This season continues to get crazier and crazier with each episode, and I’m loving every minute of it. Though the past three seasons have all been great for a number of reasons, this year has done an especially good job of making every storyline – including the ones involving the supporting players – feel equally important and engaging. And you needn’t look any further than what the show has been doing with the character of Juice for proof of that. I may have voiced my displeasure about the way that they’ve handled his subplot in previous posts, but I’m still really enjoying what Theo Rossi has been doing with the material. He’s really stepped it up this season, and tonight’s episode made me realize just how much I’d miss him if he was gone. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about the rest of the episode first.
I have to admit that I was a little surprised how Gemma handled the discovery of the death threat left in Tara’s car, because I thought for sure that she would either rip it up or take it directly to Clay demanding an explanation. Instead, she doesn’t even seem to consider that it might have anything to do with Clay, and instead shows it to Tara, who characteristically freaks out. Of course, when Clay hears about the death, he knows immediately that Unser is responsible and warns him to stay out of his way. But now that Unser knows that he was used by Clay in order to cover up John Teller’s death, I think that he’s willing to accept the consequences of the truth coming out if it means that an innocent life will be saved in the process. Granted, I’m not really sure how informing Tara’s supervisor Margaret is going to help protect her, but maybe Margaret will be able to transfer her to another hospital for a while until all this blows over.
And at the rate things are going, it could be sooner than later, especially now that SAMCRO knows that the Galindo cartel’s main competitors are targeting their associates – namely, the Mayans and the Sons – in an attempt to force Romeo and his crew out of California. Bobby has been trying to tell Clay that getting into bed with the cartel was trouble from the start, and he’s so disgusted with how everything has turned out that he’s decided to challenge him for the presidency. That’s a pretty bold move on Bobby’s part, but while it might seem like an easy win for Clay considering he got the majority vote over the last decision involving the cartel, now that the club has seen just how much danger they’re in after only a few weeks on the job, there’s a pretty good chance that at least one person will jump ship.
Of course, Juice might not even be around to cast his vote if Lincoln has anything to do about it. After Roosevelt informs him that Juice won’t turn over the coke sample until he meets the guy pulling the strings behind the operation, Lincoln orders Roosevelt to set up a fake meeting and bust him for possession instead. Though Roosevelt refuses to play dirty in order to get Juice’s cooperation (a statement even Lincoln finds ironic since he was more than willing to destroy the Sons’ clubhouse with a fire axe), he’s eventually coerced into going along with Lincoln’s plan. But for as much of a pain that Roosevelt has been to SAMCRO since his arrival, you could tell that he felt really bad about the situation that he was putting Juice in. After all, if Juice doesn’t cooperate, he’ll be thrown into prison and likely killed. And if he does cooperate but SAMCRO finds out, he’ll be killed well. Either way, he’s a dead man walking, and Juice’s expression as he left the police station implied that he knew as much.
I’m actually quite shocked that Chibs isn’t more suspicious of Juice after the way he’s been acting lately, but you’ve got to love that he’s at least looking out for the guy when no one else seems to notice that something is wrong. I’m sure that Juice would have rather Chibs didn’t go to Clay to voice his concerns about him, however, because after that very fatherly speech by Clay about how proud he was of him, it only made Juice’s guilt that much worse. My stomach was positively tied in knots during that final sequence as he sewed on the Men of Mayhem patch and then hung himself from the tree, but I’m confident that he’s not actually dead. In fact, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear what sounds like a tree branch breaking just before the episode cuts to black, so make of that what you will. Regardless of the outcome, you can bet that it’s going to make Roosevelt think long and hard about what he’s done to push Juice in that direction.