Sons of Anarchy (2008–2014)
8.1/10
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3 user 4 critic

Playing with Monsters 

Jax bring forth some alliances to further destroy Henry Lin and plot August Marks demise. Juice tries to reach out to Chibs, but learns his actions are beyond redemption.

Director:

Craig Yahata

Writers:

Kurt Sutter (created by), Peter Elkoff | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Charlie Hunnam ... Jackson 'Jax' Teller
Katey Sagal ... Gemma Teller Morrow
Mark Boone Junior ... Robert 'Bobby Elvis' Munson
Dayton Callie ... Wayne Unser
Kim Coates ... Alexander 'Tig' Trager
Drea de Matteo ... Wendy Case
Tommy Flanagan ... Filip 'Chibs' Telford
David Labrava ... Happy Lowman
Niko Nicotera ... George 'Ratboy' Skogstrom
Theo Rossi ... Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz
Jimmy Smits ... Nero Padilla
Peter Weller ... Charles 'Charlie' Barosky
Annabeth Gish ... Lieutenant Althea Jarry
Michael Ornstein ... Chuck 'Chucky' Marstein
Winter Ave Zoli ... Lyla Winston
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Storyline

Jax bring forth some alliances to further destroy Henry Lin and plot August Marks demise. Juice tries to reach out to Chibs, but learns his actions are beyond redemption.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 September 2014 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jenna Jameson makes a cameo in this episode as the Skankenstien doctor in the first take of a Red Woody production. Jameson herself, much like character Lyla, also started in front of the camera, becoming famous for girl on girl and she too, like Lyla vowed to never do porn again & ended up behind the camera creating her own production company. See more »

Goofs

Gemma stated she had African crows at home. African crows have a white belly and a white ring around there neck. But when we seen them they were all black, which means they were not African crows but American crows, cause of being all black and the beak shape. See more »

Quotes

Wendy Teller: [Caught Brooke and Ratboy having sex with Thomas sleeping in the room] Oh, Christ. Really? In front of the baby?
Brooke: He was sleeping.
Ratboy: And he's like... a baby.
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Connections

References Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Reality Show
(uncredited)
Performed by Hans Inglish
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User Reviews

 
A good episode, but the series is unsure of direction
26 September 2014 | by i-am-so-originalSee all my reviews

This week's Sons of Anarchy, "Playing with Monsters," while better than last week's outing, still suffers from the same weaknesses that has been plaguing this season and doesn't advance the plot in any meaningful way.

At this point in a series' run, it should be going full-force into the finale, throwing everything it's got at the viewer and making us want to return week after week and leaving us with burning questions and lovable tension. However, this last season of Sons is suffering from some serious lag and water treading, leaving us as the audience with feelings of impatience rather than excitement.

Like I said, I believe this episode was a stronger outing that the previous one. It's direction was clearer, the writing sharper, and the performances a little more believable and natural. It featured some fun action sequences, such as the ransacking of the Chinese massage parlour (was that what was?) and the killings of the rogue One-Niners. However, therein lies the problem of this final season. We've seen these types of situations on the show before: it seems as if every other episode has some backstabbing and murdering going on. What we need now is something new, something fresh to keep our minds returning and our hearts racing as we lead towards the final showdown. What we're getting instead is a lot of water treading, with a questionable direction for the show.

While it's still early, I am finding myself increasingly confused and bewildered at the direction the show is going. It is getting extremely complex and confusing having to remember all the different gangs, gang members, motivations, etc. for why these gangs are doing what they are doing. With a little sharper and clearer writing, this could be reverted, but as it stands, all this gang drama seems too confusing to be considered effective. Along the same vein, the gang story lines seem out of place, and quite frankly, unwanted at this point in the series. Does anyone really care what happens to Lin or August or anybody else from any of the multiple gangs? What we care about is Gemma and Jax, and the drama unfolding between the respective sides. The show has many different, better things to focus on, but it's instead choosing to focus our attention on some gang war drama that nobody really cares about. I have faith that Sutter and his writers know what they are doing and where they are going with this plot line, and if it has relevance down the line, I'll eat my words. That's the problem with serialized drama: you never know what may turn out to be important down the line, so all this table setting can seem confusing or unwarranted during the individual episodes.

Case in point, The Shield's final season consisted of a similar format. The first third of the season focused on an unneeded storyline that didn't pertain to the drama of Vic and Shane, but when it did, it took off running and became the greatest string of episodes in a drama (my opinion). I can only hope that this series follows suit.

So, while this episode did contain some sharp direction and some nice action pieces, I can't help but feel that this series is focusing on story lines that are unneeded at this point in time and is simply treading water, waiting for the big bang of a finale that is to come in the last third of the season. I just hope I'm right. In the meantime, it's making for some boring, confusing television.

** out of *****


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