And now, the ladies John Teller loved and left have a good gab. Maureen's calling from her house line -- and Trinny's eavesdropping in the next room. The conversation goes like so:
MAUREEN: Is that JT's boy that called the shop?
GEMMA: My boy. Yes. I understand you've made contact with someone else I know?
MAUREEN: Aye, I have.
GEMMA: How can I be sure of that?
MAUREEN: He's a fighter. Scar on his belly.
GEMMA: [Swallows hard.] What was he wearing?
MAUREEN: Cheap onesie. Blue hat, white pompom. [She plays with the hat, a bittersweet smile on her face.]
Gemma, too overcome to speak, hands the phone to Jax, who lunges for it with desperate longing, asking, "Where is he?" Maureen tells him, "Abel's with a friend. I'm not sure how much longer they can keep him safe. That's all I can say right now. The boy needs his da. [click]." Jax finally, FINALLY cancels the Canadian road trip. They're off to Belfast!
Zip! We're in Belfast and Trinny's fishing for more info based on her eavesdropping. Maureen refuses to tell her anything, and Trinny says, "Dammit, Ma, I'm not a child! Tell me the truth!" Maureen echoes Gemma's earlier words when she says, "Members from the original charter are coming out here soon. You'll have more truth than you can handle." She wanders off, leaving Trinny more confused than ever. Oh, Trinny. Here's hoping you don't bollix the works for everyone in your quest to know what's what.
Back at the hospital, Gemma's dozing in bed, the surveillance photo of Abel clutched in one hand. Stahl slithers in and takes the photo. This wakes Gemma, who instantly rolls her eyes at the agent. Stahl tries the Mrs.-Nice-Guy approach, because she evidently thinks Gemma has the memory span of a mayfly, and compliments SAMCRO's tracking abilities. Then she asks, "Where is your grandson?" Gemma smoothly lies that she doesn't know. Enter Clay and Jax, which only delights Stahl more: this way, she can torment Gemma both by gleefully saying there's no longer a deal on the table and by making sure Gemma sees her husband and son's reaction to the news. Stahl then gloats, "I think [the U.S. attorney] is going to press you hard for intel on the club. Which means you either give up your boys, or your boys give up you. Have a nice life." The other three people in the room do their damnedest to make sure Stahl can't register any change in their expressions. (I, on the other hand, am practically spitting with pure loathing for this cartoon villainess.) Once Stahl goes, Gemma breaks into tears. Clay immediately sinks onto the bed and wraps himself around her as if to shield her from whatever comes next. I realize there's a lot of "Oh, Katey Sagal, she's got such acting chops!" going around -- and it's well deserved -- but I really admire the way Ron Perlman's consistently depicted Clay as someone who is deeply enamored of his wife and does not care who knows it. Doesn't his behavior make you all curious as to how Clay acted around Gemma before they were married? I know it does for me.
Meanwhile, Jax recognizes that he's helpless to comfort Gemma so he settles for plan B: discreetly following Stahl.
Outside, a soignée blonde is leaning against a sedan. When she sees Stahl, there's some small talk about how it went, and the blonde observes, "You're still in one piece." "I'm not that fragile, baby," Stahl responds, which is how we find out that Stahl copes with the limited opportunities for dating on the job (or, you know, dating when being Stahl) by taking on all genders. As Stahl drives off, Jax has the presence of mind to write down the car's license plate. If he keeps this up, I may have to revise my opinion of him as not the best strategy cat in the crew.
Inside, Murray's popping into the post-surgical scrub room to talk to Tara. Long story short: It doesn't matter that Tara shamelessly exploits her hospital privileges so an MC can run wild through the halls, it doesn't matter that she's prone to beating the shit out of her critics, it doesn't matter that she wants leave. Tara's such a super-duper surgeon, the hospital needs her erratic, truculent ass in the operating theatre. Her request for leave will be denied. Well, Jax will be thrilled, when he gets around to thinking about it. His old lady's back on the job! Now all he has to do is listen to Opie mope about his old lady's stubborn insistence on maintaining her career.
It's now dark outside and we're watching Luke and his boys wrap up their day at the field office (bar). We learn that Jax has disabled Luke's vehicle, and he pulls Luke out of his SUV and points a gun to his face "You and Jimmy lied to me," he says. Luke tries the "You're making a mistake!" argument but it doesn't fall on receptive ears. Jax wants to know who has his son and why Jimmy is doing this. Alas, the problem with being a Number Two flunky is nobody tells you anything.
In a darkened hospital room, Clay's sitting next to Gemma holding her hand as she admits, "I'm sorry, baby. I should have listened to you, heading up north." Clay tells her to drop it and rest; they'll find a way to make everything all right. Once Gemma's asleep, he lets the despair take over his face.
Jax bounces up to the door of a nondescript condo. Stahl answers, gun at the ready, and totally freaked out that SAMCRO now knows where she lives. Jax holds up his hands and slowly twirls to indicate that he's unarmed. "Put the gun away," he says. It's not so much a request. "How did you get my address?" Stahl demands. Typical bully, taken aback when someone pushes back on her turf. Jax takes a page from Clay's book and reminds Stahl that she sort of sucks on the job: "ATF took away your shiny black sedan, making you drive your own car." "Juice is hacking DMV now?" Stahl asks. Let's not leap to conclusions here. Juice hasn't demonstrated any sort of hacking ability beyond checking email, and even then, he might reply to Nigerian princes who need help with their banking.
Stahl steps outside and closes the door, asking Jax what he wants. "A deal," he says. Stahl's girlfriend chooses that moment to open the door and freak out over the general situation, and we learn that Stahl's just as much an ace negotiator in her personal life as she is in her professional one. Jax pointedly turns his back for privacy, lights up a cigarette. Once Stahl gets her ladyfriend back inside (and going from the look on that woman's face, Stahl's in for a long, long night of "We have to talk" nonsense once this wraps up), Jax offers Stahl a smoke. She declines. "Bringing your work home with you, huh?" he says. (HA!) "I never seem to learn," Stahl says wearily. Then she gives him five minutes to make his pitch.
Once Jax speaks, I vow to immediately drop the "Oh, Jax! All that navel-gazing has atrophied your critical thinking skills!" shtick because the man has a plan. He says, "Your career's taken a huge hit. Booted off the Irish, stripped of your team. We both know you're looking at a transfer at some left-for-dead field office. Not only can I give you your career back, I can make you an ATF legend. The agent who single-handedly broke the Real IRA NorCal terrorist threat. I'll hand-deliver Jimmy O'Phelan, give you the names of his Real IRA contacts and my sworn statement -- everything you need to know about the gun-running."
In return, all Jax wants is this: "My son, my mother, and my club." Here's how Stahl can deliver on that: "No witness from Zoebelle's church party is going to testify. That just leaves the federal automatic weapons charges ... we just want them reduced. Short time. MC's got a bail hearing tomorrow. You need to slow that down. We need a couple of weeks." Stahl deduces, "So you can get to Belfast for Jimmy. And I'm guessing that's where Abel is." Jax is stone-faced. Stahl's already figuring out how she can make this work: "Even if I can push the bail hearing, there's no way you guys can leave the country." Jax replies, "That's my problem. We just can't have the fugitive heat." Stahl's okay with this.
She asks, "And your mother?" "Your lie set this whole nightmare in motion," Jax says. He continues, "I don't give a shit what you have to do. Recant your statement. Tell some new lies, find a scapegoat. Hey -- you just set that truth straight." Stahl tries to weasel out with, "Immunity's a complicated pro--" "Immunity is bullshit. Too many strings. I want a statement, signed by you, clearing her of both kills."
Stahl seems impressed by Jax's bald statements of what he wants. But, she wants to know, what incentive does she have to trust this man? Jax points out a few things: First, "If my club finds out, I am dead. My risk is just as great [as yours]." And second, he's got Luke bound and gagged in the trunk of his car. Between Jimmy O's number two and the huge cache of illegal weapons Opie so thoughtfully pointed out to us way back when in the episode, Stahl will be sitting pretty. Jax warns, "This asshole has to disappear. He can't reach out. No lawyers, or this all goes away for both of