Well, we’ve had a week to digest the awful climax of last week’s premiere, in which a young boy shot up a school, but as we start this episode, the characters finally find out. And it’s not just some lead story to shake your head over on the evening news — this one has personal connections to the SAMCRO and consequences. The boy, Matthew, is the son of the girlfriend of Arcadio (Dave Navarro), one of Nero’s (Jimmy Smits) loyal henchmen. And the gun he used belonged to Arcadio, after he bought it from, yes, Jax and company. Let the Sons of Anarchy recap begin …
So while yes, we’re all broken up over another unfathomable instance of violence involving young people and guns, there’s a more practical concern over how this could truly spell the end of the MC once and for all. Cooler heads, e.g., Arcadio, Nero and Gemma (Katey Sagal), decide that the kid’s mom (Samaire Armstrong) needs to be removed from the situation before the cops start questioning her.
Toric presses Clay (Ron Perlman), offering him a good legal team to fight the murder charges and a new life in witness protection. Clay seems ready to flip, but requires that he see both Gemma and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) before he signs the papers. Apparently he wants to tell them what he’s doing to their faces, his last semblance of revenge.
The other jailbird, Tara (Maggie Siff) finally makes bail and she’s none too pleased to see her husband waiting for her on his bike. Their reunion isn’t a run-and-hug affair, but instead more of a grim, OK-let’s-get-this-over-with kind of encounter. They don’t say a word, but then what would be right to say just then? Is Jax thinking of how he was just with Collette (Kim Dickens), or does that even bother him? Tara has to be thinking about the maneuvering she’s doing behind Jax’s back, planning for the boys’ future away from their father. Things are a little happier at home when she gets to see Abel and Thomas again, although her greeting of Gemma is a bit icy. Jax takes Tara aside tells her that he’s moving the club out of guns into total legit (albeit sleazy) business with porn and escorts. He’s asking Tara yet again for more patience, this time invoking Opie’s sacrifice. Good timing for Nero to come by and tell Jax about the gun and set up the plan for where to take the mother.
Toric figures out right away that the gun came from SAMCRO and earns an audience with the dogged D.A. (CCH Pounder) who is determined to bring someone to justice over the shooting. He tells her he has info about the club and that they are the ones she needs to be going after. She’s quite interested. And hey! That’s Ponyboy himself, C. Thomas Howell, as an FBI agent Toric sweet-talks at the crime scene. Hope he comes back.
The extraction of the mother gets a bit problematic, and it’s established both she and Arcadio are big druggies. But they do get them out there and up to a cabin where I’m sure everything will be just fine, right?
Gemma meets Clay at the hoosegow and hears him out while he tells her he knows why she helped frame him for the murder, and that he understands it. He even says part of him could see it happening while it was happening, but he still didn’t act. He knows he deserves it for all that he’s done, especially in the past few months. Doesn’t quite sound like the tough talk he was spouting at Toric, and who knows how serious he is being. But Gemma is having none of it, storming out cold to his mea culpa. Upon observing this tete-a-tete, Toric starts quoting some Shakespeare, “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.” This is from Sonnet 116, which is where this episode takes its title. (Finally! My English major pays off!)
Jax meets with the Irish to try to begin their transition out of illegal weapons, but Galen has little sympathy. He not only pushes Jax to keep Clay alive in order to maintain contacts in NoCal, but he forces another shipment on them. Yeah, that couldn’t have gone any worse. Plus, Chibs gets upset saying they need to make their deliveries, lest customers start getting all upset. Has Jax not learned yet that getting out of the gun business is nigh impossible?
We learn more about what it is exactly that Tara is doing. Lowen comes over and assures her that the documents she’s written down will ensure that, should Tara have to go to prison, Jax is not a viable guardian. But it won’t implicate anyone in a crime. And who has she identified as the proper guardian? Wendy (Drea de Matteo), whom one wouldn’t think as the usual viable option. Now for some ridiculously early speculation: the SOA finale next season will involve Jax deciding whether he needs to kill Tara in order to keep his kids. We shall see, eh?
Speaking of people having to kill people they love, things go horribly wrong at the cabin when the shooter’s mother (they say her name a few times, but I could never quite catch it, and all IMDb says is “Mother”) freaks out and decides they need to leave. She’s convinced the club is going to kill her to keep her quiet about the gun her son used for the shooting. She grabs a gun and makes a break for a car, pleading with Arcadio to go with her. He knows she needs to stay, but also is loyal to his lady, even pulling a gun on Jax in order to protect her. He makes a decision to go with her in the car, but not before Nero is able to get a shot off, ending his beloved cousin’s life. Jax catches up with the girl and is about to kill her when Nero stops him. Instead she gets bound and gagged to a bed where Juice shoots her up with more drugs and (perhaps on club orders) suffocates her with a pillow.
Juice, you’ve changed, man.
Nero is livid about the girl’s death and takes Jax aside so he can hear it from him man to man that it wasn’t his call to kill her. Jax assures him it wasn’t, and points to the drugs, an explanation that Nero either really believes or forces himself to, because the alternative is just too sucky to contemplate.
Toric shows more of his seedy side, forging Clay’s signature in order to get more time to put his case together, and paying a visit to Diosa Norte to pick up one of the escorts. What’s stranger is he wants the woman to meet him at the same place he’s going to meet the DA. I really don’t know what’s up with this guy yet, but doesn’t it seem like Donal Logue has been on the show forever? Trying to think of a guest star that has woven himself into the fabric of the series so quickly and seamlessly.
Jax heads home with a new appreciation for his family and takes Tara into his arms and begins to make love to her. The camera angle is the same as when he was with Collette the previous week, but where that scene with the new lover was tender and passionate, his time with Tara is labored and, well, just sad. Tara cries with the knowledge that she is probably going to destroy their marriage — and very possibly endanger her life — with her secret custody plan, and Jax is gritting his way through the whole thing, perhaps trying to convince himself that he wants to be there.
Photo: Credit: Prashant Gupta