If you want something done, just hold someone else's feet to the fire.
Finding a great concept with underwhelming execution is easy enough to do in entertainment. But going the other way, a weak concept that is approached pretty well, is a bit more rare.
So it is with the Juice storyline this season in Sons of Anarchy. The biggest problem was buying the premise that SAMCRO would have a problem with Juice being part-black (or at least the premise that Juice himself would believe they would). Despite its problematic genesis, the show worked it in well enough. In having Roosevelt blackmail Juice at Potter's behest kept the threat of law enforcement waiting in the wings during the "A" plotline of SAMCRO's dealings with the Galindo cartel. But it's the Juice/Roosevelt/Potter story that takes a huge step forward in "Fruit for the Crows." In the process, we get a look at both Potter and Roosevelt. Potter doesn't seem too concerned with the rules, and really enjoys blackmail. That's how he gets relentlessly squeaky-clean Roosevelt to compromise himself by illegally arresting Juice for possession, and then let him know that either he cooperates with the investigation into SAMCRO, or Roosevelt will let the word out that he's doing so. Thus the club will go after him, and he will be thrown in jail as an "unprotected rat." It's a ruthless plan devised by Potter and it shocks Roosevelt. But, the good sheriff feels he has no choice but to go along. Sure, Potter is threatening him with a negative report in his jacket, but Roosevelt wants to take down SAMCRO too. As the last remaining honest man in Charming, he's not happy about the way this secret investigation is moving forward.
Not that that does Juice any good. After he gets the news from Roosevelt, all he can muster up to say is "It doesn't matter." Chibs, seeing that something's wrong with Juice, approaches Clay and tells him he thinks something's wrong with Juice. In response, Clay takes Juice aside and patches him. He praises him for this handling of the Russians in the season premiere, and for Miles in last week's episode (which Clay obviously doesn't know the truth of). Clay is figuring that the promotion will give Juice some motivation to get his head back in the game, but if anything it adds some weight to his shoulders. He can't stand the thought of turning on his MC, so after sewing his patch onto his jacket, he hangs himself from this favorite tree. It's the only escape he sees for himself. He's still swinging from the branch and spasming when the episode goes to black, so it's a bit unclear at this time whether we'll see him alive again. But if this is the end of Juice, then it's a pretty ignominious end. He got stuck in a situation (and storyline) that he couldn't find a way out of, and that kind of sucks for him. It is a sad turn of events, but the story works to illustrate exactly what the Sons will be dealing with. Potter and Roosevelt are the most fearsome threat we've seen to the club.
Elsewhere in the episode, the death threat against Tara has the club scrambling. As they do so, they are attacked by drive-by shooters. With some burly detective work, they find out that their attackers are just some local thugs who were – that's right – blackmailed by a rival cartel to the Galindos. Meanwhile, Clay finds out pretty quickly that Unser laid the threat in order to keep Tara aware, and to short circuit Clay's plans for her – but not before Tara finds out all about the cartel business. She is not happy, and she goes so far as to tell Jax that Clay can't be trusted. Deep down, it seems Jax agrees. If Bobby would have heard Tara say that, he'd agree with her out loud. He comes right out and says to Clay that his "leadership is compromising the club" and calls for a vote to replace him.
Juice is otherwise occupied, but Piney simply cleans his shotgun and refuses to answer the phone. That vote won't be happening without the full contingent, but the schism grows wider every week.
So we learn what kind of man Potter is and get more of a look at who Roosevelt really is. Additionally, Tara is only getting more frustrated with this life. She has to know that she's cut out for better things that patching up gunshot wounds in gun-running bikers. That belief will only get more and more crystallized.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch
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