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Sons of Anarchy Season 4: "Una Venta"

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Wednesday, September 28 2011 and posted in Reviews

The club makes a run to drop off their first shipment to the Galindo cartel and gets an unexpected look in the mirror on the way. 

The times, they are a-changing. 

The change in the club just seems irrevocable as SAMCRO heads for the Mexico border, bringing a supply of firearms down to Romeo, Luis, and the Galindo cartel.  All the tension at the end of last week's episode seems to have dissipated as the club just goes about their business.  Their new business.  Gemma and Clay seem to have gotten past that bit of manhandling in the time between last episode and this one.  The vote passed, and SAMCRO is now in the coke muling business. 

But change is hard, and often violent.  SAMCRO meets up with the apparently multi-cultural Tucson charter of the Sons near the Mexican border, whom they learn have been dealing meth.  This pisses off Clay and Jax, while Bobby is shocked at Clay's hypocrisy.  "Muling and dealing are the same!"  Clay doesn't want to hear it.  Jax, meanwhile, uncovers a conspiracy by the vice president and sergeant of the Tucson charter that led to a passing vote for selling the crank, one that resulted in the murder of one member and the expulsion of another.  SAMCRO gets all Scooby-Doo and solves the mystery, leading to the offending parties getting kicked violently out of the club and the matter of meth-dealing brought to another vote.  The mystery, much like the stolen guns last week, is basically just a one-off mission that leads to larger implications for the club itself.  Last week, it was for Jax to show that he could be a leader.  This week, it was so SAMCRO could get a glimpse of where it's heading.  As incensed as Clay is about the drug-dealing going on in Tucson, he can't change the fact that the Arizona charter still unanimously votes to keep dealing, even with the conspiracy brought to light.  

Clay may look upon the situation that Tucson got itself into without understanding that it's where SAMCRO is heading (or if he does, he's denying it), but it visibly becomes real for the rest of the club.  When Romeo and Luis take the cover off the crate containing the "thirty kilos of uncut Colombian cocaine," Juice, Chibs, Tig, and the rest wince at the site of all that coke.  While it was still pretty abstract up to this point, now the stuff is quite literally in their hands, and the change in the club's philosophy is something they know they can't turn back from anymore.

It was always real to Piney, though.  He disapproves of the way the club issoa_ps_012 going, so he approaches Tara, wanting to know about the John Teller letters.  Whereas in the season premiere he says here that "history's dead" and that she should keep it that way, now he wants to dig it all up and he wants her help.  "I want to know why my friend was afraid when he died," he tells her.  Tara ends up telling Piney a little of what she's learned, that John Teller died before a meeting in Belfast where he was going to break off all ties with the IRA and get out of the gun-running business.  The two seem to form an unlikely bond, which could have some fascinating implications for the club going forward.  While Bobby objects to what's going been going on, he's still going along with the coke-muling operation.  Piney is trying to wash his hands of the whole thing.  Gemma sees what's coming, so she tries to get Piney to back off.  All she sees coming down the path is division and an end to the club entirely. 

What she doesn't know is that AUSA Potter is helping things along.  His plan seems to involve planting the very seeds of division within the club.  Last week, he had Roosevelt approach Juice armed with the knowledge of his heritage.  This week, Potter pays a visit to Otto in solitary confinement to tell him that Bobby was fucking Otto's wife before she was murdered.  Potter leaves the crime scene photos with Otto. 

Speaking of Gemma and Potter, an odd subplot is now developing involving Roosevelt's wife Rita.  Unser spots her with Roosevelt at the hospital, and this week Gemma stops in at Rita's flower shop wanting to join her "save our community garden" committee.  Apparently Charming Heights is threatening said garden so it's interesting to see that the wife of the sheriff (who was hired by Hale, the mayor and Charming Heights developer) is standing against the development, or at least a part of it.  Rita accepts a donation from Gemma made in Tara's name, but the other side to the whole scene is that Potter eavesdrops on Gemma and Rita's conversation.

One interesting narrative flourish the series has taken on is the way it's filling in the gaps of the fourteen-month time jump between season 3 and season 4, and that it's using Tara to do so.  Last week, Margaret lets on that Tara broke down in her office and asked for a transfer to a different hospital in a different city, and now Piney references the fact that Tara once approached him wanting to ask about John Teller.  It's a subtle way to show that with the Sons in jail, their world did indeed keep turning, and that a lot went on that we didn't get to see.  It not only builds up the plot but also the character relationships, and does so without attention-grabbling flashbacks or annoying exposition.  It keeps the episodes lean but powerful.  

This season of Sons of Anarchy continues to intrigue and excite, and while Una Venta took on more of a slow-burn type of approach in comparison to the first three episodes, the latent expectation is building to what can only be the biggest explosion this series has ever seen. 

Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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