“Hey, Scotty, a bomb just went off in an ice cream shop on Main Street … next time the shop might be filled with kids. Could you live with that?”
This question that Sheriff Jarry poses to Chibs is central to “Poor Little Lambs.” It’s been clear thus far that the crew can live with a great deal — murder, deception, more murder … it’s been a bloody final act so far. However, “Poor Little Lambs” pushes the Sons further into the bed that they’ve been making, albeit a bit sloppily. At the beginning of the episode, the women of Diosa are shown sprucing the place up, managing the books, and getting a new massage room. By the end of this episode, they are dead, and the Sons have to clean up messes that they never anticipated.
When Gemma tells Juice that “the walls are closing in,” she’s not just talking about their neuroses. Sure, she’s continuing to talk to Tara, as when she waxes poetic about the decision to send the boys to school (and one where Courtney Love is a teacher, at that): “I never sent Jax or Thomas to any of that day care or gym-bob jamboree shit. Seems lazy to me, dropping off your kids for strangers to raise. But I know it’s what you want.”). And in this episode, she’s often seen in a room by herself, behind blinds. Juice is continuing to come unglued; he hates being alone, and “getting lost in the details of nothing.” By the end of the episode, Gemma and Juice — readying themselves for Gemma to drive him to her dad’s house — are screwing silencers on their guns and packing them neatly for the car ride. The walls are closing in on them and their secrets, and it appears as if the answer for each of them might be to exterminate the other.
Of course, larger walls are closing in and shattering, too. The walls and windows of the ice-cream shop are blown to pieces, and the walls of Diosa are riddled with bullet holes. The Chinese have come for retaliation (“This wasn’t a message,” Chibs says, noting that the man who threw the grenade saw them in the shop). When Nero shows up at the scene on Main Street, he gets a call from one of the Chinese men who has just come into Diosa for a drink. “What happens at Diosa will affect you,” he tells him. “But it’s meant for the Sons of Anarchy.” They unpack their guns, and by the time we see the room again, every Diosa woman — including Colette — is dead. It’s noteworthy that these deaths of innocents, of “little lambs” (like the school shooting last season), and the Diosa massacre — are conducted behind closed doors, offscreen. Often the monster you can’t see is more horrifying than the one you can.
The Sons have been sold out, and while we don’t know with certainty who it was, we can imagine that Jury had a hand in it. Jax and Company know that they’re in deep with the Triad, the Mayans, the One-Niners, and the Grim Bastards. They don’t yet know how deep they cut Jury, one of their own. And Anarchy blood is thick.
Revisiting a scene from the past — the ill-fated threesome of the season premiere — the Sons must seek out the “missing” preacher’s wife, as Marks needs her to sign papers for a real-estate deal. The Sons know where Pastor Haddem is hiding, so they dig away and pull out his cell phone for clues, which led them to Venus Van Dam. Tig has her number, and she leads them to Haddem’s lake house. “I will help you because I’m fond of you,” she says. “I’m fond of you all.”
They find the lake house and break in, only for Tig to be shot and to have to chase a car into a lake. When the young man escapes the sinking car, he yells, “Leave us alone!” and indicates there is a woman in the car. Jax rips of his shiny white shoes and gets in the lake, followed closely by Chibs, and rescues the woman. She turns out to be Haddem’s wife, Leticia McQueen, and the young man is her son, Grant (Haddem’s stepson). He calls out for her — Mama — and the Sons quickly start calling her Mama as they pull her from the lake. Another suffering mother, she is bearing the brunt of her late husband’s sins.
Her son explains that Pope helped his stepfather a few years ago — he used a loophole to get property so Haddem’s church could expand. Now Marks wants to use the same loophole to say they’re building low-income housing, but only to launder money without building any houses. “I told him not to get involved,” the mother cries. “I knew they’d come looking for something.”
Jax tells them that Haddem started all of this, and that there is “nothing you can do but ride out his sins.” The son says that his mother built the congregation; she can’t just hand it over. Jax replies, “She’ll have to if she wants to keep the two of you alive.”
Across town, another powerful mother is trying to ride out some sins of her own. When Nero confronts her about Haas being beaten, he guesses it was Jax, and Gemma says, “He did it to protect you.”
Nero pushes back, saying, “Your boy. He’s unchained now … it gets to a point where it isn’t about revenge anymore. You’re doing it because it just feels good.”
That’s certainly what we’ve seen happen with Jax, but there’s a change in him in “Poor Little Lambs.” He seems sad and lighter at the same time, still plotting, but starting to have to ride out his sins instead of seeing them to fruition. When they meet Leland and the other Aryans for a deal, Officer Cane and Officer Eglee show up. The Aryans shoot, assuming the Sons brought them. Cane is killed and Eglee is hanging on by a thread. Jax’s plans are starting to seem less orchestrated than before. Perhaps there are too many pieces, or perhaps it’s all just too much to bear.
After the bombing, Jax is sitting on the hood of a cop car, surrounded by lights (but he himself is the victim, not the bomber). When he surveys the carnage at Diosa, there’s certainly a sense of defeat.
While there’s a bang in “Poor Little Lambs,” there is a whimper at the end, a sense that it’s going to be difficult for the Sons to live with themselves (especially if Jury did indeed turn them in, thus turning the gang war inward into a civil war). As Tig notes early in the episode, it is a small world, after all. And the walls of that world are closing in.
• Love is in the air: The scenes between Tig and Venus are simply beautiful. Their kiss was so tender and loving, and their intimacy is palpable. I love it. I want these kids to make it.
• Chibs and Jarry are also continuing to be drawn to one another. There is something about their connection (yet lack of sexual tension) that really works — their quiet intimacy and hand-holding feeds a part of us that needs to be fed after violence and mayhem.
• McQueen and her son are an interesting contrast to Gemma and Jax. Again with the family imagery, both mother-and-son teams are simply doing what needs to be done, in their perspectives. Jax and Gemma’s sins, however, are their own.
• Orlin West, a Son whom Bobby recently recruited from Reno, is killed by a Triad, left in a pool of blood in a gun crate.
• “Damn, Grandma’s kind of crazy.” Preach, Courtney Love.