Secrets can only destroy.
"That's the difference between you and me, Clay. I actually feel bad about some of the shit I've done."
There's always been a cloud hanging over the story of SAMCRO in Sons of Anarchy. There have always been secrets that we've always known were poking in some way at the edges of everything the club was doing. We've always known that when they did come out, it could only happen in the most explosive way possible.
So when the biggest secret of the show does get revealed, the most shocking part is just how much of a shock it isn't. For just over three seasons now, we've always kind of assumed that Clay Morrow killed John Teller way back when. But to hear Clay finally come right out and say it on camera in "Brick," it's just a matter-of-fact statement that moves the dialogue along. "Piney says he knows I killed JT." It's smart that the show doesn't make a huge production out of revealing something the audience has pretty much taken for granted. Instead, it's a way to get us to all the other big secrets around this show.
For example, Tara keeping the Teller letters, which is how she and now Piney know everything about what went down with John's death. She thinks it's still a secret that she has them, but Piney tells Clay that he's seen them, and that he'll show them to the rest of the club if he doesn't get out of the drug-muling business. That gets Clay motivated. He hires Wayne Unser to find the letters, but what Clay doesn't know is that Unser goes immediately to Gemma and tells her what Clay has him doing. What comes next is the weaving of a complex web of lies and revelations. Unser finds photocopies of the letters in Tara's office, but he steals them and reads them himself. What he finds out shocks him. He learns that Clay made him cover up the death of John (apparently, he covered up the death of John) by telling him that John was going to cross the Mayans and bring violence into Charming. Now, Unser knows that John was looking to get out of the outlaw business. He also knows that Clay had made at least two attempts on John's life. Unser finds out that every reason he had to help SAMCRO in the past was based on lies, and he is devastated. So much so that he tries to burn the letters (Clay stops him at first, but lights them up when he realizes they're just copies). Also, when Gemma arrives to pick them up, he doesn't tell her that Clay had already seen them first.
This leads to even more deceit. Gemma tells Clay that she found the letters, and that she's the one who burned them (after saying they don't contain any info). Clay obviously knows she's lying, but doesn't let on that he does. It creats a tense implicit standoff that promises to provide more fodder for angry yelling down the line.
If that isn't exhausting enough, there is plenty more lying to go around. When Otto tells the club about Potter's visit last episode he demands that they finally find who killed his wife LuAnne, and he also wants to hear it from Bobby about their affair. Bobby comes clean about fucking LuAnne, but he lies right to his face about the club killing her killer. They all kind of decide that (now former) porn producer George Caruse killed her, but when they get the drop on him, they decide to keep him alive in order to use his friends in high places to invest in Charming Heights, only to pull out their funding at the last second. Practically speaking, stringing Hale along probably keeps his pressure off of law enforcement, but that much is never really explained in the episode. It just seems like impractical schadenfreude on SAMCRO's part.
Meanwhile, Roosevelt's blackmail of Juice starts to take shape. He leans on Juice to grab a kilo of coke from the stash before the Mayans come by to pick it up and hand it over so they can track it back to the cartel (and keep the club out of it, as he claims). Roosevelt expresses some concern about a black sheriff using a man's race against him like this, but Potter tells Roosevelt he'll keep his name out of it (which we immediately know is a lie). Juice grabs the brick of coke, but he falls asleep in the woods (?) and thus has to bury it so he doesn't get caught with it. This leads to another stand off, this one at the hand off. The Mayans are expecting thirty kilograms, when there are only twenty-nine in the crate. And that's how we get our cliffhanger this week.
Sons of Anarchy is in an odd place right now. It seems as though the Clay/Gemma/Jax/Tara stuff, compelling as it is, probably couldn't take up forty-four minutes a week, so each episode needs to be padded out by other secrets and things. It's good to keep the Charming Heights issue somewhere in the background, but it's happening in a pretty nonsensical way, In addition, the Juice storyline simply doesn't fit. All that said, this season probably is the best one yet. Let's hope it stays that way.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch