When it comes to “Salvage,” the new episode of “Sons of Anarchy” that aired on FX Tuesday night, we don’t know where to begin with the applause. Not only was this the best episode of the season, but we’d wager that it may be the best since season 4. It had a feeling of some of the show’s earlier days, when there was a mixture of all of the elements, from the open road to action to humor to even some humanity into very tough and at-times very bad people.
For Jax Teller, it feels like he finally has that wake-up call now that SAMCRO is decimated. He had to take his business elsewhere this week, and in doing so, also made the decision to pull out of the weapons business. The school shooting at the start of the season, which we defended for the sake of creative expression, was finally validated. The story, and those who died, mattered beyond just bullets fired. It was powerful to see Jax step away even though he may not be able to save his family and the club may be in too deep, but it’s effort. We’ll take that at this point.
There were also other rewards that came via this move, as Bobby is now seemingly in the fold and with allies to boot. His return was almost a confrontation, but he realized soon after that it was one he did not really need to have happen. This was a different Jax than the last one that he saw, and this episode brought some course-correction for many. Juice had some great moments to prove that he still has “it” (whatever that may be), and Tig had some of the night’s best lines. (It’s nice to see him not near death for a change these days.)
Let’s take a minute in here to also acknowledge the wonderful job of creator Kurt Sutter and the producers to keep the return of Walton Goggins a secret. We knew that all parties were open to it, but Walton’s a busy guy. Even if Venus’ appearances are brief in the context of a larger show, they are still brilliant and Walton is that much cooler for his commitment to them. (Trust us: He was pretty cool in the first place.)
As we expected, though, “Salvage” was more of an episode about trying to salvage Jax’s soul than dropping another bomb on us. It was moving at times, funny at others, and the 92 minutes (!) blew by at a faster pace than others we’ve watched this season. Sometimes, these “set-up” episodes (where you know they are building to something else) can be a tad dull, but this one was one of the best that Sutter and company could have ever came up with. Grade: A
Click here for more “Sons of Anarchy” news, including the latest on Charlie Hunnam’s other acting gigs (been a busy week for him), some upcoming episode titles, and a promo for next week.