Sometimes even the best of series have off episodes. “Caregiver” is solid in a number of ways, but feels sometimes feels obviously manipulative or like attempts to extend stories that perhaps don’t need extending. I’m not sure that I want Gemma back in Charming and A-Okay, but having Tara make a very stupid an unrealistic mistake that leads to the death of the Amelia. I’m not sure that I want Abel back safely in his father’s arms in Charming either, but I’m not sure if bringing back Half-Sack’s lady and dragging out the super-vague issues between the Father and Jimmy O take the right steps to making that extension enjoyable. Again, I understand that neither story can be resolved in episode three, but the work this specific effort does to keep them going isn’t the best Sons of Anarchy has to offer.
Thematically, “Caregiver” explores what happens when people trapped in awful situations for too long decide to take rash actions. Gemma doesn’t actively try to kill Amelia, but she’s the one who tied her up in the basement and more or less started this whole thing. And it doesn’t take her too long to realize that another dead body is far from what she needs right now, so she calls in the MC’s version of a cleaner, Bachman (Stephen King in a nice little guest role). This being the kind of series it is, there’s absolutely no way that Amelia’s death doesn’t come back to bite Gemma and Tara in the ass later, but props to them for being resourceful, I guess.
Over in Belfast, the situation doesn’t appear to be any clearer. Father Ashby doesn’t seem willing to give Abel back, but there’s no clear reasoning for that, so Maureen decides that she should contact Gemma and SAMCRO on her own. Well, in reference to on her own I mean by using Cherry, Half-Sack’s old lady who was sent over to Belfast a bit ago. But taking the Abel-saving into her own hands doesn’t really work out for Maureen when Cherry can’t get anyone on the phone. So basically, wheel-spinning!
While Jax spends most of the episode filling his time with other things as to avoid making a stupid decision, Opie gets a little time in the screwed up limelight. As last week suggested, he’s not quite as okay with Lyla’s profession as he originally thought, and when the Sons organize a little party that involves Lyla putting her skills to use, Opie just cannot take it anymore and decides to break up the whole party, literally and figuratively. He doesn’t want her to be sad, but it seems obvious that she’s much more okay with it than he is, which means he just doesn’t want to be sad himself. Poor ope.
And that’s really it. This episode felt a little dry and lacking narrative drive, to be honest. Not worried, though. The Sons now know that Cameron is dead, so hopefully that pushes the story forwarded.
A few other bits:
- Tig’s quick “I can do that” response to Bachman’s ’80s music request is the funniest moment of the season. By far.
- What can you say about Hal Holbrook that hasn’t already been said, but damn that scene with Nate out by the pond all by himself was heartbreaking, even with a character we’ve only known for 100 minutes.
- Maureen and…John Teller? Say what?