Okay, raise your hand if you are in need of a good laugh after the last two weeks of Sons of Anarchy? *raises hand* Yeah, I thought so. Well, apparently Kurt Sutter realized this would be the case and “Orca Shrugged” provided us with one of the funniest bits I’ve seen on this, or any show, in a long time.

After the jump – my thoughts on the much-needed laughs this episode brought us. And, of course, the other stuff as well.

Okay, let’s just get to it… Venus. Venus. Venus. In the world of internet and constant social media connection, it was shocking I managed to stay unspoiled on this big surprise guest for the west coast airing. But I did, and I’m so thankful. When Walton Goggins walked in that door as Venus, with her big hair and big boobs, well, I almost died. These past few weeks (and really, the whole series) have been a real downer, but on occasion  those boys at SAMCRO know how to bring the funny. And is anything as funny as Venus? Besides Tig (Kim Coates) lusting after her. And Venus kissing a very surprised Jax (Charlie Hunnam).

The whole purpose for her being there – to blackmail a councilman into passing the Charming Heights deal for Mayor Hale (Jeff Kober), so he’ll rent property to SAMCRO for the escort service – was fine. I mean, sure, I have never really cared about the whole Charming Heights thing. Why didn’t we want that? Small town businesses getting screwed, right? It doesn’t matter, the boys want it now for their greater good, and to get it, they needed Venus. I wish she was a regular. Walton Goggins for all the Emmys! And also, special props for Marhsall Allman for playing the clueless stepson of the councilman who got a piece of action from Venus. How much fun did those boys have on set that day? Let’s just admire her for a minute, okay?

WOW. Okay, let’s get to the rest of the show. I know – hard to believe anything could be better than this. It can’t, actually, but we should cover it.

The Irish were in town to do an exchange of the heavy machinery with the Cartel, and an exchange of words and punches between Jax and Galen (Timothy V. Murphy). Oh, boys. Always so macho. While the scene was fun, I’m more interested in what happens when Jax tries to get out of this deal like he’s told the crew he wants to do in favor of the more legitimate Escort business. Of course that  business will only work if Nero (Jimmy Smits) can keep it in his pants when Gemma (Katey Sagal) is around. Which I’m very doubtful about. Plus Clay (Ron Perlman) knows the only reason he still exists is this Irish/Cartel deal, so I don’t think he’ll be letting it go so easily.

Speaking of Gemma, my favorite development of the night was the thawing of the icy waters between Gemma and Tara (Maggie Siff). As Tara realizes her surgical career isn’t gone completely, but has a hard time doing a simple suture on Tig’s ass (the councilman bit it during when waking up from his fudge and drug induced mini-coma) she finds comfort in Gemma who is starting to realize she is pushing away the only people she has left. And, let’s face it, she probably also wants Tara’s help in getting Jax to lay off the Nero issues. Their moment on the couch was beautiful.  These two have so many issues you could fill the Grand Canyon, but they are also so alike – stubborn, loyal and protective, all to a fault – that they need each other. I hope it continues.

But not everything could be sunshine and lollipops and fake boobs this week. There had to be something bad, and that came in the form of Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) and his finally pregnant wife, Rita (Merle Dandridge). Here’s my issue with this story. We haven’t seen Rita in some time. We knew they were trying IVF to get pregnant, and that was it. So when she shows up for no reason and we see she is pregnant my first thought is, “Well, that baby is not going to make it due to some horrible event.” It was just a matter of how/when. Turns out it was those 3 newbies in SAMCRO pulling another home invasion when she was home alone. Rita tried to defend herself with a gun, and by scratching one of them really good on the neck, but she just ended up getting shot. In her belly. Heartbreaking. I have always liked Rita, and Roosevelt actually, but I’m at least hoping this reveals the infiltration in SAMCRO.

This season has already had ups and downs, but it has ultimately been working for me because of the emotional depth Charlie Hunnam has shown as Jax. He is just so torn between his family and wanting that life outside of SAMCRO and learning to be a leader for his crew. He doesn’t always balance it out well, but he is doing the best he can. Watching that struggle has been mesmerizing. Almost as mesmerizing as Venus. But not quite.

Follow me on Twitter @serrae

photos courtesy of FX