In case it wasn’t entirely clear – life is pretty miserable in Charming, CA right about now. As Jax and Tara look on as their older son, Abel, has what is just one of many surgeries in his short life, Jax says, “Like this kid hasn’t been through enough s**t.” A phrase that can be uttered about any of these characters, really.

Life just gets better and better for these people.

Here are the two things I’m thankful for this week: no one we cared about died (I’m assuming Chibs is cool and none of you cared about that guy Jax killed) and Jax (Charlie Hunnam) knows that Clay (Ron Perlman) is the one behind the Nomads, running him off the road, lying about Gemma (Katey Sagal) and basically anything bad that has ever happened ever.

Towards the end of the episode Jax asks Tara (Maggie Siff) if she regrets coming back to Charming. I mean… their life is a endless parade of misery, so I wouldn’t blame her if she said yes. But she has two beautiful boys and a husband who would literally kill for her, so I get why she said no. But let’s take a look at the misery imposed on the club in just the one episode and see if maybe she is just blinded by Jax’s handsome face (again… who blames her?!).

Juice (Theo Rossi – who makes me want to cry every time he is on screen with that guilt-ridden, scared little boy face of his) tells Clay that he talked to the Feds and is under Roosevelt’s (Rockmond Dunbar) thumb because his father is black. Clay admits he killed one of the Nomads, but his confessional stops there – none of the “Oh I was behind the break-ins” part of the story was brought up. Shocking, I know.

Frankie (Chuck Zito) shot poor, poor Lyla (Winter Ave Zoli) and left Chibs unconscious on the side of the road with a gun shaped gash on the side of his head. How nervous was everyone that he was going to kill Lyla? I’m glad Kurt Sutter didn’t completely orphan all those kids! The good news was that Frankie told Jax and Bobby that Clay was behind everything and that he knows nothing about Gemma getting run off the road. Which leads me to: Nero (Jimmy Smits) is the best. He’s like the Jiminy Cricket of this show, as much as this show can have one. When Gemma let Clay lie about her being high while driving the kids he told her she needs to tell the truth. And then when it was clear she hadn’t, he told Jax and let Jax know that all of this nonsense was just too much and it needed to end. Jax needs to get out of Charming and this life and take care of his kids – it’s the only thing that matters. I love it. But it also makes me very nervous that Nero is going to die, because voices of reason never last long in a place like Charming.

While all of this was horrible, I think the most devastating part of the episode was Tara finding out that Gemma was high. After hugging her mother-in-law and thanking her for doing her best to take care of the boys just a little bit before – the moment she found out what happened was like a gut punch. Or a punch to the face, as the case may be. I could feel the bottom fall out from under both of those women. All they ever seem to do is try to protect their boys, not always in the best way possible, and their world seemed to fall apart in a matter of seconds.

But what this season has really been about is the lengths Jax will go to as a leader. This episode was bookended by two moments that show just how far that is. The first – taking the now dead guy that ran him off the road at the end of last week’s episode and cutting off both of his hands with an ax. One hand for Unser (Dayton Callie), one hand for Pope (Harold Perrineau) to see if the information they give from he fingerprints is the same so they know if Pope is playing them. Pretty crafty, if not gross. But the real moment of “Holy Crap” leadership came at the end. After telling Gemma they were done, he decides that maybe she can earn her way back in to his family’s good graces – by sleeping with Clay so he will spill all his dirty little secrets to her. Wow. Whoring out his mom. And will he even let her back in when it’s done? Will Tara? I don’t know – that end game was never mentioned between the couple, but it seems unlikely.

Just how much farther does Jax have to go before he becomes Clay? I feel like he is stepping really close to that ledge, and clearly, so does Bobby. And if he finds out about Juice, like Roosevelt seems to be promising to do – what happens then? It’s scary times in Charming, y’all. Scary times.

Happy Halloween!

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Photo courtesy of FX