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Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 12, "Red Rose"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 12, “Red Rose”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 12, “Red Rose”

Those white tennis shoes. Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) has worn his trademark ivory sneakers throughout Sons of Anarchy. Those pearly kicks have been privy to many a bad deed, and sometimes they’ve gotten splattered in blood for good measure, looking like some minimalist Jackson Pollock painting. The guy must have a whole closet full of them on standby. “Red Rose” opens on the SAMCRO president lacing up his shoes, a quiet warning that his pristine foot canvases will once again be tainted by the carnage to come.

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 11, "Suits of Woe"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, “Suits of Woe”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 11, “Suits of Woe”

The slow-moving guillotine that’s been hovering over the heads of so many characters in Sons of Anarchy’s final season starts to speed up in “Suits of Woe.” All the lies and betrayals perpetrated by SAMCRO and their kin are coming undone, leaving many significant members stricken with the kind of suffocating guilt that can only be assuaged by confession. As the title of tonight’s episode suggests, wearing disgrace for this long takes a massive toll on one’s strength and sense of purpose.

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 9, "What a Piece of Work Is Man"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, “What a Piece of Work Is Man”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 9, “What a Piece of Work Is Man”

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).

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 8, "The Separation of Crows"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, “The Separation of Crows”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 8, “The Separation of Crows”

Coming on the heels of “Greensleeves,” in which Gemma’s (Katey Sagal) confession of murder was overheard by her lobotomized-looking grandson, Abel (Ryder and Evan Londo), and Bobby’s (Mark Boone Junior) sudden capture led to forced optical surgery, “The Separation of Crows” seemed primed for further shocking developments. Strangely, the episode merely rehashes much of the same ground, biding time until the bloody series finale and leaving viewers in a state of disorientation.

Sons of Anarchy Recap Season 7, Episode 5, "Some Strange Eruption"

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Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, “Some Strange Eruption”

FX

Sons of Anarchy Recap: Season 7, Episode 5, “Some Strange Eruption”

Amid a room riddled with bodies and bullet holes, a king smokes quietly on the couch. He ponders alone, looking down at all of his fallen disciples. If it weren’t for all the bloodstains and gaping wounds, the eerie opening shot of “Some Strange Eruption” might seem like the beginning of a party sequence gone wrong. The camera slowly pulls back from a comatose Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) as he sits within the confines of Dioasa, the high-end brothel that was turned into a mass grave in the previous episode of Sons of Anarchy. It tracks without cutting from one heinous image to the next, surveying the damage done to SAMCRO’s infrastructure by Chinese crime lord George Lin (Kenneth Choi) and his men.

John from Cincinnati Recap Season 1, Episode 10, “His Visit: Day Nine”

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John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 10, “His Visit: Day Nine”
John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 10, “His Visit: Day Nine”

“Back in the game, Mitch Yost.” –John Monad (Austin Nichols)

Here is the revelation: John Monad and Shaun Yost (Greyson Fletcher)—missing for all of a purgatorial day—surfing in unison across the Imperial Beach horizon, a picture-perfect, per the accompanying Bob Dylan song, “Series of Dreams”. The return of the monad and his young prodigy in the final installment of John from Cincinnati’s first season (“His Visit: Day Nine”) sends a similarly unifying shockwave through IB—whether aware of it or not, all are now joined in singular principle and purpose, even if the only explicit example of this, at first, is the prophesied blow job that rocks Meyer Dickstein’s (Willie Garson) world.

John from Cincinnati Recap Season 1, Episode 9, “His Visit: Day Eight”

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John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 9, “His Visit: Day Eight”
John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 9, “His Visit: Day Eight”

“Big pipe’s easy. Dry land’s hard.” –Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood)

Concurrent with the moment in John from Cincinnati’s ninth episode (“His Visit: Day Eight”) when Mitch Yost makes contact, on the U.S./Mexico border, with his old friend and shaman Erlemeyer (Howard Hesseman), the inevitable happens: Mitch’s wife Cissy (Rebecca De Mornay) awakes back in Imperial Beach to find their grandson Shaun (Greyson Fletcher) vanished without a trace.

This sets off a viral chain reaction, with Cissy’s fear and paranoia infecting everyone in her path, a surge of emotion that reaches its apex when drug dealer Steady Freddy Lopez (Dayton Callie) goes all Death of a Rat on a leather-jacketed teddy bear belatedly gifted to him by his knockaround sidekick Palaka (Paul Ben Victor). “You do not buy a gift and not give it. That’s the oldest bad luck in the world,” says Palaka before Freddy callously tosses the bear into the Snug Harbor Motel parking lot. Palaka immediately retrieves the gift and timidly pleads with his boss to take it. “For the boy,” he finishes.

John from Cincinnati Recap Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8, “His Visit: Day Six” & “His Visit: Day Seven”

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John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8, “His Visit: Day Six” & “His Visit: Day Seven”
John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episodes 7 & 8, “His Visit: Day Six” & “His Visit: Day Seven”

That was most certainly the voice of the Creator taunting the fragile Barry Cunningham in the dilapidated barroom of the Snug Harbor Motel. Figures that Barry’s momentary epiphany about his surroundings (which he parallels to a catbird seat anecdote about Daniel Frohman’s Lyceum Theatre) would be so suddenly quashed by a sentiment from the void. Milch gives voice to the fears that hinder us all—there’s a touch of the misanthrope in how his characters come off as puppets constantly in service to an unfathomable Divinity, but he likewise recognizes that, every now and again, we are capable of breaking through the programming, becoming, even if only for a moment, our tried and true selves.

John from Cincinnati Recap Season 1, Episode 6, “His Visit: Day Five”

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John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 6, “His Visit: Day Five”
John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 6, “His Visit: Day Five”

“Well. This was time well spent.” Indeed it was Joe. Not that the residents of Imperial Beach, California are likely to have much cognizant memory of the events, mind-blowing all, of John from Cincinnati’s sixth installment (“His Visit: Day Five”). But certainly an interconnected impression has been left, set in stone by John Monad’s (Austin Nichols) final commandment to the gathered masses (in both body and spirit) at the rundown Snug Harbor Motel: “You will not note my Father’s word. Nor remember Cass’ camera. But you will not forget what we did here.” The divine emissary has tipped his hand, revealing the machinations and, at least in part, the intentions of the man behind the curtain.

John from Cincinnati Recap Season 1, Episode 4, “His Visit: Day Three”

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John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “His Visit: Day Three”
John from Cincinnati Recap: Season 1, Episode 4, “His Visit: Day Three”

If we were to distill John from Cincinnati to a single image, to a single visual trope, it would be the one that kicked off the series’s fourth episode, “His Visit, Day Three.” John Monad (Austin Nichols) stands before the skeletal circular structure that first figured in a brief aside during episode two. Now as then, he looks at the structure knowingly, but the really telling details come from the camerawork. When John is in close-up, the distance between him and the structure is increased, rendered in Citizen Kane-like deep focus; when John is in long shot, the distance between the two objects is suddenly collapsed, so that the structure effectively dwarfs its observer.