This was the most uplifting episode of the season, with the large collection of Sons beating the table in support of Jax's decision to get out of guns, and Bobby, who we all thought was going nomad, revealing that he was actually recruiting for SAMCRO all along. (Just typing that, I teared up.) But how long will this reprieve from death last? That's the beauty of an episode like this: it just makes you more nervous for what lies ahead. Let's dig in.
We opened with a full 2.5 minutes of Jax and Chibs exploring the clubhouse wreckage in silence (other than the mournful soundtrack, an acoustic version of "John the Revelator," as reader Formerly_Marcella noted). Jax's dad's bike was destroyed, but at least the Reaper section of the table was still salvageable (I hope). "I did this," Jax said, when he finally spoke. Chibs picked up the gavel from the charred, water-logged ground and handed it to Jax. "We're gonna fix this, brother. You hear me?" Chibs said. I did a little "Chibs! Chibs! Chibs!" cheer, but Jax answered with a solemn "Yeah."
I've been revisiting season 1 recently for a gallery on its body count, and it's interesting: You might remember that it was after the Mayans blew up SAMCRO's gun warehouse in the pilot that Jax suggested they not rebuild it and instead get out of guns and look for new ways to earn. Also, "Yeah," was Jax's response in the final moment of the season 1 finale, when Piney gave Jax his copy of Jax's dad's manifesto on the club losing its way and said it was time for a change. (A more rousing version of "John the Revelator" had been playing in that moment.) Season 1 also had then-VP Jax delivering a speech to Clay about the two of them needing to trust one another, and Jax needing to know where Clay was taking the club, if Jax was going to be his No. 2 and protect it. Chibs' talk of trust last episode should've sounded familiar to Jax then. And season 1 really hammered home Unser's deal with Clay: The outlaws live in Charming, and they keep the consequences of their lifestyle outside its borders. Unser needed Clay to orchestrate a truce with the Mayans and stop the tit for tat. Now it was Eli telling Jax that he knows this bombing was the work of the Irish, and though he can tell that Jax and Chibs believe they can make sure this beef doesn't blowback in Charming again, he's not so sure. Jax got the last word, however. Eli had been informed that Gemma was at the precinct pitching a fit to see Nero. "Good luck with my mom," Jax said. He can still smile. That's nice.
When the cops wouldn't let Gemma see Nero, she barged her way through and shoved a cop holding her back. Nero, watching from a windowed cell, just hung his head. That landed her in there with him, handcuffed. "How's it goin'?" he asked. "Okay. Just uh, you know, thought I'd come by and say hi... Hi," she said. He sat her down and put his hand lovingly around her throat. "What am I gonna do with you?" he asked. Gemma was desperate to see him because she knew after the explosion, Nero might be even more eager to get away from the club. She said she had to be there for her family now, but she wanted to be with him, too. She'd figure out how to do both, if he gave her more time. Nero's thinking she'll have a lot of time when he goes to jail. He's losing hope.
The club had reconvened at Gemma's house. Tara had the boys in Jax's old room. Abel hasn't slept or eaten, Tara said. She was going to head to the hospital for an ultrasound to make sure the stress of the explosion and lockdown hadn't affected the baby. I'm still not buying that she's actually pregnant. Jax was headed up to Chester with the boys to sit down with the Northwest charters and explain what had happened. Jax kissed Tara goodbye on the forehead -- we're still not doing lips. Jax got a call from the Irish, and Gemma's dining room table became THE table. He told prospect Rat that he could stay (yay!), and put the phone on speaker. If SAMCRO didn't abide by their terms, they'd blow up more clubhouses. I love how director Adam Arkin slowly moved the camera toward Jax as Galen spoke. Clay would handle the Irish guns in Northern Cali and Jax would facilitate that transition, making sure all the buyers are on board. Jax wouldn't be getting a cut of that money. Jax took a quick silent vote (sorry, Rat, that you don't get yet), and it was a unanimous yes. When Jax said he'd cut Connor and the other Irish loose, it was clear that the Kings believed that Jax would definitely have killed them. "I told you, I didn't want a war," Jax said. Is Galen in the Irish doghouse? He's at least on the porch.
The boys decided to keep Connor for a couple more days to make sure the peace declaration was real. As they mounted up, the police dropped Gemma off at home. "Eat me," she told a female cop. Ah, Gemma. Jax told her he needed Clay to know what happened and that he wants him to take the Irish deal. Gemma was visibly shaken, thinking that'd mean another conjugal, but it didn't. She didn't need privacy to deliver the go-ahead. Tara told Gemma that Wayne was taking her to the hospital to meet with Lowen. Abel ran and jumped into Unser's arms. Line of the night: "Ow. I got me a little Nazi owee here," Unser told him.
The DA came to Eli for an update. Eli told her he thinks Nero was set up. She didn't care. She was sticking with the evidence for now. She told him she needed to make some calls. Which meant he needed to leave his own office for a bit. (Remember in season 1, when ATF Agent Stahl kicked Unser out of his office for an extended period of time because of his loyalty to SAMCRO?)
NEXT: "You're spinnin' a lot of plates there, sweetheart"