“Sons live. Redwood bleeds.”

“Crucifixed” was a great example of how S.O.A. fills a ninety-minute block and still leaves me befuddled by it being over already. Essentially, it’s the same old shit: scheming vengeance and revealing secrets. But it’s all piled up to magnificent heights, and almost everyone important enough to matter knows almost everything about everyone else. It’s taken a while to get to this point. Let’s divide and conquer all this bloody business.

100% Juice

The conversation between Juice and Jax, concerning Juice’s involvement with Roosevelt and the RICO case, went completely against everything I was expecting. All the details, like Juice having a black father and Frankie telling him Clay was behind the home invasions, were all predictably revealed, but with opposite motivations than I expected. Chibs was the one to tell Jax about Juice’s dad, after Bobby let Chibs in on all the RICO business. Jax wants to keep Juice’s betrayals quiet, as to not offer further proof of a deteriorating motorcycle club.

Roosevelt warns Juice that he was outed, urging him to skip town. But with nowhere to go, Juice appeals to Jax’s sympathies and is given the chance to explain his actions. I thought Jax was going to hit him when the subject of Miles crossed the table, but nothing so dramatic happened. When Juice mentions the documents Frankie retrieved from Clay’s safe, Jax tasks him with using his close ties with Clay to get the documents from him. It’s that or lose the patch. What happens to Clay if Juice finds the possibly incriminating documents? The same thing that will happen to Juice if he doesn’t find them. I love that kind of sentence construction. A pat on the back to Theo Rossi for playing “fearlessly desperate” with a vacant-eyed realism.

When Juice actually does search Clay’s house, he finds a gun in a lock box, among all the other un-boxed guns on the shelf. I have no idea if this gun is important or not. Feel free to clue me in on this. Please be nice.

Jax Attacks

Opie’s death has not been erased from anyone’s mind, and the Sons are now after the prisoner who put the killing blow to his skull. His name is Randall Hightower, and he was tailed to a club frequented by T.O. and other members of the Grim Bastards. Turns out Hightower hired them to protect him from the Sons, and he’s also T.O.’s cousin. He walks in the room, and immediately starts shooting everybody before taking off. They later track him to a boat yard, where they find T.O., who had agreed to let them know of his whereabouts if they promised to keep the punishment to a beating. Bobby was especially pushy about compromising, as to keep their long term affiliations intact.

Well after a brief foot chase through the boat yard, Hightower is cornered. He gives up Aldo Smith, Vox, and Mace, the names of the other three prisoners involved with Opie’s death. And then, because nobody kills Opie and walks away from it, Chibs puts a bullet into the back of Hightower’s head, and a few into his dead face. Everyone broke their word, and Jax doesn’t seem to care about repercussions. Did Bobby have to stand there and watch Opie’s head get caved in? No. So shut the fuck up, Bobby. I’m only going to say that once. Because I’m scared of him.

Otto Otto Oxen Free

Tara spends another day with Otto, and this time, instead of masturbating himself to tears, he talks religion and spiritualism, and asks Tara to get a crucifix that he gave to Lu Ann. (He theorizes that Lu Ann only went Jesus crazy to balance the shame she felt from taking it in the ass on camera.) She only has a few hours to do it, since his lack of sickness will be discovered soon. Tara calls Gemma to find it, and there is a moment of understanding between them when she does. Though he knows he can’t keep the crucifix, he asks her to put it on him. Uh oh. Then he tells her to put it under his shirt. Uh oh. Then he asks to be left alone to pray. Aw fuck.

As soon as Tara leaves, he calls in the other nurse and orderly, demanding to be released. When Tara comes back into the room and distracts everyone, the now-unshackled Otto leaps from the bed and knocks the male orderly out against a table. He then pounces on the nurse, knocking her out and plunging the crucifix into the side of her neck, spraying blood everywhere and then some. Through the gore on his face, Otto looks at Tara with his uncovered, scarred eyes, and says, “Sons live. Redwood bleeds.” Though he said he would retract his RICO statements, he also said he would do something horrible if Tara kept visiting. By murdering this woman, his testimony gets thrown out, but Tara’s involvement will be discovered, and she will be an accessory to murder.

Bringing a murder weapon into a non-sick prisoner who happens to belong to a gang that she’s married into. Yeah, I’d say there’s a pretty good case against her. All this, after the woman from Seattle met with her and offered her a classy new job, based on their belief that her neo-natal care is perfect for their needs. The lady also cites many of the club work that Tara does as extra proof of her dedication. And now it’s all in the shitter. Probably. Unless whoever needs to die get killed in the coming weeks.
Molding Clay

Gemma still isn’t used to taking Jax’s orders, but she does it, even if the entire thing brings her to tears. Of course, Clay is showing her his softest side, especially once she invites him back into her house. He tells her he can’t lose her twice, so if she’s not serious about this, then it’s not worth it for him. It is amazing to watch Gemma’s face during this scene, because you know she doesn’t actively want to be in this situation, and she knows the easiest thing to do in that moment is to kiss him, yet she waits before doing so, her eyes lost in thought. That’s a lot of clutter for a fictional character’s headspace.

Clay is almost as passive with Juice, offering his appreciation for Juice’s recent dedication and saying he’s exhausted, and maybe he’s chasing after something he doesn’t even want anymore. Bullshit. He visits Lenny in jail right around the time Tara is there, and Lenny unknowingly reveals to Clay Otto’s RICO testimony. Clay uses his noggin and takes that info to Romeo, wondering what federal office he’s working with. Clay offers his services outside the club, saying he and Galaan will still be able to handle the gun-running, but Romeo says the club is a better operation, and that he would serve more purpose back as president. The cartel has no love for Jax, so it’ll be interesting to see where they come into it later on when the club drama gets personal.

The Rest

After the Nomad shootings, Unser was forced to move his RV from that property, and is allowed to keep it at the clubhouse. Jax says he expects labor for letting him stay, and Unser replies, “I’ll work on my pole dancing.” Ew. Gemma asks Unser for advice on how to throw Clay to the wolves, which he’ll look into.

Jax meets up with Mayor Hale, and they talk about the Charming Heights vote barely going through. Hale reluctantly gives Jax the giant book of information about Charming Heights for Jax’s “Oakland investor,” He’s surprised to find that all Jax is interested in for his side of the deal is getting all the maintenance work for the Heights, and for Hale to set up Lyla and the kids with subsidized housing.

Pope is just as surprised as Hale by Jax’s requests, but Pope is more impressed with Jax’s attempts to do business that isn’t steeped in illegality. He promises to take a look and consider investing with Hale. Pope asks when he’ll be getting Tig returned to him, and Jax relates the story of Clay being the club’s biggest obstacle. Once Clay is out of the picture, Tig is Pope’s. But we all know there will be complications with that.

Thanks to Unser, Roosevelt is now aware of Clay’s role in everything, and has a talk with Jax about it, saying he can’t end up like Frankie did. Jax agrees and says he’s open to decisions. I smell the biggest set-up in Charming’s history down the pike. It was nice to see Jax lower Roosevelt to his level, saying that guilt is guilt, and you’re either on one side or the other. I feel sorry for Roosevelt, but I want him to start kicking ass in a downward spiral of glory.

Next week, another 90-minute episode awaits. I expect Otto to kill himself, Clay and Juice to have a fight, and more black guys to get shot. If any of my predictions come true, I will forgive the series for leaving Jimmy Smits out of tonight’s episode.

Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike

Best line of the night: “Just wanted to see if you needed anything. Prospects are doing a Costco run.” Consumerism is alive in Charming.

What the fuck, Tara? Waking your kid up on purpose just to hold him, with hair that looks like Frankenstein’s mullet.

Behind the wheel of a tow truck, Rat looks like a character from a Charlie Daniels song that fights Satan in a tow truck driving duel.

“Maybe it’s time to change a few bylaws.” That’s progressive thinking, Jax, though I doubt you’ll be giving up your presidential seat to a black man anytime soon. Idris Elba should be on this show.

“A brief foot chase through the boat yard.” This was not something that I normally expect to write when talking about this show. I long for the day when there will be a “thumb wrestling match during a city-wide egg pocking competition.”

The moment Hightower’s vehicle knocked over all the guys’ motorcycles, I knew he was going to die no matter what kind of deal was struck. You just don’t add insult to injury. That’s Tattooed White Boy 101.

The one thing I won’t be judging Clay for is a diet of bourbon and corn flakes. But only if he’s adding a dash of sugar on those corn flakes.

And what is funnier than Ron Perlman wearing a tiny black t-shirt that says “VISITOR” on it? Someone should have asked him if he and Pony Boy wanted to go get a chocolate malted.

Jax doesn’t think Bobby will be strong enough to stand tall when the blood starts to flow should the Grim Bastards seek revenge. Chibs is insulted when Jax asks for confirmation that he’s behind him. I hope this doesn’t mean Bobby is going to get left behind at some point.

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