A quick review of tonight's "Sons of Anarchy" coming up just as soon as I get an app for blackmail...

"Everything they say is like smoky truth. I don't trust them. I don't trust their priest." -Jax

Last week, I complained about how the characters on the show had become obvious pawns, both of the writing staff, the different factions in Ireland, etc.. "Turas" was an improvement on recent weeks, then, as our regulars finally began to recognize how they're being played.

In Ireland, Jax is skeptical about the story Father Ashby told him, and is smart enough to tell Juice to keep an eye on O'Neill (just not smart enough to order him and Happy to follow the guy even on a bathroom break). In Charming, Tig and company figure out very quickly that Salazar is their real enemy, not the Mayans, and Unser (with some help from Oswald) finally realizes that the devil he made his new deal with is worse than the devils he abandoned.

There's still potential for problems and manipulation, obviously. As everyone predicted the second the Sons and Mayans let Salazar live, he's abducted Tara (and Margaret). Given that Hale told him how to find Tara, I'm guessing he caught them on the way to the abortion clinic, rather than from, and I'm hoping the storyline is less cliched than the ordeal forcing a miscarriage and taking Tara off the hook for what to do with the pregnancy.  

Jax, meanwhile, is still relying on Stahl - though at least there he knows she's untrustworthy, and has no other choice - and we see in the scene where Fiona stops Gemma from killing Jimmy that this is a game where the Sons still don't completely understand the rules, the players, etc. And no one actually sees Liam blow up the truck, so the Sons have to keep pretending to be friendly with SAMBEL.

I guess at this point I've just resigned myself to the idea that this story arc isn't really working for me, and that I'm just going to ride it out and see where we land for season four. (One of the disadvantages to the 13-episode arc storytelling model that many cables shows use is that if a viewer doesn't like the arc, there's not going to be a change until the next season.) It's entirely possible that the payoffs to events in Belfast and Charming will be so powerful that I'll leave my concerns behind in the end. I did, after all, really like the season premiere as Jax drowned in his grief, and some of the other episodes as we've gone along. The Sons getting wise is a good first step. But I'm still proceeding with caution through the season's closing chapters.

Some other thoughts:

• Another song-filled episode, with songs including "An Almighty Thud" by We Were Promised Jetpacks, "Old Soul" by Romany Rye, "We Grow Stronger" by Flatfoot 56, "Church Bells Are Ringing" by Blacklist Royals, "Fight Song" by Methods of Mayhem, "Our Last Fight" by Scala And Kolacny Brothers, "Living the Mystery" by Paul Brady and "Sweet Hereafter" by The White Buffalo. And it looks like the Celtic theme is here for the duration of the Belfast trip.

• Shouldn't an experienced liar like Stahl know enough to either keep her phone on her person or immediately purge the call log before Tyler could get her hands on it?

• Poor Chibs. Though since the writers weren't going to bump off any of the Sons in the explosion, his nephew might as well have been wearing a red "Star Trek" shirt.

• We learn a bit more about John Teller's stint in Ireland, and it seems like he abandoned Gemma, Jax and Thomas just as Thomas was starting to get really sick from his heart defect. Not cool, JT.

• So does the tattoo on Margaret's back, which implies that she was once a biker's old lady, make her previous warnings to Tara more or less interesting?

What did everybody else think?

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