'Sons of Anarchy' recap: The hilarious business of blackmail (and the best guest spot ever?)

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s Sons of Anarchy, stop reading now. There’s a guest spot that should remain a surprise. Now, let’s dig in.

As I said when I reviewed this episode in EW’s What to Watch section, season 5 has been so heartbreakingly brutal that fans deserve a bit of a reprieve. This hour, “Orca Shrugged,” definitely felt like one, even with the dramatic turn in the home-invasion story line (which I suspect we all saw coming the moment Eli kissed wife Rita’s belly). You might recall a tweet from SOA creator Kurt Sutter over the summer: “just wrote the most disturbing SOA sex scene i’ve ever written. i need to shower and play with a puppy.” The only thing he’d say when we asked to elaborate was that the scene was in the season’s fifth episode. Perhaps because of what we’ve witnessed this season — Tig’s daughter being burned alive, Opie being beaten to death — I didn’t find the club drugging a diabetic insurance salesman/city council member with laced fudge so they could photograph him having sex with a transgender escort for blackmail purposes tough to watch, at all. Or maybe it was because Sutter and guest star Walton Goggins worked so hard to make Venus Van Dam a three-dimensional character with a clever mind as well as phenomenal breasts. Read our interview with Goggins for the story behind the guest spot.

I don’t know that any comedy this season has made me laugh as hard as the moment Justified‘s Walton Goggins made his surprise entrance as Venus Van Dam, a nod to his character Shane Vendrell’s alias Cletus Van Damme on The Shield. FX was right to keep it a secret: It was just pure joy seeing Goggins reunite with Sutter in a way you never could have imagined — wearing a color block dress that showed off a pair of hypnotically realistic breasts. “Is he dead? ‘Cause I don’t do dead,” Vera said in her Southern accent. I wonder if Charlie Hunnam couldn’t keep a straight face, and that’s why they had to shoot from behind him as Jax and Vera talked about the need for discretion. I liked seeing Jax smile — it was real. Just like Bobby’s laugh after he heard Vera tell Jax, “My lips are sealed. Although I might open them up a little bit for you,” sounded genuine. All the reactions were screengrab-worthy, but the look of love on Tig’s face was the best. He was clearly aroused as Jax (“Reach around and tickle his balls… oh, that’s fantastic”), Bobby, and master photographer Juice directed the shoot that had Venus, now wearing an assless black latex catsuit and stilettos, mounted on poor Allen Biancone. The club, which had unanimously voted to follow Jax into business with Nero, needs Biancone to vote in favor of Mayor Hale keeping the land rights for Charming Heights, so a grateful Hale will let them lease his building that Jax has decided is perfect for the companion business. “How ’bout, like, an air traffic controlman?” Venus suggested, before motioning her short tassel whips and yelling “Whoo!” (Goggins, by the way, suggested I call them purgatory sticks.) I would quote more, but this site is not TV-MA.

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Image Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX

Tell me you didn’t rewind when Venus nervously flapped her hands after Chucky announced someone else was headed toward the door. “Charming community theater, baby,” Venus answered when the unexpected visitor, Allen’s stepson Devin Price (True Blood‘s Marshall Allman), asked what they were doing to Allen. Devin figured it out pretty quickly and wanted to take photos so he could blackmail Allen, too. Instead, Venus offered to service Devin in exchange for his silence — and, of course, another two grand from Jax after she photographed Devin to give the club some insurance. “Are you jealous, Tiger?” Venus asked Tig. “Kinda,” Tig admitted. “I know you are,” she said. Rewinding again! It’s when Venus sauntered into the back room after Devin that you really got to appreciate Goggins’ ability to walk in those shoes (and also the look on Mark Boone Junior’s face as Bobby stared at Kim Coates’ Tig). Being sufficiently satisfied (and threatened with his Facebook page blowing up with those photos), Devin made his exit after the club laughed off his interest in hanging out. Venus followed. “Whenever y’all need a little Venus love, give me a call. I’m the belle who does not tell,” she said, then kissed Jax. That didn’t look scripted, and Goggins confirmed it wasn’t. Please let him get an Emmy nomination for this.

NEXT: Tig gets bit in the ass


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