As usual, lots of juicy stuff happened in tonight’s Sons of Anarchy, but let’s jump right to the heart of it, shall we? WALTON GOGGINS AS A TRANSGENDERED HOOKER!!!
(That oughtta help the old search-engine optimization, right? Pardon me if I repeat that phrase a few times going forward.)
So yes, the Justified star — that would be Walton Goggins, playing a transgendered hooker — shows up about halfway through the episode as part of SAMCRO’s blackmail scheme aimed at a local politician. A morbidly obese, diabetic local politician who passes out after eating a cupcake surreptitiously brought to him by Chucky, who is posing as a new bakery owner just down the street. The plan is to put the unconscious tub o’ lad in some compromising positions, and then use the ensuing photographs to pressure him to vote the way they want. And they aren’t messing around, hiring Venus (Walton Goggins playing a transgendered hooker) to straddle the guy while he’s wearing an outfit that would make the Gimp from Pulp Fiction blush.
Goggins does more than chew the scenery — he swallows, spits and exhibits any other destructive behavior you can think of in a completely uninhibited performance. It’s not that he makes you completely forget Boyd Crowder, you just simply marvel that it’s the same guy. And that it’s convincing. Poor Tig, who’s already had to deal with unspeakable tragedy this season, now has to deal with sexual-identity confusion, as he finds himself uncontrollably drawn to this uber-confident man-vixen. Tig’s lethargy comes back to bite him in the ass — literally — when said councilman wakes up, panics, and sinks his teeth into the nearest thing he can find, which would be Tig’s posterior.
As you can tell, there’s a little bit of comedy infused in this episode, a welcome change from the apocalyptic doom and gloom we’ve seen so far. With Tig’s daughter being burned alive in front of him, Gemma spiraling into a fuzz of drugs and sex, Tara struggling with not being able to perform surgery anymore, Opie’s death, yeah, a little Walton Goggins as a transgendered hooker is in order, I think. The character more than just steals the show, he completely takes charge when a wild card is introduced into the proceedings. A young man, Devin Price, played by Marshall Allman (Tommy from True Blood) barges in while they’re shooting the photographs, claiming to be the councilman’s stepson. But he’s not there to stop the Sons — as though he could — but to join in. Turns out he doesn’t much care for his stepdad, and he’d like some photographs of his own. Jax must have been in a charitable mood, because instead of threatening the kid, or worse, he agrees to let Walton Goggins as a transgendered hooker take the boy in back and give him oral pleasure. Jax, Tig, Chibs, Bobby and Juice all assure him it’s OK. Doesn’t make you gay, they’ve all been there. But during the deed, Venus has a camera of her own, collecting more blackmail material.
OK, so why are they doing all this, you ask? Well, in his continuing scorched-earth policy regarding Clay’s regime, Jax is intent on getting the club into the good graces of Mayor Hale. They want to rent a building of his to house the escort/porn business they’re going to run with Nero, but in order to get Hale to agree, they figure they can help him get his dream real-estate project Charming Heights through the necessary governmental challenges. Yes, that’s the same Charming Heights development where Clay deposited a couple of dead bodies in order to scare away investors. Clay thought it would ruin the character of the town (i.e. bring much too much unwanted attention from respectable types), but Jax sees the benefits. Hale is leery, of course, but he can’t refuse the temptation, and agrees to the arrangement.
I’m guessing this isn’t the last we’ll see of young Devin, though. Partially because — like Ashley Tisdale before him — the character is played by a recognizable actor, and also because the kid showed an intense interest in hanging around the club. He seemed a bit incredulous when Chibs said he could come by and clean all the come and puke off the floor the next morning, but he didn’t say no. He’s got “prospect” written all over him.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. Tara got some encouraging news from the doctor that her hand was healing much better than expected and that the possibility of her performing surgery again wasn’t just a pipe dream. She kept the news to herself, however, and was again discouraged when she had trouble sewing up Tig’s butt wound. She shares her worries in a tete-a-tete with Gemma, scared by the violence that overtook her in the beatdown of Carla. Gemma simply states, not in so many words, that’s the life she’s chosen. The ice seems to have thawed a bit between the two women by episode’s end, when Tara invites Gemma to feed baby Thomas.
It’s a hard road to that nice moment for Gemma, though, having to endure Nero breaking it off with her, and Jax telling her why. Sure, it’s not a good idea to mix business and family, but Jax also admits he’s having trouble shielding Gemma from the bitterness he feels over his father’s death. “You can’t hate me, Jackson,” she pleads. “You’re the only thing left I love.”
The heaviest material comes from an unlikely source, Sheriff Roosevelt and his wife. She’s pregnant apparently, and is the latest victim of the rash of home invasions plaguing Charming. She attempts to fend them off with a gun, but ends up getting shot herself, in the belly. She’s alive when we last see her, but of course there are serious doubts about the baby. The pain from this attack makes the sucker punch Roosevelt took from Opie seem like a gnat, but it continues a hard-luck season for the steadfast lawman. While it’s sad for the character, the silver lining could be more Rockmond Dunbar, which would always be a good thing. And he’ll be out for blood, probably willing to work with SAMCRO to get who’s responsible.
Before the fun with Venus and the councilman, Jax has to show a little machismo in an encounter with the Irish. He’s already angry because it was the Irish’s preference for Clay that kept Jax from killing his stepfather after the attempted hit on Tara, so he’s in a fighting mood. He and the Irish contact end up engaging in a little fisticuffs to clear the air, and Jax may have been in a little bit of trouble there if the fight hadn’t been interrupted by Romeo and his crew arriving to get on with the business at hand. That would be the transaction of some damn big guns. The Irish insist on showing that the weapons work, and proceed to shoot the living hell out of Chibs’ bike.
The episode ends on another humorous note, with Jax sneaking through the house at night, after Tara and Gemma have fallen asleep. He opens a box addressed to him at the kitchen table, and finds inside that thumb and tit he ordered last episode, body parts that will satisfy Nero’s gang bangers who demanded proof that they had killed Emma Jean. But while we laugh, Jax just sits down, closes his eyes and exhales, breathing out some stale air accumulated over another crazy day as club president. He’s weary, because he knows there are so many more days like this ahead of him.
Photo: Credit: Prashant Gupta