After last week’s antics, it was pretty much a given that the mood of SOA would return somber – after all, no one watches this show for its comedic chops. The show opens with the fact that Rita is in intensive care after her run-in with the home invaders; she and Eli required fertility treatments and she was shot in the abdomen so it doesn’t bode well for the sheriff and his wife. Eli goes straight to the Sons for answers, but Jax doesn’t have anything but the dim notion that Pope must be behind them. Jax goes to visit Damon Pope to talk turkey, but Pope promises that he hasn’t had anything to do with the rash of invasions plaguing Charming. While they talk, Jax is wooed by Pope to continue accepting money for the Sons’ part in the cocaine trade. Pope even promises to stop taking profits and offers Jax an extra $100K for his troubles. Jax thinks about it and tells Pope that he’ll get back to him after talking to the boys.
Unser and Roosevelt discuss who could have shot Rita and for the first time, we start to get the sense that Pope is telling the truth; he really doesn’t have anything to do with the invasions. Both of the officers think that the SOA is somehow involved, but they can’t quite piece it together. Die-hard fans should have probably guessed who’s behind it all, but I won’t spoil the surprise. While they’re talking, a doc comes in to tell them that Rita has died.
Clay is also at the hospital and finally off of his oxygen tank, but he doesn’t want Jax to know that he’s finally on the mend. It’s clear that the writers are gearing back up for Clay to have another strong role in the club, especially when Unser stops to tell the Clay about Rita and to divulge the idea that Pope isn’t behind the death. Ya think?
In one of the weirder plot lines for the episode, Gemma is accosted by Carla and ordered at gunpoint to go to the bedroom with Nero. She forces Gemma to give Nero sexual favors while she watches, but Nero stops the act and tells Carla to shoot him in the chest instead. It’s a chivalrous act… I guess. Still, it goes awry when Carla turns the gun on herself and commits suicide. Nero then tells a shaken Gemma that Carla was his half-sister and was madly in love with him.
Back at the clubhouse, Jax runs Pope’s proposal by the rest of the club. Clay voices his dissent but Jax presses the issue, noting that it’s a good move for now. When the idea goes for vote, it’s 6 to 5 for Team Jax, but the gap in the voting doesn’t go unnoticed by Bobby. Afterward, it’s payback time as the Sons head to find vengeance for Opie at the responsible prison guard’s home. His wife is there unexpectedly and while the other Sons chase down the guard, Tig kills the wife in retaliation for being too noisy, adding to the already-high body count for this season. It’s not over yet, though. When they finally catch the guard, Jax beats him to death with a snow globe to the tune of “It’s a Small World.” I’ll never be able to hear that song the same way again.
Gemma calls Clay to come help with Carla’s body – she obviously doesn’t want the cops involved in any way. Clay agrees to lend a hand, but wants back in Gemma’s good graces and she agrees. When Gemma later meets up with Unser at the hospital, he’s disgusted by her actions with Nero, telling her that she’ll die alone if she keeps it up. While Clay and Nero talk man-to-man about their Gemma ties, she ends up at a bar and is offered a drink by an uber-cool Joel McHale cameo.
Finally, the truth comes out when Juice drops Clay off at a house to a room full of waiting Nomads. Clay immediately punches one and yells that they weren’t supposed to kill Rita. Yup: It’s been Clay pulling the strings on the home invasions all along – did you call it? Clay has been thrust back into center stage while Jax tries to smooth things over with Roosevelt.
It’s the beginning of a new storyline that paints Clay as a foe to SAMCRO’s current position. Plenty went down on such a dark episode… after all, four people died in the space of 90 minutes. Hopefully the series will learn how to better balance the body count with the storyline in the future, otherwise things are going to get seriously messy.
6/10 Seriable Stars