Sons of Anarchy recap: 'What a Piece of Work Is Man'
Jax makes another play to save Bobby, and Juice and Gemma don't realize they have a little problem.
In a preseason EW.com poll, 76 percent of readers expected Bobby to survive the final ride—which made him the member of SAMCRO voted most likely to live. Perhaps that explains why in a poll in our recap of the previous episode, 39 percent of readers still expected Jax to save him. Is that faith in the club president, or in the club’s conscience getting the fate he deserved? The moment Kurt Sutter told EW that he believed just two club members would die this season, you had to know one of them would really hurt. Since Bobby and Chibs are closest to Jax, my money was on one of them. Sutter also told EW that a core cast member would die in episode 9 or 10—and that it wouldn’t be Juice. Even if you were in the majority and guessed it’d be Bobby after he lost an eye and the fingers on his clutch hand, the way it happened probably made you gasp and/or yell at your TV. We’ll take that to a vote later. Let’s dig in. (Update: Read our postmortems with Mark Boone Junior, Annabeth Gish, Billy Brown, and director Peter Weller.)
The opening: Sutter always says he uses songs in opening and closing montages to enhance the storytelling, so not using music this episode must also be purposeful. Even in the darkest of times, music has a soothing effect: Not playing any at the start of this episode keeps the mood raw, real, and depressing. Sleepless Jax lies in bed with Abel while Wendy fetches Thomas. Gemma smokes and fidgets waiting for Nero to rise. Juice is transported to Stockton while bloodied Bobby rests on the floor of his cell. Abel is reminded to say “no thank you” when he doesn’t want breakfast. The silence makes it all feel so mundane, which at this point you need: These characters are feeling as empty as Gemma’s birdcage, and the audience need moments to really relate to them before they go off and again do things that most of us never would.
Jax wants everyone to head up to the cabin, and Wendy balks: Falling behind at school adds to Abel’s frustration, she says. Gemma, as always, insists Abel will be fine, and Jax doesn’t think a 5-year-old should be frustrated. Wendy and Gemma tell Abel he’s not going to school because Jax wants Abel with him, but Abel assumes it’s because someone else has died. Smart kid. Nero overhears Gemma tell Wendy that if she wants to help Jax’s boy, she has to do it Jax’s way. Is it wrong to want Abel to do something fairly heinous so that Gemma and Jax finally see the damage they’re causing? You get the feeling that Nero is going to school them both sooner or later on what it really means to be a caring parent (and it will be a great scene for Jimmy Smits).
Grant on the run: At the cabin, Jax explains to Grant, the son of the pastor’s junkie widow, that August took Bobby, so they have to change their plan: They need to show August the compromising video footage of the pantyhose preacher to make him believe he’s getting leverage to silence the mother and son. Everyone, including Grant, is catching on to the fact that when Jax says, “trust me,” another bad thing happens. Grant goes to the SUV to get the phone, and Tyler and his guys make their entrance. “You guys have gone full redneck,” Tyler observes, looking around at the mounted animal heads. “We used to have a couple of black heads on the wall, but we took ’em down, you know, out of respect,” Tig jokes. You find humor where you can, guys. Jax asks Tyler to get him a meeting with Moses or Marks. Jax’s colorful description of the video is interrupted by Montez running in to say Grant hit him with a tire iron and took off.
The chase scene gives us another chance to hear those bike engines. Grant wrecks Happy and tries to take out Jax before Tig fires a warning shot through the driver’s side window and gets him to pull over. Grant can’t just sit back and watch Jax get him and his mother killed—he wanted to offer himself to Marks. Jax says the club will end this. Happy takes a swing at Grant to get right with him. Chibs finds the phone.
Gemma’s duty: As Gemma leaves her house for the cabin, Unser stops by to tell her about Juice’s deal. He’s giving her the heads-up that Jarry and the DA will press her to corroborate his story and ID Chris Dun. Gemma’s reluctant until Rat, who’d been eavesdropping, essentially confirms Unser is right: Jax is calling the shots and needs her to do this because they’re setting up Juice to take out Lin. Brooke interrupts this time, and Rat tells her to go back to the kids’ room—he’ll tell her when to come out. You want to reach through the screen to slap him, but Gemma’s got it covered (with words, not a hand): “Don’t buy into the myth [that] to wear the patch, you gotta treat women like s—,” she says. “‘Cause when it comes to finding a good old lady, you don’t get what you want, Rat, you get what you are. Don’t be a dick.” With that, she tells Nero she has to make a stop to talk to our “Scot-suckin’ sheriff.”
At Jarry’s office, Gemma looks through a book of mostly jailed or dead Asian thugs. Jarry has a photo of Chris Dun she hands her, and Gemma makes the ID. Jarry asks the logical question: How does Juice know anything about Tara and Eli’s murder if Gemma didn’t share her eye-witness account with him? Gemma says she’ll have to talk to Juice for that answer. Eventually, Gemma shuts the door and the two get into each other’s faces. “Seriously, you’re gonna break out the Dirty Harriet routine? You can’t play both sides, sweetheart. You’re on the club’s dime and Chibs’ dick,” Gemma says. T-shirt worthy! Jarry slaps Gemma hard, and Gemma pushes her down to the floor backward over her desk. The best part is seeing Nero through the blinds throw his hands up. He and Gemma make eye contact and she just shrugs. The scene ends with Jarry threatening to throw Gemma’s “white trash ass” in jail if she ever lays hands on her again. “Well, I guess you’ll have to,” Gemma says, “’cause if you ever slap me again, I’ll shoot you in the throat.” Jarry clears her desk Will Gardner-style, and Nero walks Gemma out: “Glad that went well,” he says. “Yeah, I’m helper,” she deadpans.
NEXT: The first meeting with Marks
High noon: August shows up with Moses and his men, and it’s great to see Billy Brown (who’s now a regular on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder and not always available). He and Jax are surprisingly civil considering Marks has sent Jax pieces of Bobby in boxes. Why does Moses urge Marks to move the conversation along: Does he not want Marks to empathize with Jax, or is he worried about Bobby bleeding out before they can make the exchange? (Or is he just being a dick?) Jax shows him the video of the pastor and says he’ll give him it and the body, so he won’t need the son or mother. Jax insists the son is MIA and the mother is in detox, but Marks knows he’s been in touch with the son. How? (Tyler, who crossed paths with the son at the cabin?) Marks says he won’t kill the boy but he needs to see him in-person to make sure he understands the severity of the situation and importance of silence. Marks leaves, and you can’t help but notice how dusty his suit’s pant legs are. Pity.
The body snatchers: Marks suspects that Jax killed the preacher, but Jax claims SAMCRO found him in the projects when they were looking for the East Dub OG who’d gone after the Grim Bastards. Jax says one of his freak buddies must have cut him up. We know the pastor was whole, which means Jax is up to something. Only on Sons would digging up two bodies and sawing off body parts bring levity to an episode. Tig, who apparently thought about becoming a preacher, joins Happy on their mission to manually saw off another man’s torso and legs. Tig likes teaming up with Hap because then he feels like the normal one—ha. Chibs and Jax, meanwhile, are at the construction site digging up the preacher. Poor Chibby wants to puke and is afraid of being haunted. “Trust me, if this guy’s got a ghost, it’s looking for a bus full of dead schoolboys,” Jax says. Quinn offers to help, but Jax has got this. “I call heads,” he quips before bending down to slice off the head with his knife. (Were you surprised we didn’t see more of that carnage?) Chibs gets a good laugh at least. Here’s hoping Jax ditches that knife to be safe. (If August tries to pin the murder on Jax, you don’t want anything connecting him to it, right? Did we get all the bullets out of the body, by the way?)
Next we know, the guys are back at Red Woody, and Hap is sewing the head onto the other torso while Tig helps while plugging his nose. They’ve got one more arm to go, Tig says. It’s like the sequel to Skankenstein! Meanwhile, Grant magically deletes all footage of the preacher on the phone but leaves some of the boys in case Marks demands a quick test. (Wasn’t that always going to piss August off when he learned the truth, or do we assume he’ll never watch long enough to realize he’s been duped?)
A little reminder of trouble to come: Jury’s VP now sports the president’s patch and stops by with his new second to see Jax and Chibs. Jax tells them about Gibby and his death—but blames it on the Chinese. He says Jury blamed SAMCRO, and the Indian Hills VP says that still doesn’t prove Jury was a rat—and he’s right. Chibs says Jury was the only one outside the charter who knew where they were housing the Chinese guns. Jax lies and says Jury copped to ratting during the fight and he killed him in self-defense, but the new prez only saw Jax deck Jury and Jury reach for his gun in self-defense. Bottom line: Indian Hills want an impartial forum composed of other Sons charters to determine what needs to be done, which means SAMCRO has to prove Jury spoke to Lin. Jax and Chibs decide they’ll get Juice a phone to record a conversation with Lin in which Lin confirms it. Good luck with that, guys.
Jawbreaker: Moses gives Bobby back his cut to get him ready for the meet. The number of times Bobby has referenced a member of SAMCRO slitting Moses’ throat, it’ll be disappointing if we don’t eventually see it happen. You think the pain of this scene will just be watching Bobby struggle to get on his cut, but no, Moses’ guys grab him and take him to the wall. They’re supposed to break his jaw. Bobby can only fight back with words: “What’s wrong, bitch, afraid these guys will find out you don’t know how to throw a punch and out you as the p—y you are?” he asks Moses. Moses pays Bobby another compliment: He’s a good soldier, strong and loyal to the end, which is rare. And then Moses hits him so hard we hear the jaw snap. Did anyone wonder if Bobby was trying to piss off Moses so he’d kill him right there—an act of sacrifice so the club wouldn’t have to cave? It probably wasn’t. It was just about Bobby never cowering, which means something for the character but also something to fans (he knew the risks, and he has complete faith in the club to avenge him). But why were they breaking Bobby’s jaw now? Clearly they didn’t want him telling the club something.
Nero’s really leaving, no really: Is that JT’s old bike Chucky and the engineer are kneeling next to when Gemma and Nero arrive at T-M? It looks like they’re replacing the aqua with a nice blue. You might think it’s just a creative shot to put the camera behind the bike to make Nero and Gemma’s walk more visually interesting, but come on now: The mantra of this show is nothing is wasted. (And fans who’ve scrolled through People.com’s Star Tracks recently might have a theory, but that’s all I’m saying.) Nero still hasn’t told Jax he’s selling his shares of Diosa to Alvarez, but he assumes it’ll be fine. He’s heading to the farm in Norco, CA the next day to close the deal with his uncle. Gemma hasn’t made up her mind about going, but the conversation stops when Jarry pulls in. Nero asks Chucky to keep Gemma out of trouble. “That’s a very tall order, amigo,” Chucky says. Love Chucky. Don’t kill him.
NEXT: The unraveling begins
The big twist: Jarry is there to see Unser, who knows she got Eglee’s statement earlier. As expected, Eglee left SAMCRO out of it and blamed the shooting on Neo-Nazis. So we’ll be seeing Leland again next episode. The real reason Jarry is there: S
o Unser can do a Miller Lite product placement After Gemma gave her statement, Jarry did some follow-ups on Dun, and… he was brought in for being drunk and disorderly in Vegas on the night Tara was killed. Vegas PD didn’t charge him, which is why it wasn’t on his rap sheet. Unser is as flummoxed as she is about how two people would ID the same person who couldn’t possibly have committed the crime. Unser says to revoke Juice’s deal and take him out of protection so Lin doesn’t die—and not to let Gemma know they’re on to the lie since she’ll just say all Chinese look alike and she made a mistake. Is that Unser thinking like a police consultant, or is he leaving himself a little room to figure out what’s happening before Jarry and possibly help Gemma out of it? If he finds out she killed Tara, his loyalty ends immediately, right?
RIP, Bobby: At the second meet with Marks, the club arrives second. Marks and his men stand at attention while Tig brushes out his hair with his fingers. (Somewhere, Theo Rossi, who loves making cracks about Kim Coates’ hair, is smiling.) Jax suggests it just be him and Marks there, no weapons or armies. Marks agrees—just what they’re exchanging, plus Grant, of course. Chibs is against this plan, but Jax tells him to just make sure Marks isn’t carrying and it’ll be fine. The guys see Bobby, with his bloody eye socket, bloody hand, and a bandana serving as a gag. They’re devastated. It’s when Moses frisks Jax and Grant that I thought, Oh s—, Chibs should’ve frisked Bobby. Chibs is too upset to think of it, but Jax should have considering he’s the one who hid a gun that time he and Tig killed Pope. The armies leave. Jax plays a snippet of the video on the phone and opens up the sleeping bag carrying the preacher’s body. It’s a good thing they took the preacher’s arms, too, because August looks at them to check a tattoo.
Marks stands Bobby up, and Bobby suddenly starts mumbling. Marks tells him he’s almost home. HOW CRUEL. Jax gets the gag off and Bobby manages to say, “He’s got a gun,” right as Marks grabs it out of the back of Bobby’s jeans. For a second, Jax holds Bobby, and then they separate so Jax can face Marks when he calls him a lying piece of s—. “If you or your mother get the idea to betray me,” Marks says to Grant, pointing the gun at Jax’s chest, “this is what happens.” Marks moves the gun and shoots Bobby in the head. That’s it. He’s gone. Jax catches his body and lowers him to the ground. August puts his gun on Jax’s neck and says, “This is on you, Jackson. Your betrayal. Don’t ever lie to me again.” Again, the silence just guts you, as does the slight slo-mo as Jax cries, lowers his head to Bobby’s, and whispers, “I’m sorry.”
As they place Bobby’s body in the van, Happy cries—which almost hits you harder—and Tiggy tells Bobby something I couldn’t quite make out. Chibs breaks down by the pool of blood, picking up the shell that killed Bobby. Jax, however, is back to business: He wants Chibs and Quinn to deliver the mother’s statement to the DA. Still severely choked up, Chibs suggests they give it to Jarry instead, to give her a win and keep her close. “Not too close, brother,” Jax says. “Aye,” Chibs answers. How did you read Chibs staring at Jax before he walked off: Is he angry that Jax is holding it together now? Or does he realize Jackie is doing exactly what Chibs told him to do after they received Bobby’s eye and Jax wanted to give up? They’ve got to finish this or it’ll have been for nothing. (Again, we know it’s been for nothing either way.)
Brooke and Rat are in love: At the cabin, Wendy takes on junkie duty, which is dangerous, in Gemma’s absence. Luckily, Abel comes to grab her because the TV’s not working before she can sample anything. How big is this cabin again? Brooke and Rat have complete privacy in the kitchen, where she’s baking cookies, when he decides to take Gemma’s advice to heart. Brooke is bipolar and wakes up some days not knowing who she is—she can’t be with someone who acts differently every time she sees him. It’s good to be reminded that Rat is a good guy: Brooke is the first person he’s been with since getting patched in, and he’s just trying to figure out how to be both SAMCRO and someone in love. He’s afraid he’ll screw up both, but, he informs her, he’s not a dick. She loves him, too. Will this be our happy ending? (Still rooting for Venus and Tig!)
NEXT: Juice and Jarry
Juice’s worst nightmare: Amazingly, that bold intro does not refer to him arriving at Stockton and having to immediately stick a large tube from Tully masking a shiv up his bum after a cavity search. Wow. I wonder how the prop team decided on the size of that. Juice later gets another delivery from a roving inmate librarian. It’s tape and what appears to be sand, which he can pack into the handle to keep the blade stable. And then, he gets taken out of his cell, thinking it’s time to kill Lin. Only he’s put into solitary because his deal is dead. And solitary is Juice’s worst nightmare. The guard says he’ll let Tully know, and Juice is left alone to stare at the shiv. Now he’s back to being a wild card.
Delivering the news: At the cabin, Jax tells Gemma, Nero, Wendy, and Brooke that Bobby is dead. He says it was Marks—retaliation for them going after the Chinese. Gemma has to get up and walk away—because now she knows what her lie has caused. “God, does it ever end, Jax?” Wendy asks. “It already has,” he answers. Jax asks Rat to dig Bobby a grave at the cabin with Montez when it gets dark. “Bobby always loved this place. I want to keep him close,” Jax says. I teared up again: It reminds you of Opie “staying close” to Jax by getting himself tossed into jail at the start of season 5. Gemma sits at the small kitchen table with smoke rising from her cigarette, and Nero stands silently by her. It’s almost like a painting: They’re so still, save that smoke, and Gemma’s face is like stone. Does Jax feel like a failure? He must, because he goes into the mother’s room and tells Grant he’s right—he keeps making mistakes. The mother knows he’s trying to help. She can sense he’s a decent man. “I don’t think that’s true,” he says. He tells them the new plan: He’s giving her statement to the authorities, saying she got an anonymous tip from a gang-affiliated member of her congregation. It’s only a Band-Aid until Jax can fix it “permanently.” She’ll have to back up her statement and return to her home—though he’ll keep a couple of Sons with her. Jax insists he’ll continue to honor his promise and keep them alive. You believe he means that—but can he?
Chibs and Jarry get busy: Chibs meets Jarry in the parking garage, with Quinn tagging along, to give her the mother’s statement. He tells her to move on Marks now. Jarry asks all the right questions: How is she supposed to explain that a woman she’s never met gave her this anonymous tip, complete with a map to the body? Isn’t SAMCRO in bed with Black? Chibs gives her a better sell: With Lin and Marks away, there’s no more bloodshed. SAMCRO is good with Brown, and this will return the balance. She asks him about Chris Dun, and he says Lin must have known he was sloppy and got him out of the country. Jarry tells him Gemma ID’d Dun right after she told her to stop being so righteous. Chibs is sorry about that and willing to stop this if Jarry thinks them hooking up is a mistake. She asks him that yes or no question. “If it’s no, take me. Right here,” Jarry says. Chibs is just as surprised as we are. What about Quinn? “I don’t give a sh—,” she says. “If you have feelings for me, show me. Right now. If you don’t, just walk away, and we’ll go back to playing cops and robbers.” When Chibs doesn’t move, she goes to get into her police car. “That’s what I thought,” she says. But he grabs her forearm and kisses her. I’ll admit it: I’m a prude apparently, because the first time I watched the episode, I couldn’t get past Quinn being there. I’d never say, “To prove your feelings, have sex with me in front of your friend because it’s the only time I get to see you and I really need an answer.” But the second time, I was able to appreciate the beautiful way director Peter Weller had backlit the wide shots and the obvious need from both of them as her uniform came off and they made use of her police car’s hood. The cut to Quinn, who didn’t bother to turn away but seemed more amused than turned on, relieved some of my stress. But if his presence continues to bother you, you just have to tell yourself Jarry knew what she was doing and suggested it. In fact, part of me wonders if she wanted a witness to Chibs’ true feelings, in case she needs leverage on Chibs down the road. Jax won’t like them getting too close. But was Quinn too far away to hear? Sound doesn’t travel well in Charming, we’ve learned.
The end: Again, there’s no music. Jax heads away from the cabin on his own while Bobby’s body is brought out of the van. While the Coroner unearths the remainder of the preacher’s body (August knew about the arm tattoos but not the preacher’s size?), Unser continues to pour over his files. Bobby lies in state on a picnic table, and Gemma asks for a few minutes alone with him before they bury him. Wendy and Brooke make the guys go out another door because they’re tracking mud into the cabin, so Abel is left alone to go get a cookie and then overhear Gemma crying. “I’m so sorry, Bobby,” she says. “I had no idea. I couldn’t see all this. Please, oh please, forgive me. Please.” Okay, so sound does travel when Abel is around. Must be his young ears. He just stares at her as she bows her head. This is another great (silent) moment for Abel.
Jax meets up with Chibs so they can watch Marks get led out of a swanky place and arrested. Why does Jax need glasses at night? Moses is left standing on the sidewalk by himself when Jax and Chibs ride by. The shot from Jax’s perspective is cool, but we end looking at Jax glaring at Moses. Is he about to turn into the Reaper again? Theories?
Sons of Anarchy
Kurt Sutter’s original series, starring Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal.