S4E12: While stating SPOILER ALERT might sound redundant if you’re reading a recap of a show, please, pretty PLEASE do not ruin your enjoyment of last night’s Sons of Anarchy by reading my recap before you watch the show. That being said on to the recap of the most shocking episode in the show’s history, and one of the most shocking hours of television this year period.
Gemma knows Clay killed Piney and plans to do the same to Tara. Unser knows Clay killed Piney, plans to kill Tara, and went all Mohammed Ali on Gemma’s face. Clay knows that Unser knows and both men have threatened to off the other if they get in each other’s way. After seeing Gemma’s face, Tig hands over his Sergeant-in-Arms rocker to Clay. Tara and Gemma know that Wendy, Abel’s mother, is back in Charming. Only Gemma knows that she wants to see her son. Opie has been told that Clay killed Piney and bashed Gemma’s face in. Juice and Sheriff Roosevelt both have realized that DA Potter is screwing with them both over. Potter has gotten Otto to agree to testify in exchange for moving his execution up. Bobby can now officially tell Otto that Jackie, the man responsible for Otto’s wife Lou-Anne’s murder is dead. Jax wants vengeance for his mother and he and the rest of club still believe that it was the rival Lobo drug cartel that attacked Tara.
The board is set, the pieces are moving. Kurt Sutter and company have crafted a thrilling season thus far; it’s time to start the ride home. Sons of Anarchy is at its best towards the end of each season, when everything is escalating straight down to hell, which makes it all too fitting that this week’s episode is entitled, Burnt and Purged Away.
“You’re going to die at the gavel.” – Opie
At Unser’s behest, Opie goes to see Gemma and realizes that Unser was right – Clay killed Piney. Gemma thought she was able to convince Opie that the fight between her and Clay was over their own personal problems and nothing else, but she knew she was wrong once Jax met up with her at the hospital and he informed her that Opie was up at the cabin. She tries to send one of the prospects to find him, but Jax comes out of Tara’s room a few seconds later and wants him to find Wendy; more on Jax’s ex-wife later. Gemma goes up to the cabin to see Unser, who is having Piney’s body sent to the crematorium. Gemma demands that Unser finds Opie to talk him out of killing Clay. After Clay meets with Tara in the hospital, Gemma lets him know that Opie is gunning for him.
Unser catches up with Opie at the crematorium and tries to talk to him, but Opie is not in the mood to talk as he watches his father burn. Jax comes by shortly after and is dumbfounded by Piney’s death as well. Jax asks him what happened, but Opie plays dumb. Jax presses him, but Opie responds with a gun to his friend’s face. It looks like the broken-hearted biker is going to satiate his thirst for vengeance all by his lonesome. Refusing to bring this to the club and let them all know what Clay did, he shoots out Jax’s bike tires and rides off. Jax takes off after Opie in a hearse from the crematorium and then after crashing it, a motorcycle from a guy stuck at a red light. Opie arrives at the clubhouse and forces Clay at gunpoint to sit down so he can shoot him.
Jax arrives in time to stop Opie, threatening to kill him. But Opie doesn’t heed the warning and exacts his revenge, settling the scores for both Donna, the wife that Clay had killed, and for Piney. He blew a hole through his chest in what is definitely the most shocking moment in Sons’ history. Even though you knew it was coming, it was still the jaw-dropping moment of the entire Fall season, of any show.
“Unfortunate events such as yours are reasons this cartel deal worries us.”
The club meets up with their partners in the IRA and the IRA is worried about the Sons’ dealings with the Gallindo cartel. The IRA are none too pleased about the Sons using their guns to bail out the IRA, but Clay convinces them that it was the only call to make. The IRA seems to be ok with Clay’s explanation, although they still don’t like the Sons being “in bed with those dirty wetbacks.” Juice is present at this meet and subsequently texts the information to Potter about the impending meeting place between the cartel and the IRA. Bobby, Chibs, and Tig are hopeful that once this deal is over, the club’s dealings with the cartel will be “in their rear view.” Potter informs Roosevelt that the RICO takedown is happening and he needs a little extra help from local law enforcement. Sheriff Eli says he’ll be there. Jax, Tig, Chibs, and Happy meet up with the IRA and discover an unofficial orphanage, which does not sit well with the boys, who get into fisticuffs with the guys running this place. Jax has seen this baby factory before, because he almost lost Abel to one of them in Belfast last season. While the Gallindo plotline has been the driving force of this whole season, it definitely felt completely out of place in an episode of this nature, but this plotline certainly couldn’t stand still on our way to next week’s season finale, part one.
“I can take care of his heart.” – Tara
Gemma goes to see Tara, which is the first time Tara has seen her since the beat-down. Gemma tries to convince Tara to not tell Jax about Wendy, but she does because there are no secrets between the pair. Jax heads off to see Wendy and warns her to stay away. Wendy threatens to sue for custody if she won’t be able to see her son. With the couple still planning to leave Charming, Clay meets with Tara at the hospital and offers her a deal. If she gives him the letters, then he’ll make sure no one gets in the way of her and Jax leaving Charming. While packing to leave the hospital, Tara tells Gemma about what Clay wanted. Jax comes by and levels it all out to Gemma, no matter what she or Wendy or anyone else wants, he’s leaving Charming with Tara and the boys. Whenever he talks about leaving Charming, I’m reminded of a Patton Oswalt stand up bit from his book, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, about how if you don’t get out of your neighborhood by a certain age, you never will. Jax has passed that age and I doubt he’s ever going to leave Charming.
Jax tells Bobby about whats going to happen with the club once the deal between the cartel and the IRA take place. They’re going to tell the cartel that they’re still going to runs guns for them but are done dealing blow; which they’ll blame on the IRA. With the club about to make more in two runs than they’d make in two years, Jax tells Bobby and Clay that he was wrong and believes Opie is not ready to lead. Therefore, the gavel will go to Bobby, with Chibs as his V.P. and if Tig doesn’t want it, Happy as the new Sergeant-In-Arms. It was a short, throwaway scene but obviously would have implications for the entire series. The more important short scene with implications for the future came later was when Bobby went to see Otto. Otto made Bobby read a list of the transgressions that Otto had done for the club while in prison. Otto only asked for one thing in return: for the club to look out for his wife, Lou-Anne, which they did not do. Bobby is at a loss for words other than “rat” and various other curses as the cops come in to cart him away. I don’t think he’ll be leading the club anytime soon.
They’ve teased the end of this episode happening one way or the other since the show’s inception, but watching Opie gun Clay down was absolutely shocking. With the club in turmoil, Jax has no choice but to take the gavel and dash his own chances for getting out of Charming; unless what he has constantly said this year is true, that he loves his family more than his club. Jax is now in the position to prove that statement once and for all. But first, heavy is the head that wears the crown and Jax has a lot on his plate; personally and professionally, coming from all sides and angles. Tara, leaving Charming, the meeting, Wendy’s return, not mention what he doesn’t know about Juice and Otto ratting out the club, and Bobby in prison. Oh, and then there’s that bit about covering up Clay’s murder. While it certainly seems as if this show is heading towards the series finale, we’re only riding headfirst into the season finale. Next week starts a two-hour trek through a lot of bad road and it’s sure to be fantastic.