Sons of Anarchy recap: 'John 8:32'
Jax learns important things about his family's past -- and present
It’s been a season of lies on Sons of Anarchy, but in this episode, it was all about telling the truth or hearing it. Oh, and pussy. Sweet holy pussy. How many times did you rewind that crazy Clay scene? Did you stop it before he bit the dude’s nose off? Kurt Sutter explained that, among other things, in our postmortem. Let’s dig in.
We opened with shirtless Jax running water over his face and staring at his Abel tattoo on his chest, thereby giving us permission to stare at his chest, too. Thank you. Thomas started crying, so Jax went and got his bottle ready and passed him off to Tara. Over at Gemma’s, Nero awoke in her bed and didn’t comment on the fact that Gemma was kneeling and praying. Clearly he needed coffee, which she made him as he moved to the kitchen to read the newspaper. “Hopefully we didn’t make the front page today,” she joked. Ha. She hadn’t wanted to ruin his homecoming last night by telling him the headline involving her and Tara, but he’s had a few hours of peace now. Once he heard what had happened, he told Gemma she was going to need more than the word of Wendy, a guilt-ridden junkie Jax hates, if she’s going to convince Jax that Tara betrayed him. Nero didn’t doubt Gemma’s innocence. He can see that she has deep secrets that weigh her down, but he knows she’d never spin the truth when it comes to her kids. (Well…)
As she came clean, Jax was once again being honest with Tara. He told her the reason Clay is still alive inside is that the Irish want him to be point for guns in Cali. They plan to bust him out when he’s transported next week (in SOA time, who knows when that’ll happen). Tara’s feeling guilty, too — she tried to get Jax to stop telling her things, presumably so she wouldn’t be tempted to write them down for her case against him parenting their boys. Jax, however, just thought she was putting distance between them because of her charges. He can’t figure out how to help her with those, but he can keep his promise as a husband and be honest with her. He’d been trying to protect her from things, which he realizes hasn’t worked at all. They shared a rare kiss on the lips. He finally vocalized what we’ve all noticed: Ever since she’s gotten out of Stockton, she hasn’t been able to say “I love you” to him. He’s going to stop saying it to her so she doesn’t feel bad about it (how considerate), but he wanted her to know it’s what he feels.
The DA paid Eli a somber visit to tell him she’s giving him three extra units so he can have Jax tailed 24/7. Jax arrived at the new clubhouse on his bike and passed what I thought was the Homeless Woman who recurs on the show suddenly looking damn good. And younger. She just had a backpack, which made me think of the school shooting. (We’d find out later it wasn’t her.) Happy is back and reporting that most of their buyers will be cool with the personnel change after they talk to Clay. So Chibs is working on getting Clay a phone inside. Bobby said the Italians could be a problem. (What Italians?) Unser showed up and Bobby had a warm greeting for him: “Wow. You didn’t die yet?” (Foreshadowing? Or just a cancer joke?) “A little every day,” Unser said.
While the guys went upstairs, Jax and Unser had a chat. Jax thanked him for all he’s done for Tara and the boys. If the young woman hadn’t taken a pipe wrench to a bike and then thrown it through the window of the clubhouse, Unser probably would have tried to get Jax to show mercy on his mom. But Jax darted out after the girl and grabbed her when he caught up to her. He asked who she was and why she’d done that. She yelled “Rape! Rape!” and he had to let her go as the townsfolk gathered.
NEXT: “Why my bike? I mean really, do all teenage girls hate me?”
After we saw Clay head into a Bible reading in prison, we cut back to Unser IDing the young woman to Jax and the boys as Brooke Putner, who’s been in and out of juvie and rehab since she was 12. “Why my bike? I mean really, do all teenage girls hate me?” Tig asked. Yes, the guys agreed. Clay might know Putner: He was a journeyman mechanic before he went to work for Oswald as the equipment foreman at the mill. His wife, Brooke’s mother, was killed in a car accident just after Brooke was born. That might be the connection, Unser said: It was the pile-up caused by the tractor-trailer that jack-knifed after it hit Jax’s dad. So she blames them for her mother’s death 18 years later? After Eli showed up to inform Jax of the tail, Jax sent some of the guys to find the girl, some to deal with Clay, and some to go with him to see Barosky who asked for an urgent meet.
Tara was meeting with Lowen, who was adjusting bank accounts, putting together a short character witness list for Tara, and figuring out that Margaret Murphy had expedited all the medical documents relating to Tara’s pregnancy. Using false medical records to substantiate a custody hold is a felony, Lowen informed Tara. They’re two weeks away from standing in front of a jury. If Tara had any more drama planned, Lowen needs to know now. Tara told her she knows everything.
At the jail’s Bible revival, we saw Clay get a sign to make his move and disrupt the sermon on truth. “You know what God gave me, brother? You know what sets me free? Pussy. Sweet holy pussy!” The way Ron Perlman said, “Sweet holy pussy!” will be reenacted in homes and offices and bars all week. He stood and continued his own sermon, complete with dancing. Amazing. “You see, God, he put man on this planet for three reasons: Eatin’, fightin’, and tearin’ up tight wet pussy.” The guards asked Clay to sit, but he wouldn’t. The lord wanted him up, preachin’ (“Pussy the healer! Pussy the redeemer! Can I get an amen for pussyyyyy? Pussyyyy!”). AND THEN HE BIT OFF A GUARD’S NOSE. He spit it out, and at least we didn’t see it like we did Otto’s tongue. (Or am I disappointed by that?) As Clay was taken to the ground, he kept maniacally preaching with his bloodied mouth. Gross. And awesome.
Nero wanted to talk to Jax about Gemma before Barosky and the “MILF Madam” (as Happy called Colette) showed up at Diosa. Nero tried to suggest the situation was more complicated than Jax thought, but Jax shot him down: If they’re going to continue working together, they can’t talk about Gemma again. Back to business. The DA had Barosky’s bakery shut down on health violations and the Diosa expansion permit denied for no specified reason. Barosky wasn’t going to rat, but he wasn’t going to be a martyr either. He’s severing ties with Jax, Nero, and Diosa until this is over. Gemma arrived to see Nero, and Jax told her to stop sending Nero to do her bidding. Nero said she hadn’t asked him to talk to Jax, he’d just been trying to help. When Jax said Nero knows better than to do that again, Gemma piped up and told Jax what Nero had just done: He’d named himself as the source of the guns because Patterson isn’t going to stop coming for Jax. Jax hadn’t known she was pushing Nero like that. On the one hand, I’m glad Gemma told Jax — Nero deserves respect. On the other, I’m worried Jax may pin something on Nero. But that’s not the Jax we know now, right?
NEXT: The reveals keep coming
Jax and the guys went to Putner’s house. At first, I was afraid he was going to hurt Jax when he invited him in, but I suppose no one who saw how many guys Jax had with him would. Jax just wanted answers. The dad said Brooke had “some stuff”: anxiety and bipolar disorder. Her mom had it, too. It’s been a rough week: He’d lost the house. They’ve been packing up and found photos of her mom. Looking at the wedding photo, her mom appears to look like the Homeless Woman we keep spotting. They’d found an article about her mother’s death, and it was the first time she realized Jax’s dad caused the pile-up that killed her mom, Emily. Jax saw the wedding photo and said she looked familiar. The husband said it happens to him, too — he sees her a lot in other people. (Theorize away. Sutter is staying vague.) The dad said he’d talk to Brooke and work it out. He offered to pay for the damage to the bike and clubhouse, but Jax said not to worry about that.
Tara was at daycare giving Abel his heart pills when Nero asked to see her. He was calm, non-threatening Nero. He wasn’t calling Tara a liar (very smart); he just wanted her to reexamine what this situation is doing to the family — and to remember that Gemma won’t lay down for this. Nero said he wanted to find middle ground, or it wouldn’t end well for anyone. And that’s when Tara exploded. She said it’s not the life, it’s the wife — Gemma killed John Teller and probably would’ve killed Clay. She suggested Nero get out now before he ends up dead, too. DAMN. She looked shocked that she revealed that JT news, too.
Seeing Clay wearing a mouth guard in the infirmary — horrific but hilarious. The doctor gave Clay a cell phone and 40 minutes until the next rotation to make his calls.
At the hospital, Margaret got a note to meet Tara in her office. Gemma was waiting instead. She said she was going to present the medical records of Tara’s pregnancy and miscarriage to the hospital board. When Margaret’s response was, “It would be my word against yours,” Gemma knew she was right. If the pregnancy had been real, Margaret would’ve said the documents were legit and called her crazy. Well done, Gemma. Margaret said Gemma couldn’t prove it. That’s fine. But she has a reliable source to give to Jax to let him prove it. And then, Gemma said, there won’t be enough security in the state to keep Margaret safe. Even if you’re Team Tara, you’ve got to be Team Katey Sagal’s Delivery. Note to Gemma: You could’ve just taped that conversation on your cell phone. But what fun would that have been? We’re seeing Tara and Margaret crumble. The moral: We can all lie, but it takes a master to keep it up.
After a club vote, Jax went to see the DA. He was there to make a deal: He was going to give her Galen, a Real IRA man who sells KG-9s, in exchange for immunity for the MC on past and present gun charges. He said he’d deliver him within the next 10 days. He wants SAMCRO to go legit, which they can’t do if someone is crushing their legit businesses. If she takes the deal and lets them breathe in Stockton, the violence stops, he said. (Except for the Irish wanting payback, right? Or are we to believe the Kings want rid of Galen like they wanted rid of Jimmy in season 3?) The DA knew there was more Jax should be asking for: For her to look again at Tara’s case and see that Toric was connecting those dots that weren’t there. And the club gets no slap on the wrist, while she gains political clout. “I’m the scumbag outlaw, and you’re the pillar of justice. But neither one of us likes looking at ourselves in the mirror. Do we have a deal?” Jax asked. Yes. She’s giving him 10 days. If he doesn’t deliver Galen, she’ll make his life hell and send Tara away until the boys graduate high school.
Back at T-M, Jax met with Oswald and asked him to help Mr. Putner out financially. Jax said he’d owe Oswald one, and Oswald said he might collect during the mayoral race. (We’ve seen that scenario before, too.) Jax got an urgent call.
We cut to Clay finishing his business and his hands being restrained again. The doctor who’d helped him also collected money from the guard Clay had attacked. The guard and a pal took turns beating Clay. So much for Irish protection.
NEXT: “Honey, I’m sorry. I love her, too. But this is the truth.”
That urgent call had come from Tara, who told Jax that Nero had called her a liar and a manipulative bitch. Jax threw the first punch in the kitchen at Diosa, and then Nero delivered two that sent Jax over the island. Nero wanted to calm down and talk, but Jax was up and punching. This fistfight was painful to watch. Gemma showed up and convinced Happy and a new guy to break it up. Jax said Gemma was the reason they were trying to kill each other and he knew all he needed to know about her — and then it was Nero’s turn to tell Jax what Gemma had done for him. The truth about her conjugal visit with Clay came out.
That quieted Jax long enough that Gemma was able to tell him that Margaret Murphy confirmed what he wouldn’t believe — Tara had faked the pregnancy and miscarriage and was preparing to divorce him and take the boys away from him, the club, Charming, and everyone. “Honey, I’m sorry. I love her, too. But this is the truth. And if she’s not going to tell you, you need to find someone who will.” LOWEN? Jax looked at Nero’s bloodied nose and left.
Unser invited Lowen into his Airstream to allegedly talk about Tara and the kids. He shut the door and said he’d be right back. He locked it, and Jax walked out — with a gun on her. He asked if Tara was divorcing him. “Answer me,” he yelled. I was scared. “Yes,” she said. She admitted she thought the pregnancy was a lie. She explained it was about custody waivers so Gemma couldn’t take the boys. Lowen asked him not to hurt her. Jax told her to get out. When she tried to say Tara was just trying to do what was best for the boys, Jax kicked the door open and yelled at her to get out again. I loved that Lowen walked as though she was in physical pain — like she’d been so scared, she had to work to control her bowels. But also, she walked and didn’t run. This is a smart, gutsy woman who knows the kind of people she does business with. Running would have made her seem too weak. Unser had made Jax promise no one would get hurt. Still, I was waiting for Lowen to get a bullet in her head from one of the guys lurking in the distance as she drove away. But she didn’t. We saw her call Tara to presumably warn her.
As Gemma cleaned Nero’s wounds, he told her what Tara had said about her having killed John. She sat down and, to her credit, told Nero the full story: John was trying to get the club out of guns and taking trips back and forth to Belfast to make it right with the Irish. He fell in love with Maureen Ashby, a friend of John’s helping to broker a peaceful transition with the IRA. Gemma found out and started spending time with Clay. Thomas died when John was away on one of those trips, and she made sure the pain and anger fell on him. John came undone. Talks with the IRA fell apart, and Clay and McGee picked up the talks and instead solidified the deal with the Irish and made the club real players. JT started writing his manuscript questioning and regretting everything he’d done in SAMCRO and turned his back on the club and his family. It was a dangerous time with Mayan war and feds infiltrating MCs. Everyone was scared, and John was the weak link. The same way Nero knew what needed to be done with Arcadio, she knew what had to be done with JT. She gave her blessing for Clay to kill John Teller. She told Nero she’s never told that to anyone, including Jax.
Back at the clubhouse, Jax showed up and Bobby and Chibs met him outside. I really get nervous when anyone is outside now. They told him Brooke was there. She wanted to apologize and find out why he’d spoken to Oswald and asked for him to help them after what she’d done. “It’s just my way of saying sorry to a mother,” Jax said, then reached out to touch her hand as she cried. Ah, Jax.
We cut to Tara holding Thomas and singing “Lullaby for a Soldier (Arms of the Angels).” As the end montage began, we saw Clay alone in a white padded room in a straight jacket. Gemma sat at her table smoking, while Nero seemed to be back in his room at Diosa. Jax sat alone in the booth smoking at the clubhouse. Brooke walked alone at night and passed the Homeless Woman digging in the trash. (Theories?) The final image was Tara rocking Thomas, still singing. This time the camera panned down and we saw Tara with a gun on her lap.
I just wanted to burst into tears.