(I have a ton of thoughts at the end about “Potlatch,” but first let's drop by on the folks in the world of SAMCRO)

“It’s amazing how bad your timing is.” – AJ Weston

We should have called this episode the “Pop-in.” “Potlatch” (at least a good part of it) was spent with SAMCRO making unexpected visits to the many people and groups who operate in the club’s little world. These little pop-ins have varying levels of success and one ultimately ends in tragedy.

With Jax and Clay’s conflict having spilled over into one-on-one violence, the rest of the club is feeling the strain. They all seem to recognize the need to help the two patch things up. Before they can do this though, SAMCRO needs to make things right in their various legal and illegal businesses.

After someone breaks into the Sons-run porn studio, Jax and crew pay a little visit to Georgie Caruso, a rival producer. They shake him down, rough him up and get the equipment back. I was surprised to see the Georgie character make a reappearance, but some of his threats against the club signify he has a much bigger role to play in this season.

Meanwhile, Clay and his little crew drop in on the Irish. SAMCRO wants their guns back. When he balks, Clay knows for sure the Irish are dealing with the Aryans. The squirmy IRA punk is sleeping with Zobelle’s daughter, but is hesitant about going behind Clay’s back with the Nazis. The Aryans have done a good job of completely infiltrating the Son’s world.

After leaving Georgie, Jax’s crew decides to stop by and see the One-niners but instead walk in on a group of Mayans. They are taken hostage but finally released with a threat from the rival biker gang. The truce they once had is now off, leaving SAMCRO vulnerable on yet another front.

Clay’s crew rolls up on Weston and the rest of the Swastika brigade as they transport the guns. SAMCRO is about to take back its rightful contraband when a group of Aryans open fire on them, forcing a retreat. Man, the Son’s are just having a terrible, terrible day. It just goes to show: don’t drop by on someone without calling first.

In an attempt to begin mending the club, Gemma has a big old, biker family dinner. Before the crew can even sit down, Deputy Hale comes in. Luann has been beaten to death. This bit of news puts the whole gang over the edge with everyone at each other’s throats before Gemma, in a fit of grief, smashes some plates. The episode ends with the biker family standing around the table, truly…and possibly permanently, separated from each other.

As promised, tons of thoughts:

- One would think that with everything he has gone through in his life, Jax would ultimately be disillusioned and feel the need to separate himself from the club. But this season has proved his loyalty is what drives him toward change. It kind of reminds me of a parent whose child is drug addict or criminal. Ultimately love conquers all and the thought of abandonment is absolutely out of the question. Jax’s sole motivation is to just “make things better.”

- A quick, but revealing, scene in this episode was when Clay accuses Tig of being flipped around by Donna’s murder. He says Tig doesn’t have it in him to do something “tough” in the future. I think this implies Clay might ask him to do something to Jax. When we consider that Clay may have had a hand in John Teller’s death, it is a fairly menacing implication.

- I can’t wait to see how Zobelle justifies dealing with different races when it is obviously against the greater credo of the Aryan brotherhood. It is a scenario likely to play out over the last few episodes.

- Along with this: finally some chinks appearing in the Aryan armor. Up until this point they have seemed an unstoppable and united front. When Weston and another Nazi-tough argue, we can see that all might not be okay in their little, perfect, white world.

- What could Chibbs’s wife possibly have done to make her one of the three people in the world Gemma is actually afraid of?

- God giveth, God taketh away. The prospect gets a new testicle in the same episode a chronic masturbator loses his thumbs. Don’t know what else to say about this really.

- I just don’t see how SAMCRO works its way out of this inner conflict. Outside threats always have solutions in television shows. There usually exists some miracle fix where our heroes end up on the right side of the conflict. But the Jax and Clay situation has truly worked itself to the point where it seems beyond repair. It has a Vic Mackey – Shane type feel and that is bad for everyone.

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