“This club needs a healing and you’ve got to be the one to deliver it.” - Bobbie

SAMCRO is all locked up. After their failed hit on Zobelle and company, they’ve found themselves behind bars without any protection from incarcerated Aryans. Apparently, in jail you need muscle and the Sons have none. They’re on their own. “Gilead,” on the surface, is an episode dealing with the Sons working to ensure their protection. The funny thing about it though is, in the end, they are their own worst enemies. Turns out they just need protection from themselves. Scratch a little deeper and this episode is about how the characters in Sons of Anarchy work toward healing their own personal dilemmas which has been an ongoing theme throughout this season.

The MC strikes a deal with some locked up One-Niners. If the Sons take care of some snitches, they get security in return. First up, Juice puts his own butt on the line (literally) when he meets with someone in private custody under the guise of a little prison tryst. Before they get to the actual act, he lets the One-Niners into the room where they mete out their own justice. One down, one to go.

Next, Opie works on the outside to set up a witness the One-Niners want in jail. He enlists Sheriff Trammel in the setup but Trammel is shot while pulling over the person in question. The witness gets away putting the club at great risk.

With their safety in doubt, Gemma tries to get Jax and Clay out by posting bail. She seeks out Elliot Oswald to help get enough money together. Elliot owes the club for the justice they brought when his daughter was raped and when they saved his land from the Aryans. At first he turns his back on her, but finally ponies up the cash.

Before SAMCRO learns they have had bail posted, Agent Stahl makes her own play at unraveling the Sons of Anarchy. With the rift between Clay and Jax growing, she works to play them against each other with information she learned from Deputy Hale. Stahl wants Clay to hel p the ATF take down the IRA. She shows Clay pictures of the IRA dealing with Zobelle and company. Clay scoffs at the idea leading Stahl to let Clay know of everything Jax’s been doing behind the club’s back (working with Hale, spilling the beans about Donna’s death, etc.)

Clay heads back to the cell where he punches Jax leading to a bloody, and longtime coming, fight between stepson and stepfather. The fight is violent, dirty and ruthless. This has been building since the first season and Stahl masterfully pushes Clay over the edge.

After the fight Stahl takes Jax aside and offers him the same deal: immunity in exchange for the IRA. Just when it seems he might be considering the plan, he calls her bluff. SAMCRO won’t be helping the Feds. On her way out, Jax stops Stahl and asks her if she has heard from Agent Cohen lately (the Agent he killed in Season One). He offers a not-too-velied threat in the reminder that it “isn’t safe for Feds.” This was a truly great scene that reemphasized Jax’s ultimate allegiance to the club.

The fight did little to quell the tension between Clay and Jax. The fight itself was a stalemate with no clear winner. If anything, it just muddies the MC’s waters even more. They remain a club bruised, battered and divided. Although Jax pledged his allegiance to the club in his dealings with Stahl, it is obvious the rift is far from smoothed over.

Ultimately, “Gilead” is an episode about the things we need to do in order to begin the healing process. For each character it is different. Opie, for one, is a much broken man. With Donna dead he remains a lost soul. His healing takes the form of removing his children from his life. This is no fairy tale and his distancing is a reminder that his sadness has turned him down a dark path.

For Clay and Jax, they needed to have it all out before they could possibly begin to heal their relationship. They share too much history, too many arguments and too different a view concerning the future of the club to just let bygones be bygones. Their fistfight was the first step in what seems to be a long road still ahead.

Religion has had a heavy influence on this season of Sons of Anarchy. Gemma, not too subtly, continues to search for some kind of peace in her life. In the last few episodes this had lead her to church more and more. Whether it is the hospital chapel to have a word with Tara and Unser or meeting with Oswald in his church to ask for bail, Christianity is becoming more of a theme. “Gilead” is a biblical term referring to a number of different things but ultimately it references the healing power of religion. Gemma continues to move toward this healing and I get the sense that when she finds peace, so will the club.

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