Abel is back home, Tara is safe, and Gemma was able to get off with only house arrest. All is well in Charming as the MC celebrates with a big, celebratory breakfast. Lyla and Opie even announce their engagement to the club. But while cleaning up, Gemma finds the Real IRA folder in Jax’s cut; she is stunned to find out that Jax is giving up the IRA council. Later, Clay tells Gemma they gotta find Jimmy to make good on the deal they made with the IRA. Gemma knows this can’t be good for Jax, or anyone. She decides to turn herself in to help save Jax. While in a jail cell, she tells Stahl to kill the deal or she’ll tell the US attorney that Stahl’s case is all bullshit and the testimony was all a lie. She tells Stahl that nothing can ever work if it’s based on lies, someone will get hurt. When Clay comes to get Gemma, she cryptically tells him that they can’t look at Jax in the same light as John. Then, we see Jax at his father’s gravesite. He leaves the NS ring right next to the SO ring. Leaving their relationship in the grave.
Jax meets with Stahl who informs him of what Gemma threatened to do. She reminds him time is running out, the bail hearing is tomorrow and she needs Jimmy or at least some kind of information, as a show of good faith. He gives her back the folder with the IRA council and says he’ll sign off on all of them when all is said and done.
Clay and Bobby pay a visit to Big Otto at Stockton State Prison. He says Lenny the Pimp is real tight with the Russians, he should be able to get a location for where their keeping Jimmy. When Otto and Lenny finally meet, Lenny tells him the only way to get to Jimmy is to buy him from Putlova, the Russian contact in Northern California. After going back and forth through lawyers, Samcro is able to get a location for Jimmy, but the Russians want two million dollars to turn him over to them. This is when Chucky comes in to save the day. When he was running counterfeit money for Lin, he kept the misprints – five million dollars worth. It’s an SOA payday. They’ll need to mix the fake money with real money to distract the Russians. Jax gets the money from Stahl. But the only catch is she wants to be there for the exchange. He reluctantly agrees, but tells her she’s gotta stay a few miles back.
It’s time to meet the Russians and make the exchange. Jimmy learns real quickly that Putlova sold him out as he gets out of Putlova’s SUV and sees Clay and the rest of SOA. Samcro hands the cash over to the Russians who inspect it. All good. They hand over Jimmy. His fate sealed. As the MC takes off with Jimmy in tow, Putlova takes a look at the cash and realizes he’s been had – the money is fake. The Russians go after Samcro, but turn around when they see Stahl and the ATF vehicles staged down the road, waiting for them. Samcro also flees the ATF roadblock, leaving the tactical van behind. Stahl opens the van door and finds it empty. Livid, she meets with Jax who says the only way he’ll turn Jimmy over is if she frees the guys of hard time. The two take each other in, unsure if they should trust each other. Stahl says in order for her to move forward, she needs to see Jimmy alive. So Jax takes her to Teller-Morrow and gives her Jimmy. When Clay asks how she knew Jimmy was there, she makes a decision and rats out Jax in front of his brothers. His fate sealed. They snap, hell breaks loose, and Gemma’s devastated. Guards haul away Jax, Clay, Bobby, Tig, Juice, and Happy in a prison transport vehicle, the men are enraged and disgusted at Jax for turning on his club.
We then see Chibs, Opie, and Kozik in the Wahewa School Bus, Opie has a Mac-10, –they’re driving with purpose. Unser, his office in boxes, places his gun and badge on his desk. He pulls out his personal pistol from his desk. As Stahl and Estevez transport Jimmy, they’re tailed by Unser in his police car who signals for them to pull over. He says he got a tip that Jimmy’s goons would be waiting for them at a turnout, just wanted to warn them. Estevez and the other agent go check it out, leaving Stahl and Unser with Jimmy. Then, the school bus pulls up — Chibs, Opie, and Kozik rush out. Chibs goes to Jimmy, pulls him out of the sedan. The men take each other in, bad blood between the two. Chibs takes two ‘chibs’ from his cut, slashing Jimmy’s face. He then drives both blades into Jimmy’s throat and twists, killing Jimmy O’Phelan. Meanwhile, Opie orders Stahl to get in the car and put her hands on the wheel. He’s in the backseat as she pleads for her life. He tells Stahl this is what Donna felt. Then he shoots Stahl in the head, she slumps on the wheel, dead. He grabs the RIRA folder off the front seat and tears it apart. Chibs then paints the Real IRA symbol on the windshield of the car in Jimmy’s blood. As the men leave, Unser, having played his part in the whole thing, tells Kozik to clock him. He then calls it in. Unser’s back on the team. As the prospects follow the prison transport vehicle, they get a text. They start honking as they pass the transport vehicle. Inside, we see Jax’s face light up, then Clay’s, as all the men burst out in laughter. Their plan worked. It’s finished. The prospects deliver a letter as instructed to Gemma, which explains everything. Gemma’s relieved, she cries tears of joy. We then follow Tara, in the nursery, as she processes the day. She sees Jax’s duffle, picks it up, and inside finds the letters Maureen put in there for Jax. Curious, she takes the letters out and starts reading. As she reads, Tara’s is horrified to learn that John was afraid he would die at the hands of Gemma and Clay and his wishes for Jax to stay out of the life. But what will Tara do with all this new information. We will have to wait and see…
Samcro is back in Charming and Jax is now faced with a new problem: Hector Salazar has kidnapped Tara. Tig updates them on the situation; ATF and Charming PD are digging into Salazar and trying to find out his whereabouts. They talk to his aunt who owned the house where he held Tara and Margaret, but so far nothing. Clay decides to go talk to Unser, despite where they left off before they went to Belfast. Unser lets Clay know about San Joaquin taking over the department. Without Charming PD, it’s a whole different town and a whole new ball game for Samcro. He needs Clay’s help to prove Hale was behind Lumpy Feldstein’s death. That means they need to find Salazar and get him to talk. Mayans are looking for Salazar too, who has now become a threat to their new heroin operation. Clay sets a meeting with Alvarez and tells him they need to bring in Salazar alive and also tells him about the bigger threat – Jacob Hale becoming mayor and turning Charming into a commercialized suburbia, bringing in County Sheriffs and complicating their new business deal.
Jax goes to Stahl who immediately wants to know where Jimmy O’Phelan is. Jax tells her he’s up North with Putlova and the Russians, off the grid. He says a brother in maximum security might be of help, Lenny the Pimp, who has direct ties to the Russians but no visitation rights. Jax says if Stahl can get Lenny and Otto time together, they might get a lead on Putlova. But he can’t focus on any IRA stuff until Tara is found. Gemma goes to Stahl and tells her to call off whatever deal she has with Jax or she’ll turn herself in to the US attorney and tell them Stahl told her to lie, jeopardizing Stahl’s case and ruining her career. Stahl’s partner and lover, Agent Amy Tyler catches the end of their conversation and demands to know what’s going on. Later, Stahl tells Jax they need to finish what they started and they need to go about it the right way. She tells him she needs the names of the Real IRA council members and she’ll clear Gemma. But if he gives her Jimmy, she’ll clear the club. She hands him a file and he takes it.
We see Jimmy at a safehouse up North with Viktor Putlova. Jimmy asks Putlova for safe passage to South America in exchange for the gun business, but Jimmy’s safety will still cost him two million dollars. They make arrangements for Donny to deliver the money, but Donny is only able to secure part of the money for now.
With the club’s impending jail sentence, Clay says he’ll need more men at the table. They decide to take another vote to patch Kozik in, but Tig still can’t get over what Kozik did to him and votes no. After the two men get to talk, in the end, we realize the “female” Tig and Kozik had been fighting about this whole time was the love of Tig’s life, his beloved dog, Missy.
Meanwhile, Salazar is growing more desperate by the minute; we see he’s killed another woman and hijacked her car. He then goes to Jacob Hale’s office and takes Jacob and Tara hostage. He makes Tara call the police and he makes his demands: he needs to get to Tecate, Mexico safely in exchange for Hale, and he wants Jax in exchange for Tara. No one thinks it’s a good idea, but it’s not even a question for Jax. When he goes in, he comes face-to-face with Salazar. Salazar pistol-whips Jax, and as he raises his gun to him, Hale comes from behind and stabs Salazar in the kidney with a pen. Salazar is able to escape, but Jax goes after him. They reach the end of a hallway where Jax tells him he has nowhere left to go, he’ll let him live if he rats Hale out. Salazar is literally up against the wall with nowhere to turn, so he drops his weapon. Without hesitation, Jax plunges the knife into Salazar, killing him. The Swat Team swoops in and Jax claims he acted in self-defense.
Later, we see Jax and Tara, reunited under better circumstances at the hospital seeing their unborn baby’s beating heart. Tara is finally reunited with Abel and the Teller family is whole once again. Things are looking up, even for Opie who proposes to Lyla on the rooftop after taking Gemma’s advice. But things for Stahl are spiraling out of control as her lies are beginning to catch up with her. After the hostage situation, she makes a very dark decision and turns to her partner and shoots and kills her. She then calls it in, putting it on three Mexican males. The lies continue when she tells internal affairs that before she died, Tyler confessed to framing Gemma for Edmund Hayes’ murder and Gemma shot Polly Zobelle in self-defense. She tells IAD that Gemma was wrongly charged and that everything in Gemma’s statement was true, as she continues spinning her web of lies.
Jax tells Stahl that Kellan used them to prove that Jimmy ordered the explosion and the IRA council has sanctioned Jimmy’s murder, he’s now a marked man in Ireland. But Stahl tells Jax he needs to bring Jimmy back to the States alive or their deal to get Gemma off the hook is off the table. But Jax’s priority is getting Abel back. Meanwhile, Jimmy and his henchman Donny kill Sean Casey before torturing him to get information. Donny mentions that he has set up a new arrangement with Putlova and the Russians – a safe haven for Jimmy in exchange for guns.
Jax has the address Kellan gave him for the Catholic orphanage and he takes Opie and Gemma with him. When he gets there, he doesn’t find Abel, a nun says he’s been adopted. But Gemma can tell the nun is lying about not knowing who the adoptive parents are, so she forces them to talk by taking a baby at gunpoint. It works, and they get a name and address of where Abel and his new adoptive parents are staying. Jax tells them he’ll check out the hotel first to make sure the couple is there. When he gets to the hotel, he spots the couple – with Abel. Time seems to stand still for him, the young couple looks happy, and Abel is with a loving family. Jax is torn; his father’s wishes about his sons not living the life are ringing loud in his head and he is faced with making the decision to save his son from the life, or take him back home. He chooses to leave Abel with the loving parents. But when he goes to Gemma with this, she is furious. She demands to know where her grandson is, and asks what he’s going to tell his other son about what happened to his older brother. Gemma tells Jax that Tara’s pregnant. Maureen overhears their conversation, and she feels John was getting through to Jax. She decides to hide the love letters John wrote her, expressing his fears about Clay and Gemma, in Jax’s bag so he can find them when he gets back to Charming. They’re interrupted with news that Sean Casey’s been killed, Jimmy tortured him for info. Kellan says he’s probably planning to use Abel as leverage to get out of the country safely. They rush to the hotel only to find the hotel room has been ransacked and the adoptive parents have been shot and killed. Abel is now with Jimmy O’. The IRA council agrees to make a deal to help get Abel back, and offer an even sweeter deal to Clay and Samcro, a bigger chunk and expansion of the gun business in exchange for Jimmy’s head when he gets to Norcal with the Russians. Clay agrees, but Jax knows it’ll conflict with the deal he has with Stahl. But he knows he can’t say anything without making himself look suspicious. Finally, Jimmy arrives with Abel. The exchange is made, and Jax and Abel are reunited. Everyone is headed back to Charming, but then Bobby gets a call from Tig who has some news for Jax from Charming…
Back in Charming, Unser learns that his department is being taken over by San Joaquin County, leading him to Jacob Hale, who denies selling him out. But Unser is convinced Hale is behind Lumpy Feldstein’s death, and he’ll need Samcro’s help to take him down. Stahl gets wind that Tara and Margaret are missing and brings this to Unser. She agrees to help with the ranson money because she needs Jax to stay focused on Jimmy O’. They go to Tig, Kozik, and Piney and team up to help free the women, but the drop goes awry and Salazar ends up spotting them and flees, realizing he’s been set up. Meanwhile, Tara’s managed to free herself and Margaret when she stabs Salazar’s old lady, Luisa, with a broken glass shard in the neck. She leaves her to bleed out, but is then intercepted by Salazar. She makes a deal with him to let Margaret go and she’ll keep Luisa alive. He agrees and Margaret is freed. Tara is left with Salazar and a dying Luisa, but they take off in Salazar’s car. Salazar drives Tara and a dying Luisa to a deserted lot, where Tara is unsuccessful in saving Luisa’s life. Salazar, desperate and enraged, slams Tara down on the hood of the car, putting a gun to her head as he squeezes the trigger…
Earlier this season, I had a chance to sit down with some of the writers from Sons of Anarchy to discuss the writing process on Sons. They were kind enough to come in on their day off (I bribed them w/ pizza and beer and it worked!) and we chatted about what it’s like to be in ‘the room’ of SOA, breaking story, working with cast, and other fun tidbits. So a big thank you to our participating writers: Dave Erickson (Co-Executive Producer/Writer), Chris Collins (Producer/Writer), Liz Sagal (Executive Story Editor/Writer), Marco Ramirez (Writer), and Brady Dahl (Writers’ Assistant/Writer). Our fearless leader, Kurt Sutter, and Co-Producer/Writer Regina Corrado could not be there, but were there in spirit. So here are the Q&A’s with the SOA scribes:
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS IN THE WRITERS’ ROOM? HOW DO YOU BREAK EACH EPISODE?
Chris Collins: I wait for Dave to come up with all the ideas and I agree with everything he says.
Dave Erickson: We have multiple boards in the room. White boards. When we sit down with Kurt initially he says, I want to get here, I want this, I want xyz. We layout 13 episodes and we start placing (on the board) where we think these points might come. We know he wants this in the finale or we think this’ll probably happen around 310, or we know we’re going to Ireland so we knew where we generally wanted that story to be and how many episodes it was going to take place over. Once we have that, we start with whatever happened last season and where the guys were emotionally and we track the major story and it’s just trying to figure out what the A story for the episode’s going to be, and then literally it’s just throwing shit up on the wall, we just write beats, we know we need this to happen in the episode, how do we get to that point. We work backwards from it. What does Jax need in this episode, what’s the obstacle, what’s gonna stop him.
Liz Sagal: This is really cool because, this is my first season from beginning to end, and we did a pre-meeting last November and we started in January and there’s not one mile-marker that Kurt did not present to the writing staff and said I want this to happen that leads to this, and every single mile marker was accomplished in a stellar way.
Dave Erickson: But starting a new episode, we start to layout the potential story. Kurt will come in and pitch what he’s thinking. At that point it’s not fully fleshed out, it might just be a notion, but by throwing sorta what-ifs at him, it provides anchors, ’cause he’ll say, yeah that’s cool, I like that, and then you build on it. And then you gradually start adding more and more beats on the other board until you reach a point where you have twenty-something beats, which essentially every episode we do has around 25-26 beats, on the board anyway.
Chris Collins: On any show, it’s the showrunner that comes in with a vision and says this is the story I want to tell this season, this is where I wanna go, now how do we get there. And as a group of writers, we do that. We help flesh things out, characters, story points, we’re constantly trying to pitch ideas that will add layers and help get him to his vision. I don’t think our formula is 100% figured out yet, in terms of the beats, sometimes we’ll do 25 beats per a one-hour show and that seems a little light, but then all of a sudden we turn in a script that’s 38 pages and realize you’re gonna have 6-8 minutes of additional footage that you need to cut. What I’ve learned from Kurt is that you shoot everything that you write, and then in post he basically whittles down the episode to the essence of the story.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DO YOU GUYS DO FOR YOUR STORIES?
Liz Sagal: We have a technical supervisor who is actually in a real MC.
Dave: Anytime we have a question, part of what Brady does is call our T.A. (technical advisor) and he gets answers for us, and that’s how we try and keep it as real as we can.
Chris Collins: Research is one of the foundations of writing for me, like with the prison episode, I researched the f*&% out of that…
Liz Sagal: And it’s also researching about guns, and what type of guns, the value of the guns and what kind of guns do the alleged IRA deal in …
Brady Dahl: In Season 2, I researched about forty different types of sexual fetishes. We picked one … for the porn fetish that Luann was providing to all the guys, I think we ended up choosing Pillsbury Dough girl Fetish.
Dave: What is that Brady?
Brady: It’s where you, uh, make love to the fat folds in people’s stomachs. Luann was providing that for her clients.
Samcro Blogger: Did you do any first hand research?
Brady: Yeah, I jumped right in.
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARACTER TO WRITE FOR AND THE HARDEST TO WRITE FOR?
Dave: I do like to write Unser, I mean I love everyone in the cast, but I love Dayton, there’s just something specific about Dayton as an actor, he’s just fun.
I think Jax is hard to write for. Only because, especially this season, he’s been going through a transformation and he’s had so much shit thrown at him, and it’s so dense as to where he’s at emotionally and where the plot is, with the two different story lines. I think Jax has become more and more challenging to write. I think he’s deepened as a character.
Marco Ramirez: I would agree 100% with Unser. I think the cadence is in a language that you can get away with and very different than everyone else on the show. But I also would throw Bobby and Tig in there because, Tig especially, because he can be really menacing and really funny within a beat. And that’s really fun.
Liz Sagal: I love writing for Gemma ’cause she’s like, the Clint Eastwood of the club. She’s the badass girl. And I think Tara’s the most difficult because she has that fine line of like, I’m a Doctor, but I’m also an old lady, and that just gets very hard.
Chris Collins: Can I ask you a question Liz? How is it like writing for your sister?
Liz Sagal: Heh! That’s also why I love it, ’cause I get to put words in her mouth. And I know she’ll take a line that’s maybe an 8 and make it a 10.
Dave: What about lines that are just a 5?
Liz I don’t write lines that are just a 5!
Dave: I meant in my case..
Chris: I would say one of my favorites is Juice because I do find him to be very funny, I like the comedic moments on the show.
WHEN YOU’RE ON SET, WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AND WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS DOES THE CAST ASK?
Dave: Once the script is done and we’re shooting, you have to put on your Producers hat, your main job is to protect the script and make sure that the intention that the room had, the intention that Kurt had, is maintained. So, sometimes the questions you get are very simple, ‘I’m walking out this door, why?’ it’s maintaining continuity, maintaining the arc of the episode and the arc of the season, making sure that emotionally the scene is delivering ultimately what Kurt wants to see.
Liz: There are certain things with certain actors, like when you’re dealing with Katey she just wants to know why is Gemma doing this. And with somebody like Charlie, Charlie wants to discuss it emotionally ’cause not only does he have to work really hard on the scripts, but he also has to perfect his dialect. But it’s really trying to track everyone’s emotions and where they’re coming from.
WHAT IS YOU FAVORITE THING ABOUT WRITING ON THIS SHOW?
Liz: The people. The groovy people I get to sit in a room with everyday. The talented people.
Chris: I get to explore very dark themes. I get to explore characters that are outside of my normal life. Writing for outlaws and doing things or saying things that normal society wouldn’t do.
That concludes the Writers Q&A! For more Writers Q&A and to actually see what these writers look like, look for the Writers’ Roundtable on the Season 3 DVD due out Fall 2011.
Sons of Anarchy and the IRA deal with the aftermath of the bomb. Now that they suspect Jimmy O’ was behind it, Kellan Ashby needs to bring proof to the IRA council. Jax says he’ll need to find Liam O’Neill and make him confess. They go to Cherry, Liam’s old lady, to find out Liam’s whereabouts but she tells the club she doesn’t know where Liam could be. But when Maureen and Gemma confront her about it, they get Cherry to spill and she tells them she found cash and a receipt for a loft at a Marina. The Sons find Liam and Sean Casey tortures him to confess that Jimmy was behind the bomb. Right before Jax puts Liam out of his misery, he rats out McGee. Jimmy and his men show up to the same warehouse to finish up some business with Liam, when they find SOA has gotten there first. The Sons have doused the warehouse with gasoline and set it on fire, but Jimmy escapes to the rooftop, where the Sons are waiting for him. There’s a shootout and amidst all the chaos, Jimmy flees once again, leaving McGee on the rooftop with Samcro to face the consequences. Clay faces his brother, one of the First 9, and knows what he has to do. He gives McGee a kiss on the cheek, and a heartfelt embrace before pushing him off the rooftop to his death.
Jax and Clay go to the IRA council with the proof they got from Liam, but the council says they’ll need to deal with Jimmy internally. Jax is furious, that wasn’t the deal he and Kellan agreed upon. But Kellan says they’ll talk later. Jax goes back to the Crag Lodge, where he sees Trinity. Trinity tries to comfort him by kissing him, and Jax reciprocates. But before things go any further, Gemma and Maureen walk in on the oblivious brother and sister, and are forced to tell them both the truth about John Teller. Trinity is shell-shocked, and even more upset that Maureen lied to her all these years. Jax is learning a little more about his father, and when he goes to Kellan Ashby again, he gets more truth, maybe more than he wanted to hear. Kellan tells Jax that he and JT grew close, and that JT never wanted the life for his sons. He’s been keeping Abel from Jax to honor John Teller’s wishes, and maybe that’s what’s best for Abel; to be with a normal, loving family. This angers Jax, but also leaves him reeling. Perhaps it is what’s best. But right now, he wants to find his son. In a scuffle with Sean Casey and Kellan, he gets Kellan to give up Abel’s location and then goes to retrieve his son.
Back in Charming, Salazar and his old lady have Tara and Margaret tied up in an attic. Margaret comes clean with Tara about her past. She was in love, and it wasn’t until she OD’d on heroin that she woke up and realized she needed to abandon that life. This resonates with Tara, who’s been living an almost parallel life. Salazar makes a call to Piney and demands that the Sons kill Alvarez and take $250k that’s in his safe as ransom in exchange for the women. They have twelve-hours. Tig, Piney, and Kozik agree to handle this without letting Jax know since he has enough on his plate. But they also know killing Alvarez will start a blood war. Kozik suggests they make a plea. Tig’s with him, although Piney’s experience tells him the Mayans and Alvarez are not to be trusted. But with no other options, the men pay Alvarez a visit at his home. Alvarez, holding his baby daughter, is caught off-guard. Kozik makes his plea, tells them Salazar wants him dead in exchange for the money and he’ll free Tara and Margaret. They ask him to play dead for twenty-four hours, buying them time to get the money. Alvarez isn’t stupid, but he knows he can use this as a favor for the future. He agrees. The men call Salazar and tell him the deeds done, Alvarez is a dead man. Salazar buys the bluff and agrees to set a meet for the pick up.
We pick up with Jax, who’s still reeling from Kellan’s reveal about the Army council’s request to get rid of Jimmy in exchange for Abel. Jax is unsure of whom to trust; he doesn’t trust O’Neill and now he’s conflicted about Kellan. He asks Stahl to check Kellan out. In the meantime, Samcro accompanies Sambel on a protective run for the IRA where they’ll meet Jimmy for the pickup in Dungloe. McGee makes a call to Jimmy, confirms the plan with him. They’re one step ahead of Samcro. They arrive at a rural barn for the pickup of the guns where they see just what type of soldiers Jimmy’s recruiting for the cause; boys as young as fifteen. Jax tasks Juice to keep an eye on O’Neill, and Juice and Happy follow him out of the barn as he excuses himself to use the restroom. Juice notices one of Jimmy’s boys chaining up the barn door with the guys still inside. Inside the barn, SOA realize they’ve been set up and are trapped inside the barn. They use the flat bed truck to crash through the doors right before O’Neill detonates a bomb. The vehicle explodes and in the commotion, Jax has a vision of John Teller. Reality returns and we see Padraic, Chibs’s nephew, has been killed. Later, we see Trinity consoling Jax. Gemma comes out and spots the two half-siblings having an almost intimate moment and becomes concerned they are getting dangerously close.
Kellan tasks Michael Casey to watch Fiona and Kerrianne at Maureen’s apartment. But things take a turn when Jimmy and Donny barge in and shoot Michael dead and take the women hostage. Trinity hears the commotion and rushes up to the apartment with a revolver from underneath the cash register and as Donny walks into the hallway, she fires a shot. Chaos ensues and Maureen stabs Jimmy, who drops his gun. Gemma retrieves it and points it at him. The tables turned. However it’s Fiona who takes control of the situation by making sure Gemma doesn’t jeopardize her family’s safety. She doesn’t let Gemma shoot Jimmy but instead, leads Jimmy and Donny out at gunpoint herself. Later, Gemma confronts Kellan about Abel. Kellan says he’s keeping a promise to John, he loved John. But Gemma doesn’t give Kellan an opportunity to glorify John anymore; she says John bailed on his family when they needed him the most. She calls Kellan a hypocrite and exits the church.
Back in Charming, Unser questions Lumpy about his attack. Lumpy tells him the attacker was Mexican and told him not to mess with the Mayans. With the damage that was done to the gym, he’s forced to sell. When Tig, Kozik, and Piney hear about Lumpy, they decide to do their own investigation. They run into Earnest Darby at St. Thomas and confront him about the attack. Darby tells them he’s out of the game, but gives up Jacob Hale. The guys take this intel to Unser, who tells them no judge will believe them against Hale’s word. They decide to go shake down Salazar, see what he knows. They go to his house, but don’t find him. Meanwhile. Tara tells Margaret about her plans to end her pregnancy. Margaret wants to be there for Tara and offers to give her a ride to her appointment. Unser talks to Jacob Hale at a diner, tells him about Lumpy. Hale feigns ignorance and instead uses this as a political opportunity to tell Unser he’s must get rid of Samcro. Oswald walks in just as Hale is walking out. Oswald gives Unser some new information that could help him find Lumpy’s attacker, leading Unser to investigate and find out Hale Properties is behind the clearing out of Liberty Street where Lumpy’s gym was. Lumpy was the last to sell. As Hale exits one of his offices, he’s accosted by Salazar and his old lady who blackmail him and ask about how they can find Tara. As Margaret drives Tara to her appointment, they’re bumped by a car from behind. The women get out to assess the damage just as Luisa and Salazar get out of their car. As they check the women for ink, they pull up Margaret’s jacket and reveal an elaborate back tattoo. Margaret has a past. They push the women into Margaret’s car at gunpoint and drive away.
Jax, Clay, Gemma, Bobby, Chibs, Opie, Juice, and Happy finally arrive in Belfast in hopes of finding Abel. They’re greeted by their SOA brethren, Sambel and Dungloe charters, but the tension between Sambel’s Sargeant-at-Arms Liam O’Neill and Jax is palpable. Jax doesn’t trust O’Neill, and for good reason. Later, O’Neill informs Jimmy that Samcro is on to him. As for Abel, we see he’s still at the black market Catholic orphanage, but we don’t know how much longer he’s there, Kellan gives the baby his blessing.
Back in Charming, Tig’s in jail after leading the cops on a wild chase, resulting in his license being suspended. Tara bails him out. His beef with Kozik is getting more ridiculous, but we know there is a female that came between the two. They later duke it out in the ring, but Tig vows to never let Kozik patch in to Charming. At the police station, Unser’s paid a visit by Jacob Hale who reminds him about their deal and tells him he has to be a cop, not an ally to Samcro. Just then, Hector Salazar is brought into custody for assaulting an admin at the hospital involving dead Pozo. He’s arrested and booked while Jacob Hale logs the intel in his bribery bank. Jacob offers Earnest Darby money to get Lumpy to sell the gym by any means necessary. Darby accepts, but doesn’t want to be the old Darby anymore, and decides he can’t go through with the task. So then Jacob goes to Salazar, bailing him out of jail, and offers him 4k to get Lumpy out. A psychopathic Salazar takes an AK-47 to Lumpy’s gym, destroying it, and brutally assaults Lumpy in the process, before leaving a message for the Sons not to mess with the Mayans. This all seems to be too much for one of the new SOA prospects Shepard who’s been tasked to keep watch at the gym, and we see him bail and leave his cut behind at the Samcro lot.
Lyla comes to Tara for a favor, she needs an anonymous abortion. Tara’s taken aback, but offers help. She asks Margaret, who assumes it’s for Tara, and says she’s doing the right thing by not bringing a baby into an unstable environment. Margaret’s words linger with Tara, and we see her make an appointment later at the same clinic while accompanying Lyla for her abortion.
Back in Belfast, our guys realize they’re not in Charming anymore when they run into a roadblock by the PSNI, Police Service of Northern Ireland, and are detained due to their outstanding warrants in the States. Gemma, in another vehicle, decides to take a risk and help free our guys and convinces Luther, Sambel road captain, to run the lorry into the PSNI truck and help free the guys from the truck. Luther does as he’s ordered, and our guys get out of the van and take the PSNI hostage. They realize it’s all a set-up by Jimmy O’ to get them out of Belfast. It’s a family reunion for Chibs who is reunited with his nephew, Padraic, and later, with Fiona and his daughter, Kerrianne. Clay and McGee, both First 9, are also reunited after many years. And our matriarchs, Gemma and Maureen, come face-to-face, it’s evident their history runs deep. Jax meets Trinity, but are both unaware about John and Belfast, and Maureen would like to keep it that way. Jax goes to Kellan to find out where he’s been holding his son, and Kellan reveals that Jimmy wants to end the IRA’s relationship with the Sons of Anarchy and the IRA council have made a decision to make Jimmy go away, but they need an outsider to do it. Kellan tells Jax if he kills Jimmy, he’ll make sure he has his son back safe. But next we see Abel, picked up by a nice looking couple — he’s been adopted.
Tidbit: “Lochan Mor” means little pond in Gaelic. Ponder that…
So our guys are in bloody Belfast! Here is costume supervisor, Tom Bronson, talking a little bit about the “Reaper Cuts” the guys wear in Belfast, as well as about the meanings of the pins and what makes each cut unique. Thanks for the insight, Tom!
Jax succeeds in pushing Tara away when she catches him in a very compromising position with Ima. Lyla comes to Tara’s defense and clocks Ima for being stupid. Although Opie doesn’t think sleeping with Ima was enough to scare Tara away; she’s a strong woman, just like Donna was.
T.O. from the Grim Bastards calls the Sons with some bad news, the Calaveras killed his VP, Lander. SOA get to the crime scene, see Lander with a knife to his skull, and realize that the Calaveras were sending a message. They pay the Mexicans a visit and press Alvarez for intel. GB and SOA confront Alvarez, who then corners Salazar, giving him an ultimatum. Either Alvarez kills him or Salazar tells him which one of his men was responsible. Salazar sells his brother out, and T.O. shoots the innocent Calaveras. A brother for a brother. Alvarez then strips Salazar of his patch and makes one of the other Calaveras president. Jax and Clay appreciate Alvarez staying true to his word and handling business. For the first time, a Son embraces a Mayan.
In Belfast, Liam O’Neill, Belfast Sergeant-at-Arms, fills Jimmy O’ in about Samcro coming to Belfast. Jimmy says he’ll be ready for them. Meanwhile, Fiona comes to Maureen with one of Jimmy’s young recruits who’s been seriously injured by a Molotov cocktail. We see how Jimmy’s influence has become more bloody and senseless and less about the cause. Kellan tells Fiona that she and Kerrianne will need to stay in the rectory for their safety because Jimmy will come looking for them.
The club is set to go to Belfast to get Abel; they’ve made arrangements with Oswald and they’ll be heading out that afternoon. Gemma calls Maureen to let her know Samcro is on their way. That’s when Maureen drops a bombshell on Gemma; Trinity is John Teller’s daughter. Gemma’s head spins; the twist of history is too much for her to handle, and she becomes physically ill. Later, Tara comes in and tells Gemma about Jax and Ima. Gemma pulls herself together and gives Tara some old lady advice. She tells her she has to be the constant; ride it out. But Tara doesn’t want Jax finding out about her pregnancy. Gemma says her silence can be bought; she’ll need a favor. Next, we see Tara risking her career to get Gemma out of the hospital when Gemma fakes a seizure, giving them an opportunity for Gemma to get away. But Margaret Murphy is onto them, calling Tara out on her plan. Margaret, seeing the good doctor’s in a very tough position, decides to help her out, corroborating Tara’s story about Gemma’s escape to the police. While Gemma’s escaping, they’re intercepted by Unser, who is forced to bring Gemma in. Gemma tests her old friend’s loyalty and defies his authority. In the end, he can’t go through with betraying Samcro and he lets her go. With sirens following Tig in the Cutlass and Gemma in the tow truck, they decide to swap vehicles to throw the cops off, but that will leave Tig behind in Charming. Gemma, Jax, and Clay arrive at Oswald’s hangar, ready for take off. Clay makes a call to McGee in Belfast to confirm arrangements, things are set. But when McGee gets off the phone, we see him walk to Jimmy O’ and learn he and O’Neill are both working with him.