The boys are out of prison, Jax with some fun new scars. Otto’s still inside, and happens to find a razor blade in his boiled egg (I’m not sure how that works, but ok), which he turns on his wrist, but he’s found by a guard. Charming changed in the time they were away. Opie is getting married. Jacob Hale is building a fancy new sub-division, the type of McMansion development that Charming has been so lacking in. Tara had her baby!!! (Thomas, named after Jax’s deceased brother.) And there is literally a new Sheriff in town. Riding through town on their way to the welcome home party at the garage, the Sons are stopped by Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar), instated during the time of incarceration, and unwilling to see any cuts on the newly paroled riders. After the happy reunions at Teller-Morrow (where Gemma gives Jax a paper bag containing “the one he picked out”) it’s back to business. Even with tidy profits, it’s time to renegotiate SAMCRO’s place in the deal between them, the Irish, and the Russians. Since they have a tail, everyone rolls out: Clay, Jax and Opie to the meeting with everyone else providing a distraction for the all too easily manipulated cops. While his employees are being played, the new Sheriff is attending a super secret meeting with an odd looking man whose renting the top floor of his building: ASUDA Potter. He explains to Roosevelt the design of the governments RICO case involving SAMCRO, the Irish and the Russians, which is progressing nicely due to a highly placed FBI agent within the Russians, and asks for Roosevelt’s cooperation, as Charming will most likely be the site of the showdown. All cop, Roosevelt accepts. At the meet with the Russians, the FBI agent observes Jax agreeing to the “it’s all just business” apology offered for his shiving in prison (hence the new scars), a new deal is struck and Opie invites them all to the wedding, a lovely pretext for sneaking off to look at guns. Back to Charming for um, reunion time. Pillow-talk topics include: (for Gemma and Clay) Unser’s declining health, Clay’s declining health, and retirement; (for Jax and Tara) getting married, how to raise their boys, that John Teller was a coward not to take his sons out of the life, and how Jax just needs to bide his time and save some money so that the can leave SAMCRO and never look back. Now in the infirmary, Otto is handed a scalpel as another prisoner is wheeled in next to him. (This can’t possibly end well.) Also on the list of things that are most likely HUGE mistakes, time for Opie and Lyla’s wedding. All the gangs are there (on reservation land, so cuts allowed), and Lyla emerges looking much more like the bachelor party entertainment than the bride, but after a few (thankfully) short and awkward vows, Opie and Lyla are pronounced man and wife. During the reception Chibs and Juice sneak off with some of the Russians (including an un-miked FBI agent) to look at the guns. Otto unhooks the cuff on his bed. Clay and Jax take Putlova off to fire off a few from a particularly lethal looking handgun. In the warehouse, they test the merchandise on the Russians who brought them their, killing them all. Otto shoves the scalpel through the ear and into the brain of the man strapped in the next bed, saying, “this is for Jax Teller.” And out in the woods Clay shoots Putlova’s bodyguards before the others hold him down so Jax can stab him repeatedly in the chest, which is just business after all. The now dead FBI agent is the last body to be dumped onto the new Hale development sight.
Well wasn’t that just a hi-we’re-back bitchslap?
I mean that as a compliment.
I admit that I find the details of who-has-a-deal-with-who-and-for-what-and-why rather hard to follow on this show: it’s always very intricate and usually changes in the time it takes to flip the safety off. Therefore it was rather helpful to introduce two new law enforcement characters to explain to each other where the criminal enterprises of the Sons stand. Without seeming forced or condescending, we got a quick update to bridge us from the previous seasons, and part of the organic presentation was the initial strength of our new lawmen. Potter, a smoking, paranoid, motorcycle-riding wisp of a dude, is a bit odd, but in now way quirky or cutesy. He’s like the anti-Stahl: patient observation and quiet cunning instead of furious proclamations and half-baked ideas. He admits he needs Roosevelt’s help because his team has no credibility in gang warfare, while Roosevelt has vast experience. He doesn’t strong-arm what he needs, but there’s no doubt (to him or to us) that he is going to get it. One look at his extensive walls of photos and relationships is enough to make clear that this man won’t be taken in by any Jax Teller triple/ quadruple/ whatever –crosses. And Roosevelt, what a welcome addition to Charming. He’s the savvy, upright, committed Sheriff that the town (and the club, because without the law, there’s no such thing as outlaws) so desperately needs in the void left behind by David Hale’s untimely death. But as a transplant, and therefore without Hale’s hometown attachment to Charming, Roosevelt stands a better chance of protecting the town because of his emotional distance.
But there is another new character, even if he won’t have any lines. Emily the Roommate can tell you I was genuinely distressed over whether or not Tara was going to have an abortion. (I missed the video that would have put me out of my misery sooner.) It’s not just that I’m Pro-Life, but also that it would have been out of character for Tara. And it would have just upset me to no end to see Tara have a similar look to the one on Lyla’s face when Opie mentioned expanding their family. Welcome Thomas Teller, I’m so happy to meet you. Now please make yourself useful and help you dad propose to your mom.
Seriously, Jax’s proposal to Tara was so frakking prefect I wanted to die inside. Not some over-the-top declaration of adoration everlasting, but rather a humble acknowledgment of the family that they already are, Jax unreservedly opened himself up to Tara’s rejection by letting it show in his eager expression and halting sentence just how important her answer is. And as much as he avows that Tara is his savior, brought to him to take him out of the violence of his life, he came to her having thought out her needs, demonstrating to her that he’s asking her to marry him so that he can be her husband, not with the expectation that she will simply be his wife. Perfect.
And it was nice to have that perfection for half an episode, because at the end we had to question if it had all been a lie. Where exactly does Jax think he can go where the repercussions of this won’t follow him? The merits of eye-for-an-eye justice are debatable. Putlova tried to kill Jax, so within the context of their criminal world, Jax killing Putlova makes sense, and could possibly be something that everyone could move past. Slaughtering all the Russians is more of the scorched-earth approach, and given that one of those Russians was an undercover FBI agent, the landscape surrounding SAMCRO now looks to be as salted as Carthage after Cato finally got his way in the Roman Senate.
Sons of Anarchy, how I have missed you.
The TV Girl