I wasn’t cool enough to know the exact translation of tonight’s Sons of Anarchy episode (being a monolingual ‘Merican and all), but I did know enough to figure out that it had something to do with fish. “Sleep with the fishes” would’ve been appropriate, especially given the heavy mob connection that follows, but it turns out it’s closer to “gone fishing.”
That said, there are no literal fish to speak of, just a lot of metaphorical fishing as Jax moves in on getting the proof he needs that Clay is the mastermind behind the renegade Nomads. The hunt for Frankie Diamonds leads SAMCRO — including Chibs, who is found safe and sound, save for a nasty bump and gash on the back of his head — up north to a mob-fronted restaurant, the kind of nice, quiet place where Michael Corleone whacked Sollozzo and McCluskey. The proprietor of this legitimate establishment is Leo (Peter Oronati) who apparently has been helping Frankie escape. After a scuffle in the restaurant that leads to a few innocent tables being flipped over, Jax gets some face time with Leo and tells him that the club is after Frankie because he stole $500,000 from them, far more than he actually took, of course. Jax says hey, you can even keep the money, we just want Frankie. Leo, very easily, complies and sends SAMCRO out to where they can find Frankie.
But Clay has his own interest in finding Frankie first, of course. After feigning feebleness that takes him off his hog and into the van with Juice, they head secretly to a location where Clay’s inside source says Frankie is holed up. He tells Juice that the two of them need to go check it out alone and see if it’s legit before bringing everybody else in on it. Juice, as always, is wary, but goes along with it. C’mon, Juicy, man up.
So by the time Clay and Juice get there, Frankie has figured out that the walls are closing in on him, and he blows away the mob guy baby sitting him. Instead of a long, drawn-out firefight, Clay goes ahead and rams the van through the cabin and forces the issue. But Juice has a short heart to heart with Frankie (whilst pointing an AK-47 at his chest), where Frankie tells him that Clay is behind it all. Juice, again, is troubled, but doesn’t stop the inevitable from happening. Clay is about to send Frankie to his maker when Jax and the boys slam through the door, guns drawn. They saw the smoke from the van vs. house encounter and decided to check it out.
A little background here. Jax had decided that the club needed to take Frankie alive in order to turn him over to Eli, who would then agree to tell who at the SAMCRO table is working with the Feds on the RICO case. But when the club votes that Frankie needs to die — or, as they put it, “meet Mr. Mayhem” (which totally should have been the title of the episode!) — Jax and Bobby need to get creative. They come up with the idea of insisting that Jax kills Frankie himself, then they take him somewhere for Eli to come get him. It’s a very precarious situation, with lots of moving parts and, as Bobby points out, lots of lying, but it seems to be going according to plan. But all that is unceremoniously obliterated when Leo walks in, sees that Frankie has killed his man, and proceeds to put a few bullets in him and call it a day.
Later, Bobby asks what they’re going to do about Eli, and Jax responds, “Give him the third Nomad.” No, he’s not planning a “weekend at Frankie’s,” as Bobby jests. He’s going to meet Eli and show him the corpse. Needless to say, Eli isn’t thrilled, but it’s probably the best thing for him in the end. He snaps to attention, looks at his situation — meeting a convicted felon in a secluded location while making a deal that could wreck a federal investigation and get a (relatively) innocent man killed — and says, “What am I doing?” Jax insists on getting the name of the rat, but Eli is now reluctant. But, in a crushing sequence, Jax says it doesn’t really matter, because he already knows. He proceeds to eliminate all the suspects until he gets to Juice.
More on that later. But elsewhere, Gemma is trying to decide whether to go through with Jax’s proposal that she get back with Clay in order to make amends for her role in the car accident that hurt Abel and Thomas. But as much as she hates herself, she can’t resist how close she’s getting with Nero. It’s not just drunken sex, he actually likes her for who she is, and it’s been a long time since she could say that. The episode plays like a little romantic comedy between them, albeit one only Sons of Anarchy could do. They go visit Nero’s handicapped son, who flirts with Gemma, then go dispose of Carla’s ashes by breaking into a mausoleum. (Gemma fires off a priceless line when Nero asks if she’d ever done this before. She says, “I ain’t Tig.” Then, to a confused Nero, “Never mind.”) But later, after Gemma visits Jax and Tara to make sure they were serious about their offer and getting confirmation, she comes to tell Nero something. Whether she was going to play it straight and tell him the situation, or break it off without explanation, we can’t be sure, because after she saw the “love birds” — parakeets? — that Nero bought to represent their relationship, she just couldn’t do it. But she does end up at Clay’s by episode’s end, injecting his painkillers and starting to rebuild that bridge. Not a pretty sight.
Tara spends the episode trying again to get Otto to recant his testimony. She’s also dealing with the knowledge that thanks to Jax being put on her insurance, it’s only a matter of time before the medical community figures out she’s married to a felon. So when she learns that the Portland people are still interested in her for a job, she makes sure to keep that bridge open. Beyond that, she shares a couple of visits with Otto that go from tense, strange to just damn sad. The introduction of Luann’s perfume reduces Otto to an even more pathetic state, which is saying something considering he’s a half-blind death-row convict strapped to a table. But he takes one whiff and he’s completely broken. This eventually leads to Tara cradling Otto’s head while he keeps his head near Tara’s pocket while he masturbates with his free hand. No word on whether this will lead to him breaking it off with the Feds.
I wonder how this plays on set, with Maggie Siff having to play these scenes with her boss. Did Kurt Sutter have this in mind when he was auditioning her way back when? And what are we to make of Tara later starting to pleasure herself in the privacy of her own room while smelling the perfume?
The episode ends on an ominous note, as Juice leaves Clay and Gemma to continue their nascent reconciliation. Not long after he takes off on his bike, a familiar SUV follows him, with Jax behind the wheel. Poor Juicy Boy.
Photo: Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX