Sons of Anarchy recap: 'Huang Wu'
Tara's plan unravels spectacularly as Jax deals with the Italians, the Irish, and the Chinese on the eve of Clay's transport
What I love about Sons of Anarchy: You can have a conversation between Tara and Gemma that is equally as thrilling as the gun show Galen put on for the Italians. And just the idea of two characters possibly sharing their final scene together — have we seen the last moment between Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman? — is enough to make you tear up. Let’s roll.
Tara woke up in a panic because she heard a noise in the house. Those of us who remember the season 2 finale when Abel was kidnapped had to wonder if Kurt Sutter would go there again. But it was Jax who was holding Thomas in Abel’s bedroom. “You should let him sleep,” Jax told Tara. He walked to the kitchen and handed her the baby. He’d packed a bag. “There’ll be someone watching you. Don’t try to take them anywhere,” he said. He was going to put some distance between them before someone got hurt.
Cue the opening montage with Katey Sagal singing Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer” (which is on her new album, Covered). Gemma was at T-M for the grand re-opening. Bravo for the sign poking fun at the recent explosion: “Our prices (kaboom!) are da bomb!” Nero was helping Colette with paperwork, which meant the DA was playing nicely again thanks to Jax’s deal to deliver her Galen. New transfer West tailed Tara at the hospital. Clay and his straitjacket got escorted out of the padded cell. Wendy got up from her couch, with track marks on her arm, and puked in the kitchen sink. Galen arrived in town. Jax made a stop to look at the school where the shooting took place. Tara went into her office and saw the blood on the carpet from her faked miscarriage. She began to break down and steeled herself as the song said, “Don’t let the uncertainty turn you around/ Go on and make a joyful sound/ Into a dancer you have grown/ From a seed somebody else has thrown…” But then she broke down hard. Jax went inside the school’s church and sat down. Two teen boys came running up the aisle, laughing and presumably eating wafers. One was blond and looked like what the young shooter might’ve looked like at that age. The other was darker-haired and taller. I assume we all thought of Jax and Opie, as well.
At the jail, Clay looked at his facial wounds from the beating he took for biting off a guard’s nose to get thrown into the psych ward. The resident librarian/Irish go-between asked Clay how he ended up back in gen pop: He had to meet with his lawyer because his trial’s been moved up. They transport him to County tomorrow. Clay said he’d see Gemma to get his personal stuff in order, but he needs Galen to know they have to bust him out tomorrow. A guilty verdict could send Clay anywhere.
Tara was at her office to look over new lawyer resumes. She told Margaret how Jax had scared Lowen into telling him everything. Margaret explained how Gemma had played her for information. She admitted she’d been afraid to go home last night. She’s taking three weeks vacation and visiting her sister in Sedona, she said. Translation: Tara is alone.
NEXT: “Pleasure.” “That’s what I hear.”
Jax arrived at Diosa and Colette told him they were officially partners. Noticing the bruises on Jax’s face, too, she told him and Nero no more fighting. Jax wants to crash there for a few days, so she started to walk him upstairs to put his bag in her room. I imagine they would’ve stayed there for 15 minutes but Gemma and the guys arrived. She has a Clay problem; Chibs had an Irish problem. Gemma and Colette introduced themselves to each other. “Pleasure,” Colette said. “That’s what I hear,” Gemma cracked. That will be fun!
Gemma explained about Clay requesting a sitdown and Chibs said Galen was insisting Jax meet him at the Nor-U Beverage Distributors warehouse in 20 minutes. Before they could leave though, Jax told Gemma, Nero, and the guys everything Lowen had confessed about Tara. He apologized to Gemma and Nero. Bobby suggested perhaps a familiar face should watch Tara instead of West, and Juice volunteered. The club left, and the tender farewell between Jax and Colette let Gemma know Jax was “dipping into that.” Nero said Jax was working out his mommy issues. He and Gemma kissed as she playfully offered to spank his ass. So they’re good after she confessed her role in JT’s death. Good.
Galen was on the phone when Jax and the guys walked in. He told someone to consider it “handled.” I assume that was Clay-related, but with the Irish, you never know. All the customers were locked down to stay with the Irish and Clay but the Italians, SAMCRO’s biggest customer. The Italian leader, Jimmy, wanted to take meetings with both SAMCRO and the Chinese. Galen insisted Jax take Connor to the meet, as a show of respect. Galen told Jax about Clay’s trial and transport being moved. OF COURSE, this would involve the club: Galen can’t get a crew from Belfast to the States in time. He’s going to need at least six men from Jax. Tig said Galen is a lunatic, but he’s smart — the Irish won’t put themselves at risk. And that’s the problem, Jax and Chibs agreed: The Irish would rather die than get caught. If this goes sideways, their escape will get bloody. “We’re so damn close,” Jax said. He doesn’t want their last push out of guns to yield a pile of dead cops. They had to take a vote.
Okay, has Happy always had that large kickass Reaper ring and I’m just noticing it now that it got a close-up when he was making a call on his cell, or is it new? IT’S AWESOME. I WANT ONE. The guys all voted yes, Happy said. They’ll help the Irish.
Juice followed Tara to Wendy’s place and waited outside. Tara saw the drug paraphernalia, and Wendy said she was trying to get herself into sober living or rehab — which was true. It doesn’t matter now if Wendy is clean or not, though, because Jax will get the restraining order against Gemma tossed and Gemma will get custody of the boys if Tara goes to jail. Wendy said she wasn’t ready to be a mother if she’d been willing to help Tara do what was wrong. Tara said Wendy wasn’t ready to be a mother because she’s a coward — everything Tara did was right. Wendy suggested that Tara explain the pain she’s been in to Gemma and Jax and stop the lying. Tara doesn’t want to beg. She’s not afraid of them, she said. But I was getting a little scared of her. And I was right to be. Tara got in her vehicle to leave, and once she heard Juice start his engine, she backed into his bike and totaled it. “Crazy bitch,” he said.
NEXT: Galen makes a statement
Connor wasn’t the only Irishman who went to SAMCRO’s meet with Jimmy. Galen popped out of the car, too. The gun and pony show went according to plan until Henry Lin and his uncle arrived for their turn. Galen decided to show Jimmy how well his guns work on flesh. (SAMCRO pulled a similar move in the season 4 premiere, you’ll recall.) He killed one of Henry’s men and shot Henry in the arm. Jimmy was pissed, but Galen made it up to him financially. Instead of paying a 20 percent markup, it would be 10 percent for two years and then jump to 12 percent. Galen was satisfied. Jimmy was fine, actually — he was never gonna go with Lin anyway. Jax, however, was angry: If Lin wouldn’t believe SAMCRO didn’t know about that set-up, things would blow up in Oakland. Just another day for Jax! Connor said he hadn’t known Galen would be sending that message to Lin either. Is Galen going the way of Jimmy O’Phelan? Will the Irish turn on him?
Wendy had called and updated Unser on Tara unraveling. Since Gemma had to go see Clay, Unser offered to check in on Wendy. Nero said he’d go with him and talk junkie-to-junkie with her. Unser wasn’t thrilled about Nero driving and getting in touch with his inner “cholo.” “I had that removed with my spleen. It’s a little cancer joke,” he said. “Just a little heads-up,” Gemma told Nero. “He’s kinda in love with me. Have fun.” She made sure her gun was loaded before she drove off. And as if to warn us of the confrontation to come, Tara got her gun out.
Gemma let herself in at Tara’s house, claiming she was there to pick up some of the boys’ things in case they needed to spend time at Grandma’s. I’ve said it before with this show: I love when heated conversations are had calmly. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. The intensity simmers. Things could ignite at any moment. You appreciate FX allowing episodes to run long so the actors have the chance to let these moments breathe.
The reason Gemma hates what Tara’s done so much is because it’s something she would have done, Tara said — pushing the envelope to protect her family. Faking the death of a baby isn’t something she’d do, Gemma insisted. She pointed out that Tara is all alone now, bridges burning. Tara said she doesn’t need friends; she has her family. Gemma asked what we’ve been wondering: How did Tara think this was gonna work out, best-case scenario? Did she really think Jax would let her or Wendy take the kids to Oregon or wherever? Gemma said she knew Jax better than Tara: “My son loves deep, hates deeper. It’s in our genes,” she said, echoing what Venus Van Dam had told Jax about her family. “Betrayal is unforgivable. What you did, what you were planning to do — there’s no coming back from that. All you can do now is tell him you’re sorry and go away.”
“I’ll never do that. Not without my sons,” Tara responded.
And then Gemma said the following, not viciously but with whatever tiny bit of love she had left for Tara and as though it was the inevitable, acceptable conclusion: “You need to hear this, Tara. And understand it on every level. Thomas and Abel will not be raised by you. What you do now will determine how we deliver that message: Mommy moved away… or mommy passed away. Your call.” I’d say that’s one of Katey Sagal’s five best scenes of the series. When Gemma left, Tara grabbed a pillar to steady herself before she sat down. So wonderful, the fear, isolation, and desperation Maggie Siff can convey through her eyes.
NEXT: Jax makes some promises
Chibs couldn’t reach Lin or his uncle, so Jax turned his attention to dealing with the Clay mess. Chibs asked Bobby how he thinks this will play out. “I don’t know, man. It’s hard to unplug when everybody depends on you for the power,” he said. Jax phoned the DA and told her he’d give her Galen within the next 48 hours. She had the club’s immunity deal drawn up and Tara’s plea (community service and fines but no jail time). He said she’d need a lot of firepower to take down Galen and that he’d tell her where to send the men tomorrow. So he’s going to send them away from the transport?
Where did Jax want to go on the eve of all hell breaking loose? Colette’s. (Loved Chibs’ smile upon hearing that.) Sex for everyone, I thought excitedly. But wait, Uncle Lin was tailing them.
The ride to Wendy’s could not have been more awkward as Nero tried to make conversation and Unser gave him one word answers. Was that the cancer eating away at the portion of his brain that can hold a conversation? “No, it’s eating away at my patience for people I don’t give a s— about,” Unser said. Damn! Nero said he usually gives people who talk to him like that a beatdown, but Unser assumed he was getting a pass because of his illness. No. Nero’s been dead twice from ODs, opened up three times because of his heart, and has a son with Spina Bifida who probably won’t live to see 15 — Unser’s cancer means s— to him. Nero’s trying to make an effort because Gemma loves Unser and he knows how hard that is to earn. Now Unser felt like s—. Friends!
Uncle Lin’s crew opened fire on the guys as they rode. Amazingly, no one was hit. Jax eventually had to ride through a gate and fell off his bike. That’s when the standoff happened. Correction: That’s when Lin’s crew quickly surrounded SAMCRO, and SAMCRO put down their weapons and lied on the ground. Jax was able to plead his case: The Irish killed two of his guys and blew up the clubhouse — they can’t control Galen. Uncle Lin knew that. He wasn’t there to kill Jax. Now that SAMCRO is getting out of guns, he wants that business. The only way SAMCRO would walk out of that situation was if Jax shut down the Irish pipeline in Northern California and the Chinese took over. (Would August Marks run Lin’s guns?) One more thing: Lin needed to know the location of Galen and his next drop to even the score. Jax said lucky for him, there’s one tomorrow. Lin took “the crazy looking-one” (that’s Happy) with him to keep everyone honest.
Tara had an unpleasant exchange with Juice at the hospital. He was trying to be decent, but she called him an a–hole. So, when she asked, he gave her the address at Diosa where she’d find Jax meeting with his partner, Colette. I’m feeling bad for Tara, but she deserved that one.
NEXT: The Unser and Nero Show
Unser and Nero smelled smoke when they got to Wendy’s place, and Nero kicked down the door (with Unser’s direction on where to strike it — they NEED each other!). They got Wendy outside. It wasn’t the smoke that made her groggy, it was the fresh tracks. Unser told Nero he was glad he was there; Nero told him not to suck up to him now, it’s embarrassing. My new favorite duo!
Gemma met with Clay — not a conjugal, thank God — and he presented a letter of intent saying he was giving her his half of T-M, his bikes, and whatever he has left in the bank. Since he won’t be able to divorce her when he drops out, this will yield a hassle-free transfer for her. She told him she hopes the drop out turns out the way he wants it to and thanked him. “See you on the other side,” he said as she walked away. After six seasons, WAS that their final scene together? She turned to look at him. “Yeah,” she said.
At Colette’s, Jax told Chibs, Tig, and Bobby to unwind. Tomorrow is a big day. Colette led Jax upstairs.
Nero called Gemma, who came to Wendy’s. He showed Gemma the notepad that Wendy had used trying to get herself into rehab. Seeing pictures of Abel in the house, Gemma told Unser to pack Wendy a bag: She’s going to the “if you use again, I’ll rip your tits off” rehab, Gemma said. “I love that place,” Nero joked. When Wendy asked where she was going, Gemma’s response was sweet: “Home, sweetheart.”
Tara showed up at Diosa. Instead of saying she was looking for Jax, she said she was looking for Colette. The escort working the door said Colette was upstairs with a client and Tara could wait until she was done. Tara, of course, went upstairs. She walked in on Colette riding Jax. Tara threw her purse down in anger. “Son of a bitch,” she said, and grabbed Colette by the hair, threw her off the bed, and effin’ bitch-slapped her. “Crazy bitch,” Colette said. (Getting that Ophelia reference, everyone?) Naked Jax pulled Tara off her, and he got bitch-slapped with a “You stupid piece of s—. Get off of me.”
Tig, wearing satin skull and crossbones boxers that should be official SOA merchandise, if they’re not, told Jax to go after Tara while he informed Colette that was “the wife.” Tara had grabbed her purse before she stormed out, so by the time superfast dresser Jax caught up to her, she had it in her hand. She yelled for him to stay away from her. He asked what she was doing with that gun. “Look what you did to me. Oh God. What’s happening to me?” she said, shell-shocked. She walked to her car and shouted, “What happened to me?” Did you guess then that Tara would go to the DA, who’d been trying to make Tara blame Jax and see she wasn’t the one who deserved to be in jail? It’s funny: To get that upset about Colette, Tara must still love Jax, and love is the reason she said she’d never turn on him. And yet, that was the straw. Jax had turned her into something she never wanted to be — the woman she’d become, and a potential rat.
Cue the end montage: Jax picked up the boys at daycare. Tara sat alone in her car and traded her gun — had she been thinking suicide, murder, or just holding it to feel safe? — for a phone to call the DA. Wendy got tucked into a child’s twin bed as mother Gemma stroked her face. Unser offered Nero a hit of weed, which Nero declined, at Gemma’s table. They sat together and drank their tea and coffee. Sweet. Clay was in his bed, probably wondering if his life was about to end or just his life in Charming. Jax tucked in Abel and kissed him goodnight. Then he sat on his marital bed as the singer sang, “Oh darlin’, darlin’, what have I done/ I’ve been astray from you too long/ And all my days have turned to darkness/hell is leavin’ the light on.” Chibs looked at Colette’s bruise. (Could he like her?) Happy ate Chinese takeout and watched anime or something with Lin’s crew. Ha. Jax went to work on his father’s damaged bike, perhaps in honor of being a day away from doing what his dad never could — get them out of guns. Having the baby monitor nearby was a nice, realistic touch.
Tara went to the DA asked to take the deal she’d previously been offered. Witness protection is the only way she can keep her boys away from Jax and Gemma. But the DA kindly told her the deal is off the table. Why didn’t she just tell Tara that no jail time for her was part of Jax’s pending deal? It might have made Tara feel slightly better. The DA said she could help if Tara feared for the safety of herself and the boys. “No, you can’t. Nobody can help me,” she said, leaving and teetering on catatonic.
What’s Tara’s next move? What will Jax do with the Irish and the Chinese? Go!
Sons of Anarchy
Kurt Sutter’s original series, starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal.