This was a “Sons of Anarchy” episode that seemed to be devoted to setting up payoffs in subsequent episodes. Among the plotlines being set up:
* Calaveras went after the Grim Bastards and killed their giant enforcer. T.O. wants to do to the Calaveras club what Cortez did to the Mexicans, but Clay persuades him to hold off for a bit. And by “a bit,” I mean “five minutes,” which is how long it will take for SAMCRO and the Grim Bastards to confab with the Mayans and get Alvarez to hand over the Calaveras crew. One revenge killing later, and everyone thinks things are all squared away. The one exception to this rule: Hector, the former president, who is stripped of his patch and tossed from the club. He’s now hankering for revenge against SAMCRO, whom he blames for taking away his club’s patch-over into the Mayans.
* Jax’s plan to use Ima as a way of pushing Tara away earns him some disapproving commentary from Opie, who had tried that strategy on Donna (not the Ima-banging, the pushing-away part) and discovered that it didn’t work. Although Jax’s ploy appears to be more successful with Tara at first — possibly because as a medical professional, she is all too aware that epidemics always start with a Patient Zero, and it’s not like Jax practiced safe sex — Gemma intrudes as only an expectant grandmother can. Jax’s mom claims that Jax is only trying to protect the great love of his life. Tara chooses to see Jax’s actions as the man just looking for a reason to feel good about bailing on her. She angrily leaves the house — unaware that Hector is now tailing her. However, Tara still helps Gemma escape. (More on that below.)
* Gemma and Maureen chat on the phone (per Jax’s request) and Gemma finds out what we’ve all suspected for episodes now: Trinity is John’s daughter. Surprisingly, she does not have another cardiac incident over this major, Maureen-sponsored revelation. Maureen takes the news of SAMCRO’s imminent arrival to her immediate circle of friends and family (Father Ashby, McGee, Chibs’ erstwhile old lady and daughter) in a scene that suggests they’re all really hoping SAMCRO wipes out Jimmy O.
* Gemma’s heart holds up when she executes an escape with Tara’s help. (Tara provides the fake medical emergency that gets Gemma into an unsupervised area, and she provides her key card to let Gemma out.)When Murray catches on, she pulls Tara into a supply room for a What-the-hell? conference, Tara spills the whole story about Abel, then apologizes for being such a pain in the ass. Murray punches her and shrugs, “Nobody will believe Gemma got away without slugging you.” And this is how we find out that Murray is probably one of the more brilliant strategists on the show: She’s playing a very long con by betting that aiding Tara will help St. How-In-The-Hell-Does-Charming-Support-This-Hospital retain one brilliant young old lady surgeon. And since appealing to Tara’s sense of self-preservation is a losing gambit, why not speak to her in a language she clearly understands, i.e. violence and quid-pro-quo deals?
* SAMBEL is in bed with Jimmy O, as evidenced by McGee promising Clay not to let Jimmy O know that SAMCRO is on its way, then turning around and telling Jimmy O, “Hey, SAMCRO will be here tomorrow afternoon.” So much for the integrity of the Founding Nine.
Photo credit: FX