SAMCRO puts the nail in the crowded coffin of its ties to the Irish

By Mandi Bierly
November 20, 2013 at 05:48 AM EST
Prashant Gupta/FX
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Spoiler alert! Yes, that’s obvious. This is a recap. But with an episode this huge, it’s worth stating: Do not jump the gun and read this before watching the episode if you’re a fan. You’ll miss out on more than one gasp. Kurt Sutter spoke with EW about the biggest shocker — as did Ron Perlman.

Okay, we all suspected it was coming for two seasons, but it was surprising that it finally happened: Clay Morrow is dead, shot by Jax with the unanimous support of the club after Jax also killed Galen, just as that smiling Irish prick was ready to shake his hand. Let’s all say “sweet, holy pussay” in Clay’s honor and remember that glorious old fistfight between Jax and Galen fondly. Then, someone tell me what Tara is going to do now that the DA has offered her a deal if she links the club to Clay’s breakout, which killed an officer. And whether, with two episodes left this season, we think we’re done mourning. And how Jax handles the Chinese now. And what the plot of the final season will be if we’re truly through with the Irish and the gun business. (We’re not, right?) Let’s dig in.

Tara awoke and picked up Thomas. Just the quiet made me nervous. Abel was fine in his room. Jax and Tara’s bed hadn’t been slept in. Rat was there. He agreed to step outside to let Tara feed Thomas, but he told her Jax didn’t want her taking the boys to St. Thomas anymore.

Jax was off meeting with the DA, who showed him the immunity deal for everyone involved with the club and Tara’s deal guaranteeing her no jail time. They were approved but wouldn’t be executed until Jax delivered Galen and the guns. He told her the drop was set for between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at an old maintenance warehouse at the docks, with Galen bringing up to a dozen well-armed men. She wouldn’t tell him if she was using the sheriffs or bringing in Feds. Whether or not that cut down the number of law enforcement in danger, we’d have to wait and see. At least, Jax said, he’d know he tried. I love the train passing by at the end of that scene. I assume it was planned. The day was full steam ahead, about to run off the rails.

Meanwhile, things were calm at Gemma’s house, where Nero was proud of her for playing nurse to Wendy. Before Gemma got her into a rehab, she just wanted a moment to help her more than hurt her. It was nice to see Gemma acknowledge that she’d hurt Wendy in the past, but no, Nero, Gemma can’t see bestowing any of that mercy on Tara. She can’t forgive her yet. I’d gone into this episode thinking Clay would die, but hearing Nero talk about the weight he carries not making things right with his dead junkie wife while she was alive made me think it could be Tara going. (Looking back, that should’ve been another clue it was Clay leaving us.)

To increase the tension, we watched the guys of SAMCRO fall in behind Chibs and Jax on their bikes two at a time. No words on that song, just guitars and drums building to a screech. I did some hyperventilating during the opening credits. You? Afterward, Tara dropped the boys off at T-M so Unser could babysit while she went to meet her new lawyer. Unser said he was sorry for how this all went down. He knows her heart was in the right place. “Unfortunately where my heart is matters very little,” she said. Chucky noted how sad she seemed. Unser told him there was a lot of that going around and it wouldn’t get any better today. Consider yourself warned.

The club rode to the Irish beverage distribution center while Tara met with that attorney. She told him there was nothing more he needed to know. He was prepared to move on the divorce and custody paperwork but cautioned her that when they submitted her transcripts on Jax’s past for the custody fight, he’d be allowed to tell his side of the story. That would become public record, and the DA could use the doubts about her miscarriage to hurt her credibility in her criminal trial. Essentially, Tara was being asked to choose between her boys and her freedom.

NEXT: It’s go time

Connor and one other Irishman, Hugh, were waiting for SAMCRO. Another, Neil, was positioned outside the prison as their eyes on the road. After the takedown, Connor and Hugh would go to the barn and pick up the shipment of guns and bring them to the hangar, where Galen would meet them all. Connor, who’s done this kind of breakout twice before, was confident things would run smoothly. He had maps and everything. He said Clay would be in an iron wagon, with a lead and follow car — six to eight heavily-armed men. They’d be in four different-colored delivery trucks, two men in each. They’d park and wait. Since trucks come and go, it’d look like business as usual. When they’d get the call, they’d make their move. Cue the montage: The guys suited up and tested their guns while Clay took his walk to the transport vehicle. I was wondering if someone would make a comment about getting stuck with the pink delivery truck. Of course, Tig did. “Why are we pink?” he asked Bobby. “Come on, Tiggy, you love pink,” he answered. This is true, Tiggy. When I saw Juice paired with Jax, I said, “Whoa” out loud. Juice has a death wish. Would he sacrifice himself for Jax? At the docks, Roosevelt identified other SAMCRO members serving as decoys, so the DA determined Jax’s tip was real. Forty sheriffs were waiting. NERVES!!!

Gemma arrived at T-M and told Unser she might take the boys to see Wendy. Abel would find out who his mother is soon enough, as would Thomas. Unser asked Gemma what happens if Tara gets off, and Gemma said it’s Jax’s call whether Tara remains their mother or she steps in to raise the boys. There’s a difference between being a grandmother and a mother, and bottom line, Unser doesn’t want to see the boys in this life. So why does he continue to help Gemma? BECAUSE HE’S IN LOVE WITH HER. Unser actually said the words to her! I gasped. Now, I was worried he was  going to die. But hold up, Juice is also being set up to possibly check out, I thought: As they waited for Connor’s call, he assured Jax he wasn’t having a breakdown, he was just thinking he’d like to feel like one of the good guys again. There were no tears in his eyes, but Theo Rossi’s soft, lost voice was almost as affecting. Jax told Juice he could still feel that way. Then he got the call saying Clay had only one chaser. Game on. “After this, brother, it’s all white hats and tight pussy,” Jax said. “Yeah,” Juice responded, unconvinced. Just when I was sad that Juice wasn’t lighthearted enough to make a Scandal reference, Tiggy broke out a Top Gun one: “I suddenly feel the need for speed,” he told Bobby before he crashed into the follow vehicle. When the guy driving Clay asked what he should do, Clay calmly cracked, “Want my advice?” Backup had been called, but for now, all they could do was follow protocol and drive.

The transport was surrounded. Jax asked them to let Clay out. Clay told his keepers his masked friends were “angels sent by the God of justice.” They thought they were safe because the vehicle was secure as a tank… until Jax shot through the glass. Clay was surprised when Jax opened the door and showed him his face. Across town, the SAMCRO members left the alleged drop empty-handed just as word came through to the cops about Clay’s transport being overrun. As Clay’s angels tried to bolt the scene, one of the cops grabbed a gun and fired two shots that hit Bobby — one in the vest, one in the shoulder. That guy was absolutely flattened by a fleeing truck. I hadn’t realized it was Juice driving until he apologized to Jax, saying he had to do it or that cop would’ve kept on shooting. Jax understood and told him to head to the airstrip.

Tara arrived at Gemma’s, where Abel was helping to make macaroni and cheese for lunch for his grandma, Nero, Unser, and Wendy. Nero explained that they were looking after Wendy until they could get her into rehab the following week. He said it might be good to have a doctor look at her. They should find one, Tara said. She doesn’t have a license to practice. It didn’t matter to Gemma — Jax had called and told her Bobby was shot. They were just going to pretend nothing happened and she was mob doctor again? If it meant saving Bobby, yes, Gemma said. Unser would stay with the boys and Wendy while the other adults went to fetch Tara’s bag. Don’t let Unser die when he’s with the boys!

NEXT: Clay’s time is up

Roosevelt updated the DA on the situation and she told him not to round up the MC until she reevaluated her options. At the hangar, Clay walked over to Juice and hugged him. He kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for today. We know what sometimes happens when a guy gets kissed on the cheek on this show — they die. I was still worried about Juice, who didn’t follow the others in to the office to meet with Galen. BUT JUICE WAS JUST A DISTRACTION. After Galen hugged Clay and offered his hand to Jax, Jax shot him in the head. Tig and Chibs each shot the Irishman standing next to them. “Jesus Christ,” a shocked Clay said. “We had a vote, decided this had to happen,” Jax said. Did part of you think Clay was next right then? There was tooting outside. Tara, Gemma, and Nero had arrived.

Tara went to help Bobby and Jax asked Juice to help her. Clay walked over to Gemma and said he didn’t think he’d see her this soon. “Guess I’m just lucky,” she said. She assumed he was being carted off to Belfast. That was the plan. Clay had already guessed there was another plan afoot. He looked at Nero and told Gemma he was glad she wasn’t alone before kissing her on the cheek. Nero told Jax he wasn’t sure if he could take much more. You’ve seen nothing, sir! Tara told Jax she had to get surgical supplies to help Bobby, but Jax had a more immediate concern. Connor would be there in 15 minutes. Clay asked what happens next. They settle with the Irish. How do they do that with three dead bodies? Jax asked Clay how he’d do it. He’d blame it on a bad relationship between two guys with history. They get into a beef and one thing leads to another. It couldn’t be helped. That sounds about right, Jax said. Clay looked at Chibs, Tig, and Juice and realized the club had held another vote. This time it was unanimous, Jax said. (Unlike the time Bobby kept Jax from offing Clay). “Fair enough,” Clay said. They walked him back to the office where the Irish were killed in silence. Just the sound of the shoes.

“This good?” Clay asked when he stopped. There was just a hint of fragility in his voice. That was so important. If Clay had been completely cavalier, we wouldn’t have felt for him. He gave a nod. Chibs got the gun ready and handed it to Jax, who just stared at Clay. Not tears in his eyes, but a mist. Clay locked eyes with Gemma through the blinds, grateful in a strange way that he was with her at the end, I think. Jax fired a shot at his throat. Clay fell to his knees as the blood squirted. We heard him gasp and Gemma cry. He rolled to his back and Jax unloaded five more bullets into his chest. The camera panned up and we saw Clay’s halo of blood.

Afterward, Gemma said she was okay and kissed Jax on the cheek. She was going to take Tara to St. Thomas to get supplies and then head to the cabin so Tara could treat Bobby there. Jax told Nero he was happy he’d been there to see him put an end to SAMCRO’s past. What he and Nero are doing is the club’s future. Tara heard that. As she got into the car, Jax thanked her for helping Bobby and she reached for his gloved hand and squeezed it. He seemed surprised. But let’s remember: She was ready for Jax to kill Clay at the end of season 4. She’d given him the blood thinner to do it when Clay was in the hospital after Opie shot him. Jax was supposed to kill Clay then drive Tara and the boys to Oregon. But the Galindo cartel made Jax stay so he’d be president and their deal would stay in place. Jax had told Tara then that she should still leave, but she decided to stay. I allowed myself to have hope they could reunite in the future.

On the drive to the hospital, Tara explained to Nero why the club had voted to kill Clay and why she was fine with it. Gemma broke down crying. She hated Clay, but he’d still been her husband. Tara got a call from the DA asking to meet her. So she was going to offer Tara that deal now? After getting the call, Tara told Gemma it was her lawyer and reached out to touch Gemma’s shoulder and ask if she was okay. Nero looked at Gemma holding Tara’s hand and had hope that they could heal. But was Tara just playing Gemma again? She wouldn’t turn on Jax now that she saw he was truly going legit?

NEXT: Decision time

Chibs, Tig, and Jax staged the crime scene in the office. When Connor and Hugh arrived, Jax went into the office with Connor as the others helped Hugh unload the guns (and killed him?). Connor saw the carnage. The brains pouring out of Galen’s head — were you ready to appreciate them? Connor reached for his gun, but Jax took it from him. He wanted to tell him what happened: Jax said Clay and Galen had some kind of side deal. It went bad and they started arguing. Clay shot Galen. Galen’s men were shot by Clay, too. When Clay turned on SAMCRO, they had no choice but to put him down. Connor wasn’t buying it, but Jax said it’s the only truth that keeps Connor from looking like a failure. Jax told him to tell the Kings that August Marks was their only choice to distribute in Northern Cali. If they wait to find someone else, the Chinese will jump on the market. “It’s work with black, or lose it all,” Jax said. Connor felt played — right to the No. 1 slot, Jax said. Jax has always been a good, sound negotiator. When he said Connor was a decent man who knew this needed to happen — or it would’ve been the two of them on the ground not seeing their families again — Connor was in. He said he’d call the Kings in the morning. Jax told him to take the other guns to the warehouse but to leave the KG-9s so Jax could deal with a local problem. They shook hands.

While Tara went inside the hospital, Gemma continued to mourn Clay. Nero understood: Good or bad, Clay had been a huge part of her life, so it would take a minute. (He was.) Gemma said he wasn’t worth a minute. Nero confirmed Gemma wasn’t alone: the farther he tried to pull away from the club, the closer he got. He was too old to adopt Jax, but Gemma said he could marry her. Yeah, not likely considering what happens to her husbands. More tears were shed. But Gemma said she was glad he was in their lives, and I think NOW Nero might be okay with being in theirs. Then again, we have two more episodes this season and season 7. The badness isn’t over.

Tara met with Eli and the DA, who did offer Tara that deal. If she wanted Witness Protection for her and the boys, they’d need to go the RICO route, which meant Tara had to provide information on a federal crime. Like if she were to remove a sheriff’s bullet from someone, which would place him at the scene of the breakout? Yes. Tara said she’d need a day to think about it. After she left, Roosevelt’s deputy said they’d received an anonymous tip: Four dead bodies, including Clay and Galen, and the KG-9s had been discovered at the hangar.

The bullet and glass shards were removed from Bobby. Gemma and Nero read to Abel in her bed and Unser came in to deliver Thomas. He said he’d check on Wendy one more time and leave. I sorta wanted Gemma to invite him to sit on the bed for story time. Instead, Gemma thanked him, knowing it must kill him to see Nero and her as a happy couple (or thinking that Unser knows the truth about her and loves her unconditionally?). Connor drank and shot a gun at the wall. Is he a new loose cannon? Bobby awoke to see everyone’s smiling faces. The DA and Eli surveyed the crime scene and Eli said Jax had kept his deal — he’d delivered Galen and the guns. But the stack of dead bodies voided it for her, apparently.

At the cabin, Jax thanked Tara for helping Bobby when she didn’t have to. He also told her he understood why she’d done everything she did. She looked shocked to hear him say that. “I’m sorry being with me took you to that place,” he said. He meant it, I think. When he got up to leave the room, part of me wanted her to reach out for his hand once again. But that would have been too soon, right? She locked the door when he’d gone and took gauze out of her pocket. She kept Bobby’s bullet. But what will she do with it?

Episode Recaps

Kurt Sutter’s original series, starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal.
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  • 09/10/13
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