“Sons of Anarchy” recap: Small Tears

By Stacey Harrison

Credit: Mike Muller/FX
Credit: Mike Muller/FX

Despite her long resumé, you could be forgiven for chalking up Katey Sagal’s casting as the head biker chick in Sons of Anarchy as nepotism, given her marriage to series creator Kurt Sutter. But the lady has brought it every single episode and is truly given a chance to shine in this wrenching hour as she deals with the aftermath of her vicious attack at the hands of the white separatists.

She lies alone and naked at the scene of the crime as a beautiful, mournful version of “Ruby Tuesday” plays (sung by none other than Sagal, who was once a backup singer for the likes of Bob Dylan and Bette Midler). Unser finds her and wants to take her to a hospital, but Gemma refuses, instead calling Tara to examine her. She doesn’t want to go to a hospital at all, in fact, ostensibly saying it’s because of insurance and other surface matters. But it quickly becomes clear she’s ashamed and, most importantly, concerned about the fallout should Clay learn what happened. Unser takes it upon himself to run Gemma’s car into some concrete and pass the whole thing off as an accident.

Clay, meanwhile, gets an angry call from Alvarez, the Mayan leader, who found Opie’s victim holding up the Niners symbol Jax left on him. Alvarez asks for some guns, but Clay says he can’t help him out because of the ATF investigation. Then Clay blows a gasket after Tig tells him it must have been Jax who altered the body. Later they meet with the Niners and set up a meet to sell a couple dozen AKs, while A.J. spies on them and takes pictures. Unser shows up, throws a little racist vibe the Niners’ way until they leave, then tells Clay that Gemma was in an accident.

At the hospital, Tara examines Gemma and tells her there are a number of small tears resulting from the attack, and that she has to start antibiotics to treat possible STDs. She stops short of revealing to Unser who attacked her, but does say that she knows it was not about her, but it was done to hurt Clay, Jax and SAMCRO. And that she refuses to let them win. Hard lady. Clay is mollified by the accident explanation, but doesn’t get to see Gemma. Perhaps taking out some frustration, he confronts Jax about the altered body, and Jax is flippant in his response, saying he made a decision for the good of the club. He eventually does get in to see Gemma, and she’s uncharacteristically skittish. She holds it together until Clay leaves the room, after which she breaks down and lets the tears flow.

Other matters take precedence when it is found that the porno operation run by an incarcerated club member’s old lady is running into trouble from a rival outfit. Jax visits Otto in jail and assures him it will be all right. Luanne tells Jax that another porn producer, Georgie Caruso, is threatening her and trying to get her girls to join his production company. So Jax and a few SAMCRO goons pay him a visit, snicker at the Cumdog Millionaire poster on the wall and tell him to lay off. Tom Arnold, who does sleazy so well, plays Georgie and initially doesn’t seem too intimidated by the gang. He’s so not impressed, in fact, that he goes ahead and beats up one of Luanne’s girls, prompting another visit by the SAMCRO gang, who this time are armed with baseball bats. They smash up the set, take their star back, and properly tell Georgie to lay off, or else his next movie will star him and an inappropriately placed Louisville Slugger.

The whole matter gets Jax thinking that the club should get into the adult-movie business, fronting Luanne the money and protection and splitting the profits. The guys readily agree, though Clay seems a bit disingenuous. Jax goes to inform Luanne about the arrangement, spooking her a bit by meeting her in a dark studio, and Luanne’s immediate thought is Jax is there to “Adrianna” her (Bad line! Bad!). Perhaps out of relief, and the knowledge that she really doesn’t have much choice, she agrees to go into business with the club and thereby absolve them of the debt they owe her.

That night, the gun deal with the Niners quickly turns into a firefight as the Mayans crash the party. Bobby is shot in the shoulder and Opie seemingly has a death wish, standing tall and unprotected as he fires at the fleeing attackers. Alvarez got his info from Zobelle, who has shown he’ll go to any length (raping women, working with races he considers inferior) in order to destroy the Sons.

Tara heads down to the bar to patch up Bobby while Jax and Clay have it out in private. There’s no yelling, but lots of intense glaring, with Jax admitting his decision to alter the body caused danger, but that he still believes it was the right call. Clay counters and says if he wants to challenge him, fine, but don’t make it personal, or he will lose the respect of the club. After that tête-à-tête, Jax heads up to the roof and sits a spell with Gemma, giving her some genuine mother-son time. A nice ending to a topsy-turvy hour that delivered all the scuzzy action we like in Sons with a depth of emotion that is a welcome addition.

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