By Stacey Harrison
Nearly every episode, you see those mug shots of the Sons on the wall, hinting at their incarcerated past. But it all seems long ago and far away, with Clay and the rest of the senior SAMCRO leadership doing their best to avoid the clink. Well, with this episode, we get to see how they do when thrown behind bars where black, white and all colors of the racial rainbow are out to get them.
Clay immediately crosses racial lines, drawing on his relationship with the Niners to make friends with the black inmates, seeking protection from the Aryan faction out to get them. The particulars get a little nasty, though, as sealing the deal involves cornering a guy the black gang considers a snitch. Said snitch has a thing for Latino men, so Juice is tapped to offer himself up as a sacrificial boy toy, only to (hopefully) be interrupted as the gang jumps the guy and beats him to a pulp. Everything goes according to plan, as Juice is able to stall the guy long enough with his sheer awkwardness in a scene played mostly for laughs. Things get serious, though, when Juice gets shanked out in the yard and nearly killed. It’s not the only blood shed among the club this episode.
The other part of the protection deal involved getting to a snitch on the outside. Opie is recruited for this gig, and it gets kinda convoluted. After a series of setups and shakedowns, he is able to recruit the crooked sheriff Trammell (remember him?) to participate in a setup that would take the snitch in. It involves a traffic stop where he would find some incriminating evidence. Only it goes south, and Trammell ends up shot, looking dead on impact. Only once Opie gets over there, the guy looks at best to be in mild discomfort. He’s even able to instruct Opie what to do in order to save his life. Not to sound bloodthirsty, but it’s a little tiring when people keep getting shot and stabbed, but no one actually dies. Makes it all seem a little PG-13, don’t you think? Besides, is Trammell (or Juice) such an important character that the show couldn’t survive without them? Not that it should get like Oz, where somebody died nearly every episode, but the stakes seem to be a little higher than simply having people keep getting injured.
Meanwhile, Opie is getting closer to Lila, even beating up her jerk drug dealer during his maneuvering for Clay and the gang. He trusts her enough that he lets her go pick up his kids for him. Only Tara and Gemma are having none of it. Lila sheds the wounded lamb act she puts on for Opie enough to get into it a little bit with the mother hens, but she doesn’t leave with those kids. It’s by far the most sensible thing Tara’s done this season — certainly more so than agreeing to put up her house to help the gang make bail. Ugh.
But Tara’s money isn’t nearly enough to get everybody out. They need to call in a favor from Hayes, whose land they helped save from that eminent-domain scheme a while back. They also delivered retribution on the creepy carny who raped Hayes’ teenage daughter. Of course, they did keep a weapon Hayes used on the carny as leverage against him. Gemma lays quite a guilt trip on the guy, and uses the daughter a little bit to eventually get her way.
Agent Stahl is back on the scene, having become very interested in the IRA-Aryan gun-running connection, and she tries to squeeze the incarcerated bikers to help her. She faces off with Jax, telling him she sees what he’s trying to do, and that the way to legitimacy has never been clearer. Just cooperate, and the SAMCRO crew gets immunity. Jax doesn’t bite, trying to act like he knows she’s desperate.
The highlight of the episode, though, is a long-time coming throwdown between Jax and Clay. After Clay has a tête-à-tête with Stahl, he can’t control his anger any longer and he sucker punches Jax, who’s more than happy to reciprocate. A few Sons try to stop it at first, but Bobby holds them back, saying, “They need this! They need this!” And the fight just keeps going, eventually getting into They Live territory, until they pretty much reach a stalemate. Not sure if this will be the healing that Bobby hoped for.
— Clay to Juice: “There’s a 50-50 chance you don’t end up with a dick up your a@@.”
— I did enjoy hearing Opie shout “Officer down” into Trammell’s CB.