Briefly: Stephen King? How surprisingly creepy good was he? I’ve seen King act in a few things (Creepshow), and he’s not a particularly good actor, but give him only a few lines and have him do creepy shit? That was some inspired stunt casting, particularly in his character name: Richard Bachman.
Last night’s was a transitional episode; it was filler-y, particularly with the events in Charming, where the episode began with SAMCRO deciding to skip bail and travel to Canada to search for Abel, and ended with SAMCRO finding out that Cameron was dead, and in Belfast. In between, Opie broke up a porn party, SAMCRO had to give up a little of their business to the Chinese in exchange for weapons, and we find out that the city isn’t too fond of the Sons anymore because of their involvement in the death of Hale. Opie and Jax also had a nice moment, and Opie continues to sport the most heartbreaking puppy dog face on television.
The Belfast storyline spun its wheels, but for the addition of Cherry (Taryn Manning, playing Half-Sack’s girlfriend from season one). With Cameron dead, Maureen decides that she’d like to let the Charming charter know about the whereabouts of Abel, and at this point, does anyone understand why the Irish are even holding on to Abel anymore. What’s the end game? Except to get the Charming fellas in Belfast for a travel episode? I’m sure that the uneasy relationship between Father Ashby and Jimmy O will play into it, but right now, it’s difficult to understand the political necessity of keeping Abel (or giving him away to a nice Catholic family). It was good to see Cherry again, though, and to learn that Maureen and John Teller were, at one point, an item. That could present some interesting tension between Maureen and Gemma in a future ep, and Maureen’s husband — the president of the Beflast chapter of the Sons — will likely play into the narrative.
The meat of the episode took place at Nate Maddock’s house, where Nate disappeared, leaving Tara and Gemma to deal with the caretaker. And deal with her, they did. Tara got soft, and let the caretaker’s hands free; the caretaker knocked Tara out, and — in a struggle with Gemma — ended up on the wrong end of a knife in the chest. That’s where Bachman came in, to help Gemma and Tara dispose of the body. How fantastic was it that he took the prayer hands as payment?
Meanwhile, Nate considered putting a bullet in the back of his throat, and it wasn’t until the heart-wrenching scene in which Hal Holbrook has a shotgun to his chin that I remembered that he was married to the recently deceased Dixie Carter, which gave that scene even more resonance. I can’t help but to think, however, that — with Nate headed to a care facility, and Gemma/Tara getting involved in the hunt for Abel — that the stop at the Maddock place was a narrative detour, to give Gemma something to do while she’s on the lam, to give Trig some dark humor moments, and to give Holbrook a chance to appear on the show. I don’t know how, or even if, the death of the caretaker or the fate of Nate, will play into the overall storyline.
But then, Kurt Sutter works in mysterious ways. I’ll give the man the benefit of the doubt.