Holy shit, folks. Another Sons of Anarchy episode, another gang bites the dust. “Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em” is another piece of the ramp up towards the series’ finale, and characters are getting killed off by the vanload as we near the middle of Season 7. It seems like we’re so close to having the truth behind Tara’s murder coming out. It has to happen next week, right? I mean, IT HAS TO.

Juice has absolutely no friends anywhere at any point in time.

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t have to happen next week, but Juice’s impending doom seems like the perfect catalyst to bring a whole lot of honesty to the table. (Juice sarcastically gets asked if he remembers table politics tonight, and it was funny.) After choosing to let Gemma live despite her betrayal, Juice’s scheme to exit the country is to use his club knowledge as leverage with the Mayans, who immediately turn him over to SAMCRO. Sad trombone.

“So, what are you doing in a Mayan closet?” Nero asks Juice, rousing a chuckle from yours truly. It seems like there’s going to be sparks between Nero and Juice, but the latter just calls himself a coward and apologizes about murdering Darvany. It really, really appears as if Juice will let it slip to Nero that Gemma killed Tara, but I guess the point was to mirror that earlier confession and to show that he rose above that kind of traitorous behavior. Which su-u-ucks. But the episode ends with a helpless and mentally fatigued Juice being taken away by Jax and the boys, which means next week will hopefully seal his fate one way or another, and all signs point to another clandestine burial.

Gemma doesn’t want to talks to cops. Gemma talks to cops.

Gemma spent most of the episode stranded at a diner, which gave her ample time to bond with and forget the name of Lea Michele’s character (Gertie). In the vaguest way possible, she admits to Gertie her responsibility for the death of her daughter-in-law, which had me thinking Gemma wouldn’t be dealing with that part of the story for the rest of the episode. To my surprise, that’s pretty much the only thing she talked about.

When Unser and Wendy pick her up, they tell her about Lin’s prison deal. Unser advises her to go to the cops with the faux info on Lin’s men being involved, but she doesn’t talk to cops. At least, until her son is the one telling her to do it; that’s when she gives her official statement, which should feasibly keep Lin in jail and the Chinese no longer a threat. (At least until the real truth comes out.) And later, it even looked like she was going to tell Nero about it, but she only confessed to helping Juice hide from the club, never giving a real motive. I admittedly enjoy this heightened sitcom trope of “will they/won’t they” when it refers to confessing to putting a carving fork in someone’s skull.

East Dub Crew goes bye bye.

Jax gets wind that August Marks is fed up and planning on using Tyler and the One-Niners to take out SAMCRO, while the East Dub Crew is meant to take out the dwindling Grim Bastards crew. Good thing Jax and Tyler got that “let’s fuck everyone over behind their back” connection going. Jax’s plan was initially to make Marks look like a thug to the rest of the city council, thus making the Lin/D.A. flipping a non-issue. But then Gemma talks to the cops, which ruins Lin’s chances anyway. Something tells me Jax will seek a much more aggressive outcome than simply making Marks out to be non-professional. Enter the Mayans.

Another check in Jax’s “plus” column is being able to kill two birds (and a bunch of black dudes) with one stone. Because SAMCRO planted two kilos of heroin on Lin to ensure his jailtime, they have no drugs to give to the rednecks in Tully’s Aryan Brotherhood. (The SAMCRO/Aryan battle royale could have been a whole episode unto itself.) Jax’s revised Big Plan is to replace Lin with Alvarez in the Irish gun trade, and to get Alvarez to let the Aryan’s control the heroin trade in Stockton. To prove to their racist business partners that they’re on the level – “Maybe I’m just a white guy who’s not living in 1956 – the club takes out the entire East Dub Crew and hand-delivers them. Nothing says loving like a bunch of stank-ass corpses in a van.

Now there’s no one to take the Bastards out, although Jax seems keen on subsidizing the Bastards and pulling T.O. and his preferred brothers into SAMCRO. I don’t mind that in the least. I like T.O. a lot, and I wish he was around for more of the darkly comedic scenes, rather than just for getting shit done. In any case, SAMCRO will also need all the help it can get in the weeks ahead, as leaving the East Dub bodies on Marks’ turf is going to raise all kinds of hell.

But will that hell even be allowed to happen? It looks like Unser is going to get an earful from that wounded cop about how SAMCRO and the Aryans were the ones making a deal when she and her partner were shot. Now that Unser has once again found a sense of purpose in the Sheriff’s Department, on top of realizing that he will never break through Gemma’s tough exterior, I don’t think he’s going to remain faithful to the M.C. for much longer.

sons of anarchy

All in all, this was another solid episode of Sons of Anarchy, spinning quality performances out of Marilyn Manson and Glee’s Lea Michele. In relatively few scenes and lines, both actors have created characters whose outside lives I would be fully invested in seeing. And while I hate watching Nero get shuffled around by Alvarez (and everyone else in Nero’s life), I hope all this drama is making him want to take his son and leave California behind entirely. I’m still waiting on something super interesting to happen with Jarry. She takes a backseat here, with the parking garage exposition serving as her main scene. I want her to matter more in this final leg of the journey. Maybe next week. Maybe next week.

Stuff That Fell Off the Back of the Bike

Anybody else react to the first scene this way? “Phew, Gemma’s still alive, but that bitch ain’t limping hard enough.”

No way Diosa doesn’t stink like a motherfucker at this point with all that blood soaked in all over the place. And Tig’s first instinct? Drink! “We made it right.” Sure you did.

I’m guessing Lyla could film another one her of porn horror films in Diosa before everything gets cleaned up. Maybe Helter Nailed’er? Saw DDD: The Final Chapter? Maybe if I had a look at Diosa’s sexy menu, I could come up with some better ones.

“I was raised a Catholic. Everything’s a worry for me.”

Is it just me, or is it weird to watch Chibs directly talking to Nero? It’s like they would make for an uncomfortable elevator ride together.

“You want me to call someone?”
“Shyeah. The guy who’s gonna pour my coffee.”

“It’s just life, right?” As they smoke on a bench. How is this not an advertisement?

Seeing Juice talking to Alvarez in the promos totally got me thinking he was going to have to do some lowdown shit for the Mayans, but seeing him get shafted worked out a lot better.

“Heard you’re looking for a few Mexicans to help clean up.” Bahaha.

Is there a metaphor in the Mayans (Brown) playing a game of dominoes (Black and White)?

“You want ‘em? Target practice or something?”

Why is Malcolm-Jamal Warner in this show? I’m not complaining, but his character is basically nothing.

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