“Sons of Anarchy” Recap “Faith and Despondency”: House of Cards

In the latest “Sons of Anarchy” recap, Jax and the club try to find solace before some death dealing with Moses Carwright while secrets are revealed that will change everything….

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

It had to happen eventually.

The final season of “Sons of Anarchy” is spiraling towards the end and with only four episodes to go (counting tonight’s episode titled “Faith and Despondency”) the truth about who actually killed Tara Knowles was eventually going to slip out.

Gemma’s house of cards that she built to protect her from ever being found out has been falling down around her all season long. Juice — who was her partner in crime to cover up the murder — has been crumbling ever since Jax uttered the words “you betrayed me” and kicked him out of SAMCRO. Now Juice is somehow coming to peace with doing cocaine, being Marilyn Manson’s bitch in prison while having Emily Bronte poetry read to him. In other words, not all of his dogs are barking. We found out last week that the man Gemma fingered as the “trigger man” if you will in Tara’s murder wasn’t even in the state at the time. And of course there’s poor little Abel — born with a heart disease because his mother was a heroin addict, kidnapped because he was a pawn in a war he had nothing to do with, and now has to hear how his grandmother killed his mother because of “an accident”.

It was only a matter of time until somebody older than five-years old found out Gemma’s massive secret. How did we get there? Follow along in the recap to see how Gemma got outed.

Charming’s For Lovers

Outside of Chibs and Jarry there hasn’t been a lot of love on this season of “Sons of Anarchy” but the opening scene tonight certainly fixed all of that in one fell swoop. With Bobby gone — the heart and soul of SAMCRO — all of the members decide to fuck the pain away. Happy bangs a prostitute on the hood of a car because that’s where Happy would bang a prostitute. Rat is with a blonde headed escort who isn’t Brooke so that’s not good. Nero (not technically in the club) is having sex with Gemma, who looks catatonic while he thrusts away at her. Tig is with Venus, which is slightly jarring but more of a happy “glad they went there” kind of feeling. Ron Tully apparently needs to make Juice pay for his protection because he was getting some prison love. Juice shared the same catatonic stare that Gemma had with Nero.

And then there was Jax, who hooked up with the lovely young Winsome, who we first met back in the episode titled “Greensleeves”. Now the immediate reaction to this scene by some fans will be outrage. How could Jax have sex with another woman considering in real time, Tara died all of a month ago? I took a different direction.

In a certain light when you look at Winsome when she’s caught in the shadows, I saw a glimpse of Tara in there. Dark hair, sharp eyes, sweet smile, all the markers were there. And after they finished, Jax broke down in tears because I think he felt the gravity of the situation. He wanted to feel something else besides pain and in his former days that meant having sex. He did it with Tara. He did it with Ima. He did it with Collette. Now he’s doing it with Winsome, except instead of getting past his grieving for the loss of Bobby, he was finally grieving for the loss of Tara. Something rage and anger have clouded for weeks now and he was finally able to let it all loose in that tender moment.

The next morning things get weird for pretty much everybody.

Tig is drinking straight from the bottle when Venus finds him hunkered down in a chair, quiet and distant. She tries to comfort him, but he can’t even look at her in the face. He mumbles about being busy for the day and he might not see her later. When he exits, Venus catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and overnight she’s developed a slight shadow to her face without shaving. Tig was okay having sex with a man when she was fully enveloped as a woman but when it got real and he was faced with the reality that she was more than that, he struggled to deal with it all.

Jax is in a similar situation as he faces Nero after leaving Winsome’s room. Nero has no questions, but does finally decide to unload some truth on the SAMCRO president. He’s selling his half of Diosa to Alvarez and the Mayans. They’ll take over Collette’s place in Stockton and be partners with the Sons. Jax feigns anger at first, but the seems to have no problem considering the Sons are at peace with the Mayans now. What he’s really upset about is losing Nero as a partner. Nero was a friend and mentor to Jax the way that Clay could never be and the way his father never got to be. Nero’s headed for his uncle’s farm in a hurry because things are getting a little too crazy for him right now.

Rat also pops out of the back of Diosa and Jax doesn’t want to question why he was there instead of home with Brooke. He does intimate that there’s a plan at work and T.O. (president of the Grim Bastards) is involved. Rat’s off to do his duty, which means another plan is being hatched.

Before Jax leaves for the day he has another encounter with Winsome, who is now going to also work at Red Woody helping Lyla input files into the computer. Jax thanks her for being so sweet to him and in return she reminds him that deep down he’s still a really good guy, who always seems to be mired in some really bad shit. Of course there’s some truth in that, but I struggle to believe that Jax is really a “good guy”. I think he’s a guy who wants to be seen as good, tries to do good, but often times succumbs to his own evil ways.

Damage Done

The kettle that is Abel Teller has been brewing all season long just waiting to bubble over in a feverish boil. The little boy who lost his mommy just a few weeks ago has been lashing out ever since. He wanted to protect his little brother from the same fate that befell his mother so he stands guard with hammer held in his tiny little hands. And then he has to walk by a bedroom and hear his grandmother sobbingly admit that she killed his mother “by accident”.

He’s been living with this for at least two weeks now (real time) and his little mind is still trying to figure out how to process the information. I’m not even sure a five year old really, truly can even comprehend death (nor should they honestly), but Abel knows his grandma did a very bad thing and this week he makes her pay for it.

It all starts at breakfast when Gemma notices Abel has a couple of small scratches over his eye. He tells her Tommy did it, which only results in a comment about cutting the baby’s nails because they might be too sharp. When Abel gets to school, however, he’s telling a much different story. When his teacher asks where the cuts came from he doesn’t say a word. At lunch, Abel tucks himself away in the quiet corner of the bathroom, locks the stall behind him, puts down his lunchbox, moves the sandwich and thermos out of the way and stares down at a metal fork. He picks up the fork and only later do we find out that this poor, damaged little boy jammed it into his own arm. To what end you ask?

He wanted the school to find out so they could call the authorities, which meant somebody was getting into some serious trouble. Now I highly doubt Abel was thinking in his head about social services coming into play, but I’m sure he could rationalize that doing bad would get somebody in trouble. It got him into trouble when he smacked another kid with a lunchbox. Why not somebody else?

When Jax finally makes it to the school with Gemma, Abel confesses to the teacher that grandma was the one who did this to him. Jax, Gemma and the family know he’s lying because he didn’t have a mark on his arm when he got up this morning, but now he’s got a gash at least three inches long and he wants somebody to believe that his grandmother put it there.

Nero thinks it’s Abel trying to cope with his own mother’s death. That he sees Gemma trying to replace Tara and if she’s gone, then maybe his mommy will come back. Wendy suggests therapy (you know the smart thing to do), which Gemma scoffs at of course. Jax has had enough — Abel is getting help and they are moving back into his place because with social services involved, the boys can’t be alone with his mother. Wendy agrees to move in to help him out and they’re gone. Gemma’s heartbroken. Why would her grandson pull this stunt? And how will she deal without the buzzing business that’s been going on at her house for the past few weeks since Tara’s passing? It seemed to be the only thing that stamped down the voices in her head.

Abel’s not done yet this episode and while he may have tried to frame Gemma for a crime she didn’t commit, he’s soon going to convict her of one she did.

A Brotherhood of Misery

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The question about who is the rat that turned SAMCRO over to the Chinese is still a big question that’s lingering in the air and there are a few suspects still at large. Maybe the most obvious guess has been Tyler — leader of the One Niners — who teamed with Jax several weeks ago, but has still been serving August Marks as part of his deal to play double agent. Maybe he set up the Sons all along and he’s been feeding information back to Marks? August is still in jail and it’s been three days already. The district attorney finally set his hearing for two days from now and when he gets out on bail, heads are going to roll.

So August’s new general Moses Cartwright summons Tyler and the One Niners to meet with him. He wants to find out if they really are loyal to Mr. Marks so he demands some inside information on where the Sons might be hiding the pastor’s wife and son so they can make sure August’s case never makes it to trial. Tyler trying not to give himself away opts to give up a brother instead — T.O., the Grim Bastard’s president. He’s a friend and confidante to the Sons and if anyone knows what they’re planning or where they hide out, he will know. Maybe Tyler really is the man standing on the grassy knoll.

While this is going down, Jax has made a trip to prison to sit down with Tully. He’s making sure the Aryan leader is still working his magic to make sure Juice gets close enough so he can kill Henry Lin as planned. Tully assures him it will happen in the next day or two once he finally gets the right guard rotation. He’s clearly stalling, but the reason why is more personal than nefarious. He also informs Jax that his No. 2 has just been released from prison in Arizona and he’s taking over the heroin trade from Leland and the hillbilly crew he’s running right now.

Tully also promises to take good care of his “Puerto Rican” and Jax knows Juice needs a lot of love right now, signifying that he either knew or didn’t care that the Nazi leader was turning him into his prison bitch. As a token of his appreciation, Tully sends Juice a care package — a poetry book by Emily Bronte (which is where the title of this episode came from), a vile of cocaine and a jar of petroleum jelly (does anyone use petroleum jelly anymore?!?). Later in the episode we find Juice snorting the coke off his hand with no clothes on while Tully lays in his lap and reads “My Comforter” from the book of poetry. This is a match made in a very weird section of heaven.

When Jax takes his guys to meet with Otis (of course his name is Otis), he seems like the most reasonable member of the racist Neo-Nazi clan to date (that’s all relative to idiocy in case you’re curious). He’s taking over with some of his guys and the rest of Leland’s crew has been ordered to play ball, but a few of them aren’t taking the news all that well. When SAMCRO shows up, the rednecks aren’t very happy and one of them singles out Tig immediately and outs his addiction to Venus. Everyone tries to calm down the situation, but Otis has another idea.

He needs to weed out the disloyal nimrods, so why not start with this one?

Tig is off his chain and he demands an apology. The white supremacist goes as far as to say if Tig was one of their crew, he’d have his dick shot off for hooking up with a tranny. So Tig complies — except he shoots that guy’s dick off. When another member pulls, Jax puts him down as well. In the agony of pain, the near dead Aryan mutters why Leland wasn’t at the meeting that Otis put together. He found out that Eglee (the sheriff’s deputy from Charming) was talking to the cops and he’s gone to the hospital to put her down.

In a panic, Jax calls Rat and gets back on his bike to run to the hospital to make sure Leland doesn’t finish the job. Rat is with T.O. at the time and he jets out of the bar to meet Jax at the hospital only there’s a small problem — Moses has arrived thanks to Tyler giving him the location and they grab up both the SAMCRO member and the Grim Bastards president. This can’t be good, right?

Leland — cleaned up and almost normal looking — shows up at the hospital like clockwork and sneaks his way into the intensive care unit. He finds Eglee’s room and pulls his gun (with no silencer mind you because this guy really is a fucking moron), but she’s not there. The water is running in the bathroom so she must be in there! When he walks in the only thing he finds is Unser with his gun drawn. Leland isn’t going down that easy so he tries to wrestle the weapon away from Unser, but the former chief of police gets the upper hand and fires three bullets into his chest.

When Jarry arrives a bit later, she questions Unser about how this all happened. He says it was a clean kill and he got an anonymous tip so he moved Eglee and waited for the Aryan jackass to arrive. Jarry tries to tell him he can’t protect “them” anymore. He tries to play dumb but considering the entire club is sitting in the waiting area, it’s more than obvious who called in the tip.

Outside, Unser explains what happened and that Leland won’t be coming back ever again. Tig lets it slip that “they” won’t be coming back, which Unser immediately recognizes as the entire Aryan Brotherhood. It wasn’t just some backwater redneck crew that hit the cop car, it was the full on white supremacist group who runs the show from coast to coast. Unser has finally had enough when he relays to Jax how screwed up it is that he just had to kill a man to protect his former deputy.

Unser: “You know how many kills I had on the job?”
Jax: “None”
Unser: “That’s right. I fired my weapon maybe a dozen times. Two wounded perps. That’s it. Does that tell you something, son, about what’s happening here?”

Cabin in the Woods

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Back at Moses’ compound he shares with Rat and T.O. the method with which he plucked out Bobby Munson’s eye in the very room they’re trapped now. It was a grapefruit spoon — such a simple tool, yet so very effective in the moment.

“You saw what happened happened to Bobby. I carved out his eye. Cut his fingers off. That’s what will happen if you don’t cooperate. So why don’t we save ourselves the agony and time. Where’s SAMCRO hiding the pastor’s son and wife?”
~ Moses Cartwright

The two guys get a beat down as well and finally T.O. caves. He writes down the location of the cabin where Jax has the pastor’s wife and son stashed and Moses is very proud of himself. T.O. also intimates the entire club is probably there with them so he better go heavy or don’t go at all. He is a little disappointed that a brother was the one that broke and gave up the location. Moses gathers up his hit squad and heads off to finish the business with Jax and the club.

When Moses and his team arrive it’s not the cabin we know and love as the place where SAMCRO disappears from time to time. It’s the same compound where we met Otis and his Aryan crew earlier in the episode. But no one is around. Everything is cleaned up, neat and proper. Moses and his team search the house and the ground, but nobody is there. That is until a ringing phone is heard in an RV parked in the back. When one of Moses’ guys opens the door, an explosion rings out and from the woods behind the house and from underneath the cellar and on top of the roof, members of SAMCRO and the Aryans spring to life and open fire.

If there’s one thing Jax knows how to do it’s ambushing a crew (ask Henry Lin’s uncle about that one).

Everybody is slaughtered but Moses is just wounded (convenient enough). Jax drops his machine gun and picks him up from the ground. Even Moses has to tell Jax it was a good move. Jax forcefully removes Moses’ eye from his socket and leaves it dangling on his face in horror film-esque manner. Chibs then cuts off all of his fingers on one hand. As Moses wiggles in agony, Jax finally puts a bullet in his head, finishing off the payback for what happened to their brother Bobby.

Jax conducts a final meeting with Otis, who tells him that they didn’t mind eliminating Moses since he helped get rid of Leland and his crew because that was something he would have never been allowed to do. Otis takes the three cars Moses drove there in exchange for getting rid of the bodies and it seems a new partnership is formed.

Back at Moses’ clubhouse, one of his men arrives to give Rat and T.O. some water when Tyler carries out the other part of the plan. He kills Moses’ last man standing and frees Rat and T.O. It seems Tyler was never the rat. He was always on the same side as SAMCRO.

He delivers Rat and T.O. back to SAMCRO and everybody is reunited and it feels so good. Following several tragic episodes where it seemed like the Sons were doomed to get boxes full of body parts and more dead members, it was good to see a little revenge doled out to the other guys. To the guys who deserved it for once. Of course August is going to get out in a few days and there’s always going to be another hit crew for hire.

A Love Like Ours

Back at the hospital, Unser and Eglee get a little closer as she grasps his hand and they watch TV together. Wayne’s been looking for love for seven seasons now, maybe he’s found someone willing to stick by him through thick and through thin. When Chibs arrives at Jarry’s place, she’s already halfway through a joint when she comes to the conclusion (for the third time in three episodes) that her relationship with him will never work. He turns around to leave and she freaks out because that’s how this thing works. You’re not going to fight for us at all she says? Chibs lays it out as honestly as he can — she’s the law, he’s an outlaw, they’re never going to be on the same side, they’re never going to be a normal couple, they’re never going to go shopping for furniture one day and hold hands walking down the street. She either accepts this for what it is or move the fuck on already.

She pushes him, he pushes back. She slaps him, he slaps back. Hitting a woman is never, ever okay but to these two it’s clearly foreplay because seconds later she’s naked and he’s on top. Oh love.

Back at Venus’ apartment, Tig arrives after his long hard day of work but his lady is sitting in the dark refusing to turn any lights on. When Tig sits down, Venus lays all her cards out on the table. She didn’t intend for this to happen, but somewhere along the line she fell in love with him. She’s now afraid that he was there only because Tig is so outside the box that being with her was like waiving a flag to show that he’s not like everybody else. But now it’s real for her and this can’t just be two friends getting together to fuck anymore. She has feelings for him.

She wants to put some distance between them, but Tig stops her and responds. He’s never more open or more honest than he is when he’s with her. She loves him unconditionally and there are no secrets when they’re together and he’s carrying a lot of them. He’s not ready to jump into a relationship with her right now because he can’t quite wrap his head around that just yet, but he wants to desperately and he’s going to stick around until that time comes.

“I want to feel what it’s like for you to be mine. I want to be able to go anywhere, any place with you, being mine.”
~ Tig

The two embrace in one of the sweetest love stories this show has ever told. A few things I took away from this — first off, Kurt Sutter admitted after the show aired that he always wanted to inject some kind of homosexual story into the series because he knew those things were extremely taboo when it came to biker clubs, but after watching a similar story unfold on “The Sopranos” when Vito came out of the closet, he abandoned the idea and instead shifted things to Venus when her character became so popular and the chemistry with Tig was so perfect.

Second — what a beautifully tender scene between Tig and Venus. The only time we’ve really seen those moments on “Sons of Anarchy” it’s been between Jax and Tara because at the heart of it all this was their tragic love story. But seeing Kim Coates and Walton Goggins perform this dialogue together was nothing short of spectacular. My anger with the awards shows who refuse to acknowledge “Sons of Anarchy” is well documented, but hopefully with this being the final season, somebody — ANYBODY — will watch this couple of minutes and at least give these two a nomination. It’s only right.

The third thing I gathered was Tig’s reminder once again that he’s carrying secrets and he’s only completely honest when he’s around her. Call me crazy but once again it feels like he is hiding something from someone. It took a dose of mushrooms at a Native American reservation for Tig to finally say out loud and apologize for killing Opie’s wife, Donna. Maybe the secret he’s keeping that’s so hard to think about is the fact that he’s the one that betrayed the club and sold them out to August Marks and the Chinese? Maybe he’s the rat? Let’s just wait and see.

The Truth Will Set You Free

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Following a long hard day, Jax arrives back at home where Wendy is staying and taking care of his boys. She tried to get Abel to talk about the incident with Gemma, but he wasn’t saying a word. Just then Abel pops out from his bedroom and Jax decides to lay out some truth for the little boy (cause that’s what he needs right now?)

Apparently he told Abel long ago that Tara didn’t have him the way she gave birth to Thomas, but she was very much his mommy. He then explains that his first mommy was Wendy and that’s whose tummy he came from so she was his first mommy. The point of the story was to explain to Abel that no matter what happens, he’ll always have a mommy and a daddy. Abel understands while Wendy is his first mommy, Tara was also his second mommy meaning he was doubly loved.

Abel trots off to bed, but not before giving Wendy a kiss. When he leaves she finally breaks down into full blown hysterics. This is the moment she’s been waiting for ever since she popped back into the picture. She wanted her son back and Jax finally saw that she was ready to be a mother. The mother his son needed.

Jax goes in to tell Abel goodnight and his son has a question about this entire scenario and that’s where Gemma’s noose finally tightens. Little does she know while she’s planning on leaving with Nero the next day to help him start putting together a new home on his uncle’s farm, the person she covets the most in this world next to Jax is about to expose her for the monster she truly is.

Abel: “Daddy, is Wendy my first mommy cause I came out of her tummy?”
Jax: “Yeah, that’s right”
Abel: “So is that why Grandma killed my other mommy so my first mommy could be here with me?”

Jax’s face goes pale as the reaper fades into the scene. Now the first reaction Jax will surely have to think Abel is lying just like the wound on his arm earlier in the day, but why would he say something so off the wall and crazy unless there was some element of truth to it? Jax has been searching for answers ever since he found the love of his life butchered like an animal in the kitchen of the home they shared. He felt the purest form of rage going after Lin because that was a target he could pinpoint and assassinate, but it never seemed to give him peace.

This truth will tear him apart from the inside out but he may finally give his wife the justice she so richly deserves. Gemma’s house of cards is falling. Oh what a sight to see.

Notes of Anarchy:

— The song that opened tonight’s episode was a cover of the Bob Dylan track “Boots of Spanish Leather” as covered by The Forest Rangers and Amos Lee

— The song playing when Chibs arrives at Jarry’s house is another Forest Rangers tune titled “Trying to Believe You’re Mine”, which is available on their upcoming album that will be released in 2015.

— The trailer for next week’s episode titled “Suits of Woe” featured a song titled “Run On” by Blues Saraceno, which features a sample of the Johnny Cash tune “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. It was also featured in the trailers for the final season of “Dexter”

— The episode was directed by Paris Barclay, who is one of the most frequent collaborators on the series and an executive producer. This is the next to last episode he’ll direct. He also directs the penultimate episode in three weeks.

— Happy apparently likes to keep fingers of dead men as a prize.

— Hopefully you stuck around to watch “Anarchy Afterword” because this week’s edition was fantastic. Charlie Hunnam and Tommy Flanagan shared the story how they first met and the fact that they’ve been best friends for more than a decade now. Walton Goggins made a brief appearance from the set of “Justified” where it seems he closed the door on Venus, meaning she probably won’t be back again before the show ends.

— The actors started to say their goodbyes, which really signified that the end is near. I’m not ready. I’m so not ready.

Next week on “Sons of Anarchy” Jax begins digging into Tara’s murder all over again and hears from Unser that the man Gemma pointed out as the culprit wasn’t even in the state at the time while also learning that she helped Juice escape Charming. Gemma has some serious explaining to do.

Related News

  • This was one of the most powerful episodes of the series. The show has killed off beloved cast members before in shocking ways. It has shown gruesome violence with no filters. But never has there been a time (maybe short of Tigg’s daughter being burned alive) when one of the members was as vulnerable as Tigg was in his interaction with Venus. That was really good stuff. Sutter took Venus, who was originally introduced as a kind of fun cameo, and made the character three dimensional in a way that many of the main characters sometimes fail to reach (example: I never felt moved by anything Tara ever did). And the chemistry between Walton Goggins and Kim Coates is top shelf. If they aren’t cast in something together post-SOA, it will be a missed opportunity.

    Abel is truly his father’s son. His attempt to finger Gemma for the gash in his arm was something right out of the Jax Teller guide to vengeance. A brilliant and sly move by the creators to show how Abel, despite Jax not always being there, is a quick study and how Jax’s actions have rubbed off despite his efforts to be a better dad. Abel Teller for club Prez!

    Also, Damon, to answer your question, “Does anyone use petroleum jelly anymore?!?” Answer: Jacob “Stitch” Duran & Swayze Valentine. #ufc