil War, it would be interesting to see who would challenge Jax and Clay and who would join them.

Danny Trejo's appearance on this show was highly anticipated and he doesn't disappoint in his debut as Romero. He seems to be an outstanding ally for the Sons, but if the show runs true to form, Romero will probably be one of the main antagonists by the end of the season. Just a prediction at this point, but when a character like that clicks immediately it usually means they're going after the protagonists in the near future.

Rockmond Dunbar's Eli Roosevelt made a much bigger impression this week by having the balls to literally go after SAMCRO where they live. Roosevelt hinted to Clay that he might be willing to come to some understanding, but he won't tolerate murder, weapons or drug running. It's also a notch in Roosevelt's favor that he isn't one of Jacob Hale's stooges. Both he and Lincoln openly viewed Hale with contempt and they seem fully aware that he's just as ruthless as SAMCRO.

Of the supporting cast, Ryan Hurst was particularly interesting to watch as Opie. He spoke volumes just in the way he stared at Jax after the pitch to bring SAMCRO into the drug trade. Everything that Opie said about it seemed like an astute assessment of Jax's motivations and it made me wonder what the show would be like if Opie really did take over SAMCRO at some point.

The John Teller subplot was beginning to wear a little thin, but the revelation that Wayne was in on the cover up of John's death casts fresh suspicion on both Clay and Gemma. Maybe even Gemma more than Clay, who only seems lightly concerned by it. That makes it seem like Gemma might be the only truly guilty party in John's death and Wayne helped her hide the truth. There were also some great subtle touches in Maggie Siff's facial expressions as she found Gemma in her office and she didn't openly bring up how suspicious it was. The other instance was the slight look of disgust on Tara's face after she embraced Clay at Jax's impromptu engagement party.

 It's too early in the season to see what the endgame is, but  the road looks promising so far.

 Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.