Even with a few point-blank executions and a fiery cabin explosion, last night's episode of Sons of Anarchy was on the slow side when compared to the balls-out craziness of the first half of the season. "Andare Pescare" (grammatically incorrect Italian for "Gone Fishing" or "Go Fishing") even got a chance to show off its sensitive side with grown men weeping, romantic breaking-and-entering, and Tara shoving her hand down her pants. But psychologically, "Andare Pescare" was a brutal episode that focused on the show's bread-and-Budweiser as it further frayed the dysfunctional family of Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original.
The first order of business was finding Nomad fugitive Frankie Diamonds and turning him into Blood Diamonds. Everyone wanted a piece of that Guido for different reasons, and the intricacies of the situation made for some complex fun as the club tracked him up to Lake Tahoe (beautiful part of the country, btw!). Clay wanted him X'd out to keep his planned coup under wraps, Jax and Bobby wanted him alive so he could hand him over to Roosevelt for payback for murdering the sheriff's wife and unborn baby in exchange for the identity of the club's rat, and everyone else wanted him dead because it was so obvious Frankie was a no-good scumbag who should have been killed a long time ago. That and he stole $500,000.
The saga was a microcosm of what Sons of Anarchy is all about this season: the distribution of information. This show, and this season in particular, is built on the idea that knowledge is power, with lies and withheld information just as important as .50 cals and Molotov cocktails. But the information game is often added to build tension through a mirage of complexity because other parties can be caught up to speed lickity split or whenever the writers decide their ready to open the spigot. It's crafty storytelling because things can be spread out with maximum tension.
Clay got the jump on Frankie's whereabouts early, and we watched him while he schemed for a way to separate from the group. Foundation of tension laid. Then we watch Jax play catch up, getting the same information through different means. That's laid on top of what we already know about what Clay knows. Not long after, we see Clay and Juice at the fishin' cabin where Frankie was hiding. Now our hearts are beating! Then Jax and his crew arrive in the nick of time for a showdown. Of course, the drama of who would get Frankie first farted out when the mob boss who was hiding Frankie got trigger happy and shot him before Jax's plan could go into effect. Way to blow it, mob boss! This story could have easily been Sons all find out where Frankie is and then go kill him, but the show maximized its plot by layering it out. Sons of Anarchy does this a lot and sometimes gets way too convoluted, but this was a good example of how it's done right.
My favorite thread of the episode was actually the most tame of the bunch! Sober Gemma is a much more tolerable Gemma, but I bet she wished she were blasted out of her mind with the chore she needed to do. There were great priorities set in not having Gemma immediately put on stilettos and walk over to Clay's house as Jax asked her to. Instead, we saw some quality hang out time between Gemma and Nero, who may just have the best chemistry of any Sons of Anarchy couple we've seen. Gemma met Nero's son Lucius (who totally hit on her, little skeezball) and helped Nero dump crazy bitch Carla's ashes into a mausoleum. That's real girlfriend-type stuff there. If you're unsure if your partner is the one for you, go desecrate some graves with them and you'll get your answer.
So now Gemma is all-in with Nero (her little speech to Jax about how she liked Nero was great), and Jax has rescinded his ban on their relationship and Tara will let her back into the family as long as she goes through with sucking incriminating evidence out of Clay. It's a tragic situation for Gemma, but her hands are tied. She had the chance to tell Nero what was going on, but the Romeo gifted her with birds. Lovebirds! That's the kind of gesture that's socially inappropriate to respond with, "What beautiful birds! By the way, I'm going to sleep with my murderous ex like a two-dollar whore. See you in a few days, lover." The heartbreaking part of all this is she almost came clean to Nero. Add another secret to this season's pile. Now what's going to happen when a) Nero finds out Gemma went back to Clay, even if it was under Jax's orders, b) Clay finds out that Gemma was rubbing up on him like a purring cat only because Jax ordered her to, and c) Clay, Jax, and Nero all confront each other about this bizarre love triangle?
In the what-the-hell-is-going-on department, Tara half-seduced Otto with Luann's old perfume to get him to backtrack on his testimony that's supporting the RICO case, but instead he just cried and masturbated. There must be something in that love potion, because later in the episode Tara took a whiff and couldn't resist making sure her own lady parts were still working. I'm not going to pretend I understand this (though she was ready and willing with Jax moments before), I can only assume that's some damn good perfume. Please, let us know your theories below. The case of the inexplicable vaginal-twiddling must be solved!
Jax did make good on his promise to deliver Frankie to Roosevelt in exchange for intel on the club tattletale at the end of the episode, even though Frankie was dead as a sheriff's wife. That fact voided the prearranged deal, but Jax already used the process of elimination to deduce it was Juice (really? Juice doesn't go in the same level of trust as the other guys?), which Roosevelt confirmed. Motorcycle gang members don't take kindly to rats, so Jax's next order of business was to load his gun and go after Juice.
I know club policy is "snitches get stitches and a hole in the head," but there's no way Jax is going to murder Juice, so let's just put that to bed even though the show wants us to think that. Right? There's no way Jax could do it. Please tell me that won't happen. I can't accept that it could happen. Not Opie and Juice in the same season please God. No, I think Jax has a few strong words with Juice (there was a reason the writers made Jax go see Roosevelt alone, so he could be the only one with the information), and uses Juice as another method to incriminate Clay.
"Andare Pescare" closed up some stories and opened others as the end of the season came into sight. It focused on inter-club issues rather than external threats, making things a lot more personal for them and us. That's going to pay off huge in the explosive finale. Let's just hope Damon Pope isn't working undercover for the CIA.
– Two masturbating scenes and not one of them involved Chuckie! What the?
– SAMCRO walked into a mob-run mini-casino and just started punching people. "What the hell is wrong with you guys, somebody sneezes you put up fists?" Not a smart move, but since this is television, I'll allow it! Everyone loves a good casino fight with chips spilling everywhere, right?
– When Nero asked Gemma if she'd ever busted into a crypt before, she responded, "No, I'm not Tig..." Tig's sexual deviance is legendary! Alive, dead, male, female... whatever, man. Tig's the ultimate try-sexual.