Thursday, October 20, 2011
I'm conflicted about how much to spoil for this episode, so I'll stay on the conservative side. Gemma finds Wayne's letter for Tara and tells her immediately. SAMCRO goes into lockdown mode, all the women and children go to the compound and speculate. This is how Tara learns that the Sons are dealing in MORE guns and now drugs. (I predict she tries to skip town with the kids, potentially saving her hide while also increasing her risk of getting killed, but I think the drugs are the final straw for her and she'll want O-U-T.) General consensus is that it's a cartel threat, Tara does not trust Clay and tells Jax as much.
Opie and Bobby find Lila at work and Opie tries to convince her to head to the compound. Instead, she skips town even though he sends someone after her when she gets done filming. Meanwhile, Bobby notices the Porn Star's face and asks her about it. She's terrified, but says to ask the V.P. Bobby lays into her about making the death threat to Tara, but she denies it and scurries off.
While this goes down, the Sons are visiting Alvarez & Co. for a lesson in how coke gets cut and dealt (I had no idea either, but evidently it involves basements, women in thongs and bikinis, plastic baggies and tortillas. Who knew?) They leave because of Gemma's phone call re: Tara's death threat. On their way out, a car drives in shooting at all and sundry. Jax takes off to follow the car, takes out one of the two men and trails them to an apartment building. He calls in Tig, Clay, Opie, Chibs and Bobby to help launch a surprise assault. Meanwhile, Alvarez has been deposited into Tara's care at the compound where she's stitching up his bullet wound. (Her scenes in this episode are really well played, and Chibs is by her side lending a hand, lighting smokes for Alvarez while she's digging around his shoulder for lead.)
The guys bust into the apartment and find women and children and somebody's grandma. Confusion ensues, this is not what they expected to discover. When one women gets shot, you can see on especially Tig and Bobby's faces that this is not what they signed on for. They learn that the attack on Alvarez & Co. is a rival cartel with ties down in Mexico, threatening family members of these poor people in the apartment, hence the drive-by. The duffel bag Jax empties contains nothing but bags of diapers, lending even more poignancy to the scene.
Back at the compound, Sheriff Roosevelt shows up to question Tara and offer her his protection and any help she needs. She insists she's fine, he gives her the stink eye but leaves her alone and pulls Juice down to the station for his regularly scheduled piss test. Clay tells Tara she's a "good old lady." Later he lays into Wayne and threatens him to stay out of Club business. I'm going to believe Wayne will continue to try to help Tara.
Juice gets hustled for the coke sample. There's a brief scene between Lincoln and the sheriff, Lincoln wants him to nab Juice with a possession charge during the hand-off. Sheriff Roosevelt feels like that's entrapment, but seems to go along with it. When Juice later hands over the sample, he does cuff and stuff him, but in his office Sheriff Roosevelt lets him go free again. Juice seems to understand he's screwed either way now and this is when both Mr. D and I think he's going to kill himself. When he returns to the clubhouse, Chibs tells Clay he's concerned about Juice, Clay gives Juice a new patch and a big hug and tells him he's a "valuable member of the organization."
So. Back at the compound everything is compounded by the strong possibility of being caught between cartels at war and the death threat on Tara is just the beginning. They're at the table and Bobby (BOBBY!) faces down Clay and demands what essentially amounts to a no-confidence vote on Clay's leadership of the club. Right. Now.
(I so cannot wait to see how the vote comes down--my prediction? A close split, keeping Clay at the helm.)
The episode ends with trademark cuts from person to person as the phones ring, calling everyone in to vote while Billie Holliday's classic "Strange Fruit" plays as background music. (The music choices in SOA continue to kick serious ass, and I read today that it was Katey Sagal singing that version of the song. Dang.) Pine's loading a shotgun while his phone rings. Tara and Gemma are shown at their respective homes under guard by new patches. Juice's phone rings while he's climbing up a tree to hang himself. (See what I mean about song selection?)
Fade to black and we hear a branch falling.
Who else is on the edge of their seat until next Tuesday night?
There definitely seems to be a shift between Clay and Gemma, I fear Jax is siding more with Clay without questioning him--he's living up to his end of the bargain too well. Opie just breaks my heart. So does Bobby. I can't help cheering for the sheriff.