Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Season One: Episode 6- "AK-51"

Jax and Piney (background) selling AKs 

One might not think that an episode aptly entitled "AK-51" as a reference to an automatic weapon would focus on moral decisions, but that is exactly what transpired in this episode. At the start of the episode, Jax and Piney are watching two individuals testing out the machine guns. We quickly learn that the elder of the two men is Nate Meineke, an old friend of Piney's who Piney trusts wholeheartedly. Jax and Piney sell the weapons to the two men, despite Jax having reservations due to his unfamiliarity with the two. As you all know from my previous posts, SAMCRO is desperate for finances since the first episode of the season when the warehouse was blown up containing SAMCRO's weapons stash. This had to have undoubtedly
factored into Jax letting the deal progress despite his reservations. One has to wonder if he would have raised more questions had the club been more financial sound. Nevertheless, the deal between the two groups seems to go off without a hitch until word reaches SAMCRO that the weapons were used in a prisoner bailout that resulted in the death of multiple members of law enforcement.

Nate Meineke assisting with prisoner escape

With the situation escalated due to the death of men in uniform, SAMCRO is obviously investigated because of their previous incidents throughout the years. In fact, Clay is taken into custody and held for questioning despite a lack of evidence originally. This scene ones again portrays the brotherhood that was touched on in my last blog. In the same way that Opie did not "give up" Kyle or the other members of SAMCRO, Clay did not mention Jax, Piney or any of the other members during his time in interrogation. This is especially telling considering that Clay had no real involvement with the selling of the weapons to Nate Meineke, as that was a relationship Piney had forged in the past.

As the investigation moved forward, the FBI was able to establish a link between the IRA and oil barrels that were seen in the SAMCRO garage. Remember, SAMCRO has been working feverishly to attain money to keep their connection with IRA open for smuggling weapons in and out of the city. The oil barrels are what SAMCRO had been using to transport the automatic weapons without raising suspicion. An FBI investigation coupled with a weakened cash flow might have been a dagger in the hearts of SAMCRO's business plans, as well as mark an end to fruitful relationship with the IRA. Needing to think quickly before the FBI could attain a search warrant, SAMCRO had to find a way to remove the automatic weapons from their premises so they would not be linked with the murders.  To be honest, the next steps surprised me but I have to give credit for quick thinking. I've heard multiple people say over time to "clean your shit up" or "move your crap" but I didn't think that SAMCRO would take those words of advice so literally. In order to move the guns, they hid them in a sewage tank attached to the back of a truck. While it looked to the naked eye as if the SAMCRO garage was simply getting the sewer system cleaned out, in actuality the club members were hiding guns WITHIN THE ACTUAL sewage. The plan worked as the FBI searched the barrels and were unable to find the guns stashed in them. The worst part of this for SAMCRO may not have been the actual process of hiding the weapons, but the process of retrieving them from the sewage. As this scene was unfolding, I was trying to think of how much money I would need to be paid to dive through a pile of sewage? Thousands? Millions? Or would there be any possessions of mine that I value enough to retain if it meant sifting through gallons of waste? I think at that point it would just be easier (and certainly more hygienic) to purchase new ones! I've written a fair amount about the lengths that SAMCRO goes to protect their club and each other, and I would say that retrieving illegal weapons from a sewage tank is probably one of the higher signs of devotion I could think of.

Gemma attacks Cherry
The other storyline occurring throughout this episode was more personal. As you hopefully remember from an earlier blog, SAMCRO completed a "Patch Over" of another club in a previous episode. During that episode, Clay had slept with a young woman named Cherry to teach Half Sack a lesson after Half Sack was overheard making sexual connotations about Gemma. In this episode, Gemma learns about the affair and becomes irate when Cherry shows up in Charming. After trying to control her emotions as best she could, her feelings overcame her when she saw Cherry walking down the street. Gemma grabbed a skateboard lying on the sidewalk and hit Cherry straight across the face, causing her face to bleed and bruise. This entire interaction is actually quite remarkable for me as a viewer. I don't think anyone watching would blame Gemma for being upset about encountering the woman that slept with her husband. I also think you might be hard pressed to find someone who blames Gemma for acting physically towards her. What stuck out to me about the entire encounter is the rationale that Gemma used. Gemma's exact quote was: "What happens on a run is supposed to stay on a run." In other words, Gemma did not appear to be upset about the fact that her husband actually cheated on her. Instead, she was upset about the fact that Cherry came into "her" hometown after sleeping with Clay and Gemma viewed that as an insult, even though Cherry did not intend it as so. This speaks volumes about the way of life for SAMCRO members and their "ladies" as they are often referred to on the show. For one, the "ladies" must assume that affairs are taken place and seemingly must accept those actions from their men. Secondly, the members of the club must know that their own women know what goes on during some of the trips/missions. One has to wonder if the aura of being associated with SAMCRO or being part of the club as a "lady" is worth the potential emotional abuse. Based on this episode and the episodes before it, it looks like the answer is yes. 

Once SAMCRO was able to escape the wrath of the FBI and their investigation, they had to direct their attention toward Nate Meineke and his group. SAMCRO orchestrated a deal to have Nate purchase the remaining AK automatic weapons, except this time there was a present inside the shipment. After completing the deal and receiving payment, Nate and his crew disappeared and brought the shipment back into their camp. The final scene of the episode was Opie pulling out a trigger that detonated an explosion, with smoke being scene from over the hills. Piney was present for this entire sequenece, which once again demonstrated the importance of the SAMCRO club over all else. Piney- in essence- played a role in murdering a man that he grew up with and considered a "friend." However, the sanctity and safety of SAMCRO was more important than any other bond, even to a longtime compatriot. SAMCRO is a group of brothers, and the blood of the brotherhood is thicker than water

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