Wowza. I don't even know where to start. So much happened on Tuesday that there's no point in recapping. I'm choked up, I'm fuming, I'm devastated after watching "Call of Duty," a 90-minute episode of Sons of Anarchy that touched on every facet of the series that makes this series one of the best dramas currently on television. People died. Manly tears were shed. Laughs were laughed. Bro hugs were delivered. Friggin' rocket-propelled grenades were shot. And all of it happened with respect to the heart of the show's most important character: the club.
Up until now I've put too much focus on the troubles of the show's individual parts. The somewhat separate storylines that've fractured SAMCRO are starting to come back together, and they're fitting into place like pieces of shattered glass. There are times we can see what the club used to look like (Juice and Chibs' talk in the bathroom was a fine example of the heart and soul of SAMCRO), but the overall image will never be the same. Toward the end of "Call of Duty," I became less involved with the individual storylines and saw the motorcycle club as its own entity, battered and beaten but rising up as everything comes to a head and we march into the final episodes of this amazing fourth season.
The strength of SAMCRO won't allow it to go down without a fight. The club is much bigger than any individual member, and like some weird force of nature, it will find a way to course-correct. Maybe it's karma coming back on Clay, maybe it's something simpler, but there's a fury rising up against Clay and it's put something in motion that won't stop until he can no longer screw up the club. This isn't Jax, Gemma, or Opie coming for Clay. It's the Reaper.
Currently holding the scythe is Opie, who blew the walls off the joint in that final scene. Ryan Hurst brings something to the table that's indescribable. More than any other cast member on the show, his normally subtle emotion jumps out of the screen and punches me in the gut. When Opie found Piney dead in the cabin, Hurst opened up in a way that we've rarely seen, and the effect felt like someone was ringing my eyeballs dry and stuffing Saltines down my throat. We all need to give Hurst a huge round of applause, and if that doesn't work, head over to his actor page and give him a good rating because he's at a criminally low 7.3 right now. (I don't know who is sabotaging the Sons of Anarchy scores on the site, but seeing that pissed me off.)
Several of you called it: Opie would be the one who set out on a mission of vengeance against Clay. It's unclear whether this was Gemma's plan or whether Wayne went off on his own to set it in motion (the "Next On" scenes indicate that Gemma is not in agreement), but I get the feeling something huge is going to have to happen to get Opie to look the other way. Jax can't call him off now that their relationship is rocky, and would Jax do it anyway? He's just as pissed at Clay as everyone else.
While Opie is very deserving of the privilege of pulling the trigger on a whimpering Clay, I'll still be disappointed if anyone other than Jax does it. From the moment we first saw Jax and Clay in the pilot episode, the writing was on the wall. Given the fact that we still have three episodes left in Season 4 and Opie's got the anger of a thousand hurricanes in him RIGHT NOW, I don't see Opie chasing Clay for three episodes. Oh god, I just had a horrible thought: What if Clay kills Opie? Ahhh! My guess is that Opie will somehow be derailed from his quest and Jax will get to finish the job. It HAS to be Jax, doesn't it? Clay HAS to die, doesn't he?
Let's run down what else happened and start with a toast to the memory of Kozik, who blew up after stepping on a cartel mine. I never really liked the guy, especially after he tried to play street hoops with some hood rats and ended up losing the guns. Maybe bleaching your tips does do weird things to your brain. But he was a Son, and I'll do a shot of whiskey for him later.
Of course the last thing that Tara needed in her life came and visited her in the hospital. Wendy is a junkie whore looking to get to know the kid she abandoned, and normally I'm compassionate about this kind of stuff, but you know what? Screw her smug ass. She didn't even apologize or honestly thank Tara for what she did. Instead she got on her sober horse and came in like she was owed the privilege. I hate you, Wendy, and I hope you relapse. Let's also give a round of applause to Maggie Siff, who has really delivered impressive performances in back-to-back episodes.
Juice and Chibs in the bathroom... I can't say enough about this scene and especially Chibs, another personal favorite character. Juice was finally able to confess the truth about his father, and Chibs reacted the way we all wanted him to. Being black may be against the rules, but the bond between club members supersedes the rules and I doubt the Reaper would care. It was good to see Juice take a step in the right direction, getting half of his problems off his chest, but why did he pin his problems on the sheriff and not Linc, especially after Roosevelt apologized and said he has Juice's back? Juice opened the door to clearing his conscience and then just jumped into another closet and closed the door behind him.
Tig made one of the boldest moves of the episode, handing in his Sergeant-at-Arms badge to Clay, effectively saying he's not on his side anymore. It was such a huge statement and embodied the honor that holds SAMCRO together, the same honor that Clay has spit on. With Tig no longer on his side, Clay is alone on an island. Tig's been on the sidelines a little too much this season, but he always manages to steal scenes whether he's holding a knife to a rabbit or caressing latex recreations of porn stars. Gotta love Tig.
Finally we get to Otto, who, after years of making sacrifices for the club, finally turned and agreed to help Linc incriminate Bobby and the rest of SAMCRO. But Bobby fixed at least one of his lies by killing Georgie, and is on his way to tell Otto the truth about Luann. The question is whether he'll get there in time and if any of this will matter to Otto. Otto still knows that Bobby was sleeping with Luann while Otto rotted away in prison.
"Call of Duty" was one of the series' best episodes to date and deftly used all of its 90 minutes to bring things together. Every single episode this season has made huge leaps, but "Call of Duty" turned the tide and proved that when you go behind the club's back, you have to face the Reaper. Watch your neck, Clay. I don't know who will be holding the scythe when it comes swinging for you, but everyone is taking turns sharpening it.
– Sons of Anarchy has been called "Hamlet on motorcycles," and that comparison is not lost on creator Kurt Sutter. Proof: The first part of the two-part Season 4 finale is called "To Be," a reference to the famous "to be or not to be" quote from the Bard's play. Hamlet spoiler alert: Everyone dies in the end. While I don't see Jax poisoning a sword, it does open up the possibility that almost anyone can go.
– If Sons of Anarchy was on HBO, everyone would be all over its sack. I don't know why this show doesn't get the credit it deserves. Right now, it's phenomenal.
– Lots of great dialogue in this episode! Clay to Tig: "Jesus Christ. You and fat Elvis. A bunch of chicks. [Should] I marry you too?" Gemma: "I flew my broomstick into a wall." Chibs: "Shit. A couple of guys hugging in the bathroom." Clay to Wayne: "Nothing more dangerous than a man who knows he's already dead."
– Speaking of Call of Duty, what do you all think of Modern Warfare 3? It's more of the same, but I don't think any other FPS game's online component compares to its polish or addictiveness. It's stupid fun.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom