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Sons of Anarchy – 2×12 – “The Culling”: Review/Recap

Sons of Anarchy – Season 2, Episode 12 – “The Culling”

In preparation on the Sons moving forward on Zobelle, “The Culling” opens with friends and family of SAMCRO organizing all their personal items to go into lockdown:

Clay: “You’re here because you’re family…and because SAMCRO takes care of its own.  Next couple of days this clubs got some business to handle that could put our members and the people connected to us in unfriendly situations.  Now chances are nothings going to happen but people have already been hurt on my watch.  And that aint ever going to happen again.”

Clay goes on to promise that under their watch, everyone will be safe.  Any concerns relating to safety should be brought to Piney–any concerns over comfort to Gemma.

And with that, we’re off…and I do mean we’re off.  There is so much packed into this episode and to the credit of everyone involved, everything is pulled off with near-perfect precision. The major thread running through the episode relates to the Sons’ access to their guns.  With the ATF still in town, access to their safe house has been cutoff, so they need to come up with an alternate solution.  That solution comes in the form of reconciling with the Irish.  And with the information revealed to them from Chibs — the revelation that the ATF have a rat in the Irish ranks; Edmund Hayes — getting Jimmy O on board shouldn’t be much of an issue.

So with this information in hand, the Sons move forward on a plan to trick the ATF and Edmund to get their guns back.  The first step is a reconciliation with Jimmy O.  The solution is simple enough — show Jimmy the photographic evidence that proves Edmund is the rat (and by extension his father Cameron).  Jimmy is right-away on board after being shown the evidence, and now the plan can be put in motion.

Running parallel to that sub-plot, Jax is tasked with letting Zobelle’s
right-hand man Weston in on the truth behind what Ethan Zobelle is really doing in Charming.  As we’ve already known, Zobelle has sparked a mutual
relationship with Alvarez to deal heroin with the Mayans and he is also
supplying them with guns so he can control the streets through them.  It’s
a win-win situation for Zobelle as it allows him to gain control of the town
from the Sons, the Asians and the Niners, but it’s completely contrary to the belief of The League of American Nationals (LOAN), whom Weston faithfully is committed to.

The Sons know this will set Weston off and it does.  Upon being told by Jax
what Zobelle is doing behind his back, Weston heads off to confirm.  What
he finds is a secret heroin lab and a stack of guns.  Weston storms into
the lab and guns down one of Zobelle’s crew, along with the two Mexican helpers, despite the revelation that it’s all been sanctioned by Zobelle.  But the added confirmation that the guns are being sold to the Mexicans sets him off Zobelle’s man dead.

Rounding the episode off, Clay and Jax convene a meeting with the respective bosses of the Niners (Laroy) and the Asians (Henry). Clay and Jax inform the two that the Mayans are gaining power because of Zobelle and his White separatist group LOAN.  They come to an understanding:

Working together they’ll take on Zobelle and the Mayans. With the Mayans losing access to their guns and Heroin trade, they’ll be wiped out, allowing for the the Niners and the Asians to get back all the land they’ve lost…and then some. The Asians get everything south of Ghost Town, the Niners everything North,leaving friendly borders behind the groups. Everyone agrees. The plan is moving forward.

Later Weston barges into Zobelle’s cigar shop and confronts him, pulling a
gun on him and declaring him a “race-trading son of a bitch” for running
dope and weapons with the Mayans.  But before Weston can do anything,
Zobelle’s daughter — who is in the shop with her father — pulls a gun on
Weston.  He backs off but not before scolding Zobelle, who tries to reason
that he had to deal with the Mayans so they could control the city.  But
Weston doesn’t care about that.  City-conquering wasn’t part of the plan
for LOAN he says, it was about “stopping colors from getting stronger”.

The episode continues with a crossing of paths between Jax and Weston, who is now at the police office looking in on his sons who have been taken away from him by child protective services.  Jax is the one who got his kids taken away, and he uses the situation to confront Weston.  “I’ll kill you for
this,” Weston says.  “At least I didn’t gang-rape them,” Jax retorts,
letting Weston know that he’s aware of what he did to his mother, Gemma.
They end up setting a meeting place to have it all out:

Jax: “Your 10 best against mine.”

Opie: “No weapons.”

Juice: “No witnesses.”

Jax: “Either you or me goes home in a bag.”

Now we get back to the planned ATF sting.  Jimmy comes to Edmund’s house to pick-up the guns and the ATF confirms his presence so they move in on their plan by picking up Edumnd and following the truck (which is suppose to be carrying the guns to the meet-up location where the Sons will be completing the transaction).  But as the ATF speed away, Chuck — who is in the streets surveying the situation and earlier in the episode revealed to the group that he saw Weston and some of his goons start the fire at Cara Cara — calls the Sons to let them know the coast is clear for them to come in.  As planned, Jimmy remained in the garage — with the guns — and the Sons arrive to pick up their guns and take them to their secure location.

With everything going as planned, the Sons proceed to the meeting place where the ATF are waiting to bust them.  As they arrive, the ATF move in, but of course they’re fooled. Agent Stahl comes in and is irritated that Jimmy isn’t with them. She calls in Edmund and with him looking on orders one of her agents to open one of the crates.  The crate opens and with Edmund looking on and instead of guns, the crate is housing some rats.  Yeah, Edmund is totally screwed.  Stahl is furious and has no choice but to let the Sons go. She’s been played bad.

The episode begins to draw to a close with a few threads not quite
coming together at the benefit of the Sons.   The showdown between
Weston and his goons and Jax and the SOA goes down as planned, although Weston shows up with more than 10 LOAN-ers and weapons.  But the SOA are prepared. They’ve got back-up in the form of the Niners showing up to surround everyone with weapons.  Now it’s ON.  The fight ensues with the SOA appearing to have the upper-hand, but it doesn’t last long.  Deputy Chief Hale shows up and stops the fight–arresting Weston for the fire at Cara Cara.

“The Culling” closes out with Clay, Jax and most of the SOA arriving at
Zobelle’s store.  His daughter Polly is still there along with Chief Unser
who stayed to guard Polly after he earlier called off a few deputies who Hale
sent in to protect her from any attacks.  The SOA threaten Polly’s life to
get to Zobelle and he shows up from a back room.  Clay points a gun at
Zobelle and it looks like he’s going to murder him, but before anything bad goes down Hale enters — he’s been fairly busy this episode — with the two deputies that Unser let go earlier in the episode.  Unser attempts to call off Hale who is trying to stop what’s about to go down, but Zobelle cleverly points out that he and his daughter are in possession of narcotics.  With that they are arrested and carried out.  Before exiting the shop Jax tells Zobelle point-blank: “We’re going to kill you.”

The episode comes to an end with a shot of Jax on his bike and Clay looking

Other things worth mentioning

  • Looks like the club will be patching Sack in as a member. Clay: “Half a sack, shitload of balls”.
  • Chucky being a witness to the fire at Cara Cara is a big deal.  Now the Sons can collect the fire insurance which has been held up due to arson claims.  Puts him in good standing with the Sons.
  • The episode has a little more bonding between Gemma and Tara.  As Tara gets closer to accepting the club, Gemma is becoming more accepting of her.
  • And Tara’s scene with her supervisor — where she completely goes off on her — is really a turning point for her character. She’s full-in now.  “You’re just a cheap suit too stupid and lazy to get into Med school, so now you compensate by making healers jump through hoops.” After her supervisor makes a discouraging remark about Gemma, Tara unloads physically, grabbing her neck and then socking her one.  Tara goes on to threaten her safety — with the club — even taking out her gun and messing with it as a way to express to her supervisor to drop the suit.  I think she’s set at the hospital for a while now.

As always, Sons of Anarchy doesn’t fail to impress.  This
is another amazing episode in a consistently powerful and engaging season.
We’re headed for what looks like one amazing finale next week.

Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. on FX.

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