The fate of original SAMCRO member Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Junior) has been a looming elephant in the room during the last few episodes of Sons of Anarchy. Bobby is often the moral compass in a sea of macho bloodlust, so his capture and subsequent torture by August Marks (Billy Brown) has sent Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) into a defensive tizzy. This restlessness can be seen in the opening moments of “What a Piece of Work Is Man,” as the forlorn biker chief lies awake in bed, lost in doubt, and holding his son, Abel (Ryder and Evan Londo).
Images fixated on agitation abound in the episode’s early stretch. We see Gemma (Katey Sagal) caressing the empty cage where her African crows once lived as Nero (Jimmy Smits) helplessly looks on in the background. Bobby lies bloodied and beaten in a cell of his own awaiting a final sentencing by Marks’s lead thug, Moses Cartwright (Mathew St. Patrick), while Juice (Theo Rossi) nervously plays with the shiv he’ll inevitably use to kill Henry Lin (Kenneth Choi) in prison.
The prevailing sense of uncertainty that’s hung over Sons of Anarchy’s final season directly reflects the unfinished business regarding Gemma’s grand deception. While collateral damage produced from her lies has been minimal up to this point, consuming bit characters from other gangs, it finally makes a push to claim the lives of SAMCRO’s inner circle here. Obviously Bobby remains most vulnerable, now a pawn in Marks’s chess game with Jax, but the chalk outline for other characters is starting to come into focus.
Jax’s future within the club gets challenged by officers from the Indian Hills charter, who pay SAMCRO a visit to inform them that they’ll be calling for an investigation and possible mayhem vote as a response to the killing of their president, Jury (Michael Shamus Wiles). It might seem like a small narrative thread, but the pressure produced by this decision could become too much for Jax and his crew to bear when dealing with Marks on the opposite flank.
In one of the episode’s best scenes, Gemma sits down with Sheriff Althea Jarry (Annabeth Gish) and identifies the street thug from Lin’s crew who she pinned as Tara’s (Maggie Siff) killer, all in the effort to corroborate Juice’s master plan to get close to Lin. But their masquerade is starting to crack, evident in the fact that the women’s conversation degenerates into a punishing brawl.
Later in the episode, Jarry digs up further evidence that contradicts Gemma and Juice’s story, key information she shares with Wayne (Dayton Callie). It’s a twist that will render both SAMCRO’s matriarch and her bald-headed conspirator impotent to stop whatever reckoning is coming their way, as witnessed in the final moments when Juice is sequestered in isolation because of his false testimony.
A man’s word means a lot in Sons of Anarchy, both to those who deform the truth along with characters who self-righteously hold fast under pressure. Marks represents the former and Jax the latter. It’s a dynamic that ultimately leads SAMCRO’s president to once again underestimate his calculating foe; terms are agreed upon to hand over Bobby in return for the corrupt pastor’s body and the damning video that Marks could use for leverage against the deceased man’s wife and son.
Not surprisingly, during the handoff Marks finally makes Jax pay for his ongoing subterfuge against Lin, shooting Bobby in the temple at point-blank range. In what can only be described as a profoundly upsetting moment for any fan of the series, Bobby’s death represents the final crack in a leaky dam that’s now ready to flood all of Charming with carnage and rage.
The aftermath produced by losing a main character like Bobby is fittingly harrowing. Gemma looms over his body during the episode’s final moments, vaguely apologizing for her selfish mistakes while washing away streaming tears. Abel looks on yet again, witnessing his grandmother break down for a second time. Jax responds to Bobby’s murder in a far more Machiavellian way; having kept enough incriminating evidence in case of such a betrayal occurred, he rats out Marks to the cops. While watching his nemesis get arrested might be a momentary reprieve for Jax’s heartbreak, it can’t be seen as any type of long-term cure. There’s just too much unfinished business for this heavyweight bout to end on a technicality.
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