Episode Title: "Authority Vested"
Writer: Regina Corrado
Director: Peter Weller
Previously on "Sons of Anarchy":
In the middle of the night, Opie (Ryan Hurst) is startled by lights and intruders outside of his house. But when he opens his door, he finds Sheriff Eli Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) looking for Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam). Meanwhile, Jax, Bobby Muson (Mark Boone Junior) and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) are at Diosa, the "business" headquarters of Nero Padilla (Jimmy Smits). Although Jax is initially suspicious of Nero's willingness to help them out for the sake of Gemma (Katey Sagal), he seems impressed when Nero offers to let them borrow his truck so they can find Tig (Kim Coates) without attracting the attention of the cops.
At Gemma's home, Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie) wakes up from his severe beating and discovers that the house has been ransacked. He calls Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) to come over and see for himself. Happy (David Labrava) and Clay arrive to see the mess, but Clay initially grills Unser over whether he is sleeping with Gemma or not. Of course, Clay believes that the home invasion is just more blowback from Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau). At the abandoned railyard, Tig kneels over the pit where his daughter, Dawn (Rachel Miner) was burned to death. Having already killed Oakland Police Detective Goodman (Derek Anthony) and The Cleaner (Bryan Rasmussen), Tig apparently pushed their bodies into the pit near Dawn's badly burned corpse.
Jax, Chibs and Bobby eventually find Tig, who is able to explain that Pope burned his daughter alive. They retrieve Dawn's body from the pit and burn the remaining bodies while giving Tig a few minutes to mourn his daughter. Once back at Diosa, Jax is dismayed that Romero Parada (Danny Trejo) and Luis Torres (Benito Martinez) are ducking their calls, since he needs their help to get out of this mess and to arrange protection for them once they get arrested. But Jax does make a few more inroads with Nero by paying him well for his assistance. In his office, Pope learns from his number 2, August Marks (Billy Brown) that Tig escaped and that Jax and Chibs remain free.
Undaunted, Pope tells August to find out everything he can about the Sons. Elsewhere, Jax, his fiance, Tara (Maggie Siff) and a few other club members brief their lawyer, Ally Lowen (Robin Weigert). When Chibs and Gemma step away from the meeting, Jax tells Ally about the RICO case being held over their head and asks for her help figuring out how to kill it and to learn which current SAMCRO member may have ratted them out. Jax then learns about Gemma's home and he assumes that Pope is now targeting their families. Jax makes finding Tig's only surviving daughter, Fawn (Lexi Sakowitz) a priority over Tara's initial pleas to look out for their family first.
As Jax turns to leave, he stops and then walks back to Tara and proposes that they finally marry that day, regardless of the murder charges against him and the backdrop of a brothel. Despite her initial disbelief, Tara agrees to make the arrangements. Back at Charming police headquarters, Unser privately speaks with Roosevelt and shares his suspicions that his attackers were white, bot black like everyone assumed. Roosevelt is dubious about Unser's conclusions, but Unser asks him to keep him apprised of anything involving the case and promises that he will do the same while investigating the robberies on his own.
When Jax and Tig finally come to Fawn's home, they pull their weapons on several black men waiting outside on the porch before hearing Fawn screaming in the house. They rush in and Tig literally tears a man away from her… until Fawn reveals that the man is her boyfriend and they were simply role-playing. After Fawn gets some clothes on, Tig tells her to get out of town for her own safety… and she attacks him when she realizes that her sister is dead. Jax convinces Fawn's boyfriend to take her away and protect her, and Jax even gives the man some traveling money to do so. He also leaves Tig and Chibs behind to make sure that Fawn gets out safely.
Nero swings by and picks up Jax himself before briefly stopping off at a Home for Physically Challenged Youth. As Jax witnesses Nero spending time with his son, someone connected to Pope spots him. In the truck, Nero and Jax start to bond before they notice the Niners tailing them and coming at them with guns blazing. Jax offers to jump out and make himself the target. Instead of letting that happen, Nero speeds up and starts heading towards the Niners in a game of chicken… which the Niners lose. At his home, Opie is surprised once again when Clay shows up in his backyard and attempts to get him to return to SAMCRO despite what has happened between them.
However, Clay's words apparently move Opie to seek out his estranged (and former?) wife, Lila (Winter Ave Zoli) and offer her $20,000 to look after his kids for a few weeks while he goes out of town. At the clubhouse, Gemma is incensed when Ally hands her a marriage licence for Jax and Tara when she realizes that she wasn't even invited. Gemma arrives at Diosa shortly before the ceremony and she confronts Tara about shutting her out. But Gemma also offers Tara the wedding rings used by herself and her first husband, John Teller. Despite being slightly dubious about the rings, Tara allows Gemma to remain for the ceremony… which is overseen by a judge who couldn't be less interested in it.
Chibs surprises everyone by pushing the judge out of the way and offering the newly joined couple a Celtic blessing before the judge makes Jax and Tara's union official. Immediately after, Jax finally gets his face-to-face meeting with Romeo and Luis. They seem incredulous about protecting him in jail on such short notice, but he tells them to make it happen. Privately, Romeo hints that he may let Pope's men kill Jax even if they don't yet have a backup plan for the gun running operation. Hours later, Roosevelt and the Charming PD show up at the clubhouse to arrest Jax, Chibs and Tig as arranged in advance by their lawyer.
Unexpectedly, Opie pulls up in his motorbike dressed in his SAMCRO jacket. Opie decks Roosevelt and earns himself a trip to prison alongside Jax, Chibs and Tig, just as he planned. Elsewhere, August tells Pope that Jax and his friends are finally in custody. In another part of town, Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito) and the other Nomads recently added to SAMCRO dispose of Clay's safe, revealing themselves to be the trio behind the home invasion robberies. And on the wagon to prison, Jax and Opie reconcile while Jax holds his new wedding ring.
Last week's "Sons of Anarchy" was a bit over the top with the brutal murder of Tig's daughter, Dawn. Kim Coates' performance there was a little hammy and it didn't quite seem sincere. That wasn't a problem in "Authority Vested." Coates owned the scene where Tig told Fawn about her sister's death without actually saying the words. Coates' facial expression showed us everything that we (and Fawn) needed to know, as did Tig's acceptance of her anger and hatred. Tig is broken. And as much as Damon Pope is to blame for killing Dawn, Tig knows that he brought this misery on himself.
Two episodes into the new season, Pope looks like he may be one of SAMCRO's more formidable foes. As much as I liked Lincoln Potter last season, Pope has a more legitimate personal vendetta against Tig and SAMCRO that makes him much harder for the club to deal with. This is a feud that can only end in death; which probably means that Pope will not be the one left standing by the end of the season. But that doesn't mean that he won't be taking a few SAMCRO members down with him. I wouldn't mind if Pope somehow survives this season as long as Harold Perrineau keeps delivering an engaging performance. I really enjoy the way that Pope is a fairly low key adversary who doesn't feel the need to constantly shout to demonstrate his anger.
On a happier note, this episode marked a long awaited turning point for Jax and Tara. I have to admit that I wasn't sure if they had already gotten married in the gap between seasons four and five, but there was something appropriate about the way the marriage played out here. Can anyone really picture a Jax and Tara wedding in a church going off without a hitch? The "fairy tale" wedding just wouldn't have suited either of them. Both Jax and Tara took the location of their nuptials with fairly good humor (and some funny lines). Jax and Tara seem to understand the reality of their lives and they know that this may have been their only chance in the foreseeable future to get hitched.
The disinterest of the presiding judge was hilarious, but it was Chib's blessing that made the scene touching and added more genuine emotion. The wedding also brought home an interesting point about Gemma. We've seen that Geema seems to love and hate Clay, but that same duality of feelings seems to extend to Tara as well. Gemma was rightfully pissed off about being kept in the dark about the wedding, but she still had the presence of mind to grab her old wedding rings for Jax and Tara to use. Of course, Gemma being Gemma, that may just be another way for her to exercise some hold over Tara. The only ones whom Gemma seems to love without reservation are her son and her grandsons.
Initially, I didn't think that the scene between Opie and Clay would work without Opie immediately beating the crap out of the man who murdered his father. And yet Clay almost seemed sincere in his non apology and his speech urging Opie to rejoin SAMCRO. I loved Opie showing up and decking Roosevelt. That's now my second favorite Opie moment after shooting Clay last season. There is at least one big problem with that: Jax, Chibs and Tig will probably get clear of the murder charges against them (even though they technically did commit those crimes). However, Opie struck two police officers and it would really be pushing believably if he is able to get out of prison at the same time that his friends do. Opie made arrangements for his kids, but a three week stay in jail is pretty optimistic. Worst case scenario is that Opie will be going away for quite a while.
On another front, Jimmy Smits has been really entertaining as Nero. And Jax is clearly warming up to the guy after seeing him aid his club in addition to visiting his disabled son. Nero also stood by Jax when the Niners came after him, which probably wasn't lost on him… despite the fairly deadly game of chicken that Nero played. I still think that Nero might be too good to be true, but we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
I doubt that "Sons of Anarchy" will keep Jax and his friends imprisoned for long, but it's a nice early turn for the story and the first two episodes of the season have been strong. It should be an interesting road ahead.