Episode Title: "Una Venta"
Writers: Kurt Sutter & Marco Ramirez
Director: Billy Gierhart
Previously on "Sons of Anarchy":
Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) wants out of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle club with as much money as he get before the end of his run as President of the club. His step-son, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) wants the same thing; so he came to an arrangement with Clay. Jax supported Clay's pitch for the club to mule drugs for the Galindo cartel in exchange for his own freedom from the club and a promise to pass the Presidency to Opie (Ryan Hurst). But Clay's biggest opponent of the drug deal was his long time friend, Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Junior). So, Clay secretly offered Bobby the Presidency as well in an unsubtle way meant to get him on board with the drug vote.
Piney (William Lucking) was also alarmed by the direction of the club and he attempted to get Clay's wife, Gemma (Katy Sagal) to force Clay to back down from the drugs. Instead, Clay angrily threatened Gemma before overseeing the vote that barely went in his favor. Having realized how little Clay's word meant, Bobby neglected to support him. But Opie did in the belief that he and Jax would eventually be running the club together. Meanwhile, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) and Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) targeted Jean Carlos "Juice" Ortiz (Theo Rossi) as a possible rat by holding the knowledge of his black father over his head.
Gemma also warned Jax's fiancee, Tara (Maggie Siff) not to reveal the existence of the letters from her dead husband, John Teller after she was caught snooping in Tara's office. Alarmed at the intrusion, Tara hid the letters after making copies of them.
In the early morning, Gemma flinches at Clay's touch while tending to her dying plants. But as he gets ready to leave with SAMCRO on their first major gun delivery for the cartel, Gemma warns back up to him. At Jax's home, Tara asks him if he's really going to a biking convention and when he offers to tell her more, she basically says not now. The Sons take a long ride into Tucson, Arizona where they meet up with another Sons of Anarchy charter, known as SAMTAZ. Almost immediately, the SAMCRO boys learn that SAMTAZ is dealing drugs. Clay insists that they shut down their drug operation, but SAMTAZ President, Armando refuses and says that there's no difference between dealing and muling drugs.
At the SAMTAZ club house, Jax and Clay learn that their affiliate club began dealing shortly after the death of one of their former members and the departure of Reggie, one of the few club members who left on relatively good terms. Resolving to look into the matter later, SAMCRO joins their SAMTAZ counterparts at the first meeting location, but Romero Parada (Danny Trejo) doesn't show because there is a van of law enforcement officers watching the Sons. So both charters ride out and lose the tail by igniting several barrels of flammable liquid into a giant explosion on the road.
Back in Charming, Gemma visits a local gardening store run by Rita (Merle Dandridge), the Sheriff's wife. The two women find that they have a common love for the local garden that is threatened by Mayor Jacob Hale's immanent domain plans. Outside, Lincoln approaches Gemma as someone sympathetic to stopping Hale's Charming Heights project. He also tells her that if it is delayed long enough, the ownership of the lands will revert and cripple Hale's plans. Back in Tucson, SAMCRO tracks down former SAMTAZ member, Reggie who is now running his own pet store. After Tig (Kim Coates) actually threatens a bunny with a knife, Reggie finally opens up and reveals that the VP of SAMTAZ and his accomplice began dealing before the critical vote.
Reggie goes on to admit that he was blackmailed into leaving for having an affair with the wife of the murdered club member; whom he assumes was killed by the VP. At the hospital in Charming, Piney surprises Tara in her office and asks for the letters from John Teller in the hopes of getting leverage on Clay so he can shut down the drug deal. Gemma interrupts their conversation and tries to get Tara on a committee to save the gardens that she mentioned to Rita earlier in the episode. Suspicious of Gemma's motives, Tara turns her down. But before they continue talking, they learn that Piney has collapsed in her office.
When he comes to, Tara asks Piney about John Teller before admitting that the letters indicated that Teller wanted to pull the club out of the gun running business… and he was killed before he could make that happen. Gemma interrupts them again and once Tara is out of the room, she tells Piney to drop it before it kills him, which is obviously meant as a threat. Back in Tucson, SAMCRO exposes the activities of the renegade SAMTAZ VP and his associate. They even drag Reggie out to the clubhouse to confirm their story. SAMTAZ deals out its own justice, but they vote to remain in the drug business, much to Clay's shock.
Armando explains that the vote was unanimous because they had already tasted the drug money and wanted more. In Charming. Gemma approaches Rita with a $5,000 donation (in $20 bills) to get Tara on the committee to save the gardens, without Tara's knowledge or consent. But Rita doesn't know that and she doesn't care where Gemma got the money from even if her husband is out to put Clay and SAMCRO away. Finally in Tuscon, Romero and his well armed associates receive their first shipment of weapons from the Sons and pass off an impressive amount of coke for them to mule back to Charming. Bobby sure doesn't look happy about it, but SAMCRO is in far too deep with the cartel to turn back now…
SAMTAZ seems to exist in this episode as a cautionary tale for SAMCRO. When the Sons finally start getting that cartel money on a regular basis, how long until they decide that it's not enough and they want more? And how long until they start turning on each other to get a bigger share?
Bobby may be the only one vocalizing these warnings on the road, but he can't be the only member who has his doubts. And if Clay is going to silence anyone who gets in his way, then Bobby and Piney would almost definitely be his first targets. One way or another, SAMCRO looks like it is heading towards a split, And it may not be able to survive in its current form under Clay's leadership. It's hard to imagine Clay actually stepping down from the Presidency during the life of the series, but his hands are in noticeably worse shape and there is a limit for how long that will work as a ticking clock before the writers have to act on it.
It's amusing that Mayor Jacob Hale (Jeff Kober) is so hated by everyone of the main characters, that even Lincoln is working against him and attempting to undermine his plans for Charming. Eli's wife, Rita doesn't seem to care where Gemma got the money to buy a seat on the committee and she openly admitted that she knew exactly who Gemma was and who her husband is. It's doubtful that Rita is directly part of a sting, but there is every possibility that Gemma and Clay can't legally account for the money used in the donation.
Lincoln is fascinating in part because I believe that he really would like to see Hale fail and he's not above using Gemma's ties to SAMCRO to speed that along. But it's also clear that he's trying to earn her trust by presenting himself as a potential ally within the city. He's also sowing discord within the club by bringing up the murder of Big Otto's (Kurt Sutter) wife and implying that not only was Bobby having an affair with her, but that he may have killed her as well. I have a hard time believing that, but if Otto buys it than Bobby may have more than just Clay to worry about.
I still believe that Romero and the cartel may end up being the primary adversary for the season. Romero stated that he only trusts SAMCRO for as long as he has to. The seeds were also planted for a meeting between the cartel and SAMCRO's Irish mob connections. And that seems like a perfect time to start cutting out the middle man, namely SAMCRO.
Back on the homefront, the existence of those letters from John Teller has to be the worst kept secret among SAMCRO. Eventually it's bound to get back to Jax and spark off another war between himself and Clay. And I don't doubt that Gemma would kill Piney herself if she thought it would protect her secrets.
It looks like dark times are ahead for SAMCRO. But that usually means that the best episodes of the season are right around the corner.
Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.