This was an episode that seemed to be devoted to setting up payoffs in subsequent episodes. Among the plotlines being set up:
* Calaveras went after the Grim Bastards and killed their giant enforcer. T.O. wants to do to the Calaveras club what Cortez did to the Mexicans, but Clay persuades him to hold off for a bit. And by "a bit," I mean "five minutes," which is how long it will take for SAMCRO and the Grim Bastards to confab with the Mayans and get Alvarez to hand over the Calaveras crew. One revenge killing later, and everyone thinks things are all squared away. The one exception to this rule: Hector, the former president, who is stripped of his patch and tossed from the club. He's now hankering for revenge against SAMCRO, whom he blames for taking away his club's patch-over into the Mayans.
* Jax's plan to use Ima as a way of pushing Tara away earns him some disapproving commentary from Opie, who had tried that strategy on Donna (not the Ima-banging, the pushing-away part) and discovered that it didn't work. Although Jax's ploy appears to be more successful with Tara at first -- possibly because as a medical professional, she is all too aware that epidemics always start with a Patient Zero, and it's not like Jax practiced safe sex -- Gemma intrudes as only an expectant grandmother can. Jax's mom claims that Jax is only trying to protect the great love of his life. Tara chooses to see Jax's actions as the man just looking for a reason to feel good about bailing on her. She angrily leaves the house -- unaware that Hector is now tailing her. However, Tara still helps Gemma escape. (More on that below.)
* Gemma and Maureen chat on the phone (per Jax's request) and Gemma finds out what we've all suspected for episodes now: Trinity is John's daughter. Surprisingly, she does not have another cardiac incident over this major, Maureen-sponsored revelation. Maureen takes the news of SAMCRO's imminent arrival to her immediate circle of friends and family (Father Ashby, McGee, Chibs' erstwhile old lady and daughter) in a scene that suggests they're all really hoping SAMCRO wipes out Jimmy O.
* Gemma's heart holds up when she executes an escape with Tara's help. (Tara provides the fake medical emergency that gets Gemma into an unsupervised area, and she provides her key card to let Gemma out.)When Murray catches on, she pulls Tara into a supply room for a What-the-hell? conference, Tara spills the whole story about Abel, then apologizes for being such a pain in the ass. Murray punches her and shrugs, "Nobody will believe Gemma got away without slugging you." And this is how we find out that Murray is probably one of the more brilliant strategists on the show: She's playing a very long con by betting that aiding Tara will help St. How-In-The-Hell-Does-Charming-Support-This-Hospital retain one brilliant young old lady surgeon. And since appealing to Tara’s sense of self-preservation is a losing gambit, why not speak to her in a language she clearly understands, i.e. violence and quid-pro-quo deals?
* SAMBEL is in bed with Jimmy O, as evidenced by McGee promising Clay not to let Jimmy O know that SAMCRO is on its way, then turning around and telling Jimmy O, "Hey, SAMCRO will be here tomorrow afternoon." So much for the integrity of the Founding Nine.
Good news, everyone! Ima's new glute workouts are paying off. At least, that's the takeaway I'm getting from the episode's opening shot lingering on her thong-clad rear. She rolls off Jax with the ever-romantic, "Oh, I've got to pee," and as she walks to the bathroom, Jax rolls his eyes and reaches for his smokes. Oh, good! He can offer one to Tara, because she's just walked into the clubhouse. Prospect Flounder behind the bar looks alarmed; the thought bubble over his head reads, "So ... is there something I'm supposed to do when an old lady's about to catch her man with a sweetbutt?"
As Tara clacks down the hall, Opie comes out of another room and tries to ambush Tara by lying, "He's not in there." However, Opie's very bad at lying, so Tara just gives him a disgusted look -- it must suck being reminded that no matter how much "respect" an old lady allegedly has, nobody will ever respect you enough to not cover for your partner's stupid, lying, naked ass -- and storms into Jax's room.
Jax looks slightly guilty but not exactly surprised. Hands up, all of you who suspect he slept with Ima precisely because he figured this would drive Tara away. Tara drinks in the scene -- Ima's clothes on the floor, Jax not saying a word, Ima sauntering out and purring, "Morning" -- then rolls her eyes and leaves the two to sit around and make small talk. Perhaps they can discuss what it will mean if and when Jax gets a burning sensation when he pees. Or perhaps Jax can just say curtly, "Get out."
As Tara storms back out through the clubhouse, Opie feebly apologizes. She brushes him off and keeps walking. Lyla's all concerned with, "Should I talk to her?" and Opie snaps, "What you should do is get that porn bitch out of our clubhouse." Lyla decides to skip the lecture on the inherent misogyny in blaming Ima for Jax's calculated misbehavior and instead points out that this isn't her fault. Opie snaps, "No, but if you didn't eat pussy for a living, you might have a different set of friends." True, but there are perhaps better ways to frame that sentiment, Opie. Or maybe you can sell another damn motorcycle and fund Lyla's AA in bookkeeping. Anyway, Lyla hauls off and slaps Opie. She stomps off after Tara. A prospect pipes up, "A little more coffee?" Opie gives him a you have GOT to be kidding look and exits left. Prospect Flounder says reproachfully, "Dude ..." and the other guy defends his actions with, "What? Caffeine's a mood booster!"
Lyla heads to try and catch Tara and -- wait a minute. She and Opie have a basketball team's worth of kids between the two of them. Where are the anklebiters? I can't even imagine Piney being thrilled about having to deal with all those kids' homework assignments, nighttime teeth brushing, getting them all ready for school, etc. And I know SAMCRO does not have a Ladies' Auxiliary operating a 24/7 drop-in center for biker spawn. ANYWAY. Ima comes strolling out in time to watch Tara pull away, and she says conversationally to Lyla, "That was awkward." Lyla replies by slapping Ima, right as Tara goes by. Ima inquires as to what the hell Lyla's problem is, and Lyla clucks, "You couldn't help yourself, could you?" She stalks off. I'm thinking Lyla's displacing some of her own complicated feelings about being with a man who constantly disparages her vocation.
Unser comes by Gemma's hospital room to pay her a visit, mostly to let her know he'll be handling her transport to the county lockup in the afternoon. Gemma gives him static about yesterday's clubhouse raid, and Unser says, "I told Clay, the sheriffs initiated it. We didn't find out until it was happening." Gemma calls him out for being a bad liar and says, "You not working with us, I get that. You got a lotta eyes on you right now. But you letting us get hurt? That's bad. That's how you lose friends. I'd hate to see you lost." You have to admire the nerve of a woman who's busy making veiled threats to law enforcement mere hours before she's scheduled to go into the penal system. On the other hand: climb off the cross, Gemma. Your club can sell the wood for funds. Nobody was "hurt" in the raid the day before, so your wounded act is misdirected.
Back at the clubhouse, Opie's hanging in Jax's room, waiting for the boy king to emerge from his morning toilette. Insert your own jokes about autoclaving one's privates, running antiseptic rinses through one's system, etc. here. Opie says, "Ima. Kind of a dick move." As Jax pulls on his pants (knife hanging from the belt, gun tucked into the back), he says cheerfully, "Yup." Opie asks if Jax would like to tell him what's going on. Jax would not. Opie shrugs, "I hope you wrapped your shit. That was a high-traffic zone you were ripping through last night." He heads to the door and Jax finally speaks: "Hindsight! If a dick move could have pushed Donna away, would you have done it?" Opie explains, "When I first went inside, I pushed on her for a divorce. Told her the marriage was a sham, she should just take the kids and split. She knew what I was doing. She hung in. I think it's going to take more than a little porn pussy to scare away Tara." Jax sighs as he realizes that he just risked becoming Patient Zero in the Superherpes Epidemic of '11 for nothing. Then he asks Opie, "And your porn pussy? Is that scaring you away?" Opie fumbles uncomfortably, "I don't know." Before the guys can get into a rehash of Opie's issues with his current old lady's occupation, or his issues with the kind of life that seems to surround the lifestyle he's chosen, Juice summons them to church. Jax grabs his cut and rolls out of the room with, "Let's go find my kid. We'll figure out what we're doing with our dicks when we get back." Maybe you can also figure out what Opie's doing with his kids. It's not like anyone's too concerned about them right now.
Once in church, Clay lays out their triptik: Oswald's cargo plane will land in Manchester, they'll head north and then ferry up to Belfast. SAMBEL will allegedly pick them up at the port. Jax is not happy about this, as he suspects O'Neill is a weasel, but Clay points out that when you're a bunch of men who should not even be leaving the country, you can't afford to be too terribly picky about who's going to be taking you in once you're overseas. Tig follows up on that note by saying since they're traveling under the burden of bond restrictions, "no rockers." The boys won't be wearing their cuts; they've got reaper-emblazoned jackets on the bar instead. Bobby Elvis adds that they need to pack lightly. I would think that's sort of a natural for guys who are used to traveling on motorcycles, but maybe Bobby Elvis is concerned that Opie's new samurai ponytail 'do requires a lot of hair product or something?
Chibs comes in right then and belches out a fat load of exposition: Jimmy O's had Fiona and Kerrianne (aka Chibs' former wife and current daughter) "under lockdown," so he's only recently been able to talk to her. She has no idea why Jimmy was lying about Abel's whereabouts, but she suspects it has something to do with Jimmy's plans to push against Father Kellan Ashby, and SAMBEL is somehow involved. Clay frowns as he realizes nothing good can come of Kellan Ashby being even tangentially involved in this. His face is going to sharpei into permanent furrows once he gets a bead on the whole situation. Jax states the obvious to everyone: Jimmy O doesn't want SAMCRO in Ireland, and if SAMBEL does not reliably keep SAMCRO under the radar, they could be dealing with some very nasty moves from the Real IRA. Chibs looks like he's going to throw up at that possibility.
Zip! We're in Belfast. Where, surprise, surprise, O'Neill is busy telling Jimmy O SAMCRO's latest plans. O'Neill nervously warns Jimmy, "You got to keep me in the loop when things go down. The crew can't know the information came from us." Well, that "us" answers the question of whether or not O'Neill's rattitude is an isolated thing or a SAMBEL-wide infection. Anyway, Jimmy O is stone-cold and he's all, "I really don't care if or how SAMCRO fi