LOVE MEANS GIVING YOUR THUG HUSBAND ULTIMATUMS: Now that Tara (THE WORST) has an inkling that men who spend lengthy periods of time in motorcycle clubs turn out to be savages who murder people with whatever is at hand, she asks her husband – who has recently killed someone with a snow globe, let us remember – if he hasn't maybe done enough to keep SAMCRO from getting wiped out with a RICO case. And could it maybe be her turn to advance her career? Jax stalls and Tara does not miss what this means. Her day gets even worse when Lowen provides sage legal advice that comes down to "Tara is very probably screwed."
Also, this episode shows that Tara has remembered that she's a doctor and she very much enjoys her calling, first showing her enthralled by a surgery and then in ministering to a post-chemo Unser. It's evident she isn't entirely over medicine and into being a felonious old lady. How evident? She takes the job offer in Providence, and stresses that it's a very hush-hush "yes" for now.
REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO WEIRD: Know how Taylor Swift says that we are never ever ever getting back together? Clay wants the exact opposite of that with Gemma. Too bad Gemma's only in it because her son's ordering her to be, and this week, Jax orders Gemma to use her womanly wiles on Clay to produce the paperwork that was in the stolen safe. (Remember, the paperwork will prove that Clay was coordinating the home invasions with the nomads.) That fails. And then Nero – who is off the wagon in terms of gangsta activity, on account of people threatening his new brothel and his presumptive squeeze's son – comes over and can't even process what Gemma's doing, so he's heartbroken.
HOORAY! DONAL LOGUE IS BACK ON MY TELEVISION! Even better, he's beating up Otto. Later, in a meeting, he tells the con, "These next few months are going to be the most excruciatingly painful of your sick and miserable life." So … going after the club, then? All signs – this plus him stalking Tara in the hospital – point to "yes." (I will note that the character I referred to as "Nurse Karina" was billed as "Pam Toric." And Donal Logue? Billed as "Lee Toric." And thus yet another enemy borne from SAMCRO's murder of an innocent woman gets rolled into the mix.)
AND YOU GET TO FIND OUT ABOUT RICO! AND YOU GET TO FIND OUT ABOUT RICO! AND YOU GET TO FIND OUT ABOUT RICO!: Romeo informs Clay that the RICO case is dead and indeed, he's working with the CIA. Clay is all, " … I can scheme with this, hold on …" And so he goes to Jax, lays out what he knows (i.e. everything) and warns him that Romeo's super-incentivized to keep the guns flowing. Jax's moves to get out of the gun deal by the killing the RICO case have rubbed Romeo the wrong way. So either that RICO case is coming back or Jax will be taken out and the previous administration re-installed to return to the gun-running status quo. Clay advises Jax to stick with the current CIA-cartel deal, as "it has a shelf life, and by the time they split, all the legit shit you're putting in place will be in full swing." If this advice were coming from anyone other than Clay, Jax would take it. But since he hates Clay and wants to see him choke on his own face, Jax hurtles toward the spiteful, stupid opposite.
Or does he? Jax lines up Lin to take his place as the gun dealer who will handle the cartel (less a 10% referral fee for SAMCRO), which is extraordinarily smart when you think about it. He's also lined up a few gangs to mule the coke. When Luis and Romeo kidnap him, he tells them as much: "I'm an outlaw, not a suicide bomber," he smirks. Then he goes back to the table and tells everyone ev-er-y-thing. The club votes on whether or not to "hand off the drugs to the Mexicans and the guns to the Chinese." The table's united: They want out.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Jax also leans on Juice to produce the incriminating papers, which Juice does for ten minutes, but then he makes the mistake of leaving Clay alone, Clay moves the proof, Jax punches Juice and Bobby is horrified by the whole thing. So Jax tells Bobby and Chibs all of the backstory regarding his dad, Clay and the damn letters from last year. Having dropped that big fat truth bomb on the veteran club members, Jax leaves. In the last scene, Bobby Elvis takes it upon himself to go talk to Clay – "I'm here to keep you alive."
Lisa Schmeiser is an Oakland-adjacent reporter and blogger. She spent Tuesday afternoon holding up the most recent Entertainment Weekly cover and teaching her daughter to say, "Outlaw biker!" whenever she saw Charlie Hunnam.
Morning in Charming and evidently Jax and Tara have the only two under-fives in all of Christendom who will sleep until 9 a.m., because Tara's up and reading through the job packet that the Providence pediatrics practice pressed upon her. Jax comes in and Tara fills him in: the practice made her an offer, they need a neonatal specialist and they're fine with her hand because Tara can continue therapy up in Oregon. "If we can get through this Otto mess..." Tara trails off. "Which we will," Jax promises. Tara leans forward and says, "I know why you couldn't walk away a few months ago. The club's been your whole life -- you couldn't let it die. I think I fell in love with you even more after that. You're a beautiful, loyal man, Jax." Going by the glare Jax is giving Tara, he knows there's a "but" coming... and here it is: "But ending RICO saves SAMCRO. And whatever happens with Clay, you have put the MC on the right track, you've done everything you wanted to do, baby. It's your turn now. We can move on. And after yesterday, I... I can't help but feel like this is some kind of last chance for us."
Somehow, that manages to slide over Jax's head -- I blame the pomade -- and he murmurs, "We don't have to make that decision now." Actually they do, as the practice needs an answer by the end of the week. Bafflingly, instead of saying, "Go for it! I'll get the prospects to start wrapping the china," Jax wants to talk to their lawyer first to see what the odds are on Tara getting nailed for accessory to murder. Tara says flatly, "Okay, baby." I think Jax just told her everything she needed to know about where his loyalties really are.
Chez Gemma and boy, is the morning after awkward. Clay tries to ease the tension over morning coffee with, "I'm aware we don't just pick up where we left off. Maybe this is a chance for us, Gem... to do it different. No lies, no secrets." "Maybe," squeaks the woman who is lying about why she's back with Clay in the first place. That said Gemma's not above using Clay for manual labor, asking him to put back the boxes of LuAnn's stuff and inadvertently providing the pieces of the puzzle as to how Jax is getting rid of RICO (i.e. nullifying Otto's testimony).
Well, that was fast: Lowen's at the Teller-Knowles breakfast table (that must be a hell of a retainer the club has her on) and it's not looking good, on account of Tara having forged all the documentation to see Otto in the first place, which could suggest that she was in on Otto needing a weapon from the go. As Lowen outlines the many ways in which a prosecutor could nail Tara's bottom to the wall, Chibs looks over at Abel in the living room, watching TV and completely unaware that Mom might be headed to the hoosegow. Thomas begins crying and Tara rises to go tend to him. After she goes, Jax confirms with Lowen that Otto's brand new felony charge does indeed destroy his reliability as a witness and therefore kills the testimony that the RICO case is built upon. Lowen is sort of taken aback that Jax is asking about this, pointing out, "This could unravel for Tara, Jax. She could do serious time for this." Jax shoutily requests that Lowen "make sure that doesn't happen." Lowen snaps back, "I manipulate the law. I don't write it." She's off, probably to go eat her feelings with a Sausage McMuffin and regret her life choices.