You guys, this season. I just don't know. Let's starts with the Charming stuff, as Wayne has finally seen the light on Jacob Hale and approaches the Sons about taking him down. Meanwhile, Stahl gets wind of Tara's abduction, and so she and the B-Team stage the world's least competent money drop, which spooks Salazar. Lucky for Tara, she was able to grab a spare shard of broken mirror and slashed Salazar's lady Luisa's throat. Not-so-lucky for Tara, she kind of fucks up the next step, sending Margaret free and letting herself stay hostage so she can try to save Luisa's life. When Luisa proves un-saveable, Salazar slams Tara down on the hood of the car and looks like he's going to kill her. I'm sure that has a chance of happening!
As for Belfast, Jax gets the address for the Scary Catholic Ophanage, and when he and Gemma and Opie get there, Gemma pulls a gun on a nun (inspiring the scariest book Dr. Seuss never wrote) and then holds a gun to an orphan baby in order to get the file on Abel's adoptive parents. Sorry, circling back: HOLDS A GUN ON AN ORPHAN BABY. What have they done to you, Gemma? So Jax tracks down the family and has a 90-minute sad-music pondering session about whether to let his son go and live a life outside the club. Ultimately, he does, and Gemma is seriously so pissed. But when the Club finds out that Jimmy killed Sean Casey not to obtain the location of Fiona and Jewel's Cousin but rather the location of baby Abel, they all race back to the hotel where they find the adoptive parents killed and Abel gone. At which point Jax now has the choice made for him: he's getting Abel back. Quite the cop-out on what seemed to be a pretty powerful choice.
Jimmy wants to trade Abel for safe passage out of Ireland, and Jax needs the IRA to intervene. They do, in exchange for a deal with SAMCRO in which they agree to 1) kill Jimmy back in California, and 2) agree to a partnership that will expand their gun trade in NorCal exponentially. At the hand-off, we see the other stipulation of the deal was that Ashby voluntarily gave himself up to Jimmy in exchange for Abel. Which is nice of him, since Jimmy's going to seriously murder him.
So Jax has Abel back, and SAMCRO packs up to return to Charming. They'll be returning home with more than they bargained for (Maureen snuck a stack of John Teller's old letters (including at least one which alludes to JT's fears that Gemma and Clay were plotting against him) into Jax's things, and returning home to more than they bargained for, thanks to a last-minute phone call telling Jax about Tara's abduction.
Previously: Tara and her boss lady got abducted by Salazar, the SAMCRO B-Team wondered how they'd scrounge up the quarter mil for her ransom, Clay killed traitorous Original 9 club member McGee, and Jax found out that this season-long quest to rescue his son is boiling down to a lesson in good Catholic social work.
Jax has been trying to reach Agent Stahl on the phone, but no dice so far. He spots Trinity re-stocking the shop from afar and decides to bite the bullet and actually talk to this girl who he now knows is his sister. You can't un-ring a bell, so things between these two is never going to be completely un-creepy, but it's nice to see that Jax can share a bond with a sister. Even if she's, as she says, "A sister [he] nearly shagged." (Jax: "You say that like it's a bad thing.") He kisses her on her forehead -- again, it's big brotherly except for how our memories stretch back longer than six days -- and she encourages him to go out and rescue her nephew.
Jax finally gets the call back from Stahl. He tells her that Ashby basically used the club to prove Jimmy O was a traitor, and now they've got him marked for death. Stahl reminds him (and thus us) that their deal was Jimmy O alive, in exchange for Gemma's freedom, as well as the club's. Jax makes sure she knows his first priority is finding Abel. He gets called back inside and tells Stahl he's "handling it." Whatever the holy fuck that even means anymore.
Tara and Margaret are still tied up in the attic at Salazar's. Margaret's losing it, breaking down and talking about her husband and kid. Tara, stone-faced, says that the police must've been notified by now, surely they're on the case. Margaret sniffles that Tara seems to be taking this all in stride. Tara pauses, perhaps wondering what that says about the last couple years of her life.
Officer Eglee gets startled when she comes into work to find Wayne asleep on the couch. It saves them both on time, because Eglee was at the bar talking to a friend who works in the Mayor's office and she learned that city council had an emergency meeting tonight to incorporate the Charming PD into the county sheriff's department. Just like Jacob Hale told Wayne he wouldn't let happen. If I told you this leads Wayne to hunch over looking world-weary and beleaguered, would you believe me?
With the club assembled, Maureen hands Clay a scrap of paper she found in McGee's dresser. It's got an address on it, though she's not sure if it's Jimmy's or Donny's or what. Clay solemnly thanks her, then apologizes for what happened to her old man. He hands her McGee's "FIRST NINE" patch, which she accepts with a "keep it together" look on her face. Like I said last week, this would all be quite powerful if we had any kind of grasp of what McGee really meant to either of these two.
Once Maureen is gone, Jax says he's heading out to meet some nuns at the orphanage where Abel (supposedly) is. Gemma leaps up and insists upon going, over Jax's repeated objections. Clay tells Jax what we all know: there's no keeping Gemma from this. He only asks that Gemma try not to kill anyone today. She doesn't say anything, but you know she's making no promises. Jax says they're taking Opie with them, while Clay takes Bobby, Happy, and Chibbs to go find this address Maureen handed them. Jax doesn't seem too outwardly concerned with the fact that Clay might kill Jimmy O if he finds him. In fact, if Jax has had any kind of plan for getting Jimmy back to the States alive without telling his brothers about the deal with Stahl, the audience hasn't been made privy to it.
Next, a scene of simple Irish domesticity, as Jimmy O sits at a kitchen table, glass of brandy and ash tray in front of him. Along with seven guns of various style and type. While screams of anguish peal out from the other room. Donny ducks into the kitchen, panting from the effort (torture is HARD!). He produces -- darkly funny parallel alert! -- a similar slip of paper to Maureen's, this one also with an address on it. This one's got blood on it, though. Then Donny and Jimmy talk. About things. Things! You know, typical things. Look, I can't chisel my way through those brogues and neither can you, so let's all just assume that Jimmy plans to do something nefarious at this address and call it a day, huh?
On their way out, Jimmy and Donny check in on their little font of information -- it's Sean Casey, if you hadn't already guessed -- and give him a little parting gift in the form of a bullet through the head. The blood spatter gets all over the crucifix on the wall, kind of negating the point of covering the floor in plastic wrap. Though it does offer quite the obvious metaphor for the role religion plays in Irish strife. Because, see, the blood represents violence. And, like, death and stuff? And the crucifix is sometimes used as a symbol for Catholic shit. Tell me if I'm moving too fast for you.
After the blarney-infused credits, we return to a close-up on the brain goo poking out of Casey's bald head. Nice. Clay and company bust in and realize they're too late. The teeth on the floor let them know he was tortured before he was killed. Chibbs immediately leaps to the obvious conclusion: he's looking for Fiona and Carrie Ann. Clay tells them to call Juice and have them bring the ladies to the alley. Because, yes, I'd forgotten that Juice was tasked with keeping them safe and that's why he wasn't around last week.
Back in Charming, Wayne's had Jacob Hale brought in at 4 AM, which Hale is vocally perturbed about ... until he realizes Wayne knows about the vote. Hale tries to shine Wayne on that the vote was out of his hands, but Wayne's not buying anymore. He changes the subject to old lumpy, who apparently succumbed to the beating Hale had arranged for him a couple weeks back. Hale tries to pretend like he's sorry Lumpy's head, and Wayne isn't afraid of tipping his hand: that he thinks Hale has quite the motive to go after Lumpy since his death now means his gym will no longer be an impediment to the land development deal. (Boy, between FX programming and Carl Paladino's gubernatorial run, it's been a rough month for seedy land developers on TV.) Hale is incredulous that Wayne could chalk a man's death up to a group of civil servants and land developers: "And you wonder why the vote was unanimous." Looks like Wayne's no longer so conflicted over who the good guys and bad guys are in Charming.
Second-unit photography of green-hued hills must mean we're back in Belfast. Jax, Gemma, and Opie storm the orphanage and start stomping around the various bassinettes, looking for Abel and acting exactly how your worried Americans will act in European orphanages. The HNIC (head nun in charge) says Ashby phoned ahead and told her (warned her) they'd be coming. Jax demands Abel a few times before the HNIC says that he was adopted two days ago. She stonewalls on where he is, saying that adoption records are kept confidential by a third-party mediator. Jax gets all up in her face and barely glances at the male employee (security?) who tries to pull him back. Opie intervenes, telling Jax that two days ago means Ashby already knew Abel was gone when he handed over the address. Jax gets his rage up and begins to stomp out to find Ashby, but they've all forgotten about one thing: Gemma and her bag of crazy. She doubles herself over in pain, which is such an obvious ploy if you know her. The poor sap of a security guy doesn't, though, and when he goes to help her, she easily grabs his gun from him. Then -- oh, then. Then Gemma grabs a random baby from another nun, points her gun at the poor crying thing, and threatens the HNIC, saying that unless she digs up the records, she's going to play Solomon and cut this child in two.
Now, I like the sense that Sons of Anarchy will Go There, will pull out some jaw-dropping shit -- Tara punching Margaret, poor Otto's eyeballs, whatever -- but I feel like this particular stunt was just that: a stunt. An act of indulgence from a show that figures they've taken