Buried in the Potter's Field: Chibs tells Jax about Juice's suicide attempt. Nobody suggests calling 1-800-442-HOPE. Instead, Jax points out that suicide is somehow against the biker code and says they'll have to vote Juice out. Chibs pleads for Juice: "Let me watch him for a while … and we've got to get Clay to get him off that cartel shit." Roosevelt is equally alarmed by the state of Juice's tender, pulpy neck flesh, and goes to Potter to convince him to drop Juice as his pawn. Potter is implacable -- and decides today will be a good day to push Big Otto to see whether he ever snaps. So he pretends to be a sheriff's deputy again and tells Big Otto that Bobby Elvis lied about Georgie Caruso's death. Then he heads back to Charming for a face-to-face with Juice. Juice sees the command room with all its photos, realizes that he's helping the Feds build a RICO case, and snaps. Potter then makes Juice an offer: He wants the Real IRA, so if Juice can pass along information about the pending Galindo/Irish Kings meeting, Potter will not "use federal law to shut down your entire organization." It will be interesting to see how Potter slithers between the words to screw everyone over.
If a Piney Is Killed in the Woods, Does He Make a Sound? Gemma discovers Piney's body and has a genuine emotional breakdown for about a minute. She quickly figures out that Clay killed Piney, but it takes Unser to explain the motive: Although Gemma saw letters burning in Unser's firepit, those were only copies. Clay read the copies, he's convinced Tara and Piney have the originals, and he is probably going to kill the mother of Gemma's grandchildren next. Unser's all set to go to the sheriff with all this and turn in Clay, but he is soon swayed by Gemma's pleading. And that is how Unser ends up faking a convincing "the cartel did it!" scene.
We Happy Few, We Band of Cartel Stooges: This week's biker intrigue centers around Laroy and the Niners. While the club was formerly allied with SAMCRO and helped them craft a complex web of alliances in the Oakland area, it looks like they're now working for Lobos Sonora -- which means that SAMCRO has to serve them up on a platter to the Galindo cartel. Jax is not too cool with this. Although SAMCRO does set up a meeting between the Niners and Luis (who is now backed by many colleagues who have relocated to scenic northern California), Jax manages to keep everyone alive and brokers a deal with Laroy: Drop the business arrangement with Lobo Sonora and he'll find a way to cut in the Niners on the Galindo deal. Thus the fragile gang ecosystem is preserved with a minimum of bloodshed. Laroy then serves up some Lobos in a good-faith gesture to Galindo, and when Luis gets pissy about how few were killed in the ambush, Jax steps in, gives a thug life equivalent of the St. Crispin's Day speech to persuade Luis to spare everyone's lives, and generally demonstrates to all and sundry that he's leadership material. This is not lost on embattled president Clay or the other members of SAMCRO. Then Jax has a sit-down with Clay where he demonstrates even more leadership and vision by demanding that the two of them come up with an exit strategy for the cartel deal. So Clay salves his wounded ego by ordering the hit on Tara. So much for the powers of Gemma's persuasion.
The "M.D." Stands for "Mostly Doomed:" Right as Tara goes to hand over the copies of JT's letters to Margaret as an insurance policy, she sees the stack of blank paper and quickly, correctly realizes what happened. She confronts Gemma about stealing the letters, admits that she hasn't shown Jax the letters because she thinks they'd push Jax into taking steps that would keep him in the club. Gemma, of course, lies to Tara ("I don't know if Clay killed JT. All I know is he brought me back to life."). So naturally, Tara tells Gemma her plans to flee to Oregon. At the last minute, Jax decides to come with her. I really hope we see footage of him bored to death in the passenger seat of the momvan. I hope, I hope, I hope!
Line of the week: "Relationships are overrated." -- Clay, pointing out to Jax that the Niners getting wiped out by intercartel shenanigans may not be the crisis that Jax perceives it to be. But really, it could apply to so many things in Clay's life.
We open on the Teller-Morrow garage. Chibs is waiting for Jax in the garage, Juice slightly behind him, and he requests of the club VP, "I need your advice, brother." He shows Jax Juice's neck, and Jax asks, "What about it? I thought you caught it on a security chain at Oswald's." Juice gives him a miserable look; if he opened his mouth, he'd probably start crying. Jax looks at Juice, looks to Chibs, then looks back at Juice as he realizes what actually happened. "Oh, shit, Juice!" he says in a mixture of anger and dismay. (It's nice, subtle work by Charlie Hunnam. The only way it would be better would be if Hunnam were doing it shirtless.) Juice spins a tale of vague trauma, and Chibs cuts through with an astringent, "I'm not sure how you handle this."
Jax and Chibs confer, and we find out that the club's policy on suicidal guys is to withdraw all support whatsoever by voting them out... as people who vow brotherhood to one another do. Chibs pleads to keep Juice around, explaining, "My first kill for the Irish -- young constable in Omagh. My age. Me and him could have been classmates. I put two bullets in the back of that boy's head. Never even seen it coming. Shit broke me, Jackie. Came close to swinging from the tree myself." Jax sighs, grumbles that there's a big difference between suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, but accedes to Chibs' request to keep an eye on Juice. Chibs emphasizes again that Clay needs to take Juice off the cartel business.
Speaking of Clay: He's meeting with Alvarez and Luis now. Alvarez exposits that there are now at least two dozen Lobos Sonora in the area, and they're making alliances with different underworld players to expand their cocaine network. Using basic logical deduction -- the Chinese heroin trade in NorCal has been growing, which means that the Niners got out of it -- Clay and Jax arrive at this week's dilemma: Laroy and the Niners, who are historically not a problem for SAMCRO, have now become a problem thanks to their rooting for the wrong side in this cartel spat. Jax says they'll meet with Laroy today and find out what's going on. Luis cordially invites him to bring along three dozen of his new Galindo friends.
After everyone disperses, Jax exposits: "If the Niners are buying from Lobo, this guy is going to slaughter them. That changes the whole dynamic in Oaktown. It wipes diplomacy off the table." Clay shrugs, "Maybe it's time to clean house. Relationships are overrated."
Aaaaand cut to Gemma. She's sitting at her table, trying to raise someone on the phone -- someone who happens to be Piney. Needless to say, he's in no condition to answer his phone.