Sons of Anarchy recap: “Los Fantasmas” After the entertaining sidetrip last week that showed us the continuing exploits of Venus Van Dam, we get back on track this week with a pretty focused, straightforward episode. The fallout from Tara’s (Maggie Siff) stunning maneuver against Gemma (Katey Sagal) starts to take shape, while some expected flaws also begin to be exposed, while Nero (Jimmy Smits) makes a fateful decision from jail.
Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) presses Gemma for a statement, and she’s surprisingly cool and calm as she spells it out for him. As furious as she must be, it’s hard not to think there’s not some small part of Gemma that is impressed with what Tara was able to do. Call it a bit of professional admiration among scheming old ladies. She doesn’t believe Tara was ever pregnant, and yes, Lieutenant, she knows how this sounds.
For her part, Tara doesn’t do much denying of what she’s done, at least not to non-uniformed personnel. Unser (Dayton Callie) comes to see her and mentions just how strange it was that she approached him about getting a restraining order before Gemma attacked her. Called that one, btw. Unser actually shows some fire, telling Tara she needs to make sure Gemma doesn’t get busted for manslaughter or spend any more time in prison. He’s not upset about Gemma necessarily, he says, he’s more disappointed about Tara losing herself in her Machiavellian plan. Tara also doesn’t deny anything to Lowen (Robin Weigert), who really wants to confront her about everything, but Tara deflects it rather coldly, saying basically, I pay you so shut up and do what I say. When she goes down to the new clubhouse, Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) doesn’t press her for details about what happened with Gemma, but pleads with her not to give up on Jax, because the guy doesn’t stand a chance without her apparently.
Another of Tara’s mistakes rears its ugly head as we see Wendy (Drea De Matteo) heading to a bad part of town to buy some drugs. Yeah, doc, making a drug addict your main partner probably was going to backfire at some point, right? Gemma of course knows this, and once she’s out of jail — Tara refused to press charges — she heads over to see Wendy to try to turn her against Tara. She doesn’t get violent, well, not physically. But emotionally she’s fierce, telling Wendy that if she helps her prove what Tara did, she will keep Jax from killing her once the truth comes out. It’s not a suprise, though it’s still no less tragic, when we later see Wendy giving in to her addiction once again.
Club business now takes place upstairs above a sweets shop, a development I love beyond words. Just seeing the hard-edged, leather-clad bikers talking business amid candy dishes and old-timey soda jerks is just priceless. But the topic couldn’t be more serious, as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) has assembled everyone together to discuss a front-page newspaper story that day that indicates that the Byzlats (I never knew how to spell that before, did you?) and, more importantly, the Sons of Anarchy may have supplied the gun used in the school shooting. SAMCRO isn’t the only party discussing it, as Patterson (CCH Pounder) is using it to press Nero to give up the Sons in exchange for immunity from his murder charge. She really gives him the hard sell, too, saying that with the breaking story that flipping on the Sons will soon become a popular get-out-of-jail-free card once the public’s appetite for punishment starts getting satiated.
Jax takes the crew to meet with the Byzlats to talk to them about how to operate during the heat that’s coming their way because of the newspaper article. Everyone seems on the same page, until a mysterious car they all assumed was driven by some sort of vice cop, starts speeding their way and runs over on of the Byzlats, dragging his body several feet down the street before driving off. So yeah, not a cop.
This has quite the chain reaction as Patterson calls Barosky (Peter Weller) into her office and tells him he needs to bring him the driver or else she’ll start messing up his dock operations. But Patterson has other plates spinning as Nero tells her he’s ready to make a deal. As long as she can guarantee that his son will receive the best care in the state, he will … confess to supplying the gun. Shrewd move, Nero. If he gave up the Sons, he’d be dead and his son would have no one, but at least this way he can go down a hero and now provide for his son. Plus, there’s part of him that must feel guilty for his role in the boy getting the gun. Patterson is definitely surprised by this turn of events, but obviously not displeased. She just needs to nail somebody for it, whether they wear leather or a bandanna.
Finding the driver is the relatively easy part, but the difficult part is keeping the Byzlats from taking immediate revenge. Jax’s plan is to give the guy up to Barosky so he can make Patterson happy but of course the Byzlats are all amped up to kick the guy’s door in and blow his brains out. They’re well on their way to doing just that when Jax and company have to intervene. The man in the house doesn’t make their job easier when he hacks one of the Byzlats in the back with a kitchen knife. But just as the bullets are about to start flying, Jax notices something troubling. There’s a picture of the guy with a young boy, whom Jax recognizes as one of the victims of the school shooting. He’s not a gang member with connections, no agent for the cops … just a grieving father out for revenge. Everybody backs off and walks away, leaving the cops to do their jobs. When they boys in blue do finally get there, it’s just long enough to watch the guy put a knife in his own throat, finally ending his torment.
This has a quashing effect on Nero’s grand plan, as Patterson has a change of heart upon hearing it was a father of one of the slain children who was driving the car. The evidence had come back indicating that Lee Toric committed the murder that Nero is charged with, but she wasn’t going to cut him loose now that he had confessed. But now she realizes she needs to not just give the public a name, but actually needs to affect some change. Nero is set free, but still has to deal with that guilt.
So Jax’s life-or-death stuff is done for the day, but he still has a couple of painful confrontations ahead of him. First off he sees Gemma at the hospital when he goes to pick up the boys. She tries to explain to him that she didn’t hurt Tara, but Jax gets his steely gaze on and says some pretty permanent shit to her, about how she’ll never see the boys again, and that “Grandma is dead.” He then goes home to Tara and confesses to her that he feels so far away from her, and that he knows it’s his doing. How do I get back? he asks. She simply shakes her head and tells him she doesn’t know.
But she does know, doesn’t she? There’s no turning back now.