As Jax makes a bold move for the club, Tara makes a bold move for her family; Also, Juicey cries

By Mandi Bierly
December 04, 2013 at 04:54 AM EST
Prashant Gupta/FX
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Watching the last half of this episode — which sets us up for what I fear will be a heartbreaking season 6 finale and a bloody season 7 — I had that same sense of uneasiness you feel when you’re nauseated. That constant feeling that something bad could happen at any moment and you have no control over it. That feeling you pray will just end. Of course, we don’t want this season to end because we know it’s not going to end well. Not now. Tara has left with the kids and everyone thinks she’s turned rat.

She’s smart, but was she prepared for that? Do you think she intended to drive to the DA’s office and changed her mind when Abel asked if his daddy would be where they were going? Or did she really take the bullet hoping she’d be able to hold it over Jax so he’d let her and the boys go free? Did you feel more sad for Tara or Jax at the end? We’d just watched him orchestrate the slaughter of Lin’s crew. Even if he did it to get away from the violence and save Happy’s life, that’s a lot of blood on daddy’s hands. Let’s dig in.

We opened with Jax meeting with DA Patterson and trying to convince her he’d used a bulls–t diversion during Clay’s breakout to spare her even more cops in body bags. As Jax told the guys, she knows she was played, but she also knows he delivered on his end of the deal. The media is reporting that she’s found the devil behind the school shooting. Tig, meanwhile, has discovered his new comedy partner in Juice’s absence — Montez. “I’m all over it, like jizz on his mama,” Tig said when Jax asked him if he was ready to meet the Irish at Wahewa. “Hey, my mama’s dead, man,” Montez said. “That won’t stop him,” Jax deadpanned. (Is that our first necrophiliac joke since season 1?) “Let’s go, Tattoo,” Tig said to the shorter Montez. “Blow me, Boss,” Montez quipped. Enjoy the laughs when you can, folks.

Juice was on Tara Watch 2013. Before Bobby woke up just along enough to thank her for saving him, she fielded a call from the DA, who said the deal for Witness Protection is a go if she produced the bullet. They decided to meet at Tara’s office. Meanwhile, Unser had arrived at Gemma’s house to burn his hand trying to plate the scrambled eggs Abel was too depressed to eat. “Where’s mommy?” he asked. (Abel is at his most convincing when he doesn’t speak.) Jax and Chibs were off meeting with Connor and learning that the BBC has picked up Galen’s death. He told the Kings Jax’s version of its cause, but he hadn’t broached the subject of August Marks yet. The first time I watched this episode, I didn’t pick up on the significance of Jax and Chibs planting the seed that Lin might hit the gun warehouse now that news of Galen’s demise is out. Cut to Tig, Quinn, and Montez popping by the barn to make sure the guns got there okay. The two transfers each popped an Irishman and the blood splatter reached Tig’s face. “Not the hair, man. Not the hair. Come on. Come on,” he told Montez after putting a couple more rounds in each body to make it look more dramatic. You just know that Kim Coates leaning into his face’s reflection on the truck at the end of that line wasn’t scripted. And that’s why we adore him.

The elder Lin and his crew showed up at the barn, and Jax and the boys were there to greet them. He was pissed that they’d killed the Irish and not given him the personal satisfaction of avenging his dead man and injured nephew. He said he’d only let Happy live if Jax delivered Galen’s No. 2, Connor. Jax seemed pissed, but was it his plan to call in Marks all along? Or did it just come to him at that moment?

NEXT: Nero in the middle

Fiasco arrived at Diosa to tell Nero that the MC has brought him nothing but problems and the Byz-Lats feel abandoned. Without Nero, Fiasco can’t hold the crew together. Fiasco wasn’t making a power play; he was there to inform him that Marcus Alvarez reached out wanting to make an alliance with the Byz-Lats. Nero agreed to the meet with a fist pump.

Back at Gemma’s, Abel left Wendy’s room to go help Unser build a new clubhouse out of Legos. She is due in rehab by noon the next day. Wendy wanted to know why Gemma was helping her. Gemma said there’s a good chance that Tara is going to jail and grandma realizes she needs help with the kids and her options are limited: “I got Uncle Cancer out there. I got some half-bright croweaters reaking’ of cum and Tig’s aftershave. And I got the junkie mom.” Gemma told her to get herself clean and she’d deal with Jax not wanting to let Wendy near the kids. “And go back to d–k,” Gemma added. “Girls are s–t.”

While Tara and her escort Rat headed off to St. Thomas after Tara claimed she needed more supplies, Juice asked a weed-smoking Bobby why he’d changed his mind and voted for Clay to meet Mr. Mayhem this time. Bobby said he’d always believed Clay deserved it, it just wasn’t right for the club or Jax before. This time it’d made sense. Bobby was worried about Juice. He knew he needed to unwind with a massage, Oxy, and some head. When Juice snuck some of Bobby’s Oxy before leaving for Diosa, was he thinking the time might be right for Jax to take his betrayal to the club, or for him to meet Mr. Mayhem of his own accord? Juice didn’t even smile when he confirmed that Bobby wasn’t joking when he told West that he’d need both hands to hold his d–k while he peed. “Yeah, he’s huge. You’re gonna need both hands,” Juice said.

Nero and his cardigan met with Marcus, who had a concern: With the de facto referee SAMCRO leaving the gun business, it was about to get messy for the Mayans, Byz-Lats, Niners, Italians, and Chinese. He’d heard Jax was handing over the Irish guns to August Marks, which would give the Niners a lot of weight. Now Marcus was going to sit down with the Chinese to talk about his options. He’s anticipating that it’ll be brown and yellow versus black and white. Nero said it’s best that the Byz-Lats stay neutral. As Marcus told him, there’s no Switzerland in the hood. Is that going to be the plot of the final season? It’d bring it full circle having the Mayans play a major role and being angry with SAMCRO for favoring the Niners. Plus, Emilio Rivera, who plays Alvarez, has always been great and you can tell he has even more in him.

Jax and the guys told Connor that Lin had killed his men, which is why they need to partner with Marks, who controls three local crews including the Niners. Connor agreed to a meet.

NEXT: Gemma vs. Patterson

At the hospital, Tara found Gemma in her office. She’d heard from West that Tara was headed there and Gemma wanted to get some anti-nausea medicine for Wendy. Tara played it cool enough and told Gemma she’d meet her out front in 20 minutes. The DA was equally smooth when she ran into Gemma in the hall and claimed she was there to visit an injured sheriff. After Gemma pointed out that the DA wasn’t sorry for Clay’s death and she wasn’t sorry for a sheriff’s death, Gemma said she was going to duck into the chapel and light a candle on her way out. The DA suggested she light two. Ouch.

I suppose the fact that Tara hadn’t called her lawyer to meet with the DA and the deal-offering ATF agent could be a sign that she never intended to rat. She told them to send the papers to her lawyer and if he told her it was a solid deal, she’d pick up her boys and come to the DA’s office by 6 p.m. with the bullet in tow. Tara insisting that no agent accompany her was either another sign that she was always planning to run, or just her fearing that the additional body would draw attention. She said she didn’t want the boys’ last image of their father being ripped from his arms at gunpoint. The DA relented. She told the ATF agent that if Tara runs, the MC would kill her, and if she doesn’t testify, she’d bury her in court.

Tara returned to the cabin to find Bobby drinking and doing opiates with the guys. She said she’d bring the defibrillator next time. “Oh, I love me some zappin’ pickle,” Tig said. Bobby needed an explanation. “Oh yeah, right, like you’ve never had electrodes on your sack.” The sound effect — classic. Jax followed Tara into the bedroom and kept his distance. He told her it’d be a late night for him cleaning stuff up with the Irish. He said she could go over to Gemma’s and say goodnight. She told him she’d just stay there since it’d be easier. After her trial, they were going to figure “all this” out, he promised. I assume that meant their relationship. She grabbed him for a hug as he left. “I’m sorry,” she said tearfully.

Juice arrived at Diosa. Lyla had a talk with him first. She said she was sorry about Clay and that it (meaning the club, I think) would be good again. He started to cry and admitted he was high. She took his hand and led him to a room. She told him to get undressed and put on a robe and she’d send someone back. “Someone nice,” he said when asked for a preference. Ah, Juicey. Gemma had shown up looking for Nero, so Lyla told her Juice was undone. He stood in front of the bathroom mirror looking at the Son and Shine tattoos on his pecs. I was afraid he was having a problem with his heart because of the drugs, but I think he actually had a panic attack thinking about what it would be like to have those tattoos burned off his chest if the club booted him. God, that would suck. He took some Oxy.

Tara changed Bobby’s bandage and again he thanked her. “We love you, Doc,” he said. She left the room as quickly as she could. She told West that Bobby was resting and she was going to do the same. But instead, she snuck out of the bedroom.

NEXT: The thunder rolls

I wonder if that thunder we heard when the club arrived for the meeting with the Irish and Marks was real or staged. (Jax’s sunshine left with Tara.) Either way, it was ominous. Two vehicles pulled up and instead of Marks, it was the Chinese. The Sons and Chinese pulled guns on the Irish. Jax told Connor, in a smartass tone, not to worry because it ends well. Happy got released and Connor was given to the Chinese. Jax told the Chinese the guns were still in the truck inside the barn. The Chinese opened the truck’s back door and Niners were inside and opened fire. Niners were all over the barn shooting. The Sons helped, too. ALL the Chinese fell. “I love you guys,” Happy said before finishing Uncle Lin off. “And we love you,” Tig said, admiring his work. We’ve seen that kind of gun show end badly so many times. If I were in a crew, I would always have my gun out in a situation like that. Trust no one. Cut to the DA phoning Tara to tell her that her lawyer liked the deal.

Jax told Connor the move was necessary. It sets the Chinese back. (Henry wasn’t there, so he’s alive to seek revenge.) It also shows Connor what Marks can provide. The Niners said they were going to wait until dark and then park the van with all the dead Chinese in front of Lin’s restaurant. THAT IS WAR. “See you soon,” the Niner prez told Jax. “No you won’t,” Jax said. “Come on, Teller. Who you kiddin’?” SERIOUSLY. Oakland is going to unravel more than a little, Jax.

Nero arrived home to Diosa to find Chucky barely accepting Gemma not agreeing to trade repairs for chinchillas. Before Nero could fill Gemma in, the escort with Juice came running out saying something was wrong with him. I loved the way Gemma and Nero yelled, “No!” simultaneously when Lyla asked if she should call 911 after she discovered the Oxy wrappers in the trash. And that look they gave each other before he held Juice while Gemma stuck her fingers down his throat to get him to vomit. GROOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSS.

August came to the barn wearing another fine suit. He apologized for the bloody day and said it’s never an easy decision, but it’s one he’s willing to make when needed. August explained that he could double the Irish sales with his street ties, and Jax added that Marks also has cops, judges, and council seats in his pocket. Marks had come with a half million in cash — for four times the MC’s usual shipment. He told Connor to talk to the Kings, and if it helps, tell them his mother’s maiden name was McDuffy. Ha! Jax liked that one. August left the cash with Connor because partners have to trust one another. He told Jax whatever the Kings’ decision, Jax had done his part, so Tig is free. I chanted, “Tig! Tig! Tig! Tig!”

Over at Diosa, Nero stated the obvious: He thinks Juice didn’t care about waking up when he took the pills. Gemma asked him to let her speak to him before he or the girls say anything to Jax. Gemma got a call from Tara, who acted panicked, saying that Bobby’s stitches had opened up and she needed another set of hands. She was in her car, so we knew it was a line. It must be tough for an actor as good as Maggie Siff to play Tara as only a decent actress. She asked if there was someone who could watch the boys, and Gemma said Unser was there with Wendy. Tara hung up and drove past the Welcome to Charming sign.

Gemma and Nero traded “I love you”s when she told him she had to leave for the cabin. Lyla thought it was sweet. Not so sweet when Juice puked on Nero’s hand aiming for the trashcan. Lyla had to get back out front, so Nero was left to walk Juice alone. Juice apologized and said he didn’t want to do it. Nero assumed he meant the overdose until he mumbled, “Jax said it’s what I had to do. Earn my way. I’m sorry.” Nero propped him up against the wall. “She was so pretty. So sad.” Who was, Nero asked. “The kid’s mom. I did it fast. That’s what I want. I want it that way,” Juice said, with tears in his eyes. Juice collapsed, sobbing, into the fetal position, and Nero let him fall. I never thought Nero would hurt him. Not after the way Nero had asked if Jax had put that on him. I think Nero’s the kind of man who would hate a mother being killed and hate someone breaking a man the way Jax broke an already fragile Juice.

NEXT: The great escape

Tara showed up at Gemma’s and calmly grabbed Abel’s hand and Thomas’ carrier and said she was taking the kids to get dinner. Unser said he’d have to go with her. She told him he needed to move. She eventually held Abel to her leg so he wouldn’t see what she was doing and took out a gun. She told Unser to tell Gemma that she’d pulled it on him and forced him to let her take the kids. When Unser asked how far she thought she’d get, Tara said they’d be “safe.” Both Unser and Wendy figured she’d made a deal. Tara wanted them to think that, or had she just slipped? As Abel left, Wendy yelled to him that she was his real mother and loved him. Tara effing clocked her one and sent her to the ground.

Gemma got the call about Tara and turned her car around. Just after Jax got the great news that the Kings are willing to give Marks a try, and said a nice goodbye to Connor, and got to smile (!), he got the call from Gemma. Lyla told Nero that Gemma had phoned Diosa to ask him to meet her and Jax at Jax’s house. Nero looked pissed.

Tara was driving the boys somewhere. She explained to Abel that mommies have to do things to protect their kids and some people don’t like those things and it makes them say crazy things. That’s all Wendy’s comment was. He said, “Okay,” and Tara asked if they should sing some songs. She started in on “You Are My Sunshine,” and I got nervous that somehow Tara’s car was about to be wrecked even though I knew Gemma and Jax would never do that with the boys inside. Abel asked where they were going — and if daddy would be there. Tara cried. So again, was that the moment she decided not to turn rat, or was she just crying because she knew she was running and the kids wouldn’t see him again anyway?

Cue the end montage. The DA was waiting. Tara pulled up somewhere and took the boys and their bags out of the car.  There was a knock at the DA’s door — it was the cleaning man. It was after 6:40 p.m. Tara opened a hotel room door and closed the blinds. Jax got home and went room to room seeing Tara’s and the boys’ belongings were gone. He got to Abel’s room, and Gemma ran in. “She took my sons,” Jax said. Gemma told him about seeing Patterson at the hospital and she assumed Tara had made a deal. Jax started throwing things. Like, as in a lamp and then an entire bookshelf. The DA told the ATF agent she’d have her sheriffs start looking for Tara. Tara was now wide awake in bed with a sleeping Abel on one side and a bottle-drinking Thomas on the other.

Nero came through Jax’s door ready to do damage, but Gemma told him that Tara ratted and took the boys. Seeing Jax completely destroyed sitting on Abel’s bed, Nero paused. He went to Jax and fought the urge to make a fist. Instead, he placed a hand on Jax’s back, and Jax leaned into him. It would’ve devastated Gemma if Nero had gone off on Jax at that moment, but I also think as a father, Nero knew the pain Jax was going through at that moment was worse than anything he could inflict.

So what happens next? Does Tara make it out of the finale alive? How will Henry Lin retaliate? Is the song choice, “You Are My Sunshine,” a warning that the season finale — and the final season — will be the darkest hours SAMCRO has ever seen?

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