Now is about the time in every Sons of Anarchy run when it feels more like the end of the series is near, and not just the season. That’s never more true than after the events of “You Are My Sunshine,” this week’s Sons of Anarchy recap.
We start with Patterson (CCH Pounder) reaming Jax (Charlie Hunnam) over the bloodbath he orchestrated involving Galen (Timothy V. Murphy) and Clay (Ron Perlman). She knows he’s lying, he knows she knows, but in the end they both came out better off. Perhaps Patterson is willing to let things slide a little bit knowing that she has Tara (Maggie Siff) in line to turn on the MC in exchange for immunity. For her part, Tara is busy tending to Bobby (Mark Boone Junior), who gets pretty doped up — and hilarious — this episode as he recovers from his bullet wound during Clay’s escape. Patterson wants to get together and exchange the bullet, which will prove SAMCRO was involved in the escape, for promises of witness protection. Tara agrees to meet at her office in the hospital, but when is unnerved when on her way there she finds Gemma (Katey Sagal) roaming the halls. Actually, lurk would be a better word there. Gemma is always lurking. Things get messier when on her way out of the hospital, Gemma bumps into Patterson and the pair of legal-looking dudes behind her. She doesn’t seem to immediately put it together that Patterson is there to see Tara, but oh yes, eventually it will all become clear.
Tara says she will have her lawyer look over the protection agreement the Feds have drawn up for her and the boys, then once he signs off she will collect Abel and Thomas herself before meeting Patterson that evening to turn herself in. She insists on not having lawmen with guns snatch the children away from their father before never seeing him again. Patterson and company are leery, but agree to meet Tara at 6.
At the cabin, Jax and Tara have a short, meaningful conversation about where things stand between them, with Jax saying they will figure all this out very soon. Tara then runs to Jax and embraces him, knowing that this could be the very last time they will be warm toward each other.
Jax is still cleaning up his messes when he meets with the Chinese, who are not pleased with his penchant for killing people they wanted to kill themselves. “Do you know how revenge works?” Lin asks. “It comes in the doing.” Hard to argue that. So instead of everything being square, the Chinese hold on to Happy (David Labrava) after Lin says he now wants Galen’s second-in-command. I’d say poor Conner, but you know, the guy is a murderous psychopath who chose a life of crime, so it’s hard to feel too bad. Well, now, after all that work Jax has put into getting Connor in charge and connecting him with Marks (Billy Brown), it would be a shame to let this splitting of the hairs wreck it all. That’s how we end up with another neat switcheroo, this one that has Connor supposedly going to meet Marks but getting jumped by the Chinese in an ambush that looks like it was set up by Jax. As Connor is being led away, cursing at Jax, Jax assures him, “Don’t worry. It ends well.” This is our cue to remember what happened last season when Jax tricked Pope into thinking he was giving him Tig (Kim Coates) — and Tig thought so, too — only to end up mowing everybody down and setting Tig free. Cut to the Chinese opening up a truck they think is full of guns, which it is … only they’re being held by Marks’ cadre of men who then proceed to fire those guns directly at and into Lin and his men. They save the final bullet that will put Lin out of his misery for Happy, who is eager to oblige.
From there, it appears Jax’s master plan has worked. He has shown Connor the firepower and protection Marks can provide his product, given Marks full confidence in the partnership, and taken out a significant enemy in the process. Could this really work? Will SAMCRO be in strictly legit business from now on, finally free of the shackles of crime? Oh, c’mon, there’s still a whole other episode to go, people.
Tara is the major disrupter of Jax’s new idyll, but we’ll save her for last. Nero (Jimmy Smits) is also a cloud on the horizon. One of his old crew, Fiasco (Rey Gallegos) comes into Diosa saying how the Byz Lats feel Nero has abandoned them, and showing favoritism toward the Sons. But he can make it right by agreeing to meet with Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) about the developing situation with SAMCRO pulling out of guns. Nero reluctantly agrees and learns that Alvarez foresees a war coming down the pike, with “brown and yellow” versus “black and white.” Brown is going to need all the help it can get, so Alvarez wants to work together. He knows Nero is tied to Jax, so this remains pretty much an informational meeting, but the seed has been planted. Nero’s decision of whether to turn away from Jax — and no doubt Gemma in the process — is complicated by the revelations of a Oxy-ridden Juice (Theo Rossi). Yes, just when we thought Juice was in a better place, he is overwhelmed after Clay’s death, so he takes Bobby’s advice to grab some Oxy and go to Diosa for a little release. Only he takes waaaay too much Oxy and ends up on the floor during what I’m sure was supposed to be a rather enjoyable massage. Nero and Gemma help save him, thanks largely to Gemma sticking her finger down Juice’s throat to make him regurgitate the drugs, which he does quite graphically, I might add. They then lay him down to recuperate. Later, when Nero is sitting with Juice, Juice reveals all the guilt he’s been holding in, not from Clay necessarily, but from holding that pillow over the face of Darvany (Samaire Armstrong) until she was dead. You remember her, the mother of the kid who did the school shooting. She’s the one Nero explicitly told Jax could not be killed, after which Jax denied ordering the hit. Nero is seething, ready to go full O.G. on Jax, looking more dangerous and scary than we’ve ever seen him.
OK, now Tara. She should have learned by now perhaps that while she might be a talented doctor, she really sucks at making grand plans. Her custody scheme, fake-abortion ploy, recruitment of Wendy (Drea De Matteo), could not have gone worse, but here she is launching another ill-conceived plot. She sneaks out of the cabin, then calls Gemma telling her she needs another set of hands to help with Bobby. This gets Gemma out of town, allowing Tara to head to the house to get the boys. Only, of course, Unser (Dayton Callie) is there, with Wendy, which means complications. Turning Abel around so he won’t see anything, Tara whips out a gun and tells Unser to step aside. They can tell Gemma she made them do it, but she also makes clear she will use the gun for real if she must. As they’re walking out the door, a desperate Wendy blurts out to Abel that she is his real mom, causing Tara to crack her on the nose.
Unser asks Tara derisively how far does she think she’s going to get. When she doesn’t answer, he concludes that she’s going to the Feds. And that’s presumably what he tells Gemma when he calls her later, causing Gemma to slam on the brakes and turn around. Gemma then calls Jax and tells him the situation, leading Jax back to their home, which he finds ransacked and devoid of children.
“She took my sons,” he says with nothing but hate in his voice. This is when Nero walks in. Nero, who is ready to choke the life out of Jax for his lies and betrayal, instead sees a broken man and embraces him, never looking more like a father.
The scene with Tara driving the boys is one of the more drawn-out and suspenseful scenes of the season, if not the series. We wonder at every moment whether something is about to happen to her. Will she make it to Patterson’s office, where Patterson and the Feds are waiting patiently? But then the more time goes by, we have the sinking realization that Tara isn’t going to the Feds. We see her hole up with the boys at some fleabag motel, beginning their life on the run.
Questions: Does Tara actually think this can work? Is Jax willing to kill Tara for what she’s done? What will Nero do now that he knows the truth?
It’s going to be a hell of a finale.
Photo: © 2013, FX Networks. Credit: Prashant Gupta