“Sons of Anarchy” recap: “Stolen Huffy”

Some Sons of Anarchy episodes are meant to shock you, others make you want to pump your fist in excitement, or throw stuff at the screen in bloodlust. But there are some that flat out make you want to cry. “Stolen Huffy” is unapologetically a tear-jerker, even if it saves it for the end.

Charlie Hunnam gives guest star Ashley Tisdale a lift in "Sons of Anarchy"Opie is dead, but Ryan Hurst gets to make one last appearance (until the inevitable flashback, I suppose) as the big guy’s corpse, which finally looks at peace. Jax says a mouthful when he opines that Opie seemed to be looking for a way out ever since Donna was killed. He was just never right after that. But before all the moping, there’s some business to attend to with the police having busted up Nero’s high-class brothel. Who tipped them off, inquiring minds of the criminal element want to know? It had to be either Clay or the girl he was with, who was presumably pretty upset after Gemma beat the crap out of her. Wouldn’t you know it, they blame it on the whore.

That means young Emma Jean (Ashley Tisdale!) has a target on her pretty little head, with Nero’s bangers after her. But Nero takes Jax aside and asks him to get to Emma Jean before his boys do and get her out of town. We’re not really sure what’s so special about this girl that Nero is willing to risk dissension in his ranks to save her — and neither is Jax — but as a way to thank Nero for giving them a place to hide, he and Chibs try to keep her safe.

But when they track her down, they’re unable to get her to safety before some bangers roll up on them and want to take Emma Jean for themselves. A high-speed chase ensues, ending with Jax skidding out on his bike. They’re all pointing guns at each other in a residential neighborhood before Jax and Chibs are able to convince them that they want the girl dead, too, so hey, why not just let them do it. They finally agree, but say they’ll need proof. Specifically, a thumb and a tit. Frankly, I’m shocked “We’re Going To Need A Thumb And A Tit” wasn’t the name of this episode. Talk about a missed opportunity!

Cool cats that they are, Jax and Chibs say, sure, we can get your thumb and tit — btw, anyone who says they didn’t think of Walter in The Big Lebowski bragging about being able to get a toe by 3 o’clock is a huge liar — and peace is achieved. They get Emma Jean back to Nero, who puts her on a plane “back to the heartland.” But not before she tells Gemma she didn’t do anything with Clay, just massaged him. She also denies having ratted out the brothel. If this really is the end of her character arc, it seems a bit superfluous. You have to think there’s something else there, especially since a) it’s Ashley Tisdale and not some unknown actress, and 2) there has to be some other reason Nero was so willing to risk so much to save her.

Jax then has a sit-down with Nero proposing that he revive the club’s old porn business, using the girls on film and for escort services. Nero has an endgame in mind that involves making a certain amount of money then buying a huge spread for him and his son to retire to. He agrees to Jax’s arrangement, which involves splitting the profits with SAMCRO 50/50. And it also comes with the condition that Nero not see Gemma. So that should be a fun conversation in the next episode.

Speaking of Gemma, she brings Wendy back into the story by having her bail her out of prison at the beginning of the episode. Yeah, that’s how hard up she is. She goes so far as to hug Wendy, a gesture rightly received with at best skepticism and, more probable, abject horror. But Wendy also wants to make it clear that she wants no more help (i.e., lying and self-serving manipulation) from Gemma in the custody fight with Tara. And point of fact, Wendy is more level-headed in her next encounter with Tara, saying that eventually Abel is going to want to know about his real mother, and that it would be wrong to keep that information from him. This seems to resonate with Tara, who floats the idea to Jax, only to have him say no way, not till the kid’s older. He makes his point pretty damn eloquently, enough to make you forget he’s a murderous biker.

Gemma and Tara almost come to blows, but eventually join forces against a common enemy, Nero’s partner Carla (Wanda DeJesus), who is the one who let the bangers know where Emma Jean was. That put Jax’s life in danger, which leads to a throwdown at first involving Gemma and Carla, but once Carla has Gemma in a vicious chokehold, Tara jumps in and gets herself bloody. It’s a pretty even fight until Tara realizes she’s wearing a heavy freaking cast on her arm and starts clubbing Carla senseless. Nothing like a bloody catfight to bring people together, right? It’s the Sons of Anarchy way.

Gemma also has a detente with Clay, albeit after a pretty tense exchange. Clay is the one who tells her about Opie, and Gemma impulsively hugs him, perhaps clinging to some vestige of her life before things got turned upside down. Even after all his talk, from  his reaction you know that this is what Clay wanted all along, but it’s not going to last.

After all this stuff, it’s time for Opie’s wake. Lila shows up, despairing as to how she’s going to take care of Opie’s kids. Jax assures her that the club will always be there for her, and that she’s part of the SAMCRO family. As Opie’s body is on display, Jax pulls out the pic from when they were kids, just innocent young things out riding bikes without motors, neither of them wearing leather, just enjoying life. Before the way of life that would define them and put them on a path they could never truly veer from would claim them. Before SAMCRO. They were just boys. Jax places the picture in Opie’s coffin, but as the door closes on the hearse, his gaze has turned from mournful to angry. One could interpret this is a proper transition into the rest of the season. The time for being sad has passed. It’s now time for revenge.

Sons of Anarchy recap Photo: Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX