Sons of Anarchy recap: 'Greensleeves'
This is the episode fans have been waiting for and fearing: The club has been punished for its blind faith in Jax. And poetically, it’s an eyeball that Bobby loses when Marks doesn’t respond well to Jax’s blackmail attempt. We all knew Bobby should’ve said something when Jax admitted to Jury in episode 2 that he had no vision. Executive producer Paris Barclay, who directed the episode, confirms Bobby is still alive at the end of the 90 minutes. Update: Read what he has to say about the episode’s big moments—including Abel overhearing Gemma confessing to Thomas—in our postmortem. Let’s dig in.
Juice lives… for now: We openwith Jax and Juice standing near the spot where John Teller’s fatal accident took place in November 1993. All you can hear, aside from Juice’s “I’m sorry,” is the wind and birds. It sounds like a Western, but this isn’t the standoff we were expecting. Jax hands Juice back his cut, and Chibs turns around when Juice looks his way. Juice rides off while the guys, one at time, pay their respects to JT by putting their hand on the date. Bobby goes last, takes the longest, and hugs Jax afterward. When you watch the episode again, knowing how it ends, that moment will make you tear up. What’s the significance of that spot now? JT wanted the club to be all about the brotherhood—so presumably, it’s symbolic of Jax counting on Juice’s loyalty now since, as we later find out, he asked Juice to shoot out some cops’ tires and get himself arrested so he can eventually get close enough to take out Lin. If Juice chokes and turns on the club again to make a deal inside, Jax will rely on Tully to kill him, so there is a backup plan. It’s a risky game, but like Bobby says at the table, Juice had a lot of chances to run and he didn’t (until that time he went to the Mayans, of course). Do the cops not wonder why Juice randomly shot at their tires—or why he has a van tailing him? Juice hesitates when the cops finally catch up to him: If we hadn’t seen him thrown down his gun earlier, you’d think maybe he was debating whether to reach for it to make the cops kill him and end this. But he was just steeling himself for what’s to come. We ultimately saw Juice wearing County Jail orange. Instead of being in general population, he’s isolated. Juice hates to be alone, which we know. He finally gets a cellmate, one of Tully’s guys.
Eglee’s alive… for now: Unser goes to see Jax at Red Woody, where Cocks and Bagel is currently in production (not the last Red Woody original we’ll see, Barclay says!). He tells him that Eglee told him what happened that day with the AB and SAMCRO—and that she won’t be telling anyone else as long as she’s not in anyone’s cross hairs. Unser wants Jax’s word because he still thinks that means something. Jax promises she won’t get hurt, and while you believe he won’t let SAMCRO harm his old high school classmate, he can’t speak for Leland and the AB. Of course, Jax then lies to Unser’s face and tells him that he hasn’t seen Juice. He is his mother’s son.
Tears at the table: Jax’s speech detailing the ways Marks is more dangerous than your average street beef seems to be directed at viewers, too. The show is moving into a new chapter with Marks as the Big Bad, and even though Jax respects his reach enough to use leverage as his weapon instead of blood, you get the feeling that Jax still underestimates him when he says Marks isn’t Pope. Jax warns the guys that this plan will put them and their families at risk, but the guys are still with him. Jax thanks his brothers for their unwavering loyalty and faith and for allowing him to make his personal vengeance club business. “You’re my family,” he says. “I love all you.” Seeing Bobby fight back tears made my eyes well up. Jax’s eyes are misty, too. This could be the last time we see Bobby at that table. After Chapel, Unser tells the guys about Juice being picked up by the CPH. When they don’t act surprised (or worried) enough, he knows they’re using Juice for something. Smart Unser is the best Unser.
Nero makes a decision: With the rest of the season probably taking place over a whopping six days, odds are he won’t be leaving Charming anytime soon, but the Companionator has, in fact, decided to buy his uncle’s farm. He comes to T-M to tell Gemma he can have it for $1 million, if he can come up with $150,000 in cash for a down payment. He’s going to sell Jax his half of Diosa and take his son and, he hopes, Gemma with him. Gemma first says she can’t go, but god, seeing Nero’s tears when he asks her to think about it—”Take into consideration all the bad s–t that’s happened here. We deserve something better, Gemma”—how do you not want to run away/to someplace with him. “Do we?” she asks in one of her more honest moments. You’re thinking he does, but once he says, “I have serious love for you,” you’re willing to let her live if it’ll make Nero happy.
The way Gemma hugs Unser when she tells him that he doesn’t have to move his Airstream off T-M because she doesn’t want anyone else leaving her makes you believe she’s already made her decision to stay. Then again, she could just be feeling fragile and full of love. After all, she’d given Wendy the option to skip town out of fear that Juice had told Jax about them hiding him, and Wendy’s staying. Gemma was even nice to Chucky when he made sure she knew that although the guys think of him as a mascot and a joke, he’s a good listener. “You’re not a joke, Chucky,” she told him kissing his head. Both Jax and Gemma have been sweet to Chucky: He’s dying soon, right?
NEXT: Jax makes a deal
The leverage: The guys head to Piedmont Grace to visit the pantyhose preacher’s wife and stepson. Chibs tells the stepson that they haven’t lied to him “yet”… and cut to Jax saying that they know for a fact that Marks killed the pastor. They claim they’ve been watching Marks and saw a couple of his thugs burying a body on one of Pope’s construction sites and dug it up themselves. Jax using Tara’s murder to make himself seem more trustworthy and relatable? Even Chibs seemed shocked by that. They ask the wife to sign a statement that Marks threatened her and her husband into signing the housing deal—which gives Marks motive for murder. Jax really seems to believe that the threat of Marks losing an empire he can almost touch to a murder charge will be enough to get him to back off. Really? The guy who made his bones being the most dangerous man on the street is going to just back off?
There’s another problem: A pimp named Greensleeves has cell phone footage of the pastor with young boys at the lake house. The wife has run out of money to pay him off, so when he releases the footage, her credibility will be shot. Jax offers to handle the blackmail problem and have Gemma help taper the mother off the drugs she’s on up at the cabin. Bad things happen at cabins on this show, but you believe that Jax does respect a son for trying to take care of his mother and is going to do right by these people.
Nero agrees to ID Greensleeves for Jax and Chibs, even though he fears it’s a semiautomatic discussion they want to have with the man. When we meet him, he’s berating one of his prostitutes, Winsome, for daring to decline a date with a man who nearly broke her arm last time. “Oh no, babe, see it don’t hurt,” he says after reenacting it. “What it does is it makes you stronger. See that Iranian, he is paying for the privilege of making you stronger.” He tells her she’s brave and special. She’s his champion, his “Win some, lose none.” They should make T-shirts with his “Who puts the o in Ho?” on them. Jax and Chibs approach and things quickly go south when Greensleeves suggests they hop on their “scooters” and get off his block. When Chibs punches Greensleeves, Winsome hits Jax. Chivalrous Greensleeves hightails it out of there clipping one of their bikes and almost hitting Nero, who’d gotten out of his car to come to the rescue. If Nero would have gone out like that… Jax and Chibs chase down Winsome, and Nero suggests they offer her a job at Diosa in exchange for Greensleeves’ whereabouts.
Jax immediately slips into “What’s your name, darlin’?” mode, while Chibs makes jokes at her expense (not cool, Chibs). Nero offers her his card, and she doesn’t think she’s Diosa Escorts material: “I’m not really the girl you take to the opera before I swallow your c–k,” she says, looking at Jax for the latter half of that sentence. Foreshadowing? Jax smiles. You can already tell he likes her. She has Tara’s long brown hair and an innocence underneath that tough exterior. Nero tells her about the benefits of working at Diosa, and Jax says they’ll break anyone’s arm who touches her. “That’s kinda sweet,” she says. “Yeah, we’re all very sweet,” he coos. You are flirting Jax Teller! We should be angry, but it’s great to see that smile again somewhere other than at an ambush. They win her over. “Not to sound antisemantic [sic], but the whole Jew thing, I think it’s kinda bulls—. He’s got a foreskin that almost reaches his knees,” she says. “We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for that,” Jax says. That smile again. Winsome will return in episode 10. Let’s put it to a vote. (And read what actress Inbar Lavi has to see about Winsome’s backstory and chemistry with Jax.)
When Jax and Chibs bust into Greensleeves’ surprisingly tidy apartment looking for the cell with the incriminating video, Greensleeves takes his random strung-out whore hostage, mistakenly thinking Jax would care if he slit the girl’s throat. Chibs shoots Greensleeves when he reaches for a gun. Long story short, Greensleeves talks too much: He knows Winsome ratted him out, and he’s determined to find Jax and Chibs after they leave, so Jax has no choice, really, but to stage a “suicide.” He grabs him and sends him flying through the window. Correction, he doesn’t make it out the window; he gets impaled by glass through the gut and is stuck. “That was a very sloppy suicide,” Chibs says. “Yeah? It worked. He’s dead,” Jax says. He decides to let the girl live since she won’t remember anything and was in the other room. They’re out with a “shalom.” The Charlie Hunnam’s Hair Twitter account is going to love that scene. Lots of range.
Afterward, Nero tells Jax he wants him to buy him out of Diosa, and though Jax promises everything will calm down, Nero is the one person who knows not to trust Jax. They leave it unresolved. Nero gets in his car to take Winsome to Diosa, and she finally realizes she might want to know who the hell he is. (Guess she doesn’t read the papers and know about the Diosa massacre.) “Are you a gangster?” she asks. “I don’t think so,” he answers.
NEXT: The beginning of the end
Tyler time: Jax has Tyler come to the alley in Oakland and gives him the copy of the signed statement to hand over to August. He’s supposed to tell him that if he doesn’t meet Jax at a park at 6 p.m., or if he comes with force, the original document goes to the DA. Meanwhile, Chibs, Quinn, and Bobby actually do dig up the pastor’s body at the construction site so they can take a photo of it. “Amateur,” Tig quips when the smell makes Quinn puke. Tig says he’ll send the pics to Tyler and we get a faraway shot of the guys. Wouldn’t a construction site that has no guard most of the time probably have a camera? Is that how Marks’ men find and tail Bobby?
Gemma thinks Jax is going to have her killed: Rat and Happy are dispatched to go pick up Gemma and bring her to the cabin, and Rat is worried she’ll say no. “Are you afraid of my mother?” Jax asks. “We all are,” Happy answers. Ha. They have no idea. There’s no real reason why Jax couldn’t let them tell Gemma they need help with a junkie since she’d learn the truth once she got there, right? Instead, Jax tells them to just say it’s a “mother-son issue, a family problem that needs some help.” Technically, he had no reason to believe she’d think it was their problem, so fine, that does make sense. You can see why guilty Gemma would feel jumpy though, especially with the Sergeant-at-Arms involved. She also looks extremely sleep-deprived, which makes anyone paranoid and overly emotional.
Gemma asks to go to her house to pick up some things (like her gun), and she decides if this is the last time she sees baby Thomas, he needs to know the truth (because he can’t remember it/speak it anyway). She tells him she was trying to be a good grandmother and she loves her family. Accidents happen for love and reasons we don’t understand, she continues. “Killing your mommy was an accident,” she says. And cut to Abel standing in the open doorway. Gasp! It’s his best (silent) acting on the show ever. Hands down. Gemma is so tired she didn’t think to close the door before confessing to murder?! She knows Rat, Happy, and Brooke are in the house, even if she doesn’t realize Wendy has brought Abel home early from school because he got in a shoving match with a first grader. “It was such an awful accident,” she continues. “I didn’t want to kill her. I didn’t mean it. I loved your mommy so much. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” Thomas, who threatened to ruin the take by crying too early, finally gets to let loose. We have to remember: Gemma thinks savagely killing Tara would have been okay IF she had really been a rat. It’s only a mistake because Tara wasn’t. How much does Abel understand of what he heard? That’s the question. We know Wendy had yelled that she was his real mom to him when Tara took the boys from her and Unser at the end of last season—it doesn’t seem like he remembers/processed that. That said, you gotta love the horror film vibe later when Wendy thinks Abel’s asleep and the camera shows his eyes opening. Suddenly, Abel is an interesting character!
Later, Wendy assures Gemma that Jax won’t kill her, and she doesn’t know what to make of Gemma’s response: “Who knows what Juice told him?” She asks Wendy to tell Nero to come to the cabin. Nero meanwhile is meeting with Marcus about selling him his part of Diosa. He says Jax will have to be okay with it since it’s business. He wants $300,000, half of it upfront. Marcus knows Nero isn’t afraid of bullets. True, he’s just getting too old to dodge them. Marcus is going to bring it to his table, and we’re left wondering if Nero will finally get hit now that he’s really ready to get out. Especially when he rushes out after getting Wendy’s call.
When Gemma gets to the cabin and Montez asks her to come to the bedroom, she says she needs some water and uses the time to get her gun accessible. Would she have used it if Jax were the one waiting in the room? She’s relieved when she sees the mother and son there.
Wendy also calls Unser, who comes to the alley with the flatbed truck and tells Jax that Gemma was freaked out about going to the cabin. He also saw her looking unsettled when she left. He wants to know Gemma will be safe. The guys assume Happy said something random to scare her. Unser leaves after Tig has some fun groping Uncle Touchy, and Bobby suggests he head up to the cabin to make sure both mothers are okay. Jax wants him to take Quinn, but Bobby says Jax can’t spare him. Bobby plans to take the car, so maybe they think he’ll be safe without his cut showing. Who’d think to look for SAMCRO in a car? Jax thinks they’re almost home free after Tyler phones and tells Tig that August is confirmed for the meet.
takes loses one for the team: As SAMCRO and the Mayans ride to the meet, Bobby heads toward the cabin singing Conway Twitty’s “It’s Only Make Believe.” It’s not Elvis, but it’s a song that Twitty recorded early in his career to sound like Elvis, so it works. (Special shoutout to my mother who raised my sister and I on Conway Twitty.) Bobby is belting it out, feeling great, and that’s when he’s driven off the road. He survives the crash, but he knows he’s in trouble when a bunch of Marks’ men head his way. It’s dark by the time we see the guys waiting at the bench—so they shot that way past 6 p.m., my friends. Chibs decides to call Tyler. Does he answer? We don’t know.
How did Marks’ men find Bobby? Did they really have eyes on SAMCRO, like Jax claimed to have on Marks to the preacher’s family? That’s karma. Did Tyler or one of his men flip? Was there a camera at the construction site, and they caught up to Bobby, Tig, and Quinn and hoped that one of them would break off on his own? My friends at EW Radio always joke that you know something bad is about to happen when Katey Sagal sings a song, and they’re right here: As her haunting version of “Greensleeves” kicks in, we see Abel awake, Unser and Chucky at T-M watching the bike be unloaded, Juice meeting his Aryan cellmate, and Nero showing up at the cabin (Gemma says she needed another junkie to help with the junkie, so all good).
Then, Moses (Six Feet Under‘s Mathew St. Patrick), the head of Marks’ security team, shows up at the park an hour late with a box. “His reply to your request is in the package,” he tells SAMCRO and the Mayans. “I really admire your level of camaraderie,” he adds. “I can see how brotherhood is important to all of you. You guys have a good evening.” He walks away calmly and Jax opens the box. Inside, there’s a Redwood Original patch and an iPad on and ready to play. They watch the video, and it’s Bobby having his eye removed with a grapefruit spoon. There’s also Tupperware that Jax opens—it’s Bobby’s eye. Jax puts it down and walks away alone. Either he doesn’t want the guys to see him lose it, or he can’t bear to look at his brothers in that moment. Chibs can’t help himself—he has to grab hold of Tig for support.
Whether or not Bobby dies—he’s the club member fans voted most likely to survive in a pre-season EW.com poll—he had to be the one taken since he’s the one who’s fought hardest to keep SAMCRO whole over the years and is the club’s conscience. Also, Mark Boone Junior deserves a juicy storyline before the series ends, and when that man cries, we cry.
Kurt Sutter’s original series, starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal.