Episode Title: "Brick"
Writers: Dave Erickson & Brady Dahl
Director: Paris Barclay
Previously on "Sons of Anarchy":
All is most definitely not well with the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle club. Although Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) has gotten his way on the drug deal with the cartel, SAMCRO got an uncomfortable glimpse of their future when they traveled to Tuscon and saw how drug money ripped apart their SAMTAZ brothers. Closer to home, Piney (William Lucking) approached Tara (Maggie Siff) in the hopes of getting leverage over Clay to kill the drug deal. Although she didn't hand over the letters from John Teller — the deceased father of her fiancee, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) — she did reveal that JT wanted to get SAMCRO out of the gunrunning business and that he was killed before he could do it.
Unknown to SAMCRO, Assistant U.S. District Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon) moved behind the scenes to tighten the screws on them. He visited Big Otto (Kurt Sutter) in prison and he claimed that new DNA evidence showed that Bobby Munson (Mark Boone Junior) had been sleeping with Otto's wife, Luanne… and that Bobby may have been the man who killed her. Lincoln also had Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) target Jean Carlos "Juice" Ortiz (Theo Rossi) as a possible rat to hide his African heritage from SAMCRO; whom he believed would harm or expel him if the truth came out.
Clay's wife Gemma (Katy Sagal) visits Big Otto in prison and he relates the news he received about Luanne’s murder… and the fact that Bobby was sleeping with her. Otto presses her to let the club know that they have to avenge his wife. At the club house, Piney refuses to take his cut of the drug money and he gets a solo meeting with Clay. Once alone, Piney relates the details that Tara provided him about JT's intentions for the club with things that only JT and Clay would know. He threatens to tell the club that Clay had JT killed if Clay doesn't kill the drug deal in a week. And he tells Clay that if something happens to him before the end of the week, then he already has a contingency plan in place.
Outwardly, Clay basically laughs off the threat. But in private with Gemma, he is unnerved that Piney knew as much as he did. They correctly assume that Tara must have told him what was in the letters. Separately, both Clay and Gemma go to Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) and ask him to steal the letters from Tara's office, forcing Wayne to choose which person to bring the letters to when he does find them. Gemma also tells Clay about Big Otto's demand, and when they bring it to the attention of the club, Bobby's name is left out of it to protect him. The club quickly comes to the conclusion that Luanne was killed by Georgi (Tom Arnold), her former competitor.
To track down Georgi, Opie (Ryan Hurst) enlists the help of his new wife, Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) and her latest porn producer, Dondo (David Hasselhoff). When he learns that the club wants Georgi in order to avenge Luanne, he enthusiastically helps them trap Georgi at his studio. While waiting for Clay to arrive, Juice is summoned to see Roosevelt, who puts pressure on him to sneak a sample of the cartel's cocaine shipment so that they can learn where it came from. Roosevelt even promises to leave SAMCRO out of the investigation. Privately, Roosevelt expresses his misgivings about playing the race card against Juice and the potential backlash if it became public knowledge.
To assuage his fears, Lincoln says that Roosevelt's name will be stricken from the record even though he knows that it is impossible to do so at that point. Meanwhile, Wayne finds only the copies of JT's letters and he is despondent upon reading them. Wayne tries to burn them, but Clay arrives in time to pull them out of the fire and read them himself. Wayne berates him for lying about the reasons that JT had to die, but Clay shows no remorse and he burns the letters after reading them. When Gemma arrives looking for the letters, Wayne claims he burned them because they were too painful to read.
Back at the porn studio, the club is ready to dispense their own justice upon Georgi until they discover that he is closely tied with some foreign investors. Clay hatches a plan to use Georgi's investors to prop up Charming Heights and then pull out at the last minute, dooming Jacob Hale's development plan. Much to Bobby and Dondo's disappointment, that means that Geogri gets to live… for now. Bobby is sent to the prison to visit Otto and he admits that he was sleeping with Luanne, but that she only loved Otto. He also tells Otto that the club found her killer and took care of him; which is a whopper of a lie.
Elsewhere, Juice goes to the hidden storage area where the cartel's cocaine is kept. Filthy Phil (Christopher Reed) and one of the Mayans spot Juice poking around inside, but they don't seem to suspect anything. Juice smuggles a brick of cocaine out and buries it in the woods. The next day, the Mayans and most of SAMCRO are there to examine the contents of the drug shipment… and they come up one brick short. Realizing that there is a thief among them, the mood gets tense as Juice seems noticeably nervous.
I believe that is the first episode in which Clay has openly admitted to having John Teller killed, and for that reason alone this is a pivotal point in the story of the entire series. It also seems like the beginning of the end of SAMCRO as we know them. Once these lies are exposed and people end up dead, it's hard to imagine how the survivors could ever ride together again. Clay knows that Jax would kill him if he ever learned the truth; which means that both Piney and Tara are in danger. I don't expect Piney to be much longer for this world and I doubt that he did set up any contingency plan. His current plan is so poorly thought out that it kind of rules out anything more than a simple ultimatum to Clay.
Worse, Piney doesn't seem to have any realization of how much danger he's put Tara in over this. Gemma is well aware that Clay would kill Tara without a second thought just to protect his secrets and it seems that Gemma really does care about Tara… especially since she's the mother of her youngest grandson and the love of Jax's life. Clay could probably get away with killing Piney, but if Clay really does come after Tara then his only next move would be to target Jax.
Prior to this episode, I assumed that Wayne was more of a father figure towards Gemma. If Clay is right, I didn't realize that Wayne loved her on a possible romantic level. But it makes sense. Wayne has helped Gemma get out of trouble so many times that it feels like a legitimate explanation of their relationship.
When the Sons aren't busy tearing themselves apart, Lincoln is doing a masterful job of taking them on from behind the scenes. He's still a great adversary for the series, but this week's episode demonstrated that Lincoln has no loyalty to Roosevelt. If the Juice situation blows up in their faces and comes back to haunt Roosevelt as he feared it would, I've no doubt that Lincoln would simply let him twist in the wind. Clearly he values no one more than his own agenda.
For all of Bobby's bluster about SAMCRO standing for brotherhood, he's shown to be just as self-serving as Clay. First he had the affair with Otto's wife and then he goes along with the lie that the club has taken care of Georgi and eliminated him. Bobby's lie makes him complicit with Clay's plan and I'd love to see what Otto can do to the club once the truth finally does come out.
The entire Juice situation seems a bit forced, since the worst case scenario seems to be expulsion from the club if he was outed as half black. But by talking with Roosevelt and stealing the cocaine, Juice has now served himself up to be killed for his infractions. Either outcome would suit Lincoln, as it would just be another charge to use against the Sons or a spy within their organization. That said, Juice seems very weak by caving in so easily. And if he tries to deflect suspicion, is anyone going to buy Filthy Phil as the real thief?
Regardless, "Sons of Anarchy" continues to be entertaining on a weekly basis. It doesn't feel like it has peaked yet this season, but that may change very soon.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.