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Emmys 2017
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Sons of Anarchy recap: 'Playing with Monsters'

Jax launches a new assault, Juice reaches out, and Gemma remains Gemma.

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Sons Of Anarchy
Michael Becker/FX

Sons of Anarchy

TV Show
Current Status:
Off Air
run date:
Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perelman, Katey Sagal

Remember how Tara said Jax had turned into a monster in the season 6 finale? Well, he gets a bit closer to that side of the scale in this episode. Vengeance-seeking Jax is simultaneously disturbing and enjoyable to watch when he’s one step removed from the Chinese: Without that immediate weight, he grows a twisted sense of humor and an invisible mustache that he practically twirls. This is a new Jax, one that gets off on the scheming and the beating (which is tougher to watch). Just don’t get too cocky, son. Let’s dig in.

Skankenstein Lives!: When released on DVD, Redwoody’s first production (starring Jenna Jameson) should have the guys’ reactions as a bonus feature, because Chibs’ and Tig’s were the best. Jax calling Lyla “a genius” may have been a stretch, but here’s to any woman working behind the camera.

August reminds us he’s a bad man: How long has Sutter been waiting to use the 12 Inches a Slave joke? August is not amused. He’s worried SAMCRO hit the Chinese shipment, and he somehow knows the Chinese lost 4 kilos. Bottom line: He and Jax don’t trust one another, and August, who’s actually been pretty decent to Jax since Pope died, makes sure Jax knows the difference between August and Damon: Damon made his bones being the smartest guy on the street, August made his being the deadliest. “Don’t cross me, Jackson. I have no remorse killing you or any of the Sons,” he says. When Jax emerges from the car, he has that snarl on his face. Change of plans, he tells the guys. “It’s a black day,” he says. Translation: August thinks he’s cold, but Jax will challenge himself to be ice. Jax has no remorse killing anyone who threatens his club. Jax’s first call is to Tyler, because he knows the One-Niners won’t be happy that August is shutting down their payback against the Mayans. It’s a risky move for Jax to tell Tyler that SAMCRO is defying August, but the show’s earned the right for Jax to think he can manipulate Tyler: It set Tyler up as a guy who had no desire to be a leader. He just inherited the job. The problem: The Niners have no independent income like SAMCRO does. Jax has Tig give Tyler half a kilo so the Niners have a base to break away—how much does heroin go for?—and Tyler says he’ll make sure the Niners side with the Outlaws if SAMCRO takes care of his internal problem, an OG named Chester who wants to splinter the Niners.

Why are crews so trusting?: Did Jax fool you when he meets Chester and, for once, tells the truth? He says he’s looking for someone in Purple who has the balls to go against Marks, and well, this Chester does seem more badass than Tyler, right? Notice how Jax says he could handle his s—, which was a line in the song that played at the end of episode 2 when Jax, Chibs, and Bobby killed those two local muscle. Jax offers Chester the address of where the Mayans are storing the guns they took from the Niners (what Barofsky had handed Handsome Jack). In a scene we’ve seen play out multiple times before, Chester and two of his guys walk in, put their guns away to open their stash, and as their backs are turned, they’re taken out by SAMCRO. Like, maybe have one guy who stays facing the crew you just allied with 10 minutes ago? Best part of the scene: Jax answers a call from Gemma right afterward, “Hey, mom, what’s up?”

Mayans are fools: Okay, the show’s established Barofsky is all-knowing when it comes to dirty things in Stockton, but after he claims his local cops shot and killed the rogue Niners, he lays out the address of the Niner coup for Nero and the Mayans so clearly, he might as well have just handed them the address. Jax suggested Tyler have someone put out the word that Chester was having a meeting for like-minded Niners in Stockton. Tyler and Jax tell Marks about the rogues, who could retaliate against the Mayans or Chinese before they get to them. Smart play, for as long as they can keep Chester a ghost. Marks comes clean about the real reason he doesn’t want a street war: His business partner on this big development deal is MIA, and his investors are getting skittish. Last thing he needs is a gang war that has the Feds sniffing around his relationships. He gives them permission to end the rogue problem, now. “I hate to tell you, Mr. Marks, but the war is already on, and you’re losin’ it,” Jax says afterward. He’s really enjoying his villainy this episode. The Mayans and Nero end up killing the rogue Niners. They use a crazy amount of fire power for four guys.

NEXT: Juice makes us cry