Sons of Anarchy

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Joe R: B- | Grade It Now!
Things to Do in Dublin When You're Dead
Gemma so far, we'll accept anything from her. "They liked the skateboard thing? Wait'll they see THIS shit!" Even if the sentiment sounds true -- when she says "I'd rather have a half dead kid than watch someone else raise my flesh and blood," you believe it -- but the visual, of Gemma holding a tiny crying baby at gunpoint, is too much. It's turned Gemma into a hair-trigger loony biker mama cartoon.

Anyway. HNIC caves, obviously, and pulls the file on Katie and Mark Petrie. She says in these cases, there's a four-day transition period where the couple and the kid stay local -- they're at the Europa hotel. Opie threatens her not to tell either Ashby or the Petries about this. I'm not sure I want to tell too many people about this either. Gemma hands the baby back over, and we all begin the long, slow process of forgetting that ever happened.

Jax strides into the Europa hotel -- alone this time, which is a sound call -- and even before he can take the stairs up to the Petries' room, he spots them, and Abel, across the lobby. I have to say, I was very curious as to how Jax planned to approach this situation. Would he abduct his own baby, take him from the Petries like Cameron took him last season? Would he try the truth somehow and hope the Petries saw the situation through his own eyes. I guess technically he could have gotten the law involved -- Abel is legally his son, after all, and nothing he's done mitigates that fact -- but we all know that's not SAMCRO's style (Jax's current deal with Stahl notwithstanding). Maybe Jax isn't sure how he'd answer that question either, because he kind of just hangs back and follows the Petries for a bit.

The next sequence is a beautifully put together (and acted) one, in which Jax follows the Petries on an excursion to the mall. This is white-bread, upper-middle-class, Grey's Anatomy type stuff to be sure, but Jax has obviously been thinking about what Ashby said and wondering if this vanilla -- yet undoubtedly safer -- lifestyle might not be the best thing for Abel. The nice thing about this sequence -- besides the music and Charlie Hunnam's brilliant, silent performance -- is that the Petries aren't being judged for the whiteness of their bread. They're a type, certainly, and drawn to be as opposite to Jax's own way of life as possible. But they're also happy and attentive and loving to Abel (and Abel certainly seems content with them). So it's not JUST self-loathing on Jax's part that would leave him to do what he ultimately does: He watches the Petries -- all three -- pass by him, and he lets them go.

Back in Charming, Agents Stahl and Tyler pay Wayne a visit with the news that Tara Knowles and her supervisor have been reported missing by the hospital. Wayne is concerned, obviously, but he wonders how this falls under the ATF's umbrella. Stahl, ever the expert tap-dancer, says that they're back on the IRA/NorCal gun connection, and with the bulk of the Sons in Belfast, they're concerned that the IRA abducted Tara as retaliation. She says she figured Wayne was the best way to a sit-down with the remaining SAMCRO members. Wayne asides that these days he's probably not the best conduit to the club, but he'll look into it.

When Unser leaves, Tyler is like, "What in the world? I thought we were here to follow up on Gemma. And the Sons are in Belfast now?" Tyler also reveals that she knows Stahl has been talking to Jax. I have to say, Stahl hasn't been the most well-drawn character on this show, but I kind of love how she's operating so on the fly that she's telling her partner they're investigating one thing, then springing a second for no good reason. Stahl closes the door and then tells one big truth -- that she's working with Jax to bring in Jimmy O -- and one pretty significant lie -- that Gemma's still going down for murder. Or ... maybe it's the truth? I can't pretend to know if we've seen all of Stahl's cards, or even how many she's holding. One card she is playing is the lovers card, assuring Tyler that this is a good move for them both. They start kissing, so of course that's when Unser returns. Tyler scuttles out, followed by Stahl, who swats at his crotch on her way out: "That give you a little stiffy, Wayne?" Oh, ballbusting ladies of law-enforcement. Sometimes you literally bust balls.

SAMCRO HQ. Tig's on the phone with Salazar, who has grown impatient with waiting for his payoff. Tig tries to play the logic card, saying that with Alvarez dead (well, "dead"), the cops are going to be all over them, so they have to wait it out and be smart. It's so hilarious seeing Tig thinking strategically. That trip to the peyote fields last season really shook some stuff loose. Salazar gives them a noon deadline for a money drop at the park. Else the ladies die.

After Tig hangs up, Kozik points up at the monitors and says he wasn't lying about the cops, at least. Stahl, Tyler, and Unser all roll up, and what follows is a good old-fashioned information-sharing session about Tara's abduction. Tig's inclination is to give law enforcement the big fuck-you, but Kozik says they need the help. I like how Kozik's strategy makes a lot of room for cooperative problem-solving. Kind of makes him a natural ally for Jax if and when the Great SAMCRO Reformation ever does happen. So Kozik tells the whole tale, of Salazar and Alvarez and fake-dead-Alvarez, and the quarter mil. Stahl doesn't much hesitate in saying they can help out with the cash end -- she tells them to hang tight and she'll be back with the next move. As Stahl leaves, Tyler once again tries to play Logic Police, wondering how this Mexican business ties into her IRA investigation. Stahl snaps at her to get off her ballsack about this. The script needs her to care about getting Tara back (nominally so Jax can focus on Jimmy O ... who he's totally not focusing on at all at the moment but whatevs), so that's what she's going to do.

Wayne joins the B-team indoors, offering his condolences about Lumpy. No one offers him a drink -- pointedly so -- until he asks, and even then Piney instructs Chuckie to pull the bourbon from the bottom shelf. So Wayne's still on the outs with the club. He admits that they were right about who attacked Lumpy -- he's sure Hale was behind it. Tig says they know who did the actual beating -- Salazar. They've got no proof, but simple logic (and Lumpy's description of a Mexican attacker) only points to one guy. Wayne says they need to bring in Salazar alive -- he's the only one who can tie Hale to all this filth. "Then we can bury that lyin' son of a bitch." Oh, Wayne, you clearly wanted that to be your "welcome back to the gang!" moment, huh? I'm not sure they're ready for that yet.

Jax returns to the Alley, and of course Gemma is all up over him about "Where's Abel?" He says he needs to talk to her, so Maureen lets them into her flat. With tears in his eyes, Jax admits that he let Abel go. He says his dad's manuscript wasn't about changing the club, it was about changing his legacy. "I don't belong here, Mom. And neither does Abel." From her bedroom, Maureen listens to all this with a tortured look on her face. Back in the kitchen, Jax says his son is with a mother and father who didn't torture a man to death yesterday. Gemma is having none of this. She grabs Jax by the collar, slaps him in the face, says no matter how many men he's killed, Abel is his son. Then she brings out the nukes: she tells him about Tara's baby. And for all that I didn't quite buy Gemma's actions in the orphanage, this kind of rage out of her is pretty perfect. Keeping her family intact is her entire reason for being -- what Jax sees as self-sacrifice she obviously sees as a complete betrayal. Plus, and this isn't mentioned, but isn't giving up Abel the easy way out for Jax? Instead of having to assume the responsibility of changing the club (something that's looking more and more impossible the deeper they get), he just gives up his reason for needing to. There's a knock at the door -- it's Juice with Fiona and Carrie Ann and Ashby, having been told by Clay to meet the

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Sons of Anarchy




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