Sons of Anarchy recap: Hands Off

Ties weren't the only thing severed as Jax and Lee Toric made bold, desperate moves that cost them
Ep. 04 | Aired Oct 1, 2013

BOXING DAYS ARE OVER Gaalan (Timothy Murphy) and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) had a little disagreement with a big body count.

Michael Becker/FX

Remember when Toric recited that Shakespeare sonnet that uses the phrase “the edge of doom” -- I feel like that’s the perfect description of the state SOA fans now live in. The brilliance of keeping a character like Tig alive when EVERYONE thought he was going to die (or, rather, two-thirds of people did, per our poll in last week’s recap) is two-fold: 1.) The character and Kim Coates are so beloved nobody’s going to complain. And 2.) Now we’re on the edge of our seats ready to flinch. We felt the storm rising, but lighting struck in places we weren’t even looking. Unser was attacked. Phil and V-Lin were killed by the Irish. Otto took out Toric and was riddled with bullets. Nero is being framed for murder, and even if Eli suspects he’s innocent, Nero’s still trapped by his association with the club. Tara is working with Wendy to play Gemma and Jax. If you imagine characters’ arcs as shelters, we’re too nervous to stand underneath one because it could collapse at any second. Jax’s world is such a clusterf---, I feel like he’d have a more manageable day if he were suddenly dropped into Sharknado.

We began with Unser opening his Airstream door to smoke some medical marijuana and being met by three masked skinheads. One punched him, and when he fell, he was pulled out by his feet in that disturbing way victims in horror movies are taken. They pinned him down and one pulled out his knife. That's how this episode STARTED. I assume to ease the pain of knowing that our sweet Unser was being tortured, we next got a shot of Jax shirtless in his kitchen. Actually, I think it was a nice contrast of this hard man (and body) doing something as tender as waiting for a bottle of milk to warm up. He heard a bike pull up. There was a knock at the door. He went to answer it, and you saw the Reaper tattoo on his back. (Symbolic of him stabbing one of his brothers there?) "You're up early, brother," Jax said when he opened it -- and Tig entered. Jax was as shocked as you were, but he had to hide it. Tig told him about August coming to the docks, allegedly to look for Jax because he needs to see him about Clay. Let's pretend for a second that August Marks wouldn't have just called Jax to set a meet. Tig is a smart man. He told Jax the prospects never showed up, and Jax said it was his bad, he forgot to tell them. "Am I good with you, Jax?" Tig asked. "Yeah, yeah," Jax answered before hugging it out. "It's all good, brother." (Read what Kim Coates and Kurt Sutter had to say about this episode here.)

Eli and his men showed up at Diosa to bring Nero and his Ford pickup truck in for questioning. Lyla's bruised face did not exactly help matters. Eli told Nero about Erin the escort being killed and off they went. Lyla said she'd call Gemma and Nero told her not to. Toric was leaning against his car watching Nero's exit. Eli told him Diosa wasn't open yet. "That's okay, I like to watch," Toric said, grinning ear to ear. He was getting sloppy.

Jax had his meeting with August, who was wearing a light gray suit. I approve. August said it simply wasn't Tig's time, and Jax figured it was a loyalty test. He passed. August told Jax he'd gotten Clay protection but there's no guarantee since the skinheads saw him kill one of their shot-callers. Seriously, Jax needs to just stay the hell in bed one of these days and watch Tango and Cash. The skinheads are trying to rebound in the area, and it could blow back on the MC, August said. Jax wondered why August couldn't just pass this info. along to Tig. Because August had another proposal: Marks Incorporated is looking to get into guns. If Jax hooks him up with the Irish distribution when SAMCRO gets out, he'll consider Tig's debt paid. They shook on it.

Gemma arrived at T-M, followed by Chucky on his harmless motorcycle, wearing his white scarf (enjoy that levity while you can, folks!). Gemma found the garage trashed and Unser on his knees, his hands bound above his head to a lift and what I assume was a swastika carved into his torso. Gemma had to have been flashing back to her attack in the season 2 opener. She yelled at Chucky to get Jax. When Jax finally arrived, Tara was stitching Unser up. Unser told Jax the guys hadn't sounded all that organized. Jax told Unser they'd find who did this. And then what, Unser asked. Tara was curious, too. It might be time for another journal entry for the custody battle.

Jax put Phil and V-Lin on gun warehouse duty and called the others to the table. The president of the San Bernardino chapter (played by Robert Patrick, fresh off his turn as the werewolf father of Alcide on True Blood) had come to tell Jax and the club the charter had voted down picking up the gun business. There was too much heat now. Because Jax's day needed to suck more, Chucky told him Lyla had called with news of Erin's death. Meanwhile, it was decided that Chucky would bring Unser by the hospital later so Tara could treat him illegally with a tetanus shot and antibiotics, and Unser seemed to hint he could be Team Tara: He asked Gemma what would've happened if he'd been watching the boys when those neo-Nazis jumped him. Unser said it wasn't hypothetical -- there are kids in the mix here. "My kids!" Gemma snapped, then corrected herself to "My grandchildren" when she locked eyes with Tara. As if on cue, Gemma got a call from Wendy, who said Tara's lawyer had reached out to her wanting her to sign the guardian papers because Tara must have drawn up another will. It looked like she was calling from the hospital, right? They agreed to meet at Gemma's house in an hour.

NEXT: Darby returns

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