Jax and Lin come to blows, and Gemma and Juice take a ride.

By Mandi Bierly
October 08, 2014 at 03:23 AM EDT
Prashant Gupta/FX
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After this hour, do you have any idea where this season is headed? Jax finally gets a chance to kill Lin, and Lin gets arrested before he can finish the job. Now SAMCRO is gunning down Triad members in the street not caring who sees. Juice, meanwhile, has a gun on Gemma, who was prepared to murder him. Jarry knows definitively through Unser that the Chinese and SAMCRO are in a war, but she also has feelings for Chibs and wants to protect SAMCRO (at least for now). Jax is kissing Wendy’s cheek. Oh, and Abel is going stir crazy with a hammer. Let’s dig in.

The Diosa Aftermath: How numb do you have to be to sit on a couch with the slumped over bodies of slaughtered escorts and Johns? Ask Jax, because that’s where he opens the episode. He can look across blood-splattered Diosa and see Colette on the floor. Knowing actress Kim Dickens is in the No. 1 movie in the country now (she’s the lead detective in Gone Girl) is comforting. A visibly shaken Bobby—remember he doesn’t like excessive violence, even though he’s been a part of some recently—tells Jax that Happy is phoning everyone and telling them to get to Red Woody, which will be on lockdown. No one’s heard from West (we know he’s dead).

Nero wants answers, but Jax isn’t ready to give them yet. God bless Nero’s cardigan: He buttons it before walking out of Diosa to go tell the Stockton girls about Barosky about the massacre—he wants to be civilized. You can tell he wants to talk more to Jax, but he stops himself. Does he think Jax won’t tell him the truth anyway, or is it that Nero knows he can’t handle the truth in that moment? From Jax’s cigarette smoke to jittery Gemma’s we go. She has to delay Operation Drive Juice to Oregon once she hears from Happy (though she tells Juice the drama at Diosa is just “whores will be whores”). They’ll leave in the morning, she tells Juice, and gives him weed to smoke. Cut to towel-wearing Chibs at Jarry’s sharing a joint with her. She’s also fresh from the shower, so they did it. (Yay.) He hears from Happy and tells her she might want to get dressed, too.

Poor Jarry, two weeks on the job and she’s in the record books for having the worst massacre ever in her quadrant. Jarry knows Diosa is retribution for something and that if she doesn’t find answers, the Feds will. She asks Unser to decide which side of the table he’s sitting on and then goes into the kitchen to have a talk with Jax as we get another shot of Colette’s face. Director Peter Weller clearly knows she’s the only one in that massacre we know/care about. Jarry tries to start soft with Jax: She tells him she’s been doing this for a while with guys a lot more dangerous than his MC. (Is she still underestimating Jax?) She knows how to do her job within outlaw code, but if he doesn’t bend with her and deliver intel somehow, this case will crack wide open and neither of them will walk away whole. Jax nods to her, but when she leaves, he runs his finger through the flame of his lighter. Up until now, we’ve been watching Jax on a lit trail of gasoline—now he’s ready for the explosion.

NEXT: Lockdown

Red Woody retreat: Gemma arrives at Red Woody to hold a wild-haired baby Thomas for a second before she has to give him back to Wendy to go comfort a sobbing Lyla. Lyla just wants to know why people keep dying. Hearing her say that seems to make Jax feel something more than rage. For a moment, he lets the pain in. Then Bobby tells him West is dead and the guns are gone, and Jax snarls again. Wendy asks him to come talk to Abel, and we find Abel with Chucky. Jax thanks Chucky for being there: “You’re my family,” Chucky responds. 1.) Ahhh. 2.) Hope you don’t die, Chucky! Abel wants to go home and guesses that someone died. Jax tells him friends of theirs got hurt, and it’s his job to take care of everyone there and make sure they’re safe. Death once again makes Jax appreciate those closest to him, and now that includes Wendy. He tells her she’s doing great with Abel. Is she though? She’s really just the only one paying attention to him.

Lin and Nero meet: Barosky’s is closed for the day (officially) because he knows Lin will be stopping by to talk to Jax or Nero, whichever shows up to tell him about Colette. Barosky makes himself scarce so Lin can yell at Nero and inform him that Jax is behind everything. So Lin can believe Nero isn’t in cahoots with Jax, Lin tells him either he delivers Jax to him by the end of the day or Nero dies—and P.S., the security at Nero’s son’s school isn’t all that great. Oh hell no. You do not threaten Nero’s son. How does Nero not just knock down all those canned goods on the shelves behind him in frustration? Because he is the best man on this show, so he just sits and fumes.

Chapel: At the table, we learn other charters (Tacoma and Rogue River) are sending members to Charming and that the club will pay for the funerals of girls without family (Colette, too). Jax is lost in his thoughts until Chibs reminds him to speak. He’s consumed with trying to figure out who ratted them out to Lin. He doesn’t care that August Marks has called twice. File that away, friends. Chibs looks like he wants to say ignoring Marks is a mistake, but he doesn’t. The only people who knew the location of the guns were SAMCRO, Indian Hills, and Barosky. For now, Jax wants to focus on payback and smoking Lin out. They head to Barosky’s, but not before Gemma lies and tells Jax that her father has taken a turn for the worst at the nursing home and she needs to go see him. She says she’ll get Unser to go with her, at least until she’s out of the county. Did you notice that Jax not only kissed Gemma goodbye on the cheek but also Wendy? In a poll in last week’s recap, 37 percent of readers said that if Jax has to have sex again before the season’s end, it should be with Wendy. (Some random escort was next with 30 percent, followed by Lyla with 26 percent, then Ms. Harrison with 7 percent). But that was before we ran our SOA cover story in which Charlie Hunnam says we’ll definitely be seeing his ass again this season. Recount!

Chibs and Jarry get real: She pops by for a chat. He wants her to lay low, and she can’t obviously. She explains why she takes the bad guys’ cash: Since neither of them are going away, she has to build trust. Plus, it pays for her overtime. Was last night’s sex a trust-building exercise? We get our answer when Chibs says he’ll talk to Jax and see if they can throw some kind of a win her way. He doesn’t want anymore dead bodies, but he also doesn’t want to see her take a hit professionally. She calls him Filip, so you know this is real. She stops him when he turns to leave, kisses him, and tells him to be safe. That’s the moment he realizes this game involves actual feelings for them both. That’s gonna complicate things.

Jax and Nero duke it out: You may have known this moment was coming because paparazzi shot Jimmy Smits and Charlie Hunnam rehearsing this outdoor fight. The club shows up at Barosky’s, and before they can make it inside, Nero meets them in the parking lot and punches Jax. They wrestle, poorly, until Barosky tells the guys to break it up. Inside, Nero manages to simultaneously lose it on Jax and keep his cool—that’s Smits’ brilliance, he’s never one thing. He tells them about Lin’s threat to him and his boy, and Jax finally shares with Nero and Barosky that the Chinese killed Tara. Nero doesn’t believe it until Jax tells him about Gemma IDing one of the two guys she saw fleeing his house. (Wait, is that why Jax wants to kill all of Lin’s crew? Because he can’t ID the second guy, he has to kill them all to make sure he dies?) Jax tells Nero he has to decide which side of the fight he’s on, and Nero is just too damn old for this s—. In the end, Jax respectfully asks Nero for a heads-up when he makes his decision.

Dead Desi: Bobby tells Barosky that SOMEONE gave up the location of their guns, and Barosky suggests they look at the cop he has watch it at night. During the day, the dude owns a pawn shop that sells the stuff Stockton’s finest steals at night. Desi is rather non-committal in his answers to Jax, so Jax breaks a ukulele on his shoulder and Tig threatens to shove a flute up his ass. “You are so gay,” Happy says. “Just gay enough,” Tig responds. Jax and Barosky are both fine with this plan, and it almost happens, but Desi starts talking. He got a call from someone offering him $2,000 to avoid the warehouse last night. He didn’t know they were going to off one of Jax’s guys, he says. But still, why would you risk pissing off Barosky for $2,000? Desi says he didn’t know the caller, who phoned his personal cell. Barosky doesn’t buy it and shoots him in the head. Does that seem a bit sudden to anyone else? Is Barosky hiding something or is his fuse just that short?

NEXT: Abel, Abel, Abel

Abel acts out: So a while after Jax’s speech about taking care of everyone, Abel picks up a hammer and says he’s going to protect Thomas—because he takes care of him. “People always get hurt,” he tells Gemma, Wendy, and Unser. “I want to go home.” Gemma tells him they’ll go home soon, and Abel takes a swing at the wall. “Now! I don’t like it here!” He swings again. “Now!” He apologizes to “Tommy” when he makes him cry. Kids are prone to outbursts whether or not their dad is a killer, but there’s an anger in Abel that’s dangerous.

Red Woody is Command Central: At the bar, Wendy tells Unser about Lin stopping Nero the other day and claiming Jax stole all his guns, which Nero had denied. Then Nero shows up and finds Gemma: He can’t believe she let him get in the middle of everything trying to keep the peace when Jax was waging a war. (Does she really know that Jax is waging a full-blown war though?) She apologizes, and Nero says he’s sorry, too, “’cause this war has come to Charming now, and it’s gonna get a whole lot bloodier.” That’s the most important line of the show, isn’t it? It’s part of what this series has been about since Day 1—keeping Charming safe, no matter what the club does. We don’t see Jax and Nero’s conversation, but next we know, the cell phones are ablaze: Lin will meet, and Barosky has a few men on standby. Chibs has a man purse. Let’s roll.

Nero meets with Lin and tells him exactly what Jax is going to do—phone him for a meet at a port warehouse to give him back his heroin as a gesture of good will. He’ll say it’ll just be him and Chibs, but the rest of the club will be inside the warehouse waiting to take out Lin and his crew. Nero tells Lin to bring an Army.

Juice’s next tragedy: Juice ventures outside the motel to get a snack at the vending machine. He’s wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood up over his hat—not at all conspicuous on a warm day. He sees the Diosa massacre—16 dead—on the front page of a newspaper and buys it. An Asian man sees him and tries to get his attention, but Juice goes back to his room. The man follows and knocks on the door. Later, the man enters the room using a key and looks around. Juice knocks him down and paces. The man gets up and tries to run for the door, and Juice shoots him. “Don’t look at me,” Juice says as the dead body stares at him. He shoots him a few more times, in the face. Gemma and Unser show up and Juice makes the mistake of telling Gemma “we did this” in front of Unser. Juice assumed the guy was one of Lin’s, but Unser finds the set of master keys on the body and realizes the man worked at the motel. The room was only paid for through the day before. Not blaming the victim here, but the guy could’ve said he worked at the motel either of the times he tried to track Juice.

Unser asks Gemma why Juice is scared of the Chinese and why he said, “We did this.” Gemma tells Unser that she saw the Chinese leaving Jax’s house the night Tara was killed, so the Chinese murdered her and must have retaliated again at Diosa. Unser says he’ll go rent the room for a couple more days so he can clean it up and remove the body after dark. He asks Gemma if she’s okay to “do this,” meaning take Juice out of town. “Gotta be done,” she says, and we know she means take Juice out of town to kill him. He’s too unstable. Juice thanks Unser and you wonder if those will be his final words. Unser calls Jarry and tells her the club is convinced Lin’s crew killed Tara (interesting wording, he’s not convinced?), so Jax took out Lin’s gun shipment, and Lin retaliated at Diosa. Choosing a side, Unser tells her to call Stockton and Oakland PD and have them put a tail on Lin and his associates. He thinks something is going to go down at Stockton.

Jax’s grand plan: Lin’s crew riddles the port warehouse door will bullets because they believe Jax and Chibs have guys waiting inside. The door comes up, and it’s just Chibs’ man purse of heroin. When Lin says Jax is one kilo short, Jax claims Marks is calling all the shots and gave one to the Niners. Jax says he can help the Chinese bring down August because he has Tyler and the Niners in his corner. Okay, he totally fooled me by telling some truth with his lies. I thought perhaps he was going to use Lin to get rid of Marks, since he knows he can’t defeat that man alone, then kill Lin. Jax says he’ll sit down with Marks and Alvarez, and if he’s lying, Lin can kill him and Chibs both. (Chibs isn’t thrilled with that part of the plan.) He also says he hasn’t seen Nero in days. Lin isn’t sure if Nero is lying to protect his kid or if Jax is. Either way, Jax and Chibs earn themselves a ride.

Barosky’s cops pull the Chinese caravan over, and Lin realizes he’s in trouble when Jax tells the cops to zip everyone but him to the fence. Then the rest of SAMCRO shows up. Lin tells Jax this is a big mistake—and Jax says not as big a mistake as killing his wife. The beating starts. “What the hell are you talking about?” Lin asks, standing up. The camera starts to circle them as they circle each other. It’s controlled and primal at the same time: They’re caged animals. Lin calls Jax an idiot and reiterates that he didn’t have Jax’s old lady killed, but Jax isn’t listening. He wanted this death to be slower and smarter, but tricking Lin one last time by having Nero tell him to bring an Army to the slaughter Lin will be forced to watch will have to do. Realizing there’s no negotiating with Jax, Lin follows his lead and takes off his jacket. He gets in some good kicks and punches, and honestly, I’m happy Lin can defend himself because he shouldn’t die for the wrong reason. Jax’s laugh is chilling (don’t you wonder if that was scripted or just Hunnam?), and the blows keep coming as Bobby and Chibs agree they don’t have time for this.

Just then, Chibs gets a call from Jarry, who warns him the real cops are on their way. “Her name’s Tara. Say it. Tara,” Jax yells at Lin as he continues pounding him. Chibs, Bobby, and Tig pull Jax away before he can beat Lin to death. Jax asks for Bobby’s gun, but Bobby knows they may already have eyes on them. Bobby says they’ll get Lin on the inside. “What the hell was that?” Lin asks no one as he spits blood and SAMCRO bolts. (Read what actor Kenneth Choi has to say about that scene.) How were Barosky’s cops going to cover for the beating Lin took? Jarry calls Unser later and thanks him for the lead. They got Lin and most of his crew on gun and drug charges, which buys her some good will with her higher-ups.

You’d think Jax would be satisfied with that day’s work, but he’s not. During the end montage to “Aquarius,” he and the guys conduct a drive-by on remaining members of Lin’s crew stupidly standing outside on the street. That’s Jax’s most reckless move yet: There are other cars on neighboring streets. Even though it’s dark out, people can see the shooters are on bikes. Jax doesn’t care, apparently. Why is the club not telling him to be smart? He should be at Red Woody sleeping in the porn bed with his son Abel, or sitting on the couch with Wendy, Thomas, and Nero watching Nero’s son play checkers with women who are either escorts, porn stars, or Crow Eaters. At least that kid is loving his life and sharing a thumbs up with his dad, so someone gets a happy ending. (Also, notice how Wendy snuggles in next to Nero on the couch: Just for comfort or are they getting close?)

NEXT: Gemma got a gun

Juice and Gemma have a standoff: Juice falls asleep in Gemma’s car, and she doesn’t head toward Oregon. Instead, she’s heading toward someplace where it’s easy to drop a body. When Juice wakes and notices they’re traveling South, Gemma says she had to change the plan. A friend of Nero’s is going to meet them and help get Juice into Mexico. Juice notices Gemma’s gun is easily accessible in her purse. He’s knows what’s happening. He comes clean to her about killing Darvany on Jax’s order because that’s what you do when someone’s a threat. He also tells her he told Nero the truth the night he overdosed at Diosa, and that’s both why the club wants him dead and how he knows she’s lying to him now because Nero wouldn’t be helping him. Gemma reaches for her gun, and they struggle as the car runs off the road. As the music kicks back in with “Let the Sunshine in,” Gemma makes a run for it. Juice has the gun and follows her. He shoots at her feet until she stops and sits on the ground. He can’t believe she was going to kill him after he helped her and trusted her. She says she couldn’t trust him. She sobs, repeatedly apologizes, and says “Please, sweetheart, please.” She begs him not to kill her as we see SAMCRO ride back into Charming. Will the population count on the welcome sign be one less? It’s interesting with Gemma: As evil as she can be, you hate to see a strong woman reduced to that. And yet, you know if she gets herself out of that situation somehow, she won’t change. (Read what Theo Rossi has to say about Juice’s wild ride.)

(KIND OF) SPOILER ALERT: I’d be more worried if we didn’t already know that Gemma is the one who has scenes with the waitress that Lea Michele is playing and if we hadn’t already seen Juice offering Alvarez intel on SAMCRO in a promo. Even though you know Gemma isn’t going to die this early in the season, you could have believed that Juice might turn the gun on himself with his last friend betraying him.

Then again, Juice seems stronger in that scene, doesn’t he? He has that Son Shine tattoo on his chest. Could the “Let the sunshine in” lyric be a nod to this somehow being a new direction for Juice? Could he blackmail Gemma into helping him scheme to get back into the club? Or is this what pushes him to go to Alvarez and finally turn on the club for real? Up until now, any betrayal hasn’t been of his own free will. Is he letting the sunshine in because he no longer has to feel the darkness of guilt? Everyone wants him dead, so screw them? Theories?

Watch a behind-the-scenes video of EW‘s cover shoot with the Sons cast.

Timothy White

For more on Sons of Anarchy, check out this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands now. 

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