It's good to be in the opening credits (unless you're William Lucking): Opie does not kill Clay, merely gives him a few flesh wounds. Jax wings Opie's hand to keep him from doing any real damage, then sends him up to the cabin to hide out. So, there's that – Jax is, at least, not throwing Opie to the club's mercy. But he's going to have a hell of a reckoning with his pal later.
Susan Smith, Criminal Mastermind: Jax decides that the official story behind Clay's shooting is going to be that some random African-American dudes did it. Because a racist motorcycle club plus racial profiling will never equal bloodshed.
Naturally, the club concludes the Niners are behind the shooting, and Tig decides to take out Laroy. Unfortunately, he is as successful in this as he was in taking out Opie in season one. And, as in season one, Tig succeeds in taking out the target's old lady instead. Unfortunately, Tig escapes with a little help from the rest of SAMCRO. Let the race war begin!
Romeo, Romeo, Whyfore Art Thou a Lying Weasel: Lenny the Pimp reaches out to Jax, and one quick visit to Stockton, Jax has a few troubling pieces of intel: Juice is missing, Bobby Elvis signed into Stockton but never signed out, Otto's made a deal with the Feds, and he had to have given up someone to do so. Jax takes that to Romeo and points out that the Feds may be circling. Romeo's all, "Eh, no need to call off any meet with the Irish until after I've checked in with all my moles in assorted federal agencies." A few scenes later, Romeo swears that his contacts have told him "Otto Delaney never sold out your club." Are Romeo's contacts bad? Or is he lying? We don't find out this week. And the meet's planned to go ahead.
Ladies, That's a Deal-Breaker: Gemma heads over to the Teller Knowles estate to try and manipulate Tara into giving her the letters. Her tactic: a truth blitz. Gemma starts by telling Tara that Opie shot Clay, then moves into the why (because Clay killed Piney) and jumps to her main point, which is that the letters have made Clay murderously eager to cover his ass. She also reveals to Tara that Clay's the one who put the hit out on her. Tara gives up the location of the letters, and rethinks the wisdom of having a father-in-law who is perpetually threatening to kill her. For one thing, Thanksgiving would be simply fraught with tension.
Once she has the letters, Gemma does a little judicious editing of the contents (i.e. taking out anything that implicates her) and then drops them in Jax's lap. First he learns that Clay killed his dad, then he learns that Clay was behind the attempted hit on Tara. Jax watches his mother lay out the "Clay must die" case and you can see the wheels turning in his head. A few beats later (and an excellent exchange between Tara and Gemma where Tara proves that she's got Gemma's number), Jax comes out and informs Tara and Gemma he's going to have to kill Clay. Tara then shocks the hell out of mother and son by whipping out a syringe and explaining the incredibly chilling scenario she's dreamed up for doing the job.
And with that, Tara appears to have out-Gemma'd Gemma. The real tragedy of this series may not be Jax being unable to escape his fate; it might be that Tara's sunk into it with him.
Heckler's Exchange of the Evening:
Jax, onscreen: I will find the truth.
Mr. Sobell, offscreen, into his Manhattan: You couldn't find your dick with two hands and a map.
Reader, I married him.
The episode right where the other one ended: on Jax's shocked face. He's panting as he watches Opie, and Opie's watching Clay. Clay gasps a little and Opie levels his pistol to shoot again, and that is when Jax wings Opie's gun hand, causing the shot to go wild and miss Clay. Opie reels, and Jax knocks him to the ground, then rushes to assess the damage.
Outside Unser pulls up right as Rat is sprinting across the lot. Rat says, with breathless panic, "I heard shots!" He and Unser head inside and see Opie on the ground by one of the tables, Clay drenched in blood and slumped against the wall, and Jax urging Clay to just keep breathing. Jax shouts to call an ambulance, and Unser shouts back, "Gunshots! Sheriff's going to be all over this." Clay gurgles that Jax should get him outside and the story is "it happened in the garage."
We get a shot of Opie's gun on the table, but it's not like anyone in SAMCRO watches CSI -- and it's not like the San Joaquin's sheriff's department is going to be bringing out the forensic A-team for a shot biker -- and the bikers are already moving Clay per his wishes. Unser, ignored, squawks about the need for a cover story, and Clay blithely opens a new chapter of intragang warfare by saying, "Just say it was black."
As Jax carries Clay out, he tells Unser he'll take care of Opie, and orders, "Just get rid of those guns and take care of the blood!" Unser mutters, "I'm getting real good at that."
As Rat and Jax carry Clay through the clubhouse, Jax makes up the story: "He was shot by two black guys outside the garage. If you ever want to make patch, that's your story until I tell you otherwise." Rat's all, "There's another story? I was too distracted by the two black men shooting up the place to notice." Gentle readers, open up your death pool on Rat... now. If it's one thing this show has taught us over four seasons, it's that people who lie for SAMCRO have a funny way of coming to harm.
We go from Clay moaning through bloodied teeth to Gemma popping awake in the middle of the night and sitting up in bed. She hustles out of the bedroom, her spousal ESP pinging away.
Cut to Jax hustling the wincing, bleeding Opie into the tow truck. He then orders Rat gone and dashes over to check on Clay leaned up against a tool chest in the garage. Clay has looked better. Jax asks Unser, "You think he's going to make it?" and Unser neutrally shrugs. He hustles Jax out, and sits down next to Clay to wait for the cops to show. The two men do not pass the time conversing about all the silly misadventures Gemma's talked them into over the years.