As season five opens, Jackson rides. His words to his sons play over his actions. Clay, stricken with an oxygen tank, is moving into a new place. Gemma has a new lover (or perhaps a couple of them). Tara lies in a bath smoking a joint. A gun is at her side. The rest of the Sons appear to be visiting a brothel whilst Jackson waits out the front.
As the Sons ride, Phil (Christopher Douglas Reed) rides with them in a truck. A smaller truck tries to run him off the road and he crashes. He is saved from the burning vehicle by the club. Later Jackson reveals to Tara it was the Niners. He wants her to keep carrying a gun.
Tara says that she is training her new replacement and starting her new duties. Jackson is sorry for her and reminds her that they are a family no matter what. Tara reveals that the boys will be in day-care now and Gemma won't be looking after them.
Gemma wakes hung over in an unknown room. Nero (Jimmy Smits) debuts on the show. As he enters, Gemma pulls a gun on him until Nero reveals that they spent the night together. He also tells her that he is a "compainator" (runs a brothel). He says it was nice meeting her and hands her his card.
Tig, Juice, Happy and Chibs are with Clay who is receiving a call from the IRA. The Irish are very concerned about the clash with Niners.
Back at the brothel, Nero is reading a paper. The camera centres on article which reads "Second Home Invasion Hits Charming". A cleaned up Gemma has a coffee with him and they discuss matching heart surgeries. He reveals that it was her that wanted the other girls. She hands his card back but her number is written on the back.
At Piney's funeral, Jackson tells Opie that it was a good idea to lay him to rest properly. Opie is angry and says it is just for his kids. Jackson tries to explain why they can't reveal who really killed Piney. Opie ist having none of it and tells him that he is afraid of turning out like Jackson. Opie can't sit at the same table as Clay and his future in the club is uncertain.
Gemma arrives home to find Clay picking ups some things. He apologizes and tries to explain. She cries and then hits him for touching her saying that he never gets to lay a hand on her again.
At a meeting with the Cartel (or CIA) members Romero Parada (Danny Trejo) and Luis Torres (Benito Martinez), Jackson outlines his plans for solving things with Pope. The Cartel just want the guns running and have made the RICO case go away. They mean what they say and Bobby hops out of a car, now free.
Eli Rooselvelt asks the Sons questions about the hit and run of Pope's daughters, the break-ins and the running of the truck of the road. He seems to know a lot but gets no answers.
In an empty railroad, Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) meets with the Niners angry about their obvious efforts at retaliation. He is serious and August Marks (Billy Brown) reveals Niner's leader Laroy's body (Tory Kittles) to prove it.
Clay has an announcement and reveals he is the one who killed Piney. He also reveals that Opie knows and he is the one who shot him. Clay says that Piney was killed in defence (he was drunk and pulled a gun on him). The Sons are shocked and Jackson (who needs Clay to continue working with IRA) supports the story. They will vote on his future in the club.
Alone after the meeting, Clay and Jackson continue to lie to each other claiming they need to do what is best for SAMCRO.
Gemma is angry about the boys being in day-care.
Damien Pope does not show up to the meeting with the Sons. Instead the new Niners leader Darnell Darnel (B.J. Britt) pulls a gun on Jackson and is killed for doing so.
At Clay's house Clay looks at photos (that he promised Gemma he would not take). He tries to work things out with Trig but is unsuccessful. Trig has to leave because his daughter has been arrested.
The arrest was fake. Instead Pope arrives. Trig sees his daughter lying in the same pit as the two dead men. She is burnt alive as payback for the death of Popes' daughter.
At Jackson's house Tara explains to Gemma that it is drinking that was behind their decision to put the boys in day-care. Unser calls and tells Jackson that there are warrants for Trig and Chibs. The police have witnesses who can identify them in the murder of Veronica Pope.
At Jackson's house they argue about what to do. The boys need time to arrange for protection in prison.
In the final moments, Unser and the birds are both seen to be missing Gemma. Tara smokes alone. Clay, also alone, drinks a beer. Opie puts a for sale sign on his bike without speaking to the boys. Trig cries whilst Damien Pope buys ice-cream for children. The Sons arrive at Nero's brothel. Someone breaks into Gemma's house and hurts Unser.