For those who doubted the motivations behind that school-shooting storyline in last week's "Sons of Anarchy" season premiere, rest assured: There will be consequences for SAMCRO's role in the tragic event. And the motorcycle club started to face them in Season 6's second episode, "One One Six."
SAMCRO president Jax's wife Tara (Maggie Siff) was finally released from jail, but her homecoming wasn't an altogether happy one, for several reasons. Her relationship with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is in more trouble than he knows — more on that below. But the Teller family reunion was interrupted by a visit from Nero (Jimmy Smits), who told Jax that it was his cousin's gun — procured from SAMCRO — that was used in the shooting, meaning Nero's gang and the Sons are about to find themselves in a swirl of trouble.
The young boy who took a KG-9 into his school and opened fire on his fellow students: Matthew Jennings, son of Darvany (guest star Samaire Armstrong), who's the girlfriend of Nero's cousin Arcadio (guest star Dave Navarro). Matthew is among the children who died in the shooting, and Stockton police, Nero says, are keeping a close eye on Darvany.
Adding to the fact that the gun can eventually be tied to SAMCRO's gun-running business: Darvany is not in a stable state. Obviously, she's distraught about her son, but she's also an addict with less than a year of sobriety, prompting Nero and Jax to hatch a plan to sneak her off to the Sons' cabin and then off to another part of the country before police can interrogate her.
But, as "Breaking Bad" attorney Saul Goodman might say, what we have here is a "best laid plans"-type situation. (P.S. How badly could SAMCRO and company use Saul Goodman right about now?)
In short, Arcadio and Darvany were swept away to the Sons' cabin, where things went very, very wrong. Darvany, high and paranoid (though not unjustifiably so on that last one), was convinced Arcadio's associates were going to kill her to keep her from talking. She got her hands on a gun and tried to escape, which led to a shootout that ended with a bullet to Arcadio's head.
A crushed Nero prevented Jax from killing Darvany… just then. But when a grieving Nero's attention was diverted, Jax ordered Juice (Theo Rossi) to drug Darvany, then smother her with a pillow.
Adding to Jax's betrayal of friend and business partner Nero: He lied to him about Darvany's death afterward, telling him she must have taken something and died from an overdose.
And that was just one piece of the mess that is Jax Teller's life right now, a mess that promises to get much, much worse before it possibly never gets better.
She's out of jail, with her trial for the charge of being an accessory to Otto's murder of the prison nurse weeks away. But unbeknownst to Jax, Tara may be pregnant, and she may have completely lost any faith in him and his promises to make SAMCRO's business ventures legal. He tells her again that he's ditching the gun-running business and focusing on the porn and escort trades (hey, they're legal, he points out), but, again, unbeknownst to him, Tara and her attorney are drawing up papers for her to divorce Jax and make sure he doesn't retain custody of the boys if she does go back to jail. Tara has even filled several notepads with the many violent, criminal activities of SAMCRO to provide fodder for her petition to wrangle custody away from Jax (and, by association, Gemma), should she go to jail.
Tara, meanwhile, has uneasily chosen Wendy as the new guardian — a decision that might come back to haunt her.
Jax's former VP, so disgusted with Jax's efforts as SAMCRO president, continues his plans to go Nomad, and adds another cohort, Hopper (guest star Steve Howey), to the list of Sons members willing to join him. Remember, he needs just four members to make it official, and given how increasingly decimated the SAMCRO charter is, Bobby's group could end up rivaling Jax's group.
Jax continues to make Juice (Theo Rossi) pay for betraying the club last season. First, he forced him to help set his mentor Clay up for Damon Pope's murder, and now he's ordered him to carry out the murder of a woman who has just lost her child and her boyfriend in incredibly violent circumstances (and who, Nero reveals, had two other children). Juice appears to be near a breaking point emotionally… will that point involve violence, or maybe a talk with Bobby about his Nomad group?
Retired U.S. Marshal Toric (Donal Logue) is seriously committed to bringing SAMCRO down, and he's inserting himself into any situation that will afford him an opportunity to do that. Suspecting SAMCRO has ties to the gun used in the school shooting, he tries to forge an alliance with the ambitious local district attorney (guest star CCH Pounder) to officially connect SAMCRO and Nero's Byz-Lats to the tragedy. He also pressures Clay to flip against SAMCRO (and simply forges Clay's signature on papers when Clay won't sign himself), and makes a visit to Nero's escort joint (and hires a companion for the night) to scope out the operation.
And speaking of how committed Toric is… actually, let's talk about how committed he needs to be, as in committed to an insane asylum. Toric is distraught about the vicious murder of his sister, the prison nurse Otto killed, but dude has a whole other level of issues to deal with, including a major drug habit and daily freakouts. No specifics, but let us tease next week's episode, "Poenitentia," and say that Toric's date with one of Nero's girls spirals wildly out of control.
Get a sneak peek at next week's "Sons of Anarchy" right here:
Clay is still in jail, and he's being pressured — read: blackmailed — by Toric to flip on SAMCRO. Clay tells Toric he'll sign his papers and inform on the club if Toric will get Jax and Gemma to visit him in the hoosegow. Jax's visit comes in next week's ep; Gemma sauntered into a jail visitation room in "One One Six," and it's a visit that ended with her running into a jailhouse bathroom and sobbing, as she berated herself for letting Clay get to her. He not only told her she shouldn't feel guilty about framing him (because, of course, he wants her to feel guilty), but he also assured her that none of the SAMCRO fallout will fall on her (which was a hint to make her believe he's about to flip on the club).
Clay's still got bigger issues himself, though, because Pope's people still want him dead for (they think) killing their boss.
Yes, there's still more for Jax to worry about. Let's not forget that, as miserable as Tara is with him right now — and the look on her face, and his, during their sex scene proved she's just not that into him these days — she doesn't even know (yet) that he cheated on her with madam/new business partner Colette (guest star Kim Dickens).
Jax, in fact, threatens to alienate almost everyone in his life. Bobby's already struck out on his own; Juice is straining under Jax's punishment for his earlier betrayal; Jax's new VP Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) disagrees with Jax's plan to leave the rest of the club out of his decision to cut off SAMCRO's gun-running partnership with Galen and the True IRA; and if Nero finds out Jax not only had Darvany killed, but then lied to him about it, even Nero's affection for Gemma isn't going to stop him from unleashing his guilt and wrath on Jax.
Jax is getting a full-on lesson in how tough being the SAMCRO honcho is, and, to put it mildly, he's not managing his new power very well.
Is he in danger of becoming Clay, the leader who he's always seen as the antithesis of who he wants to be?
Notes from "Anarchy":
* Cool guest star alert: C. Thomas Howell, as an ATF agent investigating the school shooting. Too bad that probably means it's a brief guest gig… who else would have liked to see Ponyboy as an MC member?
* "SOA" music coordinator Bob Thiele Jr. continues to pair haunting tunes with SAMCRO storylines. Last night's end song: a fantastic cover of the Rolling Stones' "As Tears Go By," by Noah Gundersen and The Forest Rangers. The song was made available on iTunes immediately after the episode aired.
"Sons of Anarchy" airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
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- Jax Teller