This episode felt subdued, as was fitting for an episode dealing wholly with the aftermath of Opie's death and Gemma's feckless personal life. I suspect when we look back later on this season, this will be a pivotal point, however. Let's count the ways.
Even King Solomon would have lost patience with this nonsense: Wendy continues to remind people that she exists, something that threatens Tara to no end. The former and current Mrs. Teller do manage to have a civil conversation in which Wendy makes the very salient point that Tara can continue this “There can be only one!”-style method of mothering for only a few more years, because Abel will eventually go digging on his own once he's a teen. Mindful of the damage that's unspooled over the last four seasons as Jax excavated his own family's history, Tara decides that they really should say something to Abel about Wendy. Some time. The point is, the Wendy threat gets neutralized in this episode and Gemma loses some leverage there.
Nero, may I sleep with danger? Following the bust of the Best Little Cathouse in Charming, Carla and Nero face total ruin. They're looking for someone at whom to point fingers, and the blame gets bounced from Gemma to Clay to Emma Jean. (Everyone thinks she called Vice; Emma claims she did not.) Nero attempts to placate everyone by sending some vatos to kill Emma (per Carla's wishes) but asks Jax and Chibs to find Emma first and get her out of town. They do so, but because this is SAMCRO, the entire caper is beset with bad luck and many shouty postmortems. After the dust settles, Jax recognizes that Nero is a) motivated to make lots of money and b) short a brothel, so he ropes him into a new business deal: set up a new type of escort service with the Caracara roster. This deal serves all parties: the guys rake in money from the sex workers, Nero gets a business back, Jax moves the club away from guns and toward other lines of revenue. (Shades of season two here …) But here's the most significant development: Jax is tired of the business and personal being all mixed up, so he asks Nero to consider which he prefers: a business opportunity or banging Gemma. It takes Nero less than a minute to decide he'll always regard Gemma fondly as he's counting huge wads of money.
When you're bad to Carla, Carla's bad to you: Nero's business partner has been engaging in some rudimentary logical deduction, and all her conclusions seem to point to the following: Everything bad that has happened to her in the past two weeks is Gemma's fault. Which is probably true, but that's not going to stop Gemma from goading Tara – who is carrying around a lot of rage over the whole Wendy thing, as well as the whole my-operatin'-hand-is-basically-a-collection-of-broken-pretzels-in-a-rubber-glove thing – into putting the hurt on Carla under the pretext of Carla putting Jax in peril. The brawl is disgusting, Tara ends the episode sulking in a garage and smoking pot, as opposed to being sober and home with the children she so rigorously claims as hers, and really, who would have thought five years ago that Wendy would end up the model of stability?
Farewell, Opie: He's sent off in a manner many primitive tribes would recognize, as everyone affiliated with SAMCRO tucked something into the coffin so as to help Opie hold a yard sale in the afterlife. Lyla is understandably freaking out over the prospect of her single-mom workload tripling, and Jax assures her that the club will be there to pick up the slack. Given the track record we've seen among the patched-in guys so far, I feel confident that little Piper, Kenny and Ellie will be well tended if Filthy Phil is on the case. (I also feel that Filthy Phil is the most logical choice, since the children are already used to freakishly large men in leather jackets.) In what is possibly the greatest sign of love and respect SAMCRO can give to one of their own, the wake and funeral are drama free.
Two boys are biking down a dusty path when they hear the rumble of motorcycles. They stop to watch as Jax and his crew go by. Jax turns to look at them and for a moment, time slows: all we see is Jax staring at the two friends, impossibly still as the trees slowly blur around him. Then the moment passes and Jax leads his club back to the first day of their post-Opie lives.
Meanwhile, Gemma awakes to find herself locked in a jail cell and about to be conscripted into an all-hooker number of "He Had It Coming," if the way Carla's prowling around is any indication. Carla lays out why she's so unhappy and it's not because she's been the same bandage dress and hooker heels for 24 hours straight now and body parts are going to begin falling off due to lack of circulation. The reason? Someone called the cops on the Best Little Cathouse in Charming and, according to amateur logician Carla, it had to be either the young woman Gemma beat up or the old man she's ditched for Nero. Either way, it's all Gemma's fault. Before things get tricky, Gemma's been bailed out. She is not particularly gracious in her goodbyes.
Stunner! It's Wendy who bailed out Gemma. After some tart words about which charges have been dropped (prostitution) versus which ones are still alive (assault), Gemma tries to pull the poor-me act with "I don't know who else to call," and Wendy chortles, "You must be really running out of friends if I'm your emergency contact number." Gemma deflects, asks how much she owes Wendy, then thanks Wendy. The other woman acidly says, "No problem. It's the least I could do after you helped me with Tara. I should have known listening to you would just make things worse." Gemma does not look thrilled to have been called out for that little stunt, but she does correctly note that as a grown adult with free will, Wendy always had the option of not listening to Gemma. She asks, "So why'd you help me." Wendy says philosophically, "Putting coin in the karma bank. Come on -- I'll give you a ride home."
Gemma decides that she'd rather get a ride home with Nero and since she's no longer dependent on Wendy for a ride, Gemma can now swipe her claws at Wendy by reminding her that Tara's not the only parent of Abel's to whom Wendy must make a case and that so far as Jax is concerned, Wendy's the woman who tried to kill his firstborn. Wendy sighs, "I know," and heads out, presumably to sit in her car and repeat the Serenity Prayer for an hour or so.