After all the things that have gone down in Charming on Sons of Anarchy, not just this season, but throughout the run of the series, and hell, even before we were introduced to these characters, it isn’t surprising they all have issues. They are working on figuring out who they are. And some are more lost than other.

This week’s episode, “Toad’s Wild Ride” (one of my favorite rides at Disneyland because who doesn’t love a kids ride that ends with you going to Hell?) finds a lot of the characters on shaky ground. 

Honestly, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to write about this one, as I’m emotionally traumatized by the end. Yes, Opie’s brutal death in front of Tig, Chibs and Jax was horrifying, but I’m a mom. One of my recurring nightmares is getting in a major car accident with my kids. The sounds of Thomas’s cries at the end of the episode after Gemma crashes the car will haunt my dreams for days.

But a lot happened leading up to that. The emotional scarring on all of these characters is starting to show, especially Gemma. Katey Sagal has been amazing this season as Gem spirals down. She sleeps with a conman (Joel McHale) who then steals her car and money. Don’t worry, the guys go after him, take $3000 out of his pocket and then Nero (Jimmy Smits) beats him up in the end. McHale is friends with Kurt Sutter and Sagal, so it was fun to see him on the show just there to get his ass beat. Friends being friends.

This did instigate a bit of a defrost in the Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Gemma relationship. He finally realized, and maybe so did she, that there was just so much build up from the horrors in life, starting with Jax’s brother, Thomas’s death decades ago. From there she’s  lost control and Unser’s (Dayton Callie) speech to her last week served as the wake up call she needed. I love that she told him as much when he tried to apologize.

Gemma: What you said was the truth. More people did that there’d be less bodies lying on the floors. … Don’t do it again.

That “don’t do it again” was key -basically,  thanks for telling me off. I needed it, but do it again and I’ll be pissed. Very Gemma.

Meanwhile, the Clay/Nomads nonsense reached a fever pitch. Jax and Bobby, with some help of Unser, realize that the Nomads were pulling the jobs, and probably under the orders of Clay (Ron Perlman) who just wants his seat back. I’m not entirely sure of Clay’s play here. Yes, he wants his seat, and is willing to do what it takes to get it, including killing Go-Go and Greg by telling them to come kill Unser when he is there. But as he examined the documents from his “stolen” safe at the end, I had to wonder what more there was. Because his seat clearly isn’t it – otherwise why bother going after his marriage license.

The worst part of all of this for me? Juice (Theo Rossi). Poor, poor, sweet Juicey. He is starting to realize that Clay isn’t the feeble man he’s claimed to be as of late. He is conniving  and more than maybe deserved to be shot in the first place. He’s been following Clay around like a puppy, not realizing Clay tried to have Tara killed or has been behind these invasions. It’s all starting to surface for Juice and I’m hoping he figures it all out soon. Preferably before he gets killed himself (I’m very worried about him).

This episode was basically leading up to a lot of bad stuff – Gemma and the boys’ life in peril, Jax and Chibs nearly getting killed in the woods by who knows who – and it will probably take me the full week to recover. It made me think about the very long hiatus this show takes. I think I’ve decided I”m okay with it. After 12 episodes, I need a 9 month break to emotionally recover from this.

What are you worried about as we head into the second half of the season? Who do you think will  make it out of Season 5 alive? Please say both Thomas and Abel. Not that it will matter what you say, but I’d feel better. I don’t put it past Sutter to kill a kid though, do you?

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photo courtesy of FX