By Mandi Bierly
Updated October 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
Prashant Gupta/FX

Sons of Anarchy

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SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t watched this week’s Sons of Anarchy, stop reading now. The levity of Walton Goggins’ Venus Van Dam cameo was nowhere to be found. Unless, of course, you count setting a murder to a glitter globe version of “It’s a Small World.” Was that more, less, or equally as brilliantly twisted as setting multiple homicides to “What a Wonderful World” in the season 4 premiere? Shall we call it a tie? Let’s break it down.

• You can hate Clay again: A lot of people wanted to see Clay dead at the end of season 4. I, for one, am happy he’s still around, especially now that his ride to crazytown has resumed. He’s the one behind the home invasions. Looking back at last week’s episode — when two of those three new SAMCRO members we know saved Clay’s personal papers after they hit his house adamantly agreed with Clay that the town blamed the club — we should have guessed. Still, I didn’t, until Clay ripped off the oxygen tank he no longer needs, punched Greg the Peg, and yelled, “Idiots, you weren’t supposed to kill her!” Pope is so calculating, Nero thinks about son’s future before he acts, Jax is levelheaded (most of the time), and Tig is back on the leash. We need a loose cannon. But why was Clay firing this time? Was does bringing heat on the club get him? Does he want to turn the town against the club, so the club turns on Jax? Did he know the vote was coming up on Hale’s Charming Heights deal and wanted to give the town council another reason to revert the land to agriculture, and Hale trouble if he retained the property (who’s going to invest in luxury homes when there are home invasions)? All the above? It’s him hiding the fact that he’s recovering well that worries me. Why does he want everyone to think he’s weak?

Pope, hurt that Jax still thinks he’s behind the home invasions, told Jax to look inside. “These attacks — friends, family, now cops — all that blowback lands in your lap. Somebody’s trying to compromise you,” he said. I’m starting to love Deep Thoughts With Damon Pope. Pope told Jax if he dies, the first independent security contractor to kill his killer gets $5 million. “Fear protects me, greed insures it,” he said. Jax reminded Pope he doesn’t have that kind of money. It’s not the money, you need, it’s just the ability to see the inevitable, Pope said.

• Roosevelt’s revenge: Unser sat with Roosevelt, who’s on mandatory leave for 10 days, at the hospital. They’re waiting for DNA results from the skin under Rita’s fingernails. Eli assumed it was the East Dub crew hitting him back for bringing their guys in. Unser said Damon Pope was too smart to sign off on attacking a sheriff’s wife. Then it’s the same crew doing the home invasions, and it’s still somehow tied to the MC, Roosevelt reasoned. After shedding some beautiful tears over Rita’s death, Eli was next seen when he ran Bobby off the road. Jax had to break up the fist fight that ensued between Eli, Chibs, and Bobby. “That was some outlaw s—, man,” Jax told Eli when the dust settled. “I’m sorry about your wife.” Jax literally borrowed a line from Pope and told Eli that no one wants the attacks to end more than him because if SAMCRO takes the heat, it all lands in his lap. “You reap what you sow. I’m gonna crush your club,” Eli told him. Rockmond Dunbar played that perfectly. There was no bravado; Eli is a broken man at the moment, so it was soft. Jax told him he’d just spoken to Pope, who assured him he wasn’t behind it, so the club isn’t to blame. He wants to work with Eli to find out who is. Eli isn’t ready to play nice, but I think he could be soon. Jax is a convincing man. Thinking back to Eli apologizing to Juice last season, I have to believe Eli respects the way Jax handled himself in that conversation. I’m just glad Tig wasn’t there. Anyone else worried that Eli will see the scratches on Tig’s neck from the Sergeant’s wife and think he killed Rita?

• Jax’s revenge: When Pope couldn’t provide intel on the home invasions, he had his righthand man give Jax another name and address to buy some good will — that of the Sergeant who helped orchestrate Opie’s death. Jax, Chibs, and Bobby were told he had no children and his wife worked until 6 p.m., so when Tig got there, they went in. “Remember me? I keep my promises,” Jax told him. Just then, we heard a shotgun lock and load — his wife must have been home sick. Tig and Bobby subdued her and Jax and Chibs chased after the Sergeant, who’d bolted. Chivalrous, a–hole. The brought him back in the house, and sat him on his knees, bound and gagged. His wife was bound, gagged, and sitting in a char. “This one’s a problem,” Bobby said. “No she’s not,” Tig added, and he shot her in the head. Bobby and Chibs seem shocked, but I think Jax knew it had to be done. He nodded to Tig, who is, unfortunately, used to killing women who weren’t supposed to die. “She’s collateral damage,” Jax said. “Ope’s murder.” What about the Sergeant? “Find a pipe,” Jax said.

Tig couldn’t find a pipe, but he came back with that glitter globe that I assume isn’t an official Disneyland one (though wouldn’t that be awesome). They took the gag off and the Sergeant asked if they knew what would happen the next time they did time if anyone figure out they were behind this. “You wager how long it takes to kill one of us,” Jax cracked. The Sergeant tried to say he was just following orders. Not buying it. Jax wanted to hear how sorry he was. The Sergeant broke down and apologized repeatedly and said he’d do whatever they want, help whoever inside. “I’m still not feeling it,” Jax said. He was as nonchalant as the Sergeant had been when he wanted Jax to decide which of his friends to kill. Jax just wanted him to suffer knowing it was coming. “Are you doing this?” Bobby asked. “I got this,” Jax said, looking at Chibs, who’d know those were Opie’s last words. I teared up.

Jax wound up the globe, and he, Chibs, and Tig started circling the Sergeant as “It’s a Small World” played. Just waiting. Jax struck him with it hard on the back of the head. And he hit him another eight times, until Chibs finally stopped him. Jax sat down at the table and the globe was bloody. Chibs was going to bury the bodies. Let’s hope Bobby reminding him there are hikers in the woods isn’t foreshadowing. Sweet moment between Chibs and Tig.

Chibs: [Puts his arm around Tig] Hey, you okay?

Tig: Yeah. I am. That was really good for me. [Chibs kisses him on the cheek, gives a slight eyeroll]

NEXT: Goodbye, Carla! Hello, Joel McHale!

• Carla checks out: Wow. I never could have scripted Carla’s demise. She let herself into Gemma’s kitchen and made her walk, at gunpoint, to her bedroom. Unser was cruising by to check on how Gemma was handling the Rita news when Nero arrived, so jealous Unser didn’t stop — or answer Gemma’s call later when this all went to hell. Carla put a gun to Gemma’s head and demanded her “sweet brother” Nero get in bed naked with Gemma. I appreciate that Carla not only took Nero’s gun, but she also removed the magazine — very smart. She wanted Gemma to perform oral sex on Nero. Gemma went under the covers but couldn’t do it. When she started crying, Nero said he wasn’t doing this and got up. He told Carla to shoot him. Repeatedly. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to go out watching you do your thing,” she said. Then she shot herself in the head and dropped to the floor. She was Nero’s half-sister, who helped him turn legit. And she was in love with him. Seeing him with Gemma stirred everything up and she stopped taking her meds. Obviously. Gemma told him she’d take care of it, off the books. Unser was over examining the Rita crime scene and didn’t pick up. “Hope you’re happy, bitch,” Gemma said to Carla’s sheet-covered body. Again, Katey Sagal has the best delivery. Gemma had to call Clay. She didn’t tell him how it went down, just that she doesn’t want the club (meaning: Jax and Tara) to know about it. Clay said he trusted Juice to help him clean it up while she visited the boys at daycare. Clay asked if he could stop by to check in on her later. “I could do a sweep for crazy bitches,” he said. “Yeah, you can come by,” she said. I guess if you ask a guy to get rid of a dead body, you can’t say no.

Clay was there alone when Nero stopped by later to check on Gemma. All in all, this conversation was surprisingly civil. Clay told him he’d get him Carla’s ashes. He asked if this thing between Nero and Gemma was going anywhere. Nero said he honestly didn’t know.

• Pope’s new deal: You’ve gotta love watching Pope try to flatter Jax.

Pope: You’re an impressive young man.

Jax: Yeah, I get that a lot.

But I do think Pope recognizes that Jax is smart, and his new proposal seems solid: If SAMCRO doubles its muling haulback to 60 kilos, he can move half of that in a day in Reno and Vegas. He’d have the Niners distribute. No bigger risk for the club — it’s the same trafficking charge. Pope will pay them another $100,000 on top of what the cartel gives them — and he won’t take a bite out of SAMCRO’s cut at all. He’ll also kickback 2 percent of his profits on the 30 kilos to Jax personally. Jax told him the club wants to get out of drugs. Pope said he’d arrange a sitdown with the Mayans, Lin, and Niners. It SAMCRO wanted in, Jax takes the meeting. If he doesn’t, they go back to the original agreement, with Pope taking half the club’s cartel payday. Fair enough. Jax asked him why he risks the drug trade when he makes millions with his legitimate businesses. Pope said because narcotics is the most reliable business and he’s learned how to do it the right way with the right people, so there is no risk. Jax took it to a vote, and though Juice, Clay, and Clay’s three-man posse voted no, the new arrangement passed 6-5. Good thing Jax had Tig’s guaranteed vote. The gang summit happened, and it’s all good. (Love the new Niner guy’s attitude: “Like I got a choice, man.”)

• Tara steps up: Jax promised the club the drug trade is still short-term, but to make that happen, Romeo can’t have the RICO case to hold over them. As we suspected, Tara did volunteer at the prison infirmary so she could get to Otto. She tried to tell him the club didn’t betray him — what Bobby told him was the truth. Otto didn’t want to hear it. “I’m dead soon, doc. Just leave me alone.” She told him Bobby got out and the Feds have stalled the RICO case. Since the Feds need him alive, his execution stalls with the case, too. It could be years. She said Jax knows he’s angry but he needs him to reverse his testimony because it will kill SAMCRO. In exchange, they’ll try to make anything he needs happen. “And they’re gonna do that through you?” he asked. “Yes,” she said. I assumed that meant she’d help him with an assisted suicide.

Otto: Get on your knees.

Tara: What?

Otto: Well, you said anything I want, so, get on your knees.

Tara: I’m not gonna do that.

Otto: Me either. No more visits, doc. Do not make me do something horrible.

Anyone else worried about Tara and Jax starting to keep secrets from one another? First, she didn’t tell him what happened with Carla, now she lied and said she hadn’t seen Otto. Jax told her she didn’t have to do this. But she knows she’s the only one who can get to Otto, so she has to. If she wants Jax out of the drug business, she has to make this happen. Jax lied and told her he had a quiet day. I think he felt guilty. He left the room, then came back to ask her to go up to the cabin with him, without the boys, to decompress. Do you think he’s planning to tell her about the Sergeant? Who’s gonna watch the boys? Probably not Gemma…

• Is Gemma spiraling again?: Gemma obviously needed a drink after the day she had. In addition to Carla, she had to deal with Unser, who wanted to know if he and Nero were the same kind of friend to her.

Gemma: I love you, sweetheart. But you gotta trust me, if we hooked up right now it would just ruin us.

Unser: There ain’t no us, Gemma. And you got no friends. You just got people that will do s— for ya. And then you throw the poor suckers a smile and promise to keep ’em comin’ back.

Gemma: Alright. I get it. you’re pissed.

Unser: It ain’t just me. Open your eyes, mother. Everybody knows who you are. Jax and Tara, they ain’t ever gonna let you do to their family what you did to JT and your own boys. You better wrap your head around that fact. ‘Cause you’re gonna die alone, just like me.

Again, I hope that Unser talking about dying alone isn’t foreshadowing. I mean, Clay knows Unser suspects the home invasions are being orchestrated by a local. He wouldn’t kill him, would he? Anyway, Gemma hit a bar, and who saddled up to her but guest star JOEL McHALE. Not that Gemma knows this yet, but he’s playing a con man named Warren.

Warren: Mind if I have a seat?

Gemma: Mind if I don’t give a s—?

Warren: My therapist warned me about this: My insatiable attraction to older, abusive women?

Gemma: Who’s your mommy?

Warren: Exactly. Can I buy you a drink? Mom?

Gemma: Why not?

Oh, Warren. You do not want to mess with Gemma Teller. Good luck, son!

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Sons of Anarchy

Kurt Sutter’s original series, starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal.

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