In last week’s recap, I proposed that the only reason Romeo could have for telling Jax that Otto didn’t sell out the club was that he knew something SAMCRO didn’t, and as it just so happens, that something turned out to be pretty big. Shortly after Lincoln and his men set up surveillance on the Sons, Romeo and Luis roll into camp to announce that they’ve been working with the CIA and are shutting down the RICO investigation. I had a feeling this might be the case back when Lincoln was discussing Luis’ history with the Mexican military, but I had completely forgotten about it since then, mainly because it seemed a bit far-fetched at the time. And it still does, to be honest, even if this wouldn’t be the first time that the government has sided with the bad guys for the greater good. They’re essentially bankrolling the Galindo cartel so that they come out on top, because “whoever controls the drugs controls the politics,” and in order for that to happen, they need SAMCRO’s deal with the IRA to go through unimpeded.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy in the world of “Sons of Anarchy,” and although the Irish Kings seem open to working with the cartel, they’re only willing to do it with Clay as the intermediary. That puts Jax in a bit of a bind, who openly admits to Romeo that the club is already way over its head on this whole cartel business. Though he didn’t want to have to bring Jax into the loop on their CIA connections, Romeo’s hand was forced by the prospect of losing the IRA gun deal, so he explains to Jax that if the deal goes bust, the RICO case will be reopened and the club will be destroyed. All in all, it was a pretty clever way of keeping Clay alive and ensuring Jax remains in Charming. I also found it interesting that Romeo never intended to hurt Tara, but was instead going to put her into protective custody. That at least explains why the kidnappers didn’t just shoot the both of them when Jax came to her rescue in the park.
I don’t think we’ve ever seen Jax more pissed off than when he went to go visit Clay at the hospital (except perhaps at the end of last week’s episode), because despite every bone in his body telling him to kill the traitorous bastard, he had to keep him alive for the sake of the club. It’s hard to imagine a show where Clay can co-exist alongside Jax, Opie, Tara and Gemma now that they all know the truth, but Jax really has no other choice. Though he’s stripping him of the President patch, Jax is allowing Clay to keep a seat at the table and his vote for the sake of appearances, but what will the Irish think when they realize he’s no longer in control of the club? And while Clay may wish that he was dead now, that’s not going to stop him from putting up a fight when he recovers.
Whatever happens, you have to commend Kurt Sutter for crafting a finale that offered a satisfying sense of resolution while also laying the groundwork for the next season. Tara’s decision to stay in Charming is undoubtedly going to create some tension between her and Gemma as she takes over the role of queen bee, and she’s already been entrusted with a pretty big secret. Though Romeo warned Jax not to say anything about the CIA’s involvement, he pretty much had to tell Tara in order to explain why he wasn’t leaving as promised. Whether or not that decision blows up in his face remains to be seen, but you can be sure that she wouldn’t have stuck around for very long if he didn’t tell her the truth. That was a really great scene between the two of them, and it was a little saddening to watch Jax leave her to go take his spot at the head of the table when he clearly doesn’t want to be there, even if we knew all along that it had to happen in order for the show to continue.
For the most part, everyone seemed to embrace the sight of Jax claiming his rightful throne, although Tig didn’t look too happy about being replaced by Chibs as the new Sergeant of Arms. Of course, that’s going to be the least of his worries if Roosevelt’s reaction to Laroy’s girlfriend being killed in the hit-and-run is as serious as he made it sound. Apparently, she’s the daughter of the most dangerous gangster in Oakland, which means that SAMCRO might be headed for another war. Opie is exactly the kind of guy that Jax is going to need at his side if things get bloody, and though he’s yet to accept his invitation to become VP after learning that Clay will be spared for reasons Jax can’t say, he hasn’t turned him down either. And I really hope he doesn’t, because the prospect of seeing those two guys run the club is simply too good to pass up.
A few other thoughts from the episode:
* Though I’m still holding out hope that Michael Chiklis will been given an actual role on the show at some point (after all, several other “The Shield” alum have already made an appearance), the cheeky TV cameo was a nice touch.
* I’m going to really miss the enigmatic and oddball Lincoln Potter, but at least he went out in style by taking down Mayor Hale in front of city council, exposing his Asian investors as a bunch of sex toy sickos and pretty much guaranteeing that the Charming Heights project would be shut down. Even his explanation to Hale about why he did it was great: “Because I don’t like you. And the good guys need a win.”
* The only thing better than that line of dialogue was the reason Roosevelt gave to Juice for helping him clear his name: “You’re a criminal. You do bad things. I’m a cop. I stop you. I just want to get back to that.” I can’t wait to see what part he plays in the imminent war between SAMCRO and the Niners, because while he’s clearly not crooked like Unser, I think that he still sees some value in what the club does for Charming.