Welcome back you sons of bitches! Hope everyone managed to pull themselves back together after what was one of the most brutal season endings to a show I’ve seen in recent memory. Although I must admit, after this episode and what I’m sure is to follow in our last and final installment, I have a feeling that last season’s finale won’t even be the most gut-wrenching episode of the whole series. But enough about the trip down memory lane, we’ve got some friends to catch up with!
Our story begins, as it often does, with a musical montage to get everyone up to speed. We’ve got Jax playing prison dentist, Gemma with “her babies,” Juice doing naked push ups(!), Lyla’s new girly, non-torture porn studio, Wendy peacing out of rehab, and Unser seeming to be the only one that currently knows where Tara’s barely marked grave is. Oh yeah, and our boys are now riding with the Grim Bastards, because hey, new alliances are just what this crew needs.
Back in county, Jax meets with Aryan Brotherhood #3 Ron Tully (a makeup-less and, let’s be honest, kind of pudgy Marilyn Manson) bearing gifts of teeth and wants of favors. He wants to clear the air, and make sure that when “white” comes back into power in Stockton, they’ll remember to “reach out to the darkest hand in the yard.” Such a way with words that Kurt Sutter has. You’re barely even aware that they’re being totally and completely racist! Tully agrees they’re g2g but he’ll probably want a favor or two in the future, which I’m sure will be something harmless like, say, Jax hosting a bake sale for the AB? Or maybe a charity car wash?
DA Patterson and Gemma both visit Jax, where Gemma ever so subtly inquires if they have any leads on who killed Tara. Of course, no one has anything, because apparently an unhinged grandmother and a previously suicidal SAMCRO member somehow have the skills to cover up the brutal killing of two people. Who says criminals are dumb! After some pleasantries about Jax needing his mommy, Patterson is off to find out if Jax will spill the beans about what he knows about Tara’s death. He doesn’t, so instead she tells him of her great loss and how, while she knew she could never get the revenge she wanted, she sure knows that in his world, it’s a very likely outcome. Which he can now enact! Because they’re letting him go due to lack of evidence – prison can be a limited environment when it comes to making up plot lines! – but not before Patterson reminds him that any more violence will destroy what’s left of his family.
Back on the outside, Wendy comes home to find her new tenant, Juice. Despite her few attempts to kick him out, he pleads that he can’t leave just yet, as he’s hiding from the club. Also, Jax wants to kill him. Naturally, Wendy is thrilled to hear that she’s harboring a fugitive because of her spotless record with the club. She decides he can stay til’ evening, but then he’s gotta GTFO since he’s clearly a liability.
Jax and Gemma play catch up in the car where she again brings up that they have no suspects in the case. We get it Gemma, they don’t know it’s you, but they will soon enough. Jax starts to get all reflective about what a great help Gemma has been with the boys, especially now that Tara’s gone. He knows how hard it must be for her to have all of this thrown at her. Oh, how little you know, Dear Jackson. Gemma, in her sociopathic frame of mind, manages to sit there with a straight face and be the support he needs. Even if she’s the one that caused him to need that support in the first place. I cannot wait to see how it goes when he finds out that Gemma actually killed Tara. It’ll be something that no one will forget.
The Sons and the Grim Bastards pay a visit to some gang bangers to recoup some info about a hit and run that took out some of the Grim Bastards. After some insults are thrown back and forth, Chibbs decides it’s time to speed up the process of getting what they need. Jax is now out of prison so they have some more important things to attend to! After a knee shot to one of the other members, it’s decided that they’ll drag the info out if they have to. Which they do, by chaining the dude in the wheelchair to the back of Bobby’s bike and letting the two of them have a lovely stroll down the street.
Over at the sweet shoppe, Gemma runs into Wendy, who just wants to talk to Jax about helping the kids. Hell, she doesn’t even care if Abel knows she’s his mom! She might be a junkie, but she sure is the purest one on this show. But also, she knows that since Gemma is helping Juice out, it would probably benefit Gemma to go along with Wendy’s ideas. Juice still needs a place to stay, so it works out that Wendy can just move in with Gemma and the kids for the time being.
After some lengthy bro hugs and a few Bobby tears, SAMCRO sits down to its first table meeting of the season. The Italians are settled (thanks to Happy doing… something. Something that earned him another happy face tattoo on his chiseled abs…). The Grim Bastards are in line, Redwoody is open for business, and everything seems to be going according to plan. With all of that out of the way, Jax starts what seems to be a bit of a therapy session. The short of the long of it, Jax realizes, is that all his time spent trying to get out of the illegal side, it’s only screwed things up and made him selfish. So now: NO APOLOGIES. No one is going to hold him down! He’s already lost Tara, he sure ain’t gonna lose the club now. The club supports their new sadistic and soulless leader. They’re all in.
Back at Casa de Wendy y Juice, Gemma warns Juice that Jax is out of the pokey and it’s time for him to get his ass in gear. He just needs a few more days to figure things out. Even though he’s already had a week. Juice wonders how Gemma can keep it together when talking to Jax, and out comes what is some of the most delusional and best rationalization for something I think I have ever heard. She’s not a psycopath, she had to go off what she knew and she was just protecting the boys and the club! She’s the only thread holding the family together! How fucking noble of her. Lying to Jax is the best way to keep things under control, because we all know how secrets turn out in this town. It’s ok though, thanks to Juice, she’s got a truth she can work with.
Nero, deciding to play the dove with an olive branch, goes to try to smooth things over with Jax. He wants to make sure that Jax knows that neither Alvarez or Lin (or brown and yellow, as color categories are apparently a requirement in this show) had anything to do with Tara’s death. Which he believes, for now. But onto more important subjects, like guns. Jax decides they shouldn’t wait to have a meeting of the minds to help assuage any fears that “brown and yellow” might have. Nero, being the good hearted street tough he is, reminds the guys that they can work this out, and that they just have to be smarter than a loaded gun. They work out specifics, and Jax invites them to a soiree at Redwoody to show good faith. And hey, it’s a family party (at a porn studio!) so they won’t have to worry about being shot to death.
Thanks to the tip they dragged out of the gang banger, the Sons and the Grim Bastards head out to the location of the Impala that took out their members. In broad daylight, in a large parking lot, the guys head up to the apt with guns drawn like this is the wild wild west. Welcome to 2014. Although they don’t find the gang bangers they were looking for, they do manage to shoot and kill 3 assistant pastors and one actual pastor from a local church who were moonlighting as amateur porn stars. I’m sure this church will be important later, so it’s worth mentioning, even though at the moment this all seems super random. Of course, the episode wouldn’t be complete without Jax going stone cold on the still-alive pastor by putting two more bullets in is brain.
Wendy returns to her apartment with snacks and such for Juice, to let him know he can stay there until he works out his escape plan. Unser comes to get Wendy, but since he’s a retired sheriff he knows a weird scene when he sees one. A bag of groceries with a full fridge? The rearranged furniture? The SAMCRO bag in the closet? Of course he won’t say anything now, but he does return to investigate, which gets him a gun to the back of the head and a ball gag in the tub. Some things are just better left untouched, but if anyone in this world adhered to that statement, this would be a very different show.
At the party, Jax introduces Lin and Alvarez to Connor to talk gun side deals. Meanwhile, Gemma sets her sights on her mark, who happens to be one of Lin’s cronies. He’s got no family, and didn’t even expect to live this long, so I’m sure no one will miss him. Jax calls in his favor to the Grim Bastards which is kidnapping the mark and taking him to a specific location. Of course they want to know what this is about, so Gemma, being the most manipulative person in existence, spins a web of lies and says she saw his face driving away from the home where Tara was killed. She got a real good look at him, apparently, which satisfies everyone.
As if anyone wasn’t aware of how cray cray Gemma has become, it’s reinforced by her “conversation” with Tara. Yes, that’s right. She’s fully talking to herself, people. The good news? She believes Wendy. She trusts her – I mean, as much as someone with a dissociative personality disorder can trust another person – and doesn’t think Wendy is trying to take anyone’s spot in their little fucked up family masquerading as a motorcycle club. What follows of course, is the realization that they (Gemma and “Tara”) are in Jax’s house, with Mr. Muscly Arms all tied up and ready to go (in what looks like a scene taken straight out of Dexter).
Who knew Jax had it in him to go so SO dark?! It’s like he’s been waiting his whole life to let this side out. The way he savors every moment, it looks like he’s working on an art piece he’s been wanting to finish for years. Which apparently, according to Kurt Sutter, was Charlie’s idea. I guess when you spend six years playing someone slowly circling down the drain of sanity, you start to think that way, too. This is the second time we’ve seen BBQ forks… you know. I’ll never be able to look at them the same way again.
Our fucked up little tale ends with Gemma crying to Nero despite him having no idea why. A lot of people assume she’ll spill the proverbial beans to Nero about Tara. It’s possible, but she’s just so good at being bad, I find it hard to believe she’ll let it out. Although she’s cracking pretty hard right about now. Maybe “Tara” will convince her to finally come clean. Or maybe (and more likely), she’ll just do what she always does and spins it on someone else.
Well we’re only one episode in and we’ve already reached a level I wasn’t sure could get there that quickly. But it did. And here we are. I don’t have many predictions for this season so far, except to say that I’m pretty sure they had to up their fake blood budget significantly. Also, a lot of people will probably die.