Friday, April 26, 2013

Season One: Episode 10- "Better Half"

The title of this episode- "Better Half"- is fitting considering that the episode revolves around most of the "old ladys" associated with SAMCRO. There has always been the saying that the woman is the "better half" of a relationship, especially in terms of providing support and stability. The question heading into this episode was whether or not that phrase would hold true? We have seen in previous episodes that members of SAMCRO have been willing to go great lengths to protect the club and its members, sometimes sacrificing themselves (Otto) or relationships with their family (Opie) for the benefit of the club's mission and goals. This episode would help prove if in fact behind every good man is an even stronger lady. 

Luann and Gemma
The first "old lady" who is tested this episode is Luann, Otto's wife. Luann runs the CaraCara porn studio, which was busted by government officials and she was taken out in handcuffs. For the purpose of this blog, I want to compare/contrast Luann's actions this episode with Cherry's, who recently became HalfSack's "old lady." Luann has been an "old lady" for many years and has dealt with Otto being in prison for a long period of time due to his arrests from actions with SAMCRO. Rather then seek retribution of hold anger against the club, Luann has dutifully continued to work with SAMCRO and support them whenever possible. While Luann remained in holding at the police station or her most recent arrest at CaraCara, she refused to give up any information related to SAMCRO even when pushed for details. Cherry on the other hand was also arrested, but her arrest was not related to SAMCRO. Cherry had apparently been married in Nevada and left her husband because he was abusive and burned down his house, which left her wanted for arrest. Cherry was much younger than Luann and the audience had the feeling throughout the episode that Cherry was not adequately prepared for the life of SAMCRO and the life that being an "old lady" entailed, even if she did pretend to have a hard exterior. This became even more clear when Jax and Opie were able to break into the police station at night and rescue Luann. Jax and Opie said at the time that they would "come back" for Cherry but Cherry responded that she "knows she would rat and she would make a deal."
Cherry telling Gemma about her past
Cherry did not mean for this to be threatening, as she was simply telling the truth. Cherry did not have the mental make-up of a Gemma or a Luann or even a Tara, and the slightest heat from the police would likely make her spill her guts. Jax and Opie broke her out of prison along with Luann since they couldn't take that risk, especially since they likely knew that Cherry did not have the same fortitude as other "old ladys." Throughout this season we have seen dedication to SAMCRO and seen individuals whose loyalty to the club has been tested- and some have passed and others have failed. It was clear that Luann passed and Cherry did not. 

Luann's loyalty to the club is even more apparent later in the episode. Government officials decide to use Otto as a way to try and get intel on SAMCRO, and so they offer to drop all charges against Luann- past and present- if Otto cooperates. Otto decides to agree, but he wants to see Luann before he signs off on the proposal. SAMCRO decides to allow Luann to visit Otto, where she takes the opportunity to inform him that the
Luann tells Otto about RICO Act
government is trying to bring down the entire club through the "RICO Act." Once again, Luann has risked herself for the benefit of the club. Had she not said this to Otto, he likely would have turned on the club and provided valuable information to the government. Instead, knowing that all of Luanns charges have been dropped as per their agreement, Otto hands Agent Stahl a piece of paper with information from 1999. As she asks him to sign a contract to validate that information, Otto grabs Stahl's head and smashes it into the table repeatedly. Stahl escapes- barely and bloody- but without a signed testimony from Otto. 

Gemma and Agent Stahl
At the conclusion of the episode, viewers got a look at Agent Stahl as a broken woman-- even if it was momentary. The interesting aspect is that her character would seemingly be a perfect compliment to a member of SAMCRO. In essence, she would be a great "old lady." She is smart and cut-throat much like Gemma and has loyalty (in this case to her career) in the same way that Luann has loyalty for Otto and the club. It is certainly a stretch, but I think that one interesting aspect of this SAMCRO vs Stahl rivalry is the fact they would work well together since it's almost like looking into a mirror. 

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