In an episode full of revelations, it's the lies that hurt the most.
The slide down into chaos inexorably continues, and at this point, it just doesn't look like there's anything that can stop it. Tara's been feeling it, and she can't take anymore. "Look at the last three weeks," she tells Gemma. "How could you want your grandchildren raised in this chaos?"
Life has been hell for the club since they got out of prison. On that day, it seemed like Sheriff Roosevelt would be their biggest problem, but so far, it's been all planning and manipulation with him. Sure, he's not making things easier, but there are bigger and more immediate problems to attend to. To be somewhat fair to Clay, that's what he thinks he's doing – dealing with the problems facing the club. He's just going about it in the most brutal and self-centered way possible. Gemma recognizes that when she comes across Piney's corpse up in his cabin. She calls Wayne Unser, who is ready to call in the cops, but Gemma talks him out of it. He's concerned about what could happen to Tara, and anyone else who runs afoul of Clay. "Clay is like a wounded animal. He's going to tear apart anything that comes close." He also wants to know what Gemma knows about John Teller's death, but all she lets on is that she "never knew the details." Unser eventually agrees to do things Gemma's way. Gemma's angle is that she doesn't want the club blowing up. Her maternal instincts cause her to want to see SAMCRO intact, and she's going to work to make things ok. As she tells Clay later on, she lives with the lies because she wants to protect the club. That means never telling anyone what Clay's done. She also makes Clay promise not to hurt Tara, since Tara acknowledges that she'll never show Jax the letters (Tara feels that what he would find in there would only hurt him and push him further into club business). Gemma knows she can get the letters back from Tara after she gets back from her conference in Oregon.
That conference represents an opportunity for both Jax and Clay as well. Jax decides to go with Tara, as he's basically done with the club in his mind. He lays out a new plan for Clay: he'll create an "exit strategy" for the club's association with the Galindo cartel and that will be the last bit of business he has as a member of SAMCRO. Jax comes to this decision as a result of a particularly disastrous incident involving the cartel. It turns out the Niners, the black street gang that buys drugs from SAMCRO, have started to work with the Lobos. The Sons, the Mayans, and the Niners are basically caught in the middle of a cartel turf war north of the border. Jax realizes that, and knows that it's far beyond what the club can handle, so he's going back on his promise to Clay to see their cartel business through to the end ("the end" being the sale of what basically amounts to heavy artillery to the Galindos, a sale that the IRA is very reluctant to make as they're not sure about dealing with a Mexican cartel). Thus, Jax will draw up a plan for SAMCRO to get out from under the Galindo cartel's thumb before riding off into the sunset with his family (Bobby doesn't believe him, though. "Your solution is always a club solution." Bobby figures that after a lifetime of being an outlaw, Jax will never be able to live a normal life). Clay, on the other hand, sees Tara's departure for Oregon as an opportunity to make his move. He put the hit on Tara a couple of episodes back, and Luis comes through for him in "Kiss" by handing him a cell phone with the number of a hired hitter programmed in. Luis makes sure to tell him that once the hit is put into motion, it can't be stopped. The final shot of "Kiss" is Clay making the call to the hitman, seconds after promising Gemma that he won't hurt Tara.
As for the Roosevelt plot, it may not be immediate, but it's still very much a potent threat. Juice's situation continues to get more desperate. Chibs brings Juice's suicidal tendencies to Jax' attention, not knowing how to handle the situation. Jax' natural empathy kicks in, and he and Chibs agree not to let the truth be known to the rest of the club, as doing so would only lead to Juice getting voted out. It's a tough world that Juice is stuck in, and he doesn't particularly want to be a part of it either. As Roosevelt notes to Potter, Juice doesn't care if he lives or dies anymore. He can't be blackmailed anymore. Potter doesn't believe that, though. He demands that Roosevelt keep trying to wring information out of poor Juice. Potter figures he can get a lot of info out of Otto in jail, since he knows that Carsuo isn't really dead, a truth he can bring to Otto, thus turning him against the Sons. From there, Potter decides to bring Juice right into the belly of the beast. Juice freaks out when he gets a glimpse of the AUSA's war room, and attacks Roosevelt. Once he's restrained, Potter fills him in on the big plan. Potter's ultimate prey isn't the Sons, or the Russians, but the IRA. He gets some intel that the IRA is coming to Charming to meet with Romeo and the Galindos, and he wants to know when and where that meeting will take place. Potter tells Juice that if he can get him that information, he won't pursue federal charges against the club.
Potter and Roosevelt have gotten closer to the Sons than anyone ever has before, and the club doesn't even know it. With all the shit the club is putting itself through, there's always more on the horizon.
Written or Contributed by: Royal Nonesuch