The SAMCRO boys somehow have bikes waiting for them when they show up in Ireland. They join up with McGee and are quickly picked up by some aggressive Northern Ireland cops. Luckily, Gemma's there to show us who's always the ballsiest on this show, in any country, by running the cops off the road and freeing her men. Turns out the cops were paid off to detain the gang, and it's looking a lot like the work of Jimmy. With a few threats to the well-being of the cops' families, they're on their way to join the hooting and hollering Ireland Sons. They also find Maureen, who fills them in on Abel's whereabouts, but tells Jax he has to just sit and wait for Father Kellan. Gemma meets Trinity, and knows immediately that it's true she's John's. Maureen urges Gemma to keep this shit buried, since the truth will only hurt and distract Jax right now. But Jax has plenty of hurt and distractions, especially when the car he, Chibs, Fiona, Kerianne and Trinity are in gets all shot up while taking Chibs' boys back to the priest. The Sons know it was just a message and that they'd be dead if that had been the intent.
Jax and the gang work off the aggression in a boxing bout, where there's lots of brother-sister flirting going on between Jax and Trinity. For some reason, Gemma hauls Clay off to bed instead of intervening. Fortunately, Kellan shows up and sets up a meeting with Jax at St. Matt's, and tells Trinity to put her mom to bed. Later, Bobby Elvis tells Gemma how much happier Clay is when she's around, and she sadly tells Bobby Elvis he's going to have to take care of Clay when she's not around. She asks him not to go to the scary place, so they have a sad hug instead, and then Clay sends her air kisses. When Jax meets Kellan, he will only tell him that Abel's safe and far from Belfast, because he wasn't safe near Jimmy. He tells Jax in the utmost confidence that Jimmy wants the IRA to end its relationship with the Sons for his own benefit and profit, but Kellan (speaking on behalf of the IRA) wants Jax to kill Jimmy before they give his son back. That way, it won't look like the Army's killing one of their own, but like a distraught father, since Jimmy took Abel and lied about it to have leverage over the Charming Sons. Kellan promises Abel will go home in the arms of his loving family if Jax kills Jimmy. You have to wonder if he means Jax or the new Catholic family holding Abel as the episode closes.
Back in Charming, Tara bails Tig out of jail. Bad news, though: His license has been taken away. And, what's a Son of Anarchy without the ability to ride his hog? So he's stuck shotgun with Kozik, and we get a little backstory into why Tig hates Kozik so much. Surprise, surprise, it has a little something to do with a lady. Also, Lyla and Tara bond over what a bitch Ima is; then Lyla asks where she can get an abortion without creating a paper trail. Oh, and Opie doesn't know, but this isn't Lyla's first rodeo. When Tara asks her boss where her "friend" might go to get an abortion anonymously, she gives her a location and then assumes the friend is Tara. She tells her if that's true, she'd tell her she's doing the right thing. Tara takes Lyla to the abortion clinic, where they have a heart-to-heart before Lyla's called back: "Sarah Palin?" Tara makes herself an appointment, too.
Darby and Jacob do some dirty dealing in Jacob's attempt to buy the gym that is apparently key to all of his power. But Lumpy Feldstein (or "Lump," as the boys like to call him) calls in Tig and Kozik to assist. Jacob, meanwhile, bails out and enlists the help of Calaveras Hector. That pits Hector against a Prospect guarding Lumpy's place, which isn't much of a fight as the Prospect just hides while Hector shoots the place up, then bashes Lumpy in the head with a "Tell Sons no one messes with the Mayans." And, with that one lie, the next gang war is so on. Stupid Prospect doesn't even call for help for Lumpy; he just takes off with his tail between his legs, leaving his weapon and jacket behind.
What is it about special international episodes that makes it impossible for them to ever be as good as a regular-old episode of a given show? And why does a good show insist on changing it up like this anyway? And it's nothing against Ireland. I love Ireland. I'm just not sure Ireland and this show mix particularly well. And why go to all that trouble of creating a fictional town only to send your characters out into the real world where they don't belong. Anyway, that's where we are for now: Ireland. So we might as well enjoy it. First up, then, is that episode title, Lochan Mor. I couldn't figure out in the context of the episode what exactly it meant, so I went to Google. A lochan seems to be a small lake or sea inlet and mor seems to mean big. Because I think "big little lake" doesn't make sense, I'm going to assume it means "big pond." As in, SAMCRO is a small fish in Ireland's big pond (as opposed to the big fish they are in the little pond of charming). So, okay, let's actually start the episode.
The episode opens with beautiful shots of the Irish countryside and a somewhat less beautiful Gaelic song. As the camera zooms in on SAMCRO on their Irish bikes (how'd they get those so soon upon arrival?), Irish rock kicks in. They ride across Ireland, with Gemma and a few others in a military-style jeep trailing behind. Maureen sends Trinity out with groceries for home, I guess, and then thoughtfully watches her walk away. We stay with Trinity, who carries the groceries to her mom's and puts them in the fridge, then leans over the guy passed out on the dining room table. The Irish music continues as we're with Tara back in Charming, drinking coffee next to Abel's crib. Then we're with Abel, in what appears to be a baby thrift store, run by Father Kellan Ashby, who crosses Abel's forehead. Jimmy's in a bar somewhere on his cell phone. He hangs it up and sits down at a booth with his friend. SAMCRO boys ride and ride across the green Irish plains. They stop and meet up with SAMBEL. McGee and Clay exchange warm hugs and cussing -- as do many of the other guys -- but Gemma looks on from the Jeep, wearing the skeptical sunglasses of a worried woman. Chibs meets his nephew, who fills him in on the safety of Chibs's ladies. McGee makes sure everything's cool between him and Clay. Clay says it is, so they all get back on their bikes to ride off together. But not into the sunset or anything, because this is Ireland. There is no sun.
Unser comes back to taunt Tig, lying down in his cell, about his lawyer being in Belfast. He lists off Tig's crimes (Tig says it's all "hearsay" other than speeding), then lets Tig out, because Tara's posted his bail. Before Tara leaves, Unser pulls her aside to make sure she told him everything honestly about what happened with Gemma's escape, before he hands the information over to the FBI. She looks guiltily downward -- I wouldn't recommend Tara play any poker -- and then assures him she didn't forget anything. On their way out, Tig finds out his license is suspended and will be for at least a couple of years. Tig wonders how he'll work without a license, but more importantly: How will he ride? Tara promises to have someone pick him up at impound, but Tig still thinks this is bullshit.
Our SAMCRO + SAMBEL parade meets a police roadblock back in Ireland. Gemma's Jeep driver assures her that as long as everyone has ID, they'll be fine; she's still wearing her skeptical sunglasses, though, and they're moving toward scared. The cops hit only the SAMCRO bikers up for ID, then head back to their car to check it out. Back in the van, Gemma's removed her sunglasses so she has to actually talk ("This is bad") so we'll know her fear and skepticism are still strong. The cops way-too-quickly realize the SAMCRO guys have fled jurisdiction in California and yell for them to get down on the ground; they're under arrest. Gemma's driver doesn't think it makes any sense that the cops would be able to get the intel that quick. Chibs spits in a cop's face and then a fight breaks out. Gemma's upgraded to an "Oh, shit!" as she watches from the van. The cops and their automatic weapons win this one and lead the guys to the police van. Gemma's driver thinks these asshole cops will probably just shoot them and dump them after Chibs's spitting incident. Gemma's having none of that, so she pushes the driver aside and guns the Jeep right into the police van (she has time to throw her sunglasses on first, though). The cops flee as Gemma's driver shoots in their general direction. Oh, good. So now she'll be wanted by the Irish government, too. Jax wonders what the hell just happened, and Chibs's nephew welcomes him to Ireland. It's impressive what these guys are capable of making light of. Credits -- Irish-ified.
After a commercial break, the two SAMs have a cop who was left behind. They want to know who tipped him off and why, so they all take turns beating the crap out of him. Then they threaten to kill one of his men if he doesn't talk, so he admits they were paid to detain them, but he has no idea by whom. More threats assures the guys he's not lying, so they pull the cops' IDs and make some threats against their families if they tell anyone about this. Then they're on their way.
Back in Charming, Tig's living out his worst nightmare, since Kozik's the one who was sent to pick him up. It is, however, not my worst nightmare because I'd like nothing more than an Odd Couple spin-off in which these two are roommates. This whole driving thing is the perfect conduit for that, since Tig would need to rely on his roomie more than ever. You're welcome, Kurt Sutter. Kozik even tells Tig he'll let him ride bitch with him while he doesn't have a license, but Tig's plans are to send Kozik back to Tacoma; he's never, ever letting him in to SAMCRO. Kozik: "It's been eight years, douchebag." Tig's like, "You know, when you put it that way, you're right. You're in!" Or, wait, I guess that's not how people generally respond to being called "douchebag." Tig actually says that not a day goes by that he doesn't think about "her." The plot thickens.